AASIA Mentoring Guide


AASIA mentoring is designed to assist Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) students who are new to University Park with their adjustment. In AASIA, first-year, transfer, or change-of-assignment students are provided with upper-class mentors who are high-achieving and actively engaged. AASIA strives to cultivate meaningful mentoring relationships that foster the holistic development of our participants.

Core Values

  • We believe in serving the needs of the APIA population that are overlooked by many traditional institutional programs and services as a result of being labeled the “model minority.”
  • We embrace the cultural diversity within the APIA community. In recruiting students and
    developing programs, we strive to include all subgroups who identify as APIA.
  • We believe the social, intellectual, and emotional development of APIA students is of equal importance to the pursuit of academic excellence. The individual attention provided by the mentors is critical in meeting these developmental needs.
  • We believe in the importance of promoting a culture of mentoring in the entire APIA community. The benefits that APIA students reap from positive mentoring relationships will motivate them to seek out mentoring relationships with others as they move beyond the University.

AASIA Roles and Responsibilities

Mentee Responsibilities

  • Meet your mentor on a weekly basis
  • Discuss grades and classes with your mentor so that he or she can assist you in achieving academic success
  • Keep appointments that you and your mentor agree on
  • Attend AASIA program events throughout the year
  • Meet with coordinators on a regular basis

Mentor Responsibilities

AASIA mentors serve as resources and support for incoming APIA students. Specifically, mentors have the following responsibilities:

  • Maintaining weekly contact with mentees through face-to-face interactions, phone calls, emails, and text messages
  • Discussing grades and classes with mentees to assist them in achieving academic success
  • Participating in program events
  • Empowering mentees to get involved
  • Monitoring and supporting the progress of their mentees
  • Meeting with coordinators on a regular basis

Coordinator Responsibilities

AASIA coordinators work directly with the program advisers to monitor the overall success of the program. The coordinators have the following responsibilities:

  • Recruiting, selecting, and training mentors
  • Monitoring the mentor and mentee relationships
  • Meeting regularly with mentors and mentees to provide training or to address any problems
  • Evaluating the mentors’ performances
  • Planning and coordinating social and educational events

Coordinator positions will be filled as needed.

Getting Started with AASIA

AASIA holds several events throughout the year for mentees to meet one another and for mentors to engage in activities with their mentees. The matching of mentors and mentees will take place in the first two weeks of the fall semester. The very first event will be a social event in which the mentees will have the opportunity to interact with all the mentors. Following the event all mentees will be asked to choose three mentors with whom they would prefer to be matched. The coordinators and the AASIA program advisers will then match mentors with mentees and notify all participants. At that point, the mentoring relationships are ready to be developed.

General Guidelines

Mentors are expected to assist mentees with both curricular and extracurricular issues, since both will influence the academic performance of the students. A proactive approach that helps mentees to recognize the importance of taking preventive actions to achieve academic success is recommended. The following may be helpful to mentors in getting started:

1. Early intervention is essential.  Deal immediately with important issues that will impact student success at the University, for example:

  • Course load (total number of credits)
  • Amount of time devoted to studying
  • Location where student studies
  • Using the library
  • Ability to make friends
  • Purchasing textbooks
  • Forming study groups
  • Positive interactions with professors
  • Using free tutoring and other services provided by Penn State Learning

2.  The more personalized and frequent the interaction, the more positive the outcome will be, for example:

  • Meeting face-to-face once a week is more effective than a phone call once a week

3. When assisting college students to achieve their academic potential, “No News” is probably not “Good News.”

Your Role as an AASIA Mentor

Once you have been matched with your mentee, it is time to begin establishing the mentoring
relationship. Your mentee will be looking to you for knowledge, wisdom, and feedback.  Be honest and realistic. The following are suggestions to guide you:

  • Try to include the mentee in as many activities that you enjoy as possible.
  • The relationship should be a personal time commitment, but should not involve loaning funds, cars, or other personal things.
  • Do as much as possible to inform the mentee about services available to them on campus.
  • If you and your mentee cannot resolve problems that develop in your relationship, contact your coordinator as soon as possible.
  • Discuss the mentee’s interests and goals.
  • Tell the student about your background and interests.
  • Talk about the field in which the mentee is interested.
  • Attend a recreational, multicultural, educational, or sporting event on campus.
  • Grab a cup of coffee together.
  • Listen; let the mentee “talk out” situations.
  • Discuss the mentee’s semester and courses.


