Mentors Can Guide Doctorate Students


When you think of mentor, you often picture a child and an adult, some kind of relationship in which the older individual guides the younger one and serves as a confident and a shoulder to lean on. One of the keys to a student’s success in a doctorate degree program is the mentor – someone who guides them in their coursework and research throughout the years that it takes to obtain a doctorate degree. Mentors might review and respond to work, including research dissertations, and communicate with a student’s faculty members. The website for a college in Arizona notes that mentors might help students create the study plans for their doctorate degree programs, supply reading lists, suggest ideas, provide resources or require added work.

Some experts suggest that mentors can even be more important than the doctorate degree program itself. The mentor serves as a role model and someone who has been in the graduate student’s shoes at one time. In instances where students can’t find mentors who are involved with the doctorate degree programs that interest them, they might even better prepare themselves for success by going with the quality mentor, reports an author of a guide book of succeeding in a doctorate program. As long as there is a good relationship between the student and the mentor, the student’s areas of study and the mentor’s area of expertise don’t have to be the same.

Finding the right mentor is important; however, there is no specific way to go about doing so. It would be wise to find someone that you can trust and get along with, someone who is disciplined enough but not overly critical or condescending. You definitely want someone whose personality blends well with your own. In the end, it all comes down to one’s preference. Students might, however, consider some general guidelines:

Look toward specific authors. Those with scholarly authority and credibility are most likely guaranteed to serve as good leaders and provide a good level of motivation. Considering the mentor’s area of research can be important since you will be zeroing in on a specific study yourself. You may find that you are interested in building upon someone’s established research. Selecting that specific individual as your mentor may benefit your studies.

Talk with classmates. You may discover that some of your peers are interested in selecting the same mentor. See what their reasons are and if they have similar academic interests as you. Students might also determine what the experiences of other doctorate degree students have been in working with these mentors, what those doctorate degree students are doing now and what a mentor’s reputation is among peers, according to the website of a director of an investing group.

Consider a mentor’s network – and funding. Associates and colleagues of the mentor may also be important to your research; however, the Association of American Medical Colleges website suggests that less established faculty members might have more time for mentoring students than more established senior faculty members with more professional connections do. It’s important for you to be able to get a hold of your mentor in times of need. You want to take funding into great consideration too because a doctorate degree program is a big expense, and being able to receive grants and scholarships affiliated with your mentor can help alleviate the financial burden.

Consider a mentor’s characteristics and traits. The Association of American Medical Colleges website suggests that graduate school students look for mentors who seem to be equitable, encouraging, accessible and respectful and who foster professional confidence in students, encouraging creativity, critical thinking and more among them. You will want to visit a mentor’s place of employment and perhaps observe him or her to see how he or she goes about business and interacts with others; this could be a determining factor in choosing this person.

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