Tips for Mentors

  • Provide a shadow experience that is a minimum of four hours and a maximum of eight hours.
  • Provide a dress code to students if your firm requires one.
  • Provide lunch.
  • Remember: students are there to observe and accompany you on a typical workday — not to act as an assistant.
  • Reiterate to students that client and project material learned on-site is confidential.
  • The shadow experience should not be treated as a recruiting event.
  • Do not feel obligated to answer every question asked.
  • Do not pay the students for time spent at the work location.
  • If the student has traveled a significant distance for the shadow experience, firms and private practices are encouraged to subsidize some of the travel costs incurred.
  • Follow up with students after the shadow experience.
  • Do not judge a student based on what type of design program he/she attends.
  • Even if business is slow, there is still much a student can learn from you (see below).

Examples of Shadow Day Activities:

  • attend client meetings
  • attend team meetings
  • attend vendor meetings
  • visit design center
  • visit past projects
  • explore your design library
  • explain bookkeeping
  • review client binders and/or contracts
  • visit construction sites
  • review student’s resume and/or portfolio
  • demo CAD, Revit, SketchUp or other software programs
  • demo rendering