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.

The 2021-2022 Application period will open on August 18, 2021. You can access the registration questions and application through the First-Generation Mentor Program Page on the Trojan Network. The mentee application deadline is September 8, 2021. Be sure to complete the application questions in detail since we use some of the responses to facilitate mentorship pairing with our alumni mentors.

 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. In the meantime, students can still connect year-round with Trojans through the the Trojan Network. The Trojan Network is USC’s online professional networking and mentor platform where students can connect with alumni and current students. You can gain valuable advice from fellow Trojans during brief chat sessions, informational interviews, mentorships, and real-world projects.

The 2021-2022 program will be conducted in a hybrid model, with both online and in-person activities at the University Park Campus. We will continue to provide updates to event structure to abide by California laws surrounding social distancing and events.

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 did not expect to have so many wonderful events. I loved hearing from mentors about their careers and what they did as students at USC.” – Junior, Environmental Studies

“My mentor and I talked about everything. Not only career planning tips but also daily life. I really appreciate that we are able to connect and chat, especially under the pandemic where everything shifted online.” – Junior, Human Biology

“Overall, the program provides the resource for students to connect with mentors for advice in academics and careers.” – Junior, Accounting

“This program was extremely supportive and allowed me to connect with individuals who were so helpful and willing to help me with future goals. This experience has been amazing, and I have seen myself grow with the help of the mentors.” – Sophomore, Pharmacology and Drug Development

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

Objectives for Mentees:

  • Proactively connect at least once a month with your mentor and commit to expectations set by the program 
  • Participate in all monthly group and individual student-alumni activities
  • Utilize campus tools/resources presented at workshops and through the USC Career Center website
  • Gain insight into the USC first-generation experience, while expanding their social capital to learn about scholarships, internships, jobs and/or career paths 

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 in. 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. We have also developed Mentorship Principles that help set the foundation for a successful mentorship. Connecting virtually and communicating 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. Spots are limited and if not matched, you are encouraged to utilize the Trojan Network to build connections and network with fellow Trojans! 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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