Council on Undergraduate Research

Mentoring Tips

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  • Be patient.
  • Target explanations of concepts to the student's level. Students often remark that mentors forget that "I am just a student."
  • Encourage questions.
  • Be available. Make time for students. Everyone is busy. If you agree to be a mentor, you need to make the time.
  • Be ready. If you are not prepared when the student arrives, it does more than cause him or her to do "busy work" to kill time, it sends a message about how much you value the student, his or her contribution and worth. 
  • Set aside time every week for a mentor-protégé question and answer period. The purpose of the sessions is to encourage students to ask all the "stupid questions" they may hesitate to ask.
  • Invite the student to consider a career at NASA. Encourage him or her to continue studies in graduate school. Many students, even very bright and capable students, do not feel able or worthy and sometimes only have to be asked.
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