Finding a Mentor

In choosing a mentor, remember that mentoring is a multifaceted relationship. It involves a need for guidance for the mentee and the interest in and ability to provide such guidance on the part of the mentor. It also involves a real commitment on the part of both.

Finding a Mentor:

  • Decide on the general area of research that interests you (ie., literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, psychology, and science, etc.).
  • Read faculty bios on departmental websites. They may include more information about ongoing research projects and the research interests of professors.
  • Discuss your desire to do research with your academic advisor. He or she can help you find a mentor whose research interests coincide with your own.
  • Talk to your current and former professors about your interest in research, especially those with whom you had a rapport.

Before you meet with a potential Mentor:

  • Think about what you want to research.
  • Make sure you know something about the faculty member's research. At least read their bio on the departmental website. Better yet, read an article or something else he or she has written.
  • Be prepared: if the professor you meet with does not need/want to take on a student, ask who else he or she thinks you should talk to. Sometimes an email that begins, “Professor Doe suggested that I speak to you..." will get better results!