The Importance of Finding a Mentor in High School

finding a mentor in high school
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Navigating the oft-troubled waters of high school is a challenging time for all of us. As our youth enters this new phase, they’re dealt with new challenges, more responsibility, and a rapidly changing environment. Even with the most engaged parental support in place, things fall through the cracks. High school students often don’t want to or are uncomfortable with opening up to their parents about issues they face.

A mentor can help bridge the gap between what high school students discuss at home and with their peers and what they need to be discussing to better position themselves for the future.

Mentors can help ensure students get on a positive path toward learning and growing emotionally as a person. Mentorship coming within the school structure has shown an amazing ability to help place students into college, so much so that for disadvantaged students, mentorship by a teacher nearly doubled the odds of attending college, while having a mentor meant a 50% greater likelihood of attending college for all teen students. [1]

Those numbers are certainly impressive, but when you think about what a mentor is and how students interact with them, they shouldn’t come as a major surprise. Mentors are, first and foremost, advocates for the students, acting as part cheerleader and part coach.

A good mentor pushes a student in ways parents and teachers are often unable to, thus providing another layer of positive leadership on their behalf. While most students will benefit from an engaged mentor, disadvantaged students — lower-income, those lacking a stable home environment, etc. — are especially benefitted by mentorship programs.

According to a study from the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health and Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, mentored boys are two times more likely to believe that school is fun and that doing well academically is important, while disadvantaged students who use a mentor attend college at nearly double the rate of those same students who do not. [2]

As a society, we’re always looking to open avenues to a better future for disadvantaged youth. Mentorship is one of the most effective ways of opening those exact pathways, and the proof is in the pudding.

A University of Georgia study on the importance of mentorship for African-American teens who’ve suffered hardships is more evidence to the effectiveness of a mentor. The 2011 study found that behaviors such as anger, breaking the law, and substance abuse were reduced when informal mentors provided support and helped them learn to deal with adult problems. [3]

One of the most powerful effects a mentor can have on a teenager is keeping them engaged in school. One of the biggest educational problems we face in America is keeping students in school. One in four public school children drop out before finishing high school, with those numbers being far worse for African-American and Hispanic students, where 35% aren’t graduating on time.[4]

Those students most likely to drop out of high school are often the same students who lack positive role models inside or outside of the home. According to MENTOR: The National Mentoring Program, “at-risk” youth who have access to mentors enroll in college 55% more than those who don’t, volunteer regularly at a rate of 78%, and want to be mentors themselves 9/10 times.[5]

The power of mentorship is real, and the success of high school students who engage with a mentor is proof they work. Having access to a trusted adult to bounce ideas off, vent frustration, and to ask tough questions builds character and emotional intelligence in teenagers. If you or someone you know is looking for a mentor (or to become a mentor) you can start by vising the National Mentoring Partnership.

Since 1980, Pride Surveys has been providing research-quality data for schools and communities to study student mental health and behavior. Understanding this information better informs mentors to the most pressing needs in their community. Is bullying prevalent and in need of push back from the mentors in the area? Is drug use something that should be top of mind for them when meeting with mentees? Pride Surveys can help deliver this information to those who need it.

Our Social, Emotional and Bullying Behavior Survey collects data that assess middle school problem behaviors that affect student engagement. Using SEBBS, schools can determine the underlying causes of increased absenteeism, lower academic achievement, and increased substance abuse. The Pride Learning Environment Survey is also recommended as a student evaluation tool for grades 6-12 because of its powerful reporting system and examination of current issues in education such as student mental health, bullying, teen suicide, student learning and more.

The benefit of working with a survey company is that we can gather fact-based data and information through anonymous and effective survey tools. With this information, educators, parents, PTAs and coalitions are in a better position to fight bullying and secure future funding from a variety of sources to support their programs.

Please browse through the different types of student surveys we offer and find out why more than 14 million students, parents, and faculty members have responded to Pride Surveys. Questions? Please call us today at 800-279-6361 or fill out our quick online contact form.

[1] “Benefit of a Mentor: Disadvantaged Teens Twice As Likely to Attend College.” Retrieved April 2019 at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104161837.htm

[2] “Youth Mentoring Leads to Many Positive Effects, New Study Shows.” Retrieved April 2019 at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130115143850.htm

[3] “Youth-Mentor Relationships Particularly Helpful for Those Experiencing Hardships.” Retrieved April 2019 at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110512171527.htm

[4] “The Stats,” Retrieved April 2019 at https://www.youthmentor.org/thestats

[5] Ibid.

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