How Mentorship Relationships in High School Can Help Your Student Thrive

The power of mentorship holds a lot of weight in my book.

There are some unusual advantages and benefits for your student to have a mentor. Because as parents, you cannot cover all the bases of guiding your child through life. 

While that may be terrifying to think about, it should also be freeing. There are other adults with different experiences. They can guide your child through a mentor-mentee relationship.

Discover how mentorship relationships in high school can help your student thrive beyond education.

Different Types of Mentorship Relationships in High School

Our mentors work with a variety of students. From the most highly motivated and intellectually gifted to the students who struggle with academics, relationships, or more. 

Looking for the right person to help guide your student toward their bright future? Reach out to Bright Futures to learn how we can help you and your student navigate the college application process and more.

Academic Mentor

Usually, the first mentor your child will have is a tutor or teacher. These are the people who coach your student(s) through difficult lessons and test prep. 

While we work with many tutors here at Bright Futures, we are very picky about who we recommend. After many years in this business, we’ve seen a few things. From a female tutor wearing overly revealing clothing to a male tutor drinking a beer during a tutoring session. These situations were wildly inappropriate and we cut ties with those tutors.

But I realized I’m so grateful that the students felt comfortable enough to tell us they were uncomfortable with their tutors. As a parent, encourage an open line of communication with your student, especially in regards to their mentor-mentee relationship.

Career Mentor

Career mentors provide professional development opportunities, give advice, and celebrate work wins. These are usually bosses, managers, or supervisors. 

When I was in the Air Force, my mentor offered me the opportunity to travel to Pakistan. It was a trip of a lifetime. I learned a world of culture, kindnesses, and the power of building international relationships and goodwill.

One of my students found an unexpected career mentor while waiting for his interview at ExxonMobil. The janitor was sweeping the hallway. He was obviously trying to sweep around my student. Thankfully, my student offered to help the janitor. 

It turns out that the janitor was a masquerading interviewer testing my student. He wanted to see if he would offer to help, was empathetic, and was able to connect with someone doing a common chore. 

Career mentors oftentimes have an easier job training your child on these manners than you – the parent. 

Whether or not your student has a career path in mind, Bright Futures can help them navigate through the process of determining their next step. Contact us today to learn more.

Personal Mentor

These mentorships are just that… Personal.

So, what do we discuss in a personal mentorship? 

  • How to have difficult conversations
  • Manners and soft skills (I love sharing meals with my personal mentees. I’m able to teach them so much as they prepare for the professional world.)
  • Goal setting and dream casting

An important part of this mentorship is to set expectations early on. Determine what each of you wants to get out of the relationship at the beginning. 

My mentees often want to impress me in our first meeting. But, my goal is to help my mentees find their authentic selves. Then dedicate their one, precious life to something that will give them meaning. 

One of my student’s parents was pushing him to take particular classes. But he was establishing individuality and not having it. 

As his personal mentor, I was able to show him the numbers. We calculated his GPA possibilities with different classes. And his parents were right. But he would have never said “yes” to his parents at that point. 

Often, a mentor can have the exact same conversation as parents have but with a different outcome. This is because the mentor is NOT the parent. 

Business Mentor

Business mentors are people who have experience, expertise, and connections in a target industry. 

For example, consider a student who wants to be a college counselor or independent educational consultant. I would mentor them as they navigate through their career paths. They will be able to benefit from the things I’ve overcome to achieve their goals more efficiently. 

I once had a client whose parents noticed that he was lacking confidence in his career path. Between his junior and senior years of high school, he shadowed a professor at the UT Dental College. He was able to participate in scientific research and watch a master dentist work with patients. 

During that summer, he moved from his parent’s home into an apartment in the Texas Medical Center. While he was learning about dentistry, he was also learning to grocery shop, cook his own food, clean, and manage a budget. 

Peer Mentor

Peer mentors are usually a year or two older than their mentees. For example, a high school senior has a leg up on freshmen. They can help navigate the younger class through the sometimes difficult high school years. 

Because of the smaller age difference, this relationship may be more casual than the other types of relationships. But it can be super impactful. 

This specifically reminds me of the high school marching band and the section leaders for each instrument. They teach freshmen to march in formations while playing their instrument. But they also teach them about showing up on time in uniform and knowing their music.

Intentional Versus Unintentional Mentorship Relationships

Mentors are not a one-size-fits-all situation. There are different types of mentors. Some happen unintentionally, while others are planned carefully. 

Non-Intentional Mentorship

On occasion, mentorship relationships just happen. Career mentors often start organically this way. 

One of my students moved from a very free and open high school environment in Canada to Houston. The tighter high school structure in Houston sucked all the energy out of him. While he was a good student and loved his parents, he struggled to adjust to his new school’s rules. 

One day, he drove home and noticed a lawn mower repair and boat storage business. He asked the owner if he could help. Thankfully, the owner accepted his offer. My student started working part-time moving the boats and getting other smaller tasks done. 

Once the owner trusted him, he started to teach him how to repair small engines. Typically, business owners in engine repair do not share insights openly. This was a special, non-intentional mentorship. 

Intentional Mentorship

Then there are other mentoring relationships that are arranged or intentional. These are like those of the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship mentorship program. They know that their #1 priority is to protect their mentee’s well-being by watching for: 

  • Signs of stress
  • Broken relationships
  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Sickness
  • And other signs of distress

However, the role also includes celebrating, dreaming, and casting vision. 

In an intentional mentoring relationship, it may or may not be a stepping stone for employment. Regardless, that mentoring relationship can have a profound effect on the mentee’s life. 

Navigating Mentorship Relationships In High School

The power of a mentor is a non-shared relationship. That is a relationship with no blood relation or direct connection. 

Mentor relationships usually have limited confidentiality. This means that unless there is a legal or mental health problem, the conversations between mentor and mentee are kept in confidence. However, if as a mentor you notice unhealthy signs like those listed above, you must do something. Explain to the mentee that you’re going to have to disclose this to their parents, program director, etc. 

Here are a couple of things to go over with a prospective mentee: 

  • What do you want out of this relationship? 
  • How often do you want to meet? 
  • Explaining which behaviors are not okay in this relationship
  • Teaching boundaries and professional communication 

Structure can actually make this relationship more comfortable because each party knows what to expect. One of my student’s met her mentor every Tuesday morning at 6:30am. She learned a lot of discipline – which is critical for when she starts her own business. 

Mentorship & More For Your Student’s Bright Future

Bright Future Consulting helps students as young as 9th grade navigate high school, the college application process, and all the details in between. Our team of experts helps people realize their passions and potential through expert guidance, compassionate mentoring, and comprehensive services. 

Learn more about how we can help you and your student today with a complimentary consultation.