Monday, March 22, 2010

Benefit Of A Mentor: Disadvantaged Teens Twice As Likely To Attend College

ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2009) — Two findings from a new national study reveal the power of mentors, particularly those in the teaching profession:
•For all teen students, having an adult mentor meant a 50 percent greater likelihood of attending college.
•For disadvantaged students, mentorship by a teacher nearly doubled the odds of attending college.
"Potential is sometimes squashed by the social environment, and the data show that mentors can overcome those forces," said Lance Erickson, a sociology professor at Brigham Young University and the study's lead author.

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"Youth who are most likely to need mentors are least likely to have them," McDonald said.

Their research shows less than half of disadvantaged students report having any adult mentor. Only seven percent had a mentoring relationship with a teacher.

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In the statistical analysis, mentors proved pivotal in whether students make the jump to college. For example, students whose parents do not have even a high school degree are normally 35 percent likely to enroll in college. According to the study, the rate jumps to 66 percent when the youth considers one of their teachers to be a personal mentor.

"Teacher-mentors close the college gap for disadvantaged kids," Erickson said.

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"Comments from study participants indicate that their mentors weren't necessarily doing anything extraordinary, just being involved and treating the young person as an important human being," Erickson said.


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