While participating in student interviews for the Earl Woods Scholar Program recently, one of the most common questions candidates asked was with respect to how our mentor program works. The idea of being matched with a professional mentor who would be an additional support system throughout their four years of college is something most of our scholars not only look forward to but rely on.
For some students, transitioning from high school to college may be an easy move, but for most, it can be a challenge. Learning to adjust and get acquainted with college-level courses, studying for exams and maintaining a healthy lifestyle require time and support. Earl Woods Scholars, most first-generation students, typically begin their first year of higher education with little or no guidance on college life or planning -- making it that much easier for them to feel the pressures of academia. At the heart of the Earl Woods Scholar Program is our belief that having extra support and guidance is not only the key to success in college but a crucial component.
The Earl Woods Scholar Program understands the importance of having a mentor. Through our mentoring program, our scholars are matched with a committed mentor who serves as an advocate, career coach, personal advisor and positive role model throughout their entire college experience. These dedicated mentors provide advice and various resources to help scholars thrive in school and life. And they help guide our scholars when the time comes for them to make decisions regarding graduate school or their professional careers. These mentor-scholar relationships that develop are truly life-changing.
While recruiting mentors, the Tiger Woods Foundation seeks professionals with the following qualities:
- Strong leadership and communication skills
- Passionate and caring
- Desire to help young people succeed
- Demonstrates the importance of service and giving back to the community
- Committed, responsible and consistent
All potential mentors complete an application, background check and interview. Our staff works closely with each mentor to assess personality, professional goals, personal interests, location and availability to determine a match best suited for both the mentor and scholar. We put a lot of thought and care to ensure a strong foundation is in place to build a solid, trusting relationship between the scholar and mentor.
Mentors have the opportunity to focus on and accomplish the following:
- Provide resources to help students attain their chosen degree
- Help students develop the skills needed in post-degree professional life
- Share life experiences
- Help young people identify their goals and dreams
- Experience diverse ideas and cultures
- Contribute to the growing workforce by aiding in the development of a young person
- Contribute to the community by helping young people achieve goals and give back to their own communities
- Communicate to students the importance of self-advocacy
When looking at our Earl Woods Scholars and alumni, it is clear that having a mentor who offers encouragement and motivation is a driving force in our students' successes. Beyond offering valuable insights, mentors can often offer students peace of mind, letting them know that they have someone in their corner that is knowledgeable and willing to share their experiences. Mentors have the ability to reassure their mentee that everything is going as it should be, even when things do not seem to be going well, because they have been there before. Mentors will guide you toward making good decisions and will be honest with you. Friends will tell you what you want to hear, but a good mentor will tell you what you need to hear.
The Earl Woods Scholar Program's one-to-one mentoring philosophy demonstrates that guidance and support is needed in order to thrive. With the help of their mentors, scholars are constantly setting goals and striving to achieve them. And once college is done, the mentor-scholar relationship serves as an additional resource to aid in the success of students while they build their professional careers. And that is something that will last a lifetime. Ultimately, our goal is to help build a lifelong support system for our scholars and show them that in turn, it's up to them to pay that support forward by one day becoming mentors themselves.
We are currently looking for mentors in Southern California, New York, Boston and the greater Washington, D.C. area. Please email the Earl Woods Scholar Program's sr. program manager, Lea Segura, for more information.
Champions of the unexpected.