First-Generation Mentor Program


Finding a Mentor

The First-Generation Mentor Program focuses on your professional and career development by pairing you with USC alumni who were also first-generation college students.

Our application opens on August 17, 2020. You can access the registration questions and application through the First-Generation Website. Registration is linked to the Trojan Network so you will also need to create a Trojan Network account in order to complete the registration for the First-Generation Mentor Program. Be sure to log into the platform with your USC ID. The 2020-2021 deadline will be September 14, 2020.

What You Will Gain

You will gain professional development and career direction while fostering a relationship with a person who can be a mentor and role model. You can discuss any concerns or challenges you face as a first-generation college student at USC while gaining support, direction, and connectivity from your mentor. It is especially important during these uncertain times to build community and learn from others to prepare you for your future.

“I came in thinking that I would have a mentor to ask about questions regarding upper-level classes and a few tips here and there and I knew I was going to get some professional advice from the workshops. However, I got more than that. I developed a professional and personal friendship with my mentor, and I plan to continue remaining in contact with him because of how helpful he has been. I received the mentorship I was expecting, but to the degree at which he has helped me and guided me, surpassed my expectations for this program. The program workshops themselves have been far more helpful than I expected. It was so beneficial listening to people who understood what I was going through and to see how they have learned from that. It was more than just a typical PowerPoint presentation.”

“I did not expect to find confidence in my skills, but this helped me develop confidence and become less afraid of attending networking events and career fairs.”

“I really enjoyed my experience with the program. I enjoyed working with my mentor and making connections with other first-generation students on campus. The monthly meetings were great and I enjoyed the various workshops that we participated in.”

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend these amazing workshops, as well as have met such a caring mentor who really supported my journey these two semesters of my sophomore year and transition into searching for internships.”

After their academic year of mentorship, mentees have continued to keep in touch with mentors (their own and others in the program). They have all secured internships in different industries, gone on Maymesters, became Gateway Scholars, and conducted research. The possibilities are endless!

The Expectations

The program requires a commitment of one school year (September April). Throughout each semester, we will hold once-a-month workshops that all mentees and mentors are required to participate. These events will focus on career exploration and development and allow an opportunity for all program participants to network and interact as a group.

Outside of our monthly mandatory events, mentors and mentees are expected to connect at least once per month on their own for a professional activity. Suggested professional activities include reviewing resumes, drafting cover letters, practicing interview skills, and touring the company site. Connecting virtually and communication with your mentor is important – and it is a two-way street. Please do not expect alumni to only reach out to you to set up meetings! Be proactive, take initiative, and send the first email or make the first phone call.

As a reminder, use your best judgment when engaging with alumni. Review our Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Guidelines for policies on how to interact with alumni while developing a mentoring relationship. If an interaction is inappropriate or unprofessional, please notify us. We expect appropriate and professional engagement at all times.

Program Eligibility

Candidates must:

  • Maintain good academic standing.
  • Be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at USC.
  • Have completed one full semester of classes at USC, with the exception of first-semester transfer students.
  • Enrolled in undergraduate classes for both fall and spring semesters (December graduates are ineligible).

Selection Process

Students are selected through an application process.  Selected mentees will be notified via email in early to late September. There is no minimum GPA requirement.

Students are expected to remain accountable in addition to demonstrating strong written and verbal communication skills. Students must be able to commit to the program for the full academic year. Commitment to the program is demonstrated by responding to communication from the First-Generation Mentor Program (FGMP) coordinator and your mentor in a timely manner and being mindful of mandatory monthly events when registration for Spring classes occurs. This also includes notifying the FGMP coordinator and your mentor in the event of emergencies at least two days (48 hours) in advance.

USC Alumni

If you were a first-generation college student and would like to become a mentor to one of our undergraduate students, click here to learn more.

If you have any questions, contact Mallika Samtani.

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