Picture: Batula Robow, from Kenya, was guided by Afrisnet through her graduate school applications. She is currently a graduate student at Dartmouth College in the US

Afrisnet runs an annual mentorship program to assist and support African college students applying for research-based graduate programs. Since 2019, Afrisnet has mentored 169 students, out of whom 70 have received admission into graduate school. Throughout the year, Afrisnet is recruiting volunteer mentors, who are usually graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. The students whom we mentor and who receive admission into graduate school become mentors themselves, ensuring an organic growth of the mentorship program.

Although most of the students apply to graduate programs in the United States, we also mentor students applying to universities in other countries including Canada, China, as well as countries in Europe and Africa. This program entails a comprehensive mentorship, where we initially explain to the students the nature, the expectations, and the benefits of graduate school, before we guide them individually through all the steps of the graduate school application process. The guidance we provide touches on the selection of the appropriate graduate programs to apply for based on the student’s qualifications, efficient and professional communication with the universities, and preparation for application interviews. All the students we mentor, whether admitted to graduate school or not, recognize that they learn a lot through Afrisnet mentorship. Indeed, helping the students improve their oral and written communication provides an added value to their professinoal etiquette, whether they end up in graduate school or not.

As the number of mentees seeking help increases each year, we are looking for more mentors in 2023. If you have a graduate degree, are currently a graduate student or a postdoctoral researcher, please consider signing up as a mentor. We will provide you with an orientation to our mentorship philosophy and strategy and then assign you student (s) to mentor based on your capacity and availability. The orientation will take place in May and June 2023, with the goal of starting to mentor the students in August. Graduate applications are usually due between the end of November and early February, with most graduate programs in the US marking their application deadlines on December 1st each year. We start working with the students early to give them enough time to prepare the necessary application material.  If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please reach out to us at education@afrisnet.org or info@afrisnet.org. We thank you in advance for joining us on this noble mission! Our current and past mentors recognize that mentoring African students has been a very rewarding experience. Indeed, you may end up helping a student embark on a journey that will strengthen their career as a researcher and change their life forever.

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