In this two-part series, CSU Global Alum Kimberly Hardy shares how students who learn in an online environment can benefit from mentor relationships. You can read Part 2 here.

Going back to school can give you a chance to make real moves in your career. However, what does returning to school look like if you’re a nontraditional student? Better yet, how will you grow your network when your classes take place online?

These concerns can be addressed with mentoring. The importance of career guidance can't be overstated. As an online student, it takes a little more creativity to build your network. Online students have the advantage of working in virtual teams with students from around the world. The ability to connect and collaborate as an online student is a powerful, marketable skill that can translates into a successful career.

How do online students find career guidance?

Luckily, mentoring programs are becoming the norm in higher education of all platforms. In an online setting, mentoring takes a different form than the traditional meet and greet over coffee. Now they're more likely to take place online via video chat like Zoom or Google Hangouts, over text, and other distanced mediums.

mentoring online

The benefits of having a mentor include:

    • Learning to build a network that enhances your career.
    • Understanding professional and social norms.
    • Gaining valuable lessons from those who have experienced the good, bad, and ugly in their respective career fields.
    • Being supported and encouraged by an individual who is accomplishing or has accomplished what you’d like to.
    • Developing leadership styles and practices.
    • Preparing for how leadership ideas are translated into real life situations.
    • Having a sounding board for goals, ideas, and questions.

For example, CSU Global students and alumni can connect with a mentor or mentee through Global Connect. Whether you're looking for short-term, consultative guidance or a long-term relationship, there are a wealth of options for online students and alumni to connect, build networks, and identify developmental opportunities.