A mentor is more than an adviser. A mentor can be integral to your academic success and can provide you with wisdom, technical knowledge, assistance, support, empathy and respect throughout, and often beyond, your university career. It is a relationship that develops over time and helps you understand academic life choices.
The student benefits from the mentor’s support, skills, wisdom, network and coaching.
Choosing a Mentor
- Talk with others in your department from students to teaching assistants to faculty engaged in research.
- Do your homework concerning each faculty member with whom you are interested in conducting research. Make sure you are familiar with their interest areas and current research projects (if available online) prior to contacting potential mentors.
- Send a formal email to the faculty member or stop by during posted office hours. Avoid showing up unexpectedly.
- Introduce yourself and let the faculty member know that you are interested in his/her research.
- Attach your resume to your email letter or bring it if you choose to visit the faculty member’s office.
- Ask for an appointment to discuss research opportunities in more detail. Remember to refresh your memory about the faculty member’s research program prior to the meeting.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask.
- Why do you want to do research?
- Why are you interested in their research?
- What are your future educational or vocational goals? How does this research fit into these goals?
- How much time do you have to devote to the research project?
- What research-relevant courses have you taken?