In our work, we have seen that the typical student is focused on a few domains that are taught at school, and the parents are focused on assessments and test scores.
It is a common expectation that we would be better assessors of the potential given our experience with several kids, and our understanding of the education system across multiple geographies. Let me dispel this at the outset. We do not believe that we are better than the focused assessment agencies like the College Board, ETS, GMAC etc. Neither do we believe that we are better in assessing your child’s strengths, which Gallup has done for 20 years now.In fact, our approach is to not assess but assist. Assist the kid in expanding his/her horizons, trying different things in a safe environment and in the process, building out his/her resume.
We essentially follow a methodology that has the following elements:
Expansion – The first element is to expand the horizons of the mind through exposure to different domains. This exposure comes through reading, listening and watching things across multiple domains. In this stage, the idea is to put down a bucket list and then to expand it. Our newsletter is such an attempt to broaden the reading habits of our mentees and their families.
Experimentation – The second element is to design small experiments that help the mentee explore the bucket list. These can be designed to either increase the breadth of topics under consideration or increase the knowledge in any one domain. The idea is to try different things in a low-impact environment, so as to better understand the interests, drivers and potential career paths that the mentee can consider.
Experience – The third component is the development of the second element into experiences that expand the domain knowledge, skill sets and verifiability of the experiments. These form the backbone of the college/job/internship applications that the mentee eventually fills up. While the CV value of such experiments is high, we have also seen a percolation of the attitude of experimentation into the mentee’s personality and that translates into higher self-confidence and a differentiated approach in interviews also. After all, if you have done something with your hands and experienced success/failure firsthand, you do not have to worry about discussing it with anyone else.
Each of these elements are complete in themselves, but when building on each other, they tend to effectively enhance the personality and self-confidence of each of the mentees, the essential goal of our mentoring process.