Let’s make this year our best yet!
Thank you for becoming a Sheffield Mentor. Without the commitment and enthusiasm
of our mentors, we wouldn’t be able to offer such bespoke advice and support to as
many new students each year as we do. This year is an important one for Sheffield
Mentors as we are ten years old; we’ve grown significantly since the scheme started in
2000, especially over the last three years where we have more than doubled the
number of departments we operate in. We hope that our 10th year of peer mentoring
will be the most successful yet with more students supporting students in more
departments than ever before.
This is an important role you have signed up for; not only will it benefit your own
personal development but you will be one of the first University of Sheffield people that
your mentee/s have contact with – and we all know that first impressions count, so we
hope you’re ready to give being a mentor your best shot!
You are one of over 500 students who have volunteered to help make the transition to
living and studying in Sheffield as good as it can be. We’re proud of our scheme and the
help it’s provided new students for the last nine years. We hope, with your support to
make our 10th anniversary year the best yet!
Please make sure you join our Sheffield Mentors Facebook group to keep up-to-date on
all the latest news and developments.
You will be able to think back to your first year at university and the feelings of
excitement and maybe also fear you experienced. You may have been a mentee yourself.
Either way you are the most qualified person to welcome new students to the University
and to help them have the best student experience possible.
In September your mentee will be coming to the University. You will play an important
role in making this transition to Sheffield as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Please do take some time out to read through this booklet. It is intended to offer you a
useful insight into the mentoring process and we hope it will be an invaluable tool in
helping you get the most out of your time as a Sheffield Mentor.
Remember, you’ve done the training, you have the skills and there is always support
available. So, get in touch if you need to and have fun mentoring!
Emma & Tracy
Sheffield Mentors Co-ordinators
Sheffield Mentors – what’s it all about? 4
Your role in a nutshell 7
The mechanics of mentoring 8
Mentoring etiquette 11
International mentees 12
Mature mentees and mentees living at home 14
Your questions answered 16
The Sheffield Mentors Hub 17
Useful contacts 18
Sheffield Mentors is one of the biggest and
most established peer mentoring schemes in
the UK. Last year we successfully gained
Approved Provider Standard from the
Mentoring & Befriending Foundation – the
UK’s national mentoring organisation.
The scheme aims to support our new
students’ transition into life at university. As
you know this is a period of your life that can
be exciting and full of new experiences but
for the same reasons it can also be quite
what’s it all
Studying at university is very different to
being at either school or college,
academically but also on a personal level.
Your mentees may well be learning how to
be independent for the first time; managing
personal time and workloads; being
responsible for their finances; preparing
meals and cleaning, all whilst also getting to
grips with their shared living arrangements.
In addition to this, our new international
students are also coming to terms with
moving to a new country and culture and
leaving their families many miles away.
If you are a mature student your mentees
may have been out of education for some
time and be nervous about returning to
study and their change in finances whilst
also managing their lives outside university.
Your mentees will be able to come to you for
advice and support. We firmly believe that,
having been through it all yourselves over
the last year or so, you are the best people
to offer support based on your own
personal experience. You may be the extra
factor that means your mentees don’t just
survive their first year at the University…..
they love it and make the most of all the
opportunities that come their way!
in a nutshell
You will be matched with up to four new
students (your mentees). We will match you
using the information you have given us,
primarily your department and course of
study, but also whether you are a mature
student or not and your personal interests.
The matching process will start shortly after
offers are confirmed in August and we start
to receive mentee applications from our new
students. Each time you are matched to a
new student you will receive an email from
us asking you to log in to the Sheffield
Mentors Hub (via our website) where you
will be able to access your mentees details.
Your role as a mentor is to create a safe,
supportive and successful relationship
through email, face-to-face and telephone
You should do this by:
• offering an insight into the transition into
• encouraging an open environment where
your mentee feels free to engage,
question, challenge and explore;
• providing a personal perspective on
developing in a university environment;
• refering your mentees to appropriate
• treating your mentees as you would
expect to be treated.
It is really important that you make contact
with your mentee before they arrive in
Sheffield. If you remember how you felt just
before you began here, you will have had lots
of questions and possibly had mixed
emotions about leaving home. You can help
your mentees by answering their questions
and reassuring them that there is a wide
range of support available at the University
and that their friends and family will only be
a phone call away.
We recognise that you are at university first
and foremost to study and to achieve. If at
any point you become concerned that
mentoring is affecting your studies then do
not hesitate to get in touch with the Sheffield
of mentoring Inspire
The first email you send is really important
as it sets the tone for your future
relationship. You should use this opportunity
to introduce yourself as their mentor, and
tell them a bit about yourself. It’s also the
perfect time to ask questions and learn more
about your mentee, this shows that you’re
interested and encourages further contact,
helping to build your relationship. Here are a
few suggestions for your first email.
