Best practices

 

SETTING EXPECTATIONS

The most important component of mentoring is to set clear expectations with your mentee so that this doesn't take up too much of your time.  ⏱️

We have found that having around one call a month is enough to significantly improve an applicant's chances of gaining a place. You may choose to do more than this, but we recommend that you set the expectations clearly so you don't end up with too much work. If your mentee seems well-prepared, you can also choose to do less. 🤓


STRUCTURE

We recommend that you schedule recurring monthly meetings for you and your mentee at the same time each month, and that you set a reminder for yourself to ping your mentee a reminder a few days before this to ensure that they are still available. You're the older and wiser one here, so it's up to you to do the 'adult' stuff. 😳


FRIENDLY ATMOSPHERE

Your mentee will most likely be a bit shy to talk to someone who is currently doing all the things they could only dream of doing. Therefore it's good to be very friendly in your introductory call to put your mentee at ease. 🤩

WHEN SCHEDULING A CALL…

  1. Send your mentee a few suggested times that you are available for a call.

  2. Ask them if they want to suggest a few points that they would most like to discuss during the first session (but make clear that otherwise you have a few ideas to start with).

  3. Ensure you’ve agreed on the forum for the call and username (eg. Skype, Google Hangouts, or our favourite appear.in where you don’t have to spend time finding each other’s usernames). This is important so that someone doesn’t end up waiting in an online call (it’s the most boring place to wait ever).

  4. We also recommend that you send a calendar invite so that neither of you forget! 

TOP TIPS FOR A GOOD MEETING

Always arrive a few minutes early even for online meetings and send an email to let them know that you’re there. This will signal to your mentee that you take their and your time seriously and set a tone of being professional about the mentorship.  📅 

Always take a moment to prepare for each meeting so that you can make the most out of your time. You can use these sample mentorship sessions with pre-prepared to-do lists if you want. 💻 

Mentorship requirements

 

1. Copy us into your emails:

Always copy in hi@projectaccess.co whenever you correspond with your mentee.

2. If you meet up with your mentee in person, only ever meet in a public place. 

This can be a coffee place, a shared office or a restaurant.  

3. Log each of your mentorship calls using the form below (it just takes 2 minutes!). 

Apart from the importance of this for safeguarding, this is also a helpful way for us to learn more about what is going on in the calls so that we can improve our resources. And as a bonus, it is an excellent way to make sure you take down action points for each meeting that you can refer back to the next time you speak.

The responses in each form will be sent back to you after you submit so that you can look over your notes! 

 

Sample mentoring sessions

 

These are a few sample meeting topics that you can use with your mentee(s). It’s completely up to you if you use them or if you have better ideas yourself. We just wanted to give you a taster of what’s been done in the past!

INTRODUCTION

One of the most important things in mentoring is to take some time to get to know your mentee, so that's what the first call is for! Throughout the call, if your mentee says something that you find particularly interesting, we recommend that you note this down so that you can encourage them to reference it later when they are writing their personal statements. 💬

To do before the call:

1) Think back to your own university journey and how you came to choose your university and subject.

2) Try to remember the barriers you faced when you were applying, to really put yourself in your mentee's shoes.

SUBJECT CHOICE

There are two key things to do before having this call with your mentee:

1) Brainstorm ways to find out if your subject is right for someone considering doing it at university. For example, for history you might suggest that they go through a reading list and write a mock essay outline to see how they find it.

2) The main factors people usually consider are a) passion, b) skill, c) likelihood of being accepted d) careers. Think about the main ways that your mentee can find out how their current subject considerations relate to these factors so that you can encourage them to do this. It may include going on the university website to find reading lists, or look at admissions requirements etc. 😇

SUMMER PREPARATION

For this call, the main things to do are:

1) Think through some recommendations for summer experiences/activities to increase the chances of a successful application. 

2) Dig out some of your favourite books, podcasts and documentaries so that they can use the summer to immerse themselves in their subject. 

3) If you want, if your mentee has more time now that the term has ended, you can also suggest that your mentee write a practice essay or problem sheet that you can go over in your session. 🌻

STARTING THE PERSONAL STATEMENT

This is the first call on the personal statement, so in this call we assume that your mentee has not yet completed a first draft. If you want a more in-depth call on the personal statement, see the second personal statement sample session below.

The things to do before the call are:

1) Brainstorm some key points about personal statement writing.

2) Look through your notes from past calls to tailor your advice to your mentee's interests, passions and strengths. For example, if your mentee was talking passionately about something they liked about the subject they wanted to apply for in the introductory call, there might be something here that you can suggest for them to include in the personal statement. 📃

REVIEWING THE PERSONAL STATEMENT

For this call your mentee should have sent you a draft of their personal statement. The purpose of the call is to go over your overall thoughts and comments on their draft, as well as to map out some interview questions that could come up based on this personal statement (where relevant). The things to do before the call are:

1) Ensure that your mentee has written a first draft of their personal statement.

2) Spend some time noting down feedback on your mentee's personal statement. If you are unsure of how to do this, we have written a brief guide with our top tips, here

3) Think up some questions you might ask in an interview if you were an interviewer, based on your mentee's personal statement.

4) Brainstorm other things that your mentee should consider incorporating into their personal statement. This can be anything else that they have done that you think is impressive and that they could include in their personal statement as well. ✍️

UCAS CHECK-IN

For this call you just need to familiarise yourself with the UCAS deadlines and refresh your memory of what needs to be filled in by having a browse through the website. ☑️

TEST PREPARATION

This call is about any subject tests your mentee might have to take for their application. In this call we'll be looking over a practice test, so it's important that your mentee has done a practice test beforehand. Test material can be found on the relevant university website.

1) Make sure you and your mentee have agreed on a practice test for them to do.

2) Share any revision tips from when you were studying for the tests (eg. which resources did you use, how did you prepare for the tests).

3) Set a date for your mentee to send you their practice test which leaves you time for look at it.

4) Note down feedback on the practice test your mentee has done. 🥇

INTERVIEW INTRODUCTION

This call is to give your mentee an introduction to interviews. To do before the call:

1) Think back to your own interview experience and think about what you found was the most helpful way to prepare. Read through our top tips, here, if you want inspiration.

2) Read through your mentee's personal statement to see what topics they mention there and which you think they'll be asked about.

3) Note down up to five relevant interview questions for you and your mentee to go through as a brief mock interview.

4) If you want, send your applicant our list of top tips to prepare for the mock interview in the link above. ✨

MOCK INTERVIEW

This is for holding mock interviews with your mentee. You do more than one of these if you think it would be helpful for your mentee. Have a look at our top three tips here, and see if you want to send these to your mentee ahead of time. 

To do before the call:

1) Source or think of a set of interview questions for your mentee's subject that you think would make for a good mock interview. Some ways of doing this include thinking back to your own interviews, asking friends what they were asked, or using some tutorial questions. ☝️