Campus Resources for Mentors

Penn State Learning
The Penn State Learning website outlines the campus locations and services offered including, study groups and free tutoring for several popular courses such as writing, math, and language.

Information Technology Services
This website provides students with information regarding access accounts, ANGEL, computer labs, Internet access, printing, support, and many other technology-related issues.

Student Affairs Resources
Here you will find  information about the Center for Women Students, the Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs, the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, the LGBTA Student Resource Center, University Health Services, Residence Life, and other offices run by the Division of Student Affairs.

Student Organization Directory
This is a comprehensive list of student organizations on campus. The list can be sorted based on a variety of criteria including organization name and type.

Union and Student Activities
This is a great website for information about leadership programs, community service, and other topics related to student activities.

Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity
Created in July 1990, the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity is charged with fostering diversity and inclusion at Penn State and creating a climate of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the University’s faculty, staff, leadership, and student body. This mission encompasses leadership for the University-wide strategic planning for diversity and inclusion, student academic success services and Federal TRIO Programs for underrepresented students, and support of educational access for targeted groups of low-income, potential first-generation college students both here at Penn State and at sites throughout the state, and serving as a catalyst and advocate for Penn State’s diversity and inclusion initiatives by providing University-wide leadership to increase our capacity for diversity.

Multicultural Resource Center
The Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) provides individual counseling and educational services for undergraduate multicultural students at University Park and assists students in meeting the challenges associated with education and attaining a degree at a major research institution. MRC counselors work with students on a variety of issues, and the staff is dedicated to helping students succeed and graduate from Penn State.

Registrar's Office
This office is responsible for the schedule of courses at the University. If you have problems registering for your courses, you should contact them. You can also get a transcript of your academic record from the Registrar.

Academic Advising Portal
This site contains a wealth of advising information as well as information about academic integrity, the advising centers, course information, and majors.

Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)
DUS provides academic advising, information and referral services to students who want to explore the University's academic offerings before deciding on a field of study and for students in transition from one college or major to another. DUS encourages students to meet their academic potentials through well-informed educational planning, as well as through meaningful experiences such as internships, education abroad, public scholarship, research, and student organizations. An academic adviser is available in the lobby of Grange Building during weekday walk-in hours. Please check the DUS website, for the most current walk-in hours. Advisers are also available by appointment.

Career Services
Penn State Career Services assists students of all academic programs and class years with identifying and achieving their individual career goals. We welcome all students and embrace opportunities to collaborate with employers, graduate and professional schools, faculty and staff, and student organizations, as well as parents and alumni in order to provide the highest quality of service to our students.

Events Calendar
This list of all campus calendars includes calendars for intercollegiate athletics, art exhibits, diversity events, movies, volunteer opportunities, and educational events.

LateNight Events
The activities offered through LateNight Penn State in the HUB-Robeson Center are a wonderful alternative to the bar scene downtown and offer a variety of cultural and social programs.

Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
The Center for Counseling and Psychological Services offers both individual appointments for students, as well as group therapy and discussion groups. The website also includes crisis information, self-help resources, and outreach services.

Office of Student Aid
Most students depend on some type of financial aid. The Student Aid site provides helpful information including GPA and credit-load requirements for maintaining scholarship awards.

Student and Family Services
The office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Student and Family Services is a multi-faceted office that strives to provide students with the tools to make difficult situations more manageable. Students may experience an emergency, such as the death of a family member, an accident or other circumstance beyond their control that require leaving campus. Student and family services staff can help.

MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership has been working to expand the world of quality mentoring. MENTOR is widely acknowledged as the nation's premier advocate and resource for the expansion of mentoring initiatives nationwide. You can find tips and resources that you can put into practice in your mentoring relationship.

National Mentoring Center
The National Mentoring Center at Education Northwest provides training, resources, and other services to local mentoring programs, and federal, state, and regional agencies. You can also request information on training and technical assistance via their website.