Tell them about you
• What course you’re on, why you chose it
and what you enjoy about it;
• Your interests e.g. ballet, football or knitting;
• What you think of Sheffield;
• Your top tips for making the most of Intro
Find out about them
• How was their summer?
• What is their home town/city like?
• How are they feeling about coming to
• What accommodation are they moving into?
• What are their interests?
• “I’m looking forward to meeting you when
you arrive in Sheffield, I’ll be arriving………”
• “I remember the questions I had before I
started, like what it’s like to live in Sheffield,
module choice, living with flatmates… so feel
free to ask me about anything – big or small.”
• “Most people feel excited but also nervous
about leaving home – if you’re feeling that
way, don’t worry – it’s totally normal and
you won’t be the only one”.
Your first meeting
Be confident! Meeting your mentee for the
first time may be a slightly nerve-wracking
experience, but don’t let your nerves get the
better of you – your mentee is likely to be a
lot more nervous than you are. When you
meet, be relaxed, positive and enthusiastic,
this will help put your mentee at ease. Use
the meeting as a chance to follow up on your
emails, before you get together think about
what they’ve told you their interests are and
relate this to what’s on offer in Sheffield, for
other ideas check out the suggestions on
page 11 of this booklet. Remember – you
should always be realistic and work within
your own limitations. As a mentor you are
not expected to know everything; it is OK to
say “I don’t know, but I can help you find out”.
The mentoring team organise departmental
‘tea parties’ for mentors and mentees during
Intro Week. If your tea party is early in the
week, this is a good opportunity to have your
first meeting. However, if yours falls later in
the week, your mentee may appreciate the
chance to meet up earlier. If you have
already met, the tea parties are still a great
opportunity for your mentee to meet other
mentees on their course in a friendly,
relaxed environment. Our interns, Charlotte
and Chantelle, will be inviting you to the tea
parties by email and sending reminders via
the Facebook group.
Do the listening thing
Listening is one of the most important skills
you need to be an effective mentor. Showing
your mentee that you have been paying
attention to what they’ve been saying and
offering them the appropriate support will
help you to establish your mentoring
relationship, your mentee will feel that you
understand their experiences and feelings
and this will boost their confidence in you.
Active listening skills include maintaining eye
contact (but not too much), ensuring body
language communicates interest (i.e. not
folding your arms and turning away mid
conversation) and using “open” questions.
Open-ended questions provide your mentee
with an opportunity to talk openly without
feeling limited in the type of answer required.
Most open questions start with what, how,
when, where etc and require more than a
simple and short yes or no answer.
Building your relationship
The key to a successful mentoring
relationship is the early development of trust
and understanding between mentor and
mentee. By listening to your mentee,
empathising and sharing your personal
experiences you can help develop mutual
trust and respect.
Here are some ways that you can help to
encourage and develop you mentoring
• Be yourself! We have met you and we
know that you are a great person and will
be a great mentor, so believe in yourself
and have confidence.
• It is just as important to let your mentee
be themselves, they should feel
comfortable talking to you and secure in
the knowledge that you won’t judge them.
• Keep in contact. Failing to turn up to a
meeting or not replying to an email early in
the relationship can cause your mentee to
lose faith in you and your commitment to
them as a mentor.
• Ask your mentee questions, don’t assume
you know how they’re feeling; they may not
be having the same start to university that
you did and will appreciate your interest.
When your mentee no longer feels that they
need regular support, it is time to bring your
formal relationship to an end. This does not
mean that the two of you will never speak
again; past mentees have said how nice it is
to bump into their mentor around campus
and to receive occasional emails or texts
asking them how they are getting on.
When ending your mentoring relationships
• tell them they can get in touch with you in
the future if they need to;
• get feedback on their experience;
• let your mentee know how the experience
was for you, did you enjoy it, did you learn
• encourage them to consider being a
mentor themselves next year.
• Make contact before your mentee arrives
– having a friendly face to turn to when
they get to Sheffield will be hugely valuable
• You may want to offer to take your mentee
on a tour of the campus here are some
suggestions of where you can take them:
– their department, this will enable them to
see it from another students perspective
and help them get their bearings;
– the Students’ Union Building, including
the Gallery, Student Advice Centre and
Student Services Information Desk (SSiD)
– the Information Commons or Library,
these may be new learning environments
for your mentees and may take some
getting used to.
• Talk to your mentee about module choice,
offering objective advice and support.*
• Meet up over a cup of tea/coffee and maybe
even treat yourselves to a slice of cake!
