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Commonly asked questions from mentor applicants during the interview

Mentor Applicant FAQ 


If you have questions or concerns about logistics, our screening process, matching timeline or program expectations, you aren’t alone! Below are some of our most frequently asked questions. Our team is ready to answer any additional questions you may have!  


Logistical Questions  

  1. Where are the schools located? Can I request a specific school?  

Our school locations are on our website. We will take a preference into consideration but can’t make a guarantee. We always do our best based on availability at the time of matching!   

  1. Is there a virtual option?  

Our program is not designed to be a fully virtual program. Monthly meetups are in-person, which deeply benefits our students. We ask that you prioritize making most, if not all, of these in-person events. Virtual makeups are available if needed.  

  1. What is the length of a match?   

Mentors are asked to commit a minimum of 2 years to our program. That means you are matched with a high school junior and support them through their junior and senior year of high school.  

  1. Can I do a shorter match?  

Yes, if you can commit to a full school year, we are happy to consider a one-year match if there is a student who needs one. Please note there are fewer of these opportunities.   

  1. How many meetups are there per year?  

Mentors and mentees only meet during the school year, which averages to about 7- 8 events per year. Any summer meetups with your mentee are supplemental and require guardian and Program Manager approval.  

  1. Are there program activities during the summer? 

During the summer you and your mentee are encouraged to stay in touch but there are no formal program activities. You will receive a monthly newsletter with iMentor program and recruitment updates and invitations to events such as happy hours.   


  1. It might be challenging to make an event by 6:00pm. Is it okay if I’m a little bit late?  

We have found that most employers are quite flexible with volunteers, allowing them to leave slightly early from work once per month. We do suggest chatting with your manager. If that isn’t possible, please connect with your Program Manager. Students arrive to events at 6pm, so it’s important to communicate with your PM. We want to avoid a student waiting for their mentor without notice.  

  1. If I miss an in-person event, can I do a make-up session or pair outing?  

The monthly pair events help to build relationships and community for mentors and mentees. Make-up sessions are intended to be an option when needed 1-2 times per school year. Pair Excursions are also important for relationship development and meant to supplement, not replace, event attendance.   

  1. Are program events held on the same weekday each month?  

Most schools have events on the same weekday each month. Larger schools may hold meetings two weekdays per month. A calendar of events will be provided to the mentor and mentee at the beginning of the school year.  

  1. Can we choose the time each month to meet our mentee?

Monthly events are pre-scheduled and you will be given ample notice of those dates by your program manager.  

  1. Can I still mentor if I leave my job? 

Yes. Please remember to provide your updated contact information to us.  

  1. Can I still mentor if I move?  

Possibly. We will consider the time remaining in your match, your ability to commute to remaining meetings and other factors. Please discuss this with your program manager.   

  1. I do not live in NYC, Chicago, or Baltimore. Can I still mentor?  

We can only support matches that live or work in our iMentor cities or within a commutable distance because our events are in-person. That said, we also have an adapted version of our program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters at select schools across the country. Please visit this page to see if we’re in a city near you!  


Screening Process and Matching Timeline  

  1. When will I hear if I got accepted as a volunteer?  

Timing will depend on when you complete your screening steps and how quickly we receive results from your background check. Once your application is complete, our team will complete a final review. Then you’ll receive a status update.    

  1. How far in advance will we learn who we are matched with and where?  

The bulk of matching happens in September and October. During that time, a Program Manager will inform you of who your mentee is and the school location. If you were accepted into the program during the spring or summer, you will receive periodic updates about the fall matching timeline from our Mentor Engagement team.  

  1. How do you match?  

The preferences and information shared during your interview inform how iMentor matches. Our program team has a thorough matching process that connects a mentor and mentee based on shared interests and logistical preferences. We do our best to honor your preferences but please note those are not a guarantee.  

  1. What does your ‘whole school model’ mean? Can I be paired with a high achieving student?   

In our whole school model participation is open to every student in 11th and 12th grade. We support a wide range of students whose academic performance and program engagement vary. We will take your preferences and experience into consideration, but please be aware that the preferences and needs of the mentees will be prioritized. We ask that our mentors come with patience and empathy – getting to know each student and their unique needs takes time!   


Program Requirements and Expectations 

  1. What do you look for in a mentor?  

The main thing we ask of mentors is to remain consistent in the weekly writing and monthly meetings. Our students have a lot going on. It’s up to our mentors to be the consistent adults in the relationship and model the behavior they’d like to see in their mentee.  

  1. What is iMentor's idea of a successful mentor/mentee pair?  

Every mentor/mentee pair is different. Success could be a trusting relationship, simply being an encouraging presence in your mentee’s life, a defined post-secondary plan or a college acceptance letter. If you ever have any concerns about your relationship, feel free to reach out to your Program Manager. They will help you stay on track. Feel free to look through our "Success Storiespage on the iMentor website for some great examples.  

  1. What happens first- the message or the pair event?  

You will exchange messages through our Platform before the first pair event.  

  1. What’s the focus of the weekly writing? How long does it take?  

Weekly writings are responses to our curriculum prompts. Both mentor and mentee are expected to write each week. If your mentee does not write, please continue to do so on your end! It does not matter who writes first. We suggest modeling your student’s writing style; if they’re rather brief, you may want to keep messages on the shorter side. If the student elaborates more, please do the same. The length of time you spend writing varies based on a student’s needs.  

  1. Do I need to push my mentee to go to college?  

No. While we encourage all of our students to apply to at least one college so they have it is an option, we support students who pursue other educational and career pathways. For those who choose a college path, iMentor College will be there for support. 

  1. Can we call, text or visit our mentee?  

After 3 months of being matched, you may exchange phone numbers solely for the purpose of confirming event attendance and logistics. Anything deeper must live on the Platform. Out-of-Program meetups are permitted with advance approval. They are not required but strongly encouraged! Mentors cannot not drive their mentee anywhere.  

  1. I didn’t go to high school/college in the U.S. – can I still participate?  

Absolutely! This is actually the case for quite a few of our mentors. Our curriculum supports not only relationship building, but post-secondary readiness in detail.  

  1. Am I too old for the program?  

Our minimum age to mentor is 21. There is no maximum! We encourage age-diversity amongst our mentors and feel there is such a benefit to a range of experiences. Our program team is always here to support, and your screener is happy to chat further should you have questions.  

  1. What happens if the mentee is unresponsive? Do we get unmatched?  

This can happen. Mentors should remain consistent and patient with their mentee, who may have any number of reasons for being disengaged. Please continue writing to your student on a weekly basis and plan to attend your next event. You and your Program Manager will work together to find a solution. Unmatching does happen sometimes, but both the mentor and PM should discuss the relationship in detail beforehand.  

  1. I understand you have a curriculum, but what does it look like?  

Take a look at this helpful one pager that highlights the main topics discussed during the first two years of a match, 11th and 12th grade. 

  1. What do the mentor trainings look like? Are these in person or virtual? Required?  

We have quarterly virtual trainings and self-guided online modules. We ask mentors to please attend all of the facilitated virtual trainings and to complete the modules at the cadence directed by their program manager. They are quite short!