Mentoring Basics

Are there any requirements for being a mentor?

Every PC alum can help or offer guidance to a current student. All PC alumni are eligible to participate in the program. We welcome recent graduates as well as more experienced alumni. Even alumni outside of the Upstate area can participate in the Mentor Blue Hose e-mentoring program.

How long am I committed to mentoring one student?

As an alumni mentor, your formal relationship with your student mentee lasts for one academic year (September through May). Mentoring pairs are encouraged to stay in touch even after the formal relationship ends. If you register for the Mentor Blue Hose program in subsequent years, you are paired with a new student each time, thus expanding your, and their, PC network.

How am I paired with my student mentee?

Students are paired with alumni using a variety of factors. Course of study, degree level, professional career function, PC organizations, specific areas of expertise, companies, industry and the age of the student are all considered. Each pairing is carefully examined and the developmental needs of the students are always the priority. It is important to note that your student mentee may not have the same major or career aspirations as you. Alumni mentors have much more to offer than just career advice. All of your professional, personal, and academic experiences are valuable to share with your mentee.

What are the qualities of an effective mentor?

A mentor is defined as “a person looked upon for wise advice and guidance” and can play many roles including coach, teacher, advocate, friend, cheer-leader, and a person who helps open doors. Though a mentor may be a role model, a true mentor does not ask another person to “be like me.” A mentor says, “I will help you be whoever you wish to be.” A mentor is not a parent, a peer, or a counselor. Mentoring is about listening without negative judgment and questioning with respect. Your job is not to make decisions for your student, but to ask questions, have conversations and share your experiences so that your mentee can make the best decision for themselves. Remember to enjoy your mentoring relationship and to keep an open mind.

Help your Mentee Set Goals for Your Mentoring Partnership – view PDF

Help your Mentee build a Great Resume – view PDF

Suggested Mock Interview Questions for your Mentee – view PDF



How often should I meet or communicate with my mentee?

If you are an in-town mentor, we suggest meeting in person three or four times a semester and communicating via email, phone, at least twice a month. If you are an e-mentor, you should consider meeting via Skype, Facetime, or other video conferencing tool to supplement phone and email conversations, but you should try to communicate with your student a total of three to four times a month. During the initial conversation with your mentee, establish mutual expectations for the frequency and type of communication you will use throughout your partnership – this step is paramount for the success of your mentoring partnership.

What is the best method of communication to use with my mentee?

It’s up to you and your student to decide your preferred method of communication. You can determine this together in your initial conversation. While some students and mentors prefer a phone call, others rely more on emails, LinkedIn messages, online chat, video chat and text messaging.

Creating a Positive Online Presence – view PDF

What should I do if I have not heard from my mentee recently?

If you are having trouble contacting your mentee, or if you are having any other difficulties with the relationship, please contact the Mentor Blue Hose staff at mentorBlue



I have not been matched with a student yet. What should I do?

We aim to create matches based on the student’s preferences and needs. You will be matched when we find a student who is seeking a mentor with your background, experience, and common interests. It is possible that we may not be able to complete an alum/student match for you right away. Rest assured, when a good match is determined, we will notify you as soon as possible.

In the meantime, if you would like to be more closely involved with the SAA, we welcome your participation by hosting a Dinner Blue Hose event or attending SAA networking events, such as Speed Networking, held in February. Additionally, join the PC Alumni Association’s Mentor Blue Hose group on LinkedIn so you can communicate with other mentors and mentees, and participate in online forums and discussion groups.

I have a mentee with a different major or professional interest– how can I ensure a quality mentoring experience?

We believe alumni mentors have much more to offer than just career advice. If a student mentee requests specific career advice that you cannot offer, consider connecting your mentee with other PC alumni you know in that field. This demonstrates the importance of having a network and will help student mentees to begin building their own PC network. Find and provide your mentee with resources that will be helpful to their field. Look at the Activities page for suggestions about activities. Remember, you can always work on developing leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills that transcend all professional fields.

I have a freshman mentee – what are the best topics to focus on?

First year students typically have different needs from their older peers as they learn to adjust to campus life and the rigorous academic environment of PC. As a mentor, you can help your young mentee by offering support and guidance on college life. Helpful topics to cover with your freshman mentee include choosing a major, learning study skills, time management, choosing involvement in campus organizations, and work-life balance. Occasionally, special curriculum is provided for freshmen students through the bi-weekly Mentor Blue Hose email update.

I have an international student mentee – how can I better understand the International Student Experience?

Your mentee’s greatest resource: The PC Alumni Network! – view PDF.


How to make the most of your e-Mentoring relationship – view PDF.



For suggested discussion topics and activities to do with your mentee, visit the Activities page.

Help your mentee increase their self awareness – view PDF.

Help your Mentee network with a Great Elevator Pitch – view PDF.

Helping your mentee use time management to achieve work-life balance – view PDF.

Moving your mentoring relationship forward at the end of the year – view PDF.

Helping your mentee use time management to achieve work-life balance - view PDF.

Mentor Blue Hose Students’ Frequently Asked Questions


The links below contain answers to frequently asked questions by mentees. If you find that you have a question not covered by the FAQ’s or another portion of the website, please feel free to contact the Mentor Blue Hose Committee at


Mentoring Basics

How am I matched with a mentor?

