College Outreach USA

Mentor Program

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future in life”

– Plato

COUSA has initiated a mentor program for students who are from: a Minority group; and/or an Inner city; and/or a Low income family (MIL), about the advantages of obtaining a college education. This mentoring program will provide information to students in grades 7-12 regarding the entire process involved in preparing for, choosing, and applying to college.

Research proves that minority groups, and/or inner city, and/or students from low income families (MIL) attend college for many reasons. Most importantly, because they have a mentor who not only believes in them, but also helps show them their own self-worth.

We believe that by providing information, friendship, and advice we can encourage all students whom we mentor to make an informed decision about which college to attend. We feel that we can even create college students out of students who never believed they could attend and graduate from college.

What Constitutes A COUSA Mentor

Most of us can think of people in our lives, more experienced than ourselves, who taught us something new, offered advice, presented a challenge, initiated friendship, or simply expressed an interest in our development as a person. They helped us negotiate an uphill path or find an entirely new path to a goal in our academic, career, or personal lives. They showed us a world larger than our neighborhood. They pointed out talents that we hadn't noticed in ourselves and stimulated ideas about what we might be able to accomplish. They nudged us when we needed a nudging.

Mentors are College and Graduate students who have a GPA of 3.0 or above, faculty, professionals, and adults in a wide variety of career paths. Most mentoring takes place on the Internet. Electronic communication eliminates the challenges imposed by time, distance, and disabilities that are characteristic of in-person mentoring. Frequent electronic communications and/or personal contacts bring participants together with mentors to facilitate academic, career, and personal achievement.

As A COUSA Mentor

Introduce yourself and get to know each of your Mentees. Mention personal, career, and education interests; disability; and involvement in school and outside school activities and community service.

Explore interests with Mentee(s) by asking questions, promoting discussion, and providing resources (especially those accessible on the Internet).

Facilitate contact between students and people with shared interests or resources (e.g., professors, professionals).

Remember that developing meaningful relationships takes time. Give yourself and your mentee(s) ample room to get to know each other.

Mentor Guidelines

  • Be respectful of your mentee(s) and their communication/personality styles. Ask if there is a way to accommodate them in the way you communicate.
  • Avoid covering several topics in one message. Instead, send several messages so the receiver can respond to each topic separately.
  • Use mixed upper- and lower-case letters. Avoid using control characters or special keys.
  • Begin the text of your message with the real name of the person to whom you're writing, and end the text with your real name.
  • Include all or parts of a mail message to which you are replying.
  • Do not use words others might find offensive, and avoid personal attacks or name calling.
  • Do not participate in conversations that would not be acceptable to the parents of your mentee(s) and/or COUSA staff. Remember that program participants are minors!
  • Do not engage in conversations with which you are not comfortable. Immediately report offensive or troubling electronic mail messages that you receive to
  • Remember that an electronic mail message is easy for recipients to forward to others and, therefore, is not appropriate for very personal messages—it's more like a postcard than a sealed letter.
  • Take advantage of the spell check feature.
  • Review what you've written BEFORE you send it.

Keeping Our Young People Safe

The Internet is a sea filled with adventure. By sailing the waters, we can explore the world, unlock mysteries, and meet new people. But like any sea, it has dangerous elements as well. Safety is an important issue for anyone using the Internet but even more so for minors. It is important that we teach our young people how to identify potential danger and avoid it.

Our program promotes mentoring in which mentors and mentee(s) discuss ideas. Participants are told not to give out personal information to people they do not already know and not to respond to electronic messages that they receive from anyone if they are not comfortable with the content. Mentors should immediately report offensive or troubling electronic mail messages to COUSA.

Share the Following

Information: Mentors share their knowledge, experiences, and wisdom.

Contacts: Mentors provide valuable opportunities by facilitating academic, career, and personal contacts.

Challenges: Mentors stimulate curiosity and build confidence by presenting new ideas, opportunities, and challenges.

Support: Mentors encourage growth and achievement by providing an open and supportive environment.

Goal Setting: Mentors help protégés discover talents and interests and define and attain their goals.

Advice: Mentors guide protégés in reaching academic, career, and personal goals.

Role Models By sharing stories of achievement with protégés, mentors can become role models.