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Tips for Mentoring Students

Some tips and best practices for mentoring students:

  • Set regular meeting times to talk about the student’s progress and any issues or questions the student has encountered. Early in the experience, meet frequently to ensure that the student understands your expectations and how to meet them.
  • Email is a good way to stay in contact if the student’s Connecting Experience is in a different location than you and to keep in touch between meetings. When possible, though, meet with the student in person.
  • Define clear, reasonable, and challenging expectations for the student. Remember that these are undergraduate students who may not have much, if any research experience. The best Connecting Experiences will give students the opportunity to be successful, while pushing the students to learn new skills and ways of thinking.
  • Take some time at the beginning of the experience to help the student design a project that fits with his or her interests and that is manageable within the timeframe allowed. Some students will already be experienced designing research questions and projects, but many students will not.
  • Encourage the student to share the results of his or her research, whether by creating a poster and presenting at a poster session, submitting an abstract to present at a conference, or submitting a paper to an undergraduate research journal.