With September upon us and the summer holidays having passed — far too quickly — students are returning to school in what we hope might resemble a more 'normal' academic year. Whilst this brings much to look forward to, the return to school may also be daunting for children and students due to the considerable amount of time spent at home over the past few months and last year. This will particularly be the case for students between the ages of 14-18 who have been out of education and examinations as previously known and will have faced considerable disruption to their GCSEs, A-levels and/or university applications. Students in this position who might be apprehensive about returning to school or starting university may want to consider an academic mentor for this new year, someone who can help them transition into the next stage of education smoothly.

What is academic mentoring?

Academic mentoring involves tailored, one-to-one holistic support covering all aspects of a student's education. Where tutoring is subject-focused, academic mentoring focuses on helping students get the best out of their education overall. Our mentors are highly adaptable to each student's individual needs and concerns and will provide inspiration, guidance, and encouragement through vital transitional moments, setting up students for future success.

What do academic mentors do?

The work of an academic mentor will focus on all aspects of the student's education and intellectual well-being. Mentors will often focus on the student's direct learning and introduce them to new study skills and techniques.

An academic mentor can help students with a wide variety of areas. Students lacking direction and motivation may help set SMART goals or focus on study skills such as essay writing, note-taking, organisation skills, constructing an argument, or giving presentations. Mentors will also encourage independent learning among students by setting wider reading tasks, introducing time management techniques, and providing revision strategies.

Mentors will look at the broader picture and help students develop as individuals outside of the classroom. From recommending extra-curricular activities to assisting them to stand out at university entrance or developing work experience ideas, mentors are there to help across all areas.

How does academic mentoring benefit students?

One-to-one support with an academic mentor can help students excel in their academic subjects but also help them develop personal attributes such as confidence, resilience and self-responsibility. For students between the ages of 14-18, an academic mentor can make a massive difference during vital transitions in their education. The jump between GSCEs to A-levels/IB and then to university can be challenging for all students. Having a reliable academic mentor will help bridge these gaps by identifying their weaknesses and help to instil a level of confidence that will translate to their studies.

In addition, when the student is thinking of applying to university, an academic mentor can prove especially useful for the kind of independent study projects they may encounter. For example, the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) demands close time management and independent study skills for students — skills that a mentor will help their students hone and develop. Meanwhile, critical thinking skills are crucial for university interviews and entrance tests such as BMAT. Mentors can help students focus on university entrance preparation, assisting students in identifying the right universities to apply to and which areas to strengthen, thereby enabling them to stand out on their UCAS statement.

Overall, when tailored to the student's needs, academic mentoring will keep students on track and motivate them to achieve the very best in their studies. Mentoring can offer a space to build confidence in their education and help them progress confidently into the following stages in their life.


If you are interested in arranging academic mentoring for a student or looking for educational advice as your children return to school this September, please do not hesitate to contact Quintessentially Education.