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Alumni guide to Viking Connections

Students are in a crucial time in their lives, deciding who they will become and making choices about their identities. As a mentor, you can be a part of their growth.

You have the opportunity to help someone develop academically and professionally. Even if you don't think you have a lot of experience, you do, because you have "been there and done that." You don't have to be a teacher, or a parent, just a good listener and supporter.

Connectors gain a sense of accomplishment and pride from having helped a future colleague and member of the Augie family. Students gain a source of advice and guidance while navigating the rigors of college. 

Tips and expectations

Students are asked to review brief bios of all Alumni Connectors before contacting any of them. Encourage students to be candid about what they hope to gain from your acquaintance. (Please note that it is not a Connector's responsibility to find employment for a student.)

How much time you commit to mentoring is up to you. You can decide how many students you accept and how much time you give to each student.

Teach students about the importance of networking

Assist students in bridging the gap between college life and working life

Find the best mode of communication for you and your student (phone and video chats are recommended when in-person meetings are not possible).

Communicate with staff about successes and challenges.

Getting started

The best way to get to know your student is to talk! Asking questions is a great way to break the ice, dispel any awkwardness, and begin a strong relationship.

Ask your student about the beginning of their Augie journey; who has been most influential and why. Ask questions that help you learn who they are as an individual. No matter who your student is, you will have one thing in common: Augustana College!

Managing expectations

Students are reminded that many of their mentors are working professionals, who often take time from their work-day to talk with them. As such, students are expected to make clear their own responsibilities as well.

As you know, there are many opportunities on campus for students' benefit. Managing expectations is important, and setting them is the foundation for positive work. Clearly stating them will help avoid problems. Establish guidelines at the beginning and adjust them as your mentor relationship develops.

It is emphasized to students that they should approach this program as a class or extra-curricular activity and give it the same amount and level of attention.

Items to discuss at the start

• When will you have meetings and how long will they be?

• Who is responsible for scheduling meetings?

• Will an agenda be developed before the meeting?

• What is your primary method of communication?

• When is the best time to communicate and what times/dates do not work?

• How will you be in touch if you need to cancel a meeting?

Next steps and recommended activities

Decide together which activities interest you and go from there.

As you each get to know each other, set up phone meetings, Skype calls and/or face-to-face meetings. These informational interviews will enable you to connect with the student – and allow you to demonstrate your passion as an influencer in your industry of choice. Students can learn more about informational interviews and how to conduct them using the Handshake Resource

Offer to review the student’s search materials. If they are seeking entrance to a graduate/professional school program consider offering to review their personal statement and application materials. Talk to students about ways to enhance their LinkedIn profile.

Review options for classes during upcoming semesters, discuss possible majors and minor choices, discuss global experience such as study away and international internships, and talk about campus involvement or national professional associations. Student not planning on having an international experience? Talk with them about other ways to get a global experience.

Offer a time for your student to shadow you at work for a day, discuss best practices for professional workplace etiquette, brainstorm a list of organizations to research summers jobs and internships, encourage them to attend career fairs, on-campus career programs, and other career-development events then discuss their experiences.

Offer to conduct a mock interview. Talk to students about perfecting an “elevator pitch” for career fairs and networking events.

Discuss career or skills assessment results, and internship, job, or graduate program offers.

Talk about what they should expect from life after Augie

Be open to others within your network whom you might introduce to students.

Questions or concerns

If you are having difficulty connecting with a student who has reached out to you or have general feedback, please contact the Career Development Office at 309-794-7339 or careerdevelopment@augustana.edu.

Internships and jobs

Internships and full-time jobs are not expected to be a regular part of the mentor program. However, if opportunities do arise for a mentor to assist a student in obtaining an internship or full-time job, the following guidelines should be observed.

  • Be mindful of the above advice given to students.
  • Recognize that it is a big commitment to help a student obtain an internship or job.
  • If you do decide to try to open an opportunity, thoroughly discuss the steps that you intend to take on behalf of the student.
  • Ask for regular communication regarding resumes, interviews and offers, prior to starting the process.
  • Recognize that the student may ultimately reject the internship or job you assisted in obtaining and talk through the ramifications of this with the student, prior to going down the path.

How to get involved

Tell us why you'd like to join the program.