Mentoring programs for high school graduation
- Mentoring programs consist of adult volunteers being paired with at-risk students to provide counseling and guidance for academic problems, family and community issues, and personal issues
- Programs provide specific targeted attention and resource access to students who most need it
- Programs vary widely with regard to the amount of time spent on academics versus social activities
- Longer-term programs with more frequent contact allowing for closer relationships between mentor and student have stronger effects on student outcomes
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)
Proven (highest tier)
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
High school-aged children
$600 to $4,500 per student
Outcomes and impact
- Programs and their results can vary widely; effectiveness may vary by subgroup or outcome category (e.g., academic vs. behavioral)
- Mentoring programs lasting more than one year have stronger effects than shorter programs
- Students with close relationships with their mentors appear to have stronger academic outcomes than mentored students without close mentor relationships
- Some studies have shown significant effects in increased academic achievement, educational attainment, high school graduation rates, successful transitions to employment, and post-secondary enrollment
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Mentoring programs often struggle with low program attendance and completion rates, lack of staffing, unsuccessful mentor recruitment, and other administrative challenges.
- Community-based mentoring tends to be more successful than school-based mentoring, as programs with a duration of over 12 months are generally more effective.
- Programs should recruit, train, and screen potential mentors and support volunteers with ongoing assistance and suggested programming.
- School-based programs tend to cost less than community-based programs as schools often provide space and other in-kind contributions.