Ideas for Mentoring Activities

1. Set some mentoring goals
2. Tackle some homework
3. Make dinner
4. Go out to dinner
5. Make popcorn and watch a movie
6. Go to a movie
7. Go to a concert
8. Shoot some hoops
9. Go to the library
10. Just hang out
11. Listen to some music
12. Talk about life
13. Discuss career plans
14. Talk about your goals for college
15. Work on a résumé 
16. Talk about dressing for success
17. Do a mock interview
18. Talk about networking
19. Talk about how to find a job
20. Talk about balancing school and life
21. Talk about living within one’s means
22. Talk about responsible use of credit cards
23. Go holiday shopping
24. Go to a house of worship
25. Talk about relationships
26. Talk about personal values
27. Talk about the future
28. Go to a play
29. Visit the Bank of America Career Services Center
30. Meet with other mentor/mentee pairs
31. Work out on campus
32. Visit the Berkey Creamery
33. Attend the fall Involvement Fair
34. Go ice skating at the Ice Pavilion
35. Attend a sporting event on campus
36. Check out Late Night Penn State
37. Visit the Pattee and Paterno Library
38. Visit the Palmer Museum
39. Visit the Penn State All-Sports Museum

Advice for Mentees

Maintain regular contact with mentor 

Set a regular schedule if possible. For example, you may want to meet for lunch with your mentor every Friday.  You should also make plans at the beginning of the semester to attend all AASIA program events.

Respect your mentor’s time
Most mentors are very active on campus. Make the most of your meetings together. Find out the best time to contact him or her between meetings.

Internalize what you apply and learn
You can learn a great deal from your mentor. He/she may offer advice and suggestions. Give the suggestions a try and take the advice to heart. Let your mentor know the outcome. Mentors like to know the results of their efforts.

Follow through
Follow through on what you say you are going to do. This means returning phone calls, showing up for meetings, replying to emails, and so forth. Nothing is more discouraging to a mentor than a mentee who does not follow through.  If you are not able to keep a commitment, let your mentor know as soon as possible, and try to make alternative arrangements.

Show appreciation
Let your mentor know how much you appreciate him/her. A “thank you” goes a long way in
nurturing your relationship. Try to be specific in your feedback. Let your mentor know what he/ she did and how it helped you.

Give back
Think of ways you could provide assistance to your mentor. Maybe you have an hour or two to help your mentor out.  By giving back you build a mutually beneficial relationship.

Advice for Mentors

Make your mentoring relationship a priority
Research shows that effective mentoring relationships can be developed in as little as two hours per month.  Making the time to mentor someone is worthwhile.

Meet over breakfast or lunch
You have to eat anyway, so why not meet over a meal. You can enjoy a meal and discuss important issues with your mentee.

Help your student network
Introduce your mentee to other students who may be able to connect him/her to organizations or resources. Perhaps there are friends or others in the community your mentee could benefit from meeting. Your only time commitment will be making a few introductions. Learning to network is something that all students should learn while in college.

Help your student prepare for a summer job or internship
Offer to review your mentee’s résumé  or cover letter. You might also want to make suggestions on good work experiences to prepare them for employment after college.

Ten Tips for Effective Mentoring

1. Maintain Regular Contact.  Mentors should assume they are the givers in the relationship. Consistent contact models dependability and builds trust. At least weekly contact is recommended.

2. Always Be Honest. Trust and respect are the foundations on which mentorships are built.

3. Avoid Being Judgmental of a Protégé’s Life Situation. Acceptance without conditions
communicates that your concern comes without strings attached. 

4. Avoid Excessive Gift Giving.  And don’t do for a protégé what she/he can do for her/himself. Your greatest gift is to help a person discover his or her own solutions to problems.

5. Don’t Expect to Have All the Answers.  Sometimes just listening attentively is all people need.

6. Help Your Protégé Access Resources and Expand Support Networks. Discuss the importance of maintaining positive relationships.

7. Be Clear About Your Expectations and Your Boundaries. Set ground rules and communicate them clearly.

8. Avoid Being Overwhelmed by Your Protégé’s Problems. Remain calm and dispassionate to help your protégé solve his/her problems.

9. Respect Confidentiality.

10. If the Relationship Seems to Stall, Hang in There.

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the experience. We have so much to learn from one another. Thanks for choosing to be a part of AASIA. If you have any questions or concerns,
please contact Dara Sanoubane, AASIA Program Adviser (

The three sources used for the Mentoring Guide are as follows: