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5 Reasons Why First-Generation College Applicants Need a Mentor

Choosing a college or a career path isn’t easy. It can be even more difficult for students who are the first in their family to attend college and who don’t have people in their lives who’ve navigated this process in the past.

That’s why EMERGE launched a mentorship program that connects 50 of our amazing high school seniors each year with accomplished professionals from a variety of industries across the city.

We encourage all students to look for a mentor who can help them achieve their goals and expand their network. Here are five ways that first-generation college students can benefit from having a mentor.


  1. Personalized Guidance: A mentor can provide personalized guidance based on a student's unique needs and circumstances. They can help students navigate the complex college application process and offer advice on selecting schools that align with their interests and goals. They can accurately depict life in various industries and identify pathways to success for the students.

  2. Accountability: A mentor can hold students accountable for their actions and goals. They can help students set achievable targets and offer support and encouragement along the way. Students who are part of a mentorship program are more likely to stay on track and focused, as they know that their mentor is invested in their success.

  3. Networking Opportunities: A mentor can provide networking opportunities for students. They can introduce students to professionals in their field of interest and provide access to internships or job shadowing opportunities. These opportunities can help students build valuable connections that may be beneficial to them throughout their academic and professional careers.

  4. Emotional Support: The college application process can be stressful and overwhelming, and students may experience doubts and insecurities along the way. A mentor can provide emotional support, offer a listening ear, and provide guidance on how to manage stress and anxiety. Having someone to talk to who understands the challenges of the college application process can be immensely helpful and reassuring.

  5. Positive Role Model: A mentor can serve as a positive role model for students. They can offer advice on navigating the academic and professional world, share their own experiences and success stories, and provide motivation and inspiration.

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