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Mentor Tips

How to Get Started With Your Mentee

To begin, we suggest reaching out to your mentee within 24-48 hours after being matched. We encourage all mentor-mentee pairs to establish the mentor-mentee agreement at the first meeting and rely on it throughout the entirety of the program. This document can be found in the handbook and website under participant resources.

How do I start a discussion with my mentee?

1. When do you first plan to meet? How often do you want to                 meet?

2. Do you plan to meet on the phone, web meetings (Zoom, Skype,         FaceTime
Microsoft Teams, Google Groups, Google Meet) or via       email?

3. Set out your expectations from the get-go! (i.e. communication, email     etiquette, professionalism, HIPAA etc.)

4. Describe your area of dietetics and what project-specifics you need       help with (they may not remember from the application, there were a     lot of RDs from which they could choose)

5. What are their overarching or long-term goals in dietetics? (They           may not know)

6. What skills/background experiences might they have to help you?       Learn about your mentee and how to maximize their success in your     project together.

7. Set goals and expectations together by assisting the mentee in             completion of the mentor-mentee contract (make them feel comfortable since they are probably just as nervous as you)

Other potential areas of discussion may be:

Dietetic Internship (DI) applications and the application process* 
1. Discuss the process of applying to DI programs and/or graduate degree     programs and/or specialty certifications
 provide guidance and professional tips for success. 

2. How to research programs
    – What are the characteristics of a good program (e.g. finances,                  reputability, location, etc.)?

3. Assist with application materials needed for your field
– read and offer guidance on their personal statement, CV, letters of             recommendation, etc.

4. How to contact potential advisors and get letters of recommendation

    – perhaps you might consider writing a letter of recommendation for              them after successful completion of the program

* Please contact Dr. Karen Beathard ( if you have questions or need assistance with DI match information.


1. Share your background, values, goals, and needs.

2. Talk about your very first job and other experiences that might enrich your mentee’s insight on RD internships, research, and the professional field. 

3. Talk about life as a dietetics student vs. dietetics professional.

4. Look at your mentee’s resume and cover letter and offer constructive criticism. The success of your mentoring relationship depends on you and your mentee. 

5. Consider giving mentees some type of title for their project so they could add it to their resumes.

6. Provide open communication with mentee and ask him/her their needs/desires/goals from this program and routinely check in to see if their needs/desires/goals are being met.

7. Recognize the mentees are students and have empathy and flexibility with them. Note that mentee class schedules change in January at the start of the spring semester, so meeting time preferences may need to be adjusted. Meetings may also need to be adjusted during exam weeks.

8. Support the mentees where they are; ask about them personally and in their school progression and offer suggestions or encouragement as needed. Recognize them as students/people and not just someone to do a task/project for them (students want to know they are doing well and feel appreciated for the work they are doing).

9. Make sure project guidelines and expectations are clear to the mentee. Routinely offer clarification or guidance if needed. It is best to set project expectations and deadlines together based on mentees' schedules. 

Other suggestions:

Be an active listener, a cheerleader, a compassionate supporter, and a role model!

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