About the Mentorship Program
The APS Mentorship Program was designed to help undergraduate students navigate their current research plans and future career goals in the field of psychology. To this end, the program attempts to pair each interested undergraduate with a graduate student who serves as a peer mentor.
What is a mentor? In short, a mentor is an individual with considerably more experience in a particular area, which endeavors to guide someone with less experience through a somewhat ritualistic process. In terms of the APS Mentorship Program, mentors are graduate students who are willing to share their experiences and expertise on all issues related to research and graduate school.
How much time does it take? The amount of time required to maintain and nurture a mentoring relationship depends on the type of relationship you want and your motivation to establish one in the first place. Some undergraduates are looking for someone who is willing to tell their own horror stories about applying to grad schools; other undergraduates would like the opportunity to discuss research matters with someone who shares their interest. Similarly, the interests of the graduate student peer mentors vary as well. For these reasons, each pair works together to decide how often they will be in contact.
How are mentoring relationships established? It is the job of the Mentorship Program Coordinator (the APSSC Undergraduate Advocate) to pair undergraduate students with a mentor who indicates a desire for the same type of relationship. A satisfying relationship probably would not be established if an undergraduate who only wants advice on writing their letter of intent is paired with a graduate student mentor who would rather expand their research network and collaborate on a project. This is why students who wish to join the mentorship program are asked to fill out application forms. Once your application is received and reviewed, the Undergraduate Advocate will attempt to pair you with a graduate student mentor whom has expressed interest in the same type of peer mentoring relationship. To help ensure a good match, each applicant is sent information about the preferences and interests of a possible program match to review. If both the graduate and undergraduate students feel that the other has the potential to be a good fit for them, contact information will be exchanged. If, at any time, either person feels that the mentorship relationship is not satisfying their needs, they should send a confidential email to the program coordinator, who will attempt to find alternative matches for both people.
Will my mentor be nearby? Because the APS Mentorship Program is open to all student affiliates, most of out current members are pretty spread out across the country, and a few are from other countries. This is wonderful in that it allows for a perspective that is likely to be completely different from what you are used to. When filling out the program application, be sure to specify how important it is to you for your mentorship program partner to share your geographic location and research interests. Every effort will be made to accommodate your preferences. If a perfect match is not available, you will be paired with someone who matches your profile as closely as possible.
Will I ever meet my mentor? Whether or not you and your program partner meet is completely up to you. If you live nearby each other, this is not much of an issue. If, however, you live a great many miles apart, it would be convenient to plan on meeting for a meal or a cup of coffee at an upcoming convention you both plan to attend.
What if I am ready to apply? If you think you would like to join the APS Mentorship Program, please fill out the appropriate application form. Please send any questions, or requests for more information to the APSSC Undergraduate Advocate.
Ask A Graduate Student
Do you have just a few questions you would like to ask, but do not feel like you need a peer mentor? Send any graduate school or professional development questions to the APSSC Undergraduate Advocate, and he or she will contact graduate students and faculty as needed to find solid answers that address your concerns.