Career Advisor Network (CAN) Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are Alumni Mentors Critical to Student Success?
Whether you recently graduated or you are retired, you can share your insights with a student who is just starting to figure it all out. Since our students often lack professional role models, accessing successful alumni truly has a positive impact on their academic, personal and career success.
Student Feedback About the Program
- "I feel lucky, and I am very grateful. I really enjoyed our meeting and the common interests that we shared."
- "My alumni mentor was honest about both my strengths and weaknesses, which allowed me to sufficiently focus my energy. Because of his advice, I see the common mistakes that can hurt one's chance in being accepted to medical school. I feel like I dodged a bullet."
Mentor Feedback About the Program
- "It was a great pleasure to meet this student. She is a bright, talented, enthusiastic person who has great promise. She reminded me of my own experience of wondering what I was going to do with my life. I was fortunate to have adult mentors to steer me in helpful directions."
- "I really enjoyed meeting him and see big things in his future. Thanks for putting us together."
What Does It Mean to Be a Mentor?
The guidance you provide varies based on the student's needs. It can range from helping a student prepare for an upcoming interview to answering questions about the major or career he or she chose.
Both parties decide the method for communication, how often and when they talk. It is the quality of the relationship, not the quantity of time spent, that determines the success of the mentoring relationship.
At a minimum, you provide an informational interview. You can also allow job shadowing; invite students to attend hearings, meetings or any career-related event; or notify your mentee of opportunities in the field.
Conversations between students and mentors are confidential.
How Will I Be Contacted?
Recent alumni and students search for alumni through the online database Career Advisor Network (CAN) based on their major, career goals, graduate school goals and other search criteria.
Initial contact will be made by the student via e-mail to set up a time to talk via phone or in person. Please note that your e-mail address is invisible to the student until you respond to the e-mail. Once the student has contacted you, please try to respond to them in a timely manner. If for some reason you are not available, it is helpful to notify the student so that he or she can contact someone else.
How Often Do I Interact With a Student?
Although a one-time connection may be sufficient to address the student's questions, it is helpful if you keep the lines of contact open for future questions.
Because we have more than 1,000 alumni in the CAN and will continue to grow the list, it is possible that you may go months or longer without being contacted.
What if I Don't Live Locally or I Am Retired?
If you live in another state and are unable to meet in person, you can still participate via e-mail or phone.
Someone who is retired possess the experience and expertise to help guide our students.
How Many Mentees Will I Have?
You may take on as many mentees as you feel comfortable helping. If are very busy when students contact you, please respond to at least notify them of when you will be available. If it will be for an extended period of time, such as while you are on vacation or during a very busy time at your job, change your profile to make it "inactive."
Will Students Ask Me for a Job or Internship?
You may be asked to offer guidance on how to search for a job or internship, but students are clearly told not to use the CAN as placement program It is up to the alumni to determine if they would like to offer that kind of assistance. You can always e-mail us any job or internship postings.
What Kind of Preparation Do Mentees Receive?
Before students contact alumni through the CAN or LinkedIn, they attend the Building Professional Relationships Workshop, through which they gain useful information on how to conduct themselves, network and behave properly.
We expect this to be extremely rare, but if you have any issues at any time with a student behaving unprofessionally (e.g., not showing for an appointment, showing up late, etc.) please notify us. Students are clearly told that they may be banned from using the CAN in the future if we receive a complaint.
Become a Volunteer
Becoming a Career Advisor Network Volunteer is a rewarding way to stay connected with Brooklyn College and make a difference in the lives of our students. On behalf of Brooklyn College, the Magner Career Center, the Office of Alumni Affairs and our students, we would like to thank you for giving back. Without all of you, this would not be possible.
For more information about this program or if you have any questions, please contact Natalia Guarin-Klein, associate director for mentoring and alumni programs via e-mail or telephone, 718.951.5696.