• Make sure your mentee knows that Intro
Week is not your average student week –
things will settle down.
• Offer to demonstrate logging onto the
computer network, showing them how
* The registration process is probably completely
different from when you did it. Look at your
mentees copy of ‘Registration: The Essential
Guide 2010/11’ when offering any advice.
Every mentoring relationship will be
different; it is important that you recognise
your limitations as a mentor and manage
your mentees expectations of the
relationship. Here are some guidelines –
The mentor does:
• explore, suggest options;
• empower, facilitate and encourage
• share own experiences and information;
• support and encourage;
• give realistic advice;
• listen to, explore mentee's issues;
• present an open and accepting attitude;
• use their own experiences in a positive way.
The mentor does not:
• counsel (the mentor is not there to deal
with deep-seated emotional issues);
• tell the mentee what to do;
• get emotionally involved (and lose
• do things for the mentee;
• have to be an expert in everything;
• create false expectations;
• make assumptions;
• adopt a judgmental attitude;
• involve the mentee in their own personal
One or more of your mentees might be an international
student. You will be able to help them to adjust to living
in a different country and culture.
The following points could be helpful to you:
• If your mentees are having difficulties with the English
language, encourage them to contact the English
Language Teaching Centre for details of free courses
and tuition available.
• Students’ Unions do not exist in most other countries
and international students sometimes do not, at first,
understand how it works. They often associate “union”
only with Trade Union, so it would be very helpful if you
explain how the Union works and what it offers to
• The University’s style of teaching may be unfamiliar,
especially the emphasis on independent study.
• Addressing members of university staff informally is
quite difficult for many international students.
• Be aware of a student’s culture and/or religion.
• British “pub culture” can be difficult to fit into if you
don’t drink alcohol. Many international students are
surprised by the significant role alcohol plays in British
social life. Students should not feel pressured into
conforming... but it’s worth pointing out that not all
British students drink alcohol and that soft drinks are
• Assure them that the sun DOES make an occasional
Mature mentees and
mentees living at home
Chatting or comparing notes over mealtimes
in halls of residence or a student flat can be
an important part of the settling in process.
Students who live at home and travel into the
University for lectures but then return home
in the evening may find it harder to make
friends and can sometimes feel isolated.
Mature students may also feel outnumbered
and anxious about ‘fitting in’.
Try to consider your mentees’ particular
circumstances in advance and do what you
can to ensure that they feel welcome at the
University. Your mentees will probably
appreciate an opportunity to meet up with
other students in a similar position to
themselves. If you know other mentors with
mature or local student mentees, suggest
meeting up together to widen their support
network and give them the chance to meet
other new students in a similar situation to
Mature mentees should have received
‘Mature Students – The Essential Guide’ this
booklet contains information on the support
and events available to mature students at
the University. If you have mature mentees
and think it would be useful to have a copy of
this guide then please contact the mentoring
The Students’ Union support both mature
and local students through the ‘Mature
Student Committee’ and the ‘Local Students’
Forum’ for more information about these
groups please contact the Students’ Union
Please remember that all discussions are
confidential between mentoring partners,
unless someone's well-being, life, the
University and/or other establishments are
at risk. If at any point you feel out of your
comfort zone please come and speak to one
of the team.
Your mentees’ details (name, contact details
etc) should be treated as confidential and
not passed to anyone without your mentees’
permission. It is unlikely that you will need to
record information about your mentees. If
you feel that you need to do this, then
personal information must be treated in a
professional, secure and confidential
manner and must follow the 1998 Data
Information on data protection is included in
the mentors’ training and you should
contact the mentoring team (see overleaf) if
you have any concerns.
Your questions answered
What exactly is expected of me?
You will be expected to take the initiative and
contact your mentees, ideally, before they start
at the University. When both you and your
mentee have arrived in Sheffield you should
arrange to meet up. Your mentee may just
want to contact you as and when they feel
necessary, however, some mentees will want
to maintain regular contact with you
throughout the year. Take your lead from them
but make sure they know they can contact you
even if you have not spoken for several weeks.
How many mentees will I have?
Between 1 and 4, depending on the number of
applications received from new students and
the number of mentors available in specific
Will they be from my department?
Yes, and normally from the same course,
unless you are a mature student, in which
case, you might be matched with another
mature student from a different department,
but in the same faculty.
When will I know who my mentees are?
We want to let you know this information as
early as possible, but please be aware that this
will not be before September. You will receive
an email asking you to log into the Hub to
access the details of your mentee; remember
that you may get up to three more mentees so
please keep checking your emails.
