Mentoring is a common term used to define the relationship between a less experienced mentee or protégé and an experienced individual- the mentor. The positive effects of mentorship have long been accepted and documented within the business and entrepreneurial sector, especially during the recent tech boom.

Mentoring is also a valuable tool for high school students. According to numerous reports and studies by nonprofit organizations such as America’s Promise and the National Dropout Prevention Center, mentoring is an effective strategy that provides social support and re-engages disadvantaged high school students who are most at risk. Mentoring reassures young people that there is someone who cares about them.  Moreover, the presence of a caring adult drastically improves the rate of high school persistence.

Opportunity youth, young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working, benefit the most from quality mentoring.  These young people in particular deal with challenges such as poverty, homelessness, early pregnancy, family issues, abuse, lack of confidence in school among others which are factors that derail students from graduating high school.

An experienced mentor can create positive outcomes in the lives of opportunity youth.  According to Mentor, a national organization, mentorship has a positive influence on two early warning indicators that a student may be falling off track: Absenteeism and Recurring Behavioral Problems.

  • Student mentees that meet consistently with their mentors are reported to be 52% less likely to skip school (Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters)
  • Mentored youth have better attitudes towards education on top of better school attendance and increased chances of continuing into higher education.
  • According to a report conducted by Mentor: youth mentees who face challenging opportunity gaps are 55% more likely to attend college than those who do not have mentors. (The Mentoring Effect, 2014)

These are significant findings on the positive outcomes of mentorship, especially for opportunity youth. Mentoring at-risk students is an effective strategy to make sure they are on the right track from an early age. Strong role models and caring supportive adults who are able to relate to and guide these young people through the challenges they face daily is what mentoring is all about.