Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I join Pathways?

  • Having someone to talk with about choosing a major
  • Learning more about a specific industry or career field
  • Gaining perspective and support on academic pursuits and challenges
  • Developing insight about how to make the most of your time at Amherst
  • Utilizing an opportunity to cultivate a relationship over time

How will I be matched with a mentor?
You drive the matching process.  After searching alumni profiles in the Pathways Mentoring Program database, you may make a request through the system but may only request one mentor at a time.  Search criteria includes geographic location, professional industry, graduate school, major, sports, alumni network group affiliation, etc.  After receiving a mentoring request, mentors may review their potential mentee's profile before accepting.  Please note that mentors may only accept up to two students per mentoring term.  Click here for more information.

When can I make a request?

Students may request a mentor during the open enrollment period which typically ends halfway into the mentoring term.  Open enrollment for the fall term runs until October 25th.  However, you may register for Pathways, create/update your profile, and search the database at any time.

How will I know if my request has been accepted or declined?
Once a mentor has responded to your request, you will receive an email letting you know whether it has been accepted or declined. If it has been accepted, you are expected to follow up with your new mentor.  If it has been declined, you may continue searching for a mentor.  Click here for more information.

Why was my request declined?
Your request may be declined for a number of reasons.  For example, mentors can only accept up to two mentees and may have to choose from several mentee requests.  However, once a mentor has accepted his or her quota of mentees, his or her profile will reflect that he or she is no longer receiving requests that term.  If you find that your requests are continually declined, visit the Career Center to discuss your profile and your introduction email with an advisor.  Click here for more information

Are there requirements for participating in Pathways?
By participating in Pathways, you are committing to a minimum of two contacts with your mentor each month. The length of the defined mentoring partnership is one term.  Terms for the 2013-14 school year are:

  • Fall Term (September 1– December 31, 2013)
  • Spring Term (January 2 – June 23, 2014); Open Enrollment January 2 - February 14, 2014

Students are also required to:

  • Commit to regular meetings with a mentor
  • Initiate the relationship and schedule meetings
  • Engage in discussion and reflection of goals and progress
  • Take ownership of action that stretches growth and learning
  • Follow through with assignments

Click here for more information.

How can a mentoring partnership be extended longer than one mentoring term?
After the conclusion of a mentoring term, mentors and mentees will have a conversation evaluating the partnership.  If there is interest, continuing the partnership should be discussed.  If a mutual agreement to continue the partnership is reached, the mentee will need to go back into the system to “re-request” the mentor.  Mentoring partnerships are automatically ended at the completion of each mentoring term so the process may need to be repeated as long as there is agreement to continue.

How many mentors can a mentee have?
Each student can have one formal mentor at a time.  Formal means that they are matched in the Pathways database.  In addition to being matched with one mentor in the system, a mentee may have many informal mentors.

How does mentoring help students?
There is research that supports the idea that most people achieve greater levels of success if they have guidance and help along the way. A mentor can be one such resource and serve as a person with whom a student discusses career plans, evaluates options and achievements, and works through disappointments.

 Mentees find that mentoring has:

  • Enhanced their career development and influenced their attitudes and professional outlook.
  • Improved outcomes by challenging assumptions.

How should I communicate with my mentor?
It's up to you and your mentor to decide your preferred method of contact.  We find that some mentors and mentees prefer Skype or a phone call for meetings.  You may also rely on email, Facebook messages, or texts to keep in touch and schedule meetings. While it is not a requirement of the program, given that Amherst alumni make their homes all over the world, in-person meetings are also invaluable when possible.

What should I do if my mentor isn’t returning my phone calls/emails?
If you are experiencing any issue related to your partnership, please send an email to pathways@amherst.eduor call the Career Center at (413) 542-2265.

What should I do when I first meet my mentor and what should we talk about?
The initial contact can be an informal one.  This is a time to get to know each other by sharing information about significant events or people in each other’s life, likes and dislikes, and general and career interests. It is also a good time to discuss goals and expectations and complete a Mentoring Partnership Agreement. Click here for more information.