Friday, May 9, 2014

On Recruiting College-Age Mentors

A team from the University of Oklahoma’s Lindsey + Asp Advertising and Public Relations Agency researched, assembled focus groups, and developed a presentation to recruit college-age mentors. This information applies to other populations, too. Several of these points relate to data-gathering and data- and testimony-dissemination.

Here are their qualitative findings, which actually complement the quantitative research from Oklahoma’s First Mentoring Survey, 2013.


College students need to be passionate about their service. In sororities, fraternities, and service organizations, hours of community service are required. Service must be fun, not a chore.

Organization and Structure

The mentoring organization must have an effective structure. The entire mentoring process must be laid out with clear tasks. Students must know everything in advance. Desiring ease, they do not want to worry about administration.


From how to become involved to whom to contact at the school or for problems, students need information and resources. Email, social media, and websites are important for communication.

Required Hours

Fulfilling required hours must be worthwhile.

Variety of Services

What are the mentors doing? They need to know specifics, e.g., building self-esteem, improving academics, developing social skills, teaching conflict resolution, resolving anger, and so on.

Impact of Mentors on Mentees

College students want to know what their time spent actually yields. For example, this is your mentee, and this is how he or she has improved.

Importance of Mentoring

Who has benefited from mentoring? International, national, state, or local former mentees--sometimes celebrities--to whom they may relate are helpful. Anecdotes can also illustrate the results of mentoring. This is part of the emotional appeal.  


Mentors come from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, socio-economic levels, etc. Freshmen through graduate students mentor. Some 2013-14 Boren Mentoring Initiative mentors' majors include engineering, pharmacy, microbiology, biochemistry, business, advertising, psychology, agricultural education, history, and health and exercise science. 

In Oklahoma, the youngest organized mentors are high school age, and the oldest are in their nineties. Mentors range from custodians to CEO’s and company chairmen. Almost anyone can be a mentor, and often those who thought they could not mentor are the best.


Requirements, issues, processes, accountability, training, commitment, resources, activities, problems, closure, help, and other components of mentoring must be revealed. Nothing should be hidden or glossed over just to sell the program.

We thank Nick Howard and Colleen Owen for all of their time and expertise for this information and the other work they have led and executed on behalf of the Boren Mentoring Initiative.

Nick Howard
Advertising Senior 2014, University of Oklahoma 
Lindsey + Asp Advertising and Public Relations
Account Lead/Strategist 

Colleen Owen  
University of Oklahoma
Advertising/Film & Media Studies
Lindsey + Asp Project Manager
Integrity Council Member

Lindsey + Asp is a student-led, professional PR firm at the University of Oklahoma. 

Phone conversation, May 8, 2014

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