After filling out the Mentor Blue Hose application, students are matched with alumni based on a variety of factors: course of study, career field, campus organizations, area of expertise, hometown, gender, and other factors are considered to make the best possible match.

As a mentee, what is expected of me in the Mentor Blue Hose Program?

As a mentee, you are expected to guide the mentoring relationship. Take responsibility for your own growth and success by being reliable and contacting your mentor regularly. Mentor/student relationships work best when the student clearly defines his/her expectations for the relationship and takes the initiative to reach out to the mentor. The mentor has already offered to be available to you by signing up for the program, but he/she cannot know how best to help you unless you are vocal about it. It is paramount that you be consistent in reaching out to your mentor, and letting him/her know what you want to gain from the experience. Alumni are busy people who have generously volunteered their time to join this program. If you are not responsible about communicating with your mentor on a regular basis, you are not taking full advantage of the Mentor Blue Hose program.

Will my Mentor get me a job?

Please note that the Mentor Blue Hose program is not a job shadowing program and it is not appropriate to ask your mentor for a job. It is appropriate, however, to let your mentor know the types of jobs you are interested in and that you would like to learn how to network in order to get a job.


How often should I contact my mentor?

We recommend that you interact with your mentor a minimum of two times a month through email, on the phone, in person, etc. Don’t hesitate to contact your mentor. Your mentor has agreed to dedicate time to your relationship, is enthusiastic about the program, and is interested to hear from you. Remember that the more you put into the relationship, the more you will get back from it. You and your mentor may also consider other opportunities for interaction such as attending campus events or professional events.

During the initial conversation with your mentor, you should establish mutual expectations for the frequency and type of communication you will use throughout your partnership.

If you have an e-mentor, you should consider meeting via Skype occasionally to supplement phone or email conversations.

If you are having trouble reaching your mentor or you are experiencing any other issues with your relationship, please contact the Mentor Blue Hose Committee at mentorBlue

How should I communicate with my mentor?

It’s up to you and your mentor to decide your preferred method of communication during your initial mentoring conversation. We find that while some students and mentors prefer an old-fashioned phone call, others rely more on emails, LinkedIn messages, and texts.

What if I am experiencing communication issues with my mentor?

If you are experiencing any issues related to your mentorship experience, please email the Mentor Blue Hose Committee at mentorBlue

What should I do when I first meet my mentor and what should I talk about?

The initial contact should be an informal one. This is a time to get to know each other by sharing about significant events or people in each other’s life, likes and dislikes, and general interests. First conversation topics should provide a glimpse into each other’s lives. The most obvious connection you have is that you are both “Ramblin’ Wrecks from PC.” If you are struggling to get started, ask your mentor about their favorite memory from their time at PC. You should also discuss the best method(s) of communication with each other and how often you will communicate. At the end of the meeting, arrangements should be made for a second meeting. The second meeting is a good time to discuss in more detail what each person wants to gain from the relationship.

What should I include in an email to my mentor when I contact him/her for the first time?

Email #1 (if you decide to initiate contact with your mentor)

Dear Mentor’s name,

I’ve been told by the Mentor Blue Hose Program that we’ve been matched together. I’m in my freshman / sophomore / junior /senior year at PC as a subject/major in the name of college. I’m looking forward to meeting new people / beginning classes / beginning my co-op program/ starting my thesis, etc. I chose to go to PC because name reason. I signed up for the Mentor Blue Hose program because name reason.

Please let me know when you are available to meet in person, talk on the phone, or set up a web chat.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.


Your name

Your contact information



Why do my mentor and I have different majors/schools/career interests?

We believe alumni mentors have much more to offer than just career advice. It is important to remember that the Mentor Blue Hose program is not a job shadowing program, but rather an opportunity to learn valuable interpersonal and networking skills that will help you in your life at PC and in your professional life. The great thing about knowing one PC alum is that he/she has several PC friends, some of whom may share your career interest. Since mentors also belong to professional and alumni networks, even if they do not share your career interest, they might be able to recommend someone who does and who can give more specific advice.

What services does the Mentor Blue Hose program offer to help me meet more alumni and students involved in the program?

Mentor Blue Hose hosts a number of networking events that provide students opportunities to meet and network with other students and mentors.  We encourage you to attend these events with your mentor, but if he/she is unable to attend, you are welcome to come on your own. The Mentor Blue Hose LinkedIn group is also a great way to interact with other members of the program. SAA also has a number of events including the Get Ready for the Real World series and Dinner Blue Hose.

See all of the alumni networking resources available through the Student Alumni Association and the PC Alumni Association – view PDF.

I signed up for the Mentor Blue Hose program, but I have not been matched with an alumni mentor yet. What do I do?

We do our best to find a suitable and productive match for each student, and occasionally it takes time to recruit an appropriate alumni mentor. If you have not been matched within a month of submitting an application, contact the Mentor Blue Hose Committee at mentorBlue Communicating with us directly often gives us a better idea of what your needs are and how to go about matching you with a mentor.

I have an e-mentor. Can I still attend the Mentor Blue Hose events even if my mentor is not attending?

Yes! All members are encouraged to attend the events. There is much to learn and many other people to meet and the event will help you build your networking skills! Read e-mentoring suggestions for more details – view PDF.

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