By Kimberly Hardy - February 28th, 2018
In this two-part series, CSU-Global Alum Kimberly Hardy shares how students who learn in an online (nontraditional) environment can benefit from developing a relationship with a mentor. In part 1, she gives an overview of what mentoring can do for students in a virtual setting.
Going back to school can give you a new 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 do you grow your network when your schooling takes place online?
These are real concerns that can be addressed with mentoring. The importance of career guidance can’t be overstated. As a nontraditional student, it takes a little more creativity to build networks. Online students have the advantage of working in virtual teams with other students around the world. The ability to make connections and collaborate as an online student is a powerful and marketable skill that, when coupled with the right guidance, often translates to a successful career.
How do you find career guidance as an online student, and what are its benefits? Luckily, mentoring programs are becoming the norm in higher education institutions. In an online setting, mentoring takes a different form than the traditional “meet and greet.” For nontraditional students, it takes place online, as well as by phone, text, and Skype.
Some 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 beliefs and practices.
- Preparing for how leadership ideas are translated into real life situations.
- Having a sounding board for goals, ideas, and questions.
CSU-Global students and alumni now have access to a new mentoring program designed with the non-traditional student in mind. Developed within the Alumni Association, this program offers two flexible options that include a Flash Mentorship Program — which consists of a set number of meetings for mentees looking for specific guidance from a mentor — and a traditional Mentor Program. Whether you are seeking short term, consultative guidance or a long term relationship, this program provides non-traditional students and alumni the opportunity to connect, build networks, and identify developmental opportunities.