Getting a prestigious scholarship is one of the biggest dreams for many people as it will not only give financial help but also open up countless opportunities and networks.
One of the faster routes to get a scholarship is to have a mentor or coach that will guide you get through all the process. With their experience, you can have a shortcut that may take not only months but years for you to learn.
If you are currently looking for a mentor or coach for your scholarship application, you must read what I am going to write.
Being a scholarship mentor and coach since 2018, I want to share with you some perspectives so that you can understand this role better and getting the best from your mentor or coach.
1. Mentoring is a Big Commitment
When you ask someone such as alumni to help you with your scholarship application or essays, do you know what kind of responsibility do you give to them? Probably not.
Let me tell you…agreeing to review your essays means spending time and energy with you at a certain time. It can be one week, one month, or a few months. When you receive your first feedback, you must want and need another feedback. and another, and another until you feel satisfied with your essays or it is ready for submission.
See, you get what you want and need, but for pro bono mentors, what they get is solely a feeling of satisfaction and pride when your application is succeded. Because, trust me, when you get it, most of the time you will forget your mentor and moving forward with your new exciting life. You won’t text them or call them, even if it’s just to tell them how you are doing with your current life. If you are doing this, I suggest you just say hi to them once in a while because it means a lot. Who knows that one day you will have an opportunity to work together.
So my suggestion is, appreciate them.
2. Don’t Be Offended if You Get a Rejection
Do you think the alumni that you have asked for help have all the time to help you? Maybe yes, maybe not. If not, then they will refuse your request. When they refuse your request, please be understanding. It is not personal. I believe when they want to help you, they want to be fully committed. Because mentoring, once again, is such a big responsibility.
Then, if they accepted but they didn’t come back to you as fast as you wanted them to, you cannot really blame them because you didn’t give them a commitment either. A business mentor, for instance, will get minor equity or payment, but most likely you will not treat a scholarship mentor the same because you might think that they get a scholarship for free.
Indeed, they got the scholarship for free but, hey, in the process of getting the scholarship they might spend a lot of money and time, and energy.
3. If They Commit to You, Stick to Them Before Going to Other Mentor
Appreciating a mentor is easy, stick to them for quite some time until you feel that there is nothing more to learn from him/her. Don’t come to them and another mentor at the same time because they will have a different point of view.
If you come to one mentor but you refused to listen to their advice only to come back another time to ask for another review, I’d say that you don’t appreciate him/ her.
If you think you can’t agree with their suggestion, don’t come back to them with revised essays that you have worked on with other mentor or coach, because it is confusing and rude.
I would say, stick to one mentor, finish it, and then change to another mentor. If you listen to two mentors at the same time, it will waste not only your time but also theirs and it will ruin your application.
If you want to have two, make sure that their roles are different. For instance, one will help you with your substantial because he/ she comes from the same field and the other can help you with your structure and language.
4. Choose Your Mentor Strategically and Wisely
Choosing the wrong mentor will cost you your time because you can end up with nothing. Thus, you have to first understand what is the need that a mentor can help you with. Let’s say you need a mentor that can help you with changing your mindset, find the one that is caring and nurturing enough.
I love to help people with their mindset first, before proceeding with their essays. It takes more time but I am happy to do it. It is so much easier to work on your essays if you already have the right mindset. And this is why Mogantara and I put this topic in our book Rahasia Pemburu Beasiswa.
If you feel that you need a mentor to help you with your substantial, then find those who are working in your field. If you think your structure and language are weak, find those who have a background in English study or writing and journalism.
5.How to Get The Right Mentor
Finding the right mentor is tricky. You might get a rejection or you might choose the wrong one. My suggestion is, finding on LinkedIn those who like to share about a scholarship or writing about the scholarship or clearly state on their profile that they are open for mentoring.
Another suggestion is to contact a scholarship receiver who writes a blog about their experience. But make sure that you know exactly what you need as I mentioned in number 4.
How do you contact them? Please be polite. I have received numerous messages and I know that they sent a message to multiple people so that the text is a template. Please spend your time making it personal. Learn about his/ her background and tell them a specific thing that you need them to help you. This will make your chance to get the right mentor is bigger.
From my experience, those who send one message to multiple contacts at the same time in the hope to have a bigger chance of getting help are usually selfish and unrespectful.
6. When You Get Advice, Please Listen
Another note I made from almost three years of mentoring others is those mentees who failed are those who stop or don’t listen. Being defensive is the last thing you need to have when you ask someone to be your mentor. A mentor can be straightforward like me. I can be very critical, but trust me, it’s nothing personal. A critique is to make your application better.
When a mentor suggests you something, but you have another opinion, discuss it and give them all the reasons. This discussion is very important because you will come up with something better together. A mentor is there to become your second sight, so you are still become the main eyes.
7. When You Want to Stop, Tell Them
Sometimes, a mentee can disappear with no information. If you want to stop the mentorship because you are busy, tell them so. Or if you feel like you find a better one, tell them that you want to quit and thank them.
Don’t just stop for two months and suddenly comeback as it shows that you don’t appreciate what you have. When they accept you as their mentee, it means that they close the door for another person who really needs it and willing to commit 100%
Good luck with your scholarship finding journey. I hope you will understand a scholarship mentor better so that you can take advantage more of their expertise and I hope you can get the best mentor!