Design Mentor Program

Students and mentors at the mentorship kickoff

The College of Design's annual Mentor Program helps undergraduate juniors, seniors, and graduate students grow professionally by matching them with a mentor in their field of study. Mentoring pairs discuss student career goals and interests and then work together to pursue those goals through career exploration, networking, and professional skill development.

Roles & Responsibilities

Program Overview
Groups of students and mentors at the McNamara Alumni Center

The College of Design Mentor Program is an opportunity for students to grow professionally by working with a mentor in their field of study. Mentors share insights about current industry issues, technology, and career paths. They can offer feedback on portfolios, resumes, and cover letters, and provide industry-specific interviewing tips, and help students make connections and develop professional, communication, and relationship skills.

To be eligible for the mentorship program you must be a current junior, senior, or graduate student in the College of Design. You must also complete and submit an application by the September deadline.

The program runs November through April and typically begins with an in-person kick-off event, which provides an opportunity for students and mentors to meet for the first time. During this initial meeting, pairs will set goals, determine meeting frequency and preferences, and begin identifying various conversation topics, activities, and events they will participate in together during the course of the program. The program officially concludes at our annual Design in 7 event in April.

Students

Student Eligibility

Current junior, senior, and graduate students in the College of Design are eligible to participate in the Design Mentor Program. Students must commit to connecting with their mentor once a month either in-person, over email, over phone, or in a virtual meeting. To be part of the Design Mentor Program students must complete and submit an application by the September deadline. Find out more about student expectations and information sessions.

Student Expectations

As a student in the Design Mentor Program you will be expected to meet with your mentor monthly (whether in-person, over email, or virtually) from November through April. Other expectations include:

  • Articulate your interests and goals for the mentoring relationship.
  • Discuss your needs and expectations with your mentor up front.
  • Act professionally throughout the program and ALWAYS respond to your mentor in a timely manner.
  • Be receptive to suggestions and feedback.
  • Understand that the mentor program is NOT a job placement program.
Mentors

Mentor Expectations

College of Design mentors are professionals from fields associated with our academic programs who have an interest in helping students explore career paths, make connections, and develop professional skills. Mentors are expected to give advice to students including feedback on their resume or projects, industry specific interviewing tips, networking assistance, and help developing professional, communication, and relationship-building skills. Learn more about mentor expectations and information sessions.

Mentor Responsibilities

As a mentor, you will be expected to meet monthly with your student (whether in-person, over email, or virtually) from November through April and to be accessible and engaged in the experience through the duration of the program. Other expectations include:

  • Helping your student establish realistic and obtainable goals and identify ways to achieve them through constructive suggestions and feedback.
  • Helping your student connect with other professionals in their desired field.
  • Asking good questions that help your student explore their own values and needs, or make informed decisions.
  • Be willing to adjust your goals as your student changes interests during or as a result of this opportunity for career exploration.

The mentor program is NOT a job placement program for students and there are no expectations that a job or internship will develop out of this experience.

Application Process

Before applying, carefully review the information on the program application website along with the detailed agreement about roles and responsibilities posted at the beginning of the student application. 

After the deadline, applications are reviewed by the matching committee. Applicants are notified whether or not they have been matched by late October. If you receive email notification that you have been matched with a mentor, directions for next steps will be included.