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Mentoring Skills Today


It’s as much about who you know as it is about what you know.

Discover the transformative power of mentoring for improving college student retention, achievement, and engagement. Connected Scholars teaches high school and college students the rarely taught network-building skills needed for college and life success.


“It made me more aware of how I should be networking more and how networking isn’t as hard as it seems.”

Connected Scholars uses a new research-informed model designed to meet the needs of high schools, colleges, and universities interested in implementing a mentoring program for its students. Instead of matching students with assigned mentors, students are trained to understand the value of building their social capital and then, learn and practice skills to expand their social networks. The goal is for young adults to develop life-long skills that will benefit their academic, professional, and personal lives.

The Problem:

  • Low college completion rates, especially among first-generation students and students from low-income families
    • Just 9% of children from the lowest family income quartile earn a bachelor’s degree by age 24, compared to 77% of children from highest quartile of families.
  • College engagement varies dramatically across students
    • Less than 28% of college graduates strongly agreed that their professors either encouraged them to pursue their hopes and dreams or cared about them as a person.
  • More educated parents have broader social networks and youth from affluent families have a wider range of informal mentors.
  • Cultivating mentors is a lifelong skill that is rarely taught

How it Works


Students learn:

Students learn:

  • The value of building social capital to achieve life goals
  • How to build their social support networks
  • How to identify mentors from within their existing networks
  • Help-recruiting and networking skills
  • To develop relationships with potential mentors

What are some of the topics included in the program?

  • Benefits of building social capital
  • Identifying life goals and developing plans to achieve them
  • Identifying supportive adults within one’s network
  • How to identify and recruit new mentors
  • Overcoming challenges to networking
  • Developing and maintaining a relationship with mentors
  • Being an engaged and appreciative mentee
  • Networking skills

How is the program delivered?

Your staff or faculty teach the workshops (high school version) or classes (college version). Â We train your staff at your site. Â This training ensures that you offer the program with full fidelity to the original model. Â The instructor manuals, scholar workbooks, and handouts are delivered to you electronically. Â Additional materials are accessible via the web.

How was it developed?

The in- and out-of-class activities and writing assignments included in the Connected Scholars program are based upon findings from research on topics such as:

  • college entry, retention, achievement, and graduation
  • mentoring effectiveness and student-initiated mentoring
  • effective goal-setting and planning skills
  • networking strategies

What are the versions of the program?

High School Workshop

  • 10 sessions (75-minutes each)
  • 2-hour Networking Event

College Course (1 credit)

  • 15 lessons (50-75 minutes each)
  • 1 hour Transition to College panel
  • 1.5 hour Networking Event

What is included in the instructional materials?

  • Teachers’ Manual containing:
    • Scripted lesson plans
    • Interactive discussions and small group activities
    • Role plays and skill-building activities
  • Scholar Workbooks
  • Multimedia presentation slides
  • Program evaluation materials
  • Teacher Certification Test
  • Program evaluation materials including grading rubric
  • Certificate of Completion for teachers who attend the teacher training workshop and pass the certification test

What impact does it have?

Initial studies of the effectiveness of the Connected Scholars indicate that students:

  • Build knowledge, skills, and feelings of self-efficacy related to networking and connecting with mentors
  • Increase students’ willingness to seek support from others
  • Improve relationships with instructors and staff on campus

Who developed the program?

Drs. Sarah Schwartz, Janis Kupersmidt, Jean Rhodes, and Stella Kanchewa †international experts on mentoring.


How long does the training take?

Two-day comprehensive training workshop

Where is it held?

The training occurs at your site

What topics are addressed?

  • History and research on youth-initiated mentoring
  • Conceptual framework and logic model for the Connected Scholars program
  • Detailed review of each lesson including how each topic relates to the model and suggestions for teaching each lesson
  • Review of research and tools to enhance fidelity of implementation

Are there any additional requirements for teaching the program to students?

Yes. You complete a 1-hour, online certification test after attending the training workshop and receive a certificate of completion.


The cost of the training and materials varies due to travel costs and version of the program.

Please contact us at or (919) 493-7700 to discuss these details.