Blog Post

3 Tips for Mentors During the College Application Process

An iMentor Bay Area mentor and mentee at Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy.

iMentor students in their senior year are hard at work on college applications—Congrats to those who sent out applications already! Meanwhile, our juniors are prepping for SATs, narrowing their college lists and researching admissions requirements.

Yonah Greenstein and Miranda Sanchez, program managers at iMentor NYC, offer three tips to mentors who will be supporting their mentees in the important and complex college applications process. Yonah works with seniors at the Bronx Leadership Academy II in the Bronx, and Miranda works with seniors at the Business of Sports School in Manhattan.

1. Tap Into Your Program Manager’s Expertise One of the awesome parts of being a mentor is having a professional college counselor on call to help you and your mentee navigate the college process. So be proactive in reaching out to your program manager. Don’t wait for them to contact you—go ahead and schedule calls, send texts, and reach out through email.

As a mentor, you often have the strongest pulse on your mentee’s aspirations and how they are feeling. Communicate this to your program manager in order to leverage their expertise to best support you and your mentee! Program managers have in-depth knowledge about scholarship programs, colleges, and other opportunities that may be a good fit for your mentee as they continue to develop a vision for their future.—Yonah Greenstein

2. Manage Your Expectations The college application process can be exciting, but also overwhelming. It is hard not to go through this process without reflecting back on your own college process. But remember, your process will not be the same as your mentee’s. Your preferences may not be the same as your mentee’s preferences. They may not apply to all the schools you recommend, and that’s okay! The college application process is a chance for your mentee to discover their likes and dislikes and learn about what schools would be the best fit for them.—Miranda Sanchez

3. Build a Strong Relationship 

The college process is a crucial period with an endless wave of requirements and deadlines—not to mention the excitement of success and the disappointment of rejection. As a mentor, it’s easy to get caught up in a missed opportunity or whatever deadline comes next. However, the most important part of being a mentor remains the strength of your relationship with your mentee. It’s the engine that drives any success you will achieve together!

Make sure to slow down to see how your mentee is doing. Maybe take time to catch a movie together, or share that YouTube video you can’t stop laughing at. Make sure your mentee feels comfortable coming to you if they are burnt out or stressed. That means always being welcoming and putting their well-being first. This doesn’t mean neglecting their goals or any plans you’ve made, but realizing that you can best achieve these goals together by having a supportive and well-rounded relationship.—Yonah Greenstein