What do I do then?
Phone or email them to introduce yourself.
They will have been sent your details so will
know who you are. Tell them a bit about living
in Sheffield and offer to answer their
questions. It’s really up to you... think what you
wanted to know at this stage.
What happens next?
Arrange to meet up with your mentees during
Intro Week, if possible.
Where should we meet?
Most people meet up in a local cafe or
somewhere in the department. Make sure you
meet in a public place at first until you get to
know your mentees.
How many times will we meet?
It’s up to you. It’s good to have meetings with
your mentees in a group if you can arrange it,
or even to meet up with another mentor and
his/her mentees. That way, the new students
get more opportunities to meet others on
Am I expected to become a real friend for
No. The mentor-mentee relationship is a semiprofessional
one. You might not get on that
well on a personal basis but can still maintain
the mentoring role. However, many mentormentee
pairings have led to firm friendships
The Sheffield Mentors Hub
This year we have introduced a brand new IT
web application to support all things
mentoring; this is known as the Sheffield
Mentors Hub. As the Hub is accessible via the
Sheffield Mentors website, wherever you are,
you have access to the Hub.
You may not know it but you have already
used the new Sheffield Mentors Hub to
complete your application to be a mentor.
Now that you have been trained, we need you
to log in to the Hub and update your mentor
profile with information that will be available
to your mentee when you are matched.
It is important that you think carefully about
what you write, ensuring that you spell things
correctly and write clearly as this is the first
impression your mentee will get of you. Try to
make sure you get your personality across to
You can amend and update your profile
whenever you want, so if you think of
something you’d like to add over the summer
either because you have new experiences that
you’d like to share from time spent travelling,
volunteering or working or you think of
something else that you consider relevant,
you will be able to go in and update your
The Hub is also where you will be able to login
and see your mentees details including
their photo, the kind of things they are
interested in and like doing, and also the
things they’d like you to help and support
The Hub is a totally new IT system so if you
encounter any difficulties please do let us
Useful contacts !
Sheffield Mentors Team
0114 22 21262
0114 22 21378
0114 22 27837
Animal & Plant Sciences
0114 22 24376
0114 22 22959
0114 22 20327
Automatic Control &
0114 22 25650
0114 22 20508
0114 22 24656
Chemical & Process
0114 22 27506
0114 22 29300
Civil & Structural
0114 22 25713
0114 22 21835
East Asian Studies
0114 222 8437
0114 22 23400
Electronic & Electrical
0114 22 25867
0114 22 25999
0114 22 20210
0114 22 28451
0114 22 27957
0114 22 22591
0114 22 22668
0114 22 22500
0114 22 20602
0114 22 26777
0114 22 23478
Maths and Statistics
0114 22 23801
0114 22 21262
0114 22 27839
School of Modern Languages
Russian & Slavonic Studies
0114 22 28454
Molecular Biology &
0114 22 26212
0114 22 20465
Please refer to the University website for other sources of
advice and information – www.sheffield.ac.uk or if in doubt of
where to go for advice or support please contact the Sheffield
0114 226 1524 or 226 9849
0114 271 3818
0114 22 20580
Physics & Astronomy
0114 22 24278
0114 22 21643
0114 22 26516
0114 22 26468
The Institute for Lifelong
0114 22 27004
Town & Regional Planning
0114 22 26912
Other useful contacts
Information Desk (SSiD)
Union of Students or visit
their website –
0114 22 21299
Student Advice Centre
Union of Students
0114 22 28660
36 Wilkinson Street,
Sheffield, S10 2GB
0114 22 24134
University Health Service
53 Gell Street,
Sheffield, S3 7QP
0114 22 22100 (24hrs)
388 Glossop Road,
Sheffield, S10 2JA
E-mail: enquiry via web
0114 22 20910
(from left) Charlotte, Chantelle, Tracy and Emma
Student Services Department
Level 6 University House
The University of Sheffield
Sheffield S10 2TN
Tel: 0114 222 1262 / 1378
Fax: 0114 222 1304
Message from the team:
‘Please remember we really value
the commitment and effort you put
into being a mentor. If at any stage
you need to contact us and ask for
support or advice, we are here to
help you and happy to do so. We do
not expect you to know everything
or be able to provide the answers
to every problem or query you’re
faced with but we do expect you to
do your best and come to us if and
when you need to. We are really
passionate about Sheffield Mentors
and the benefits it provides both
our mentors and mentees in their
personal development. Over the
years we have seen how big a
difference having a mentor makes
to some of our new students and
their experience of starting at the
University. We’ve said it before but
we really couldn’t do it without you,
so, thank you, thank you, thank you.’