'You Should Want to Change': First-Year, First-Generation Perspectives on Mentoring

The Chronicle of Mentoring & Coaching, Volume 2, Special Issue 1, 2018

6 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2018

See all articles by V. G. Black

V. G. Black

Texas State University

ZW Taylor

Texas State University; The University of Texas at Austin

Date Written: October 15, 2018


Extant research suggests mentoring programs rarely address mentee predispositions prior to developmental relationships, while first-year and first-generation college students greatly benefit from these types of relationships. To explore mentee predispositions, this study examines first-year, first-generation college mentees’ (n=7) perceptions of mentorship and their own “mentorability,” or, their willingness and readiness to be mentored. Mentees in the study were all students of color who attend a large, Predominantly-White Southern institution. From the data, several themes emerged pertinent to “mentorability”: mentees felt it was their responsibility to be open-minded and actively listen to their mentor, mentees often saw their mentor as an inspiration for their future college success, and mentees urged that patience with themselves and their mentor was key to a successful developmental relationship. In addition to mentee predispositions, mentees also shared that building friendships with their mentor outside of an academic context was important, and that their mentors often served as a cultural guide of the campus and university structure, helping them navigate their early college years as a first-generation student of color. Finally, mentees expressed their reliance on their mentor as a source of motivation and persistence through their first year, often claiming they would not be as successful or would not continue to enroll at their institution if not for their mentor. Ultimately, this work produced a number of suggestions for future research, including further discussions with students of color and first-generation students in addition to new and experienced mentors and examining how mentors define their mentees’ “mentorability.”

Keywords: mentoring, college, university, higher education, first-generation, first-year

Suggested Citation

Black, V. G. and Taylor, ZW, 'You Should Want to Change': First-Year, First-Generation Perspectives on Mentoring (October 15, 2018). The Chronicle of Mentoring & Coaching, Volume 2, Special Issue 1, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3286627

V. G. Black (Contact Author)

Texas State University

United States

ZW Taylor

Texas State University ( email )

1230 North LBJ Dr
Apt 528
San Marcos, TX 78666
United States

The University of Texas at Austin ( email )

United States

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