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I’ve Been Matched With a Student, Now What?

An SPU student meets with a mentor | photo by Lynn Anselmi

Now that you’ve been matched with a student, it's time to connect and set up the experience, set up logistics, and set expectations. 

Set Up the Experience

  1. Contact your student. We are asking that the career volunteers (you) initiate communication with your student.  You’ll coordinate directly with your student about days/times to connect.
  2. Decide on the best possible days to connect. Think about the days where you may have the best availability and be able to devote time to a phone call, video call, or small project with your student. The goal is for you and your student to find a time frame of shared availability.

Set Up Logistics

Discuss logistics.The more information you can offer, the better prepared your student(s) will likely feel. Consider:

  • Which videoconferencing tool (Zoom, Facetime, Teams, etc.) will you use for the call?
  • Does your student have access to the tool?
  • Who will initiate the call?
  • Have you identified a location where you have the best chance to maintain focus?
  • Are you comfortable sharing your cell phone number in case something unexpected happens?

Set Expectations

  1. Review your expectations. In addition to the logistics of your chat, review how much time you will spend together, your communication preferences, and other expectations to ensure that your time connecting is a success.
  2. Ask your student what they would like to get out of the experience. This will help ensure that you feel prepared for them.
  3. Give each other grace. These are unprecedented times. Allow both you and your student the flexibility to focus on what is important: the chance for you two to connect. 

Many professionals are working from home and under circumstances that are not typical, and students are in a similar position. If you think it is likely that you will be distracted or disrupted during your chat, let your student know and make a plan (“if we get disconnected, or if I need to step away for a moment, I’ll call you right back”).

Ideas of What to Share With Your Student

Tell your story.

  • How did you get to where you are today?
  • How has your relationship with SPU influenced your career path?
  • Create time for students to ask questions about your position, your organization, and your industry. 

Offer advice.

  • What did you do to learn more about your career?
  • What do you wish you had known when you were in their shoes?
  • If someone were applying to work in your organization, what would prepare them best to be hired?
  • If you work outside of Seattle, ask your student if they have interest in relocating after graduation.  If they do, consider offering them advice on how to make that transition.
  • Suggest next steps in gaining experience, offer lessons you have learned, and provide ideas around how to learn more.

Make a plan.

  • If the student will be helping you with a project, review project ideas and ways to accomplish the project virtually.
  • What other professionals would you recommend your student speak with?

Continuing the Relationship

If you’re interested in continuing the relationship with your student after you’ve helped them, consider talking with your student about this idea. If they are interested, both of you can set up a plan for how often you’d like to meet or connect with one another, and create expectations for your time together. You might enjoy continuing to guide and support your student!