Invite Your Alumni Back to Speak

The alumni of a school is the strongest community available that I believe isn't tapped into enough

Photo of Mina Kobayashi
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I'm not exactly sure if this is the right category to put this under, but I think it fits! Schools (middle schools, high schools, colleges) - invite your alumni back! Most likely, they will be willing. If not, then you don't want them there anyway. Your alumni were in your students shoes at one point. They understand your specific school culture, the demands, the needs, etc. Invite them to speak about their journey to spark inspiration and to contribute to the college-going culture.

Middle school is a crucial time, especially in NYC, because it's your high school grades and activities (and the rigor of your HS if you're in NYC) that start counting toward your college application. As much as a teacher might tell them that, they are higher authority. High school would obviously be a great time to do this because the college process starts. College is also valuable to motivate students to succeed, graduate, and to think about a career. One important thing - make sure that the alumni you bring back reflects the population of students you are inviting into the room. For example, invite alumni of color to speak in front of the students of color at a college.

Choose alumni that you are proud of and you know will be willing to stick around and talk to students afterwards. Alumni who are willing to leave their contact information and are open to speak to current students if they choose to contact them.

This is not a lasting mentorship solution. However, it's a really easy one to execute. It's the first step to exposure, especially to people current students can relate to. It begins to instill the value of networking and a community. That even people outside of their teachers or family are here to support them. To show that they are part of a larger community that the school has worked to maintain. A strong alumni network can be extremely valuable. 


Join the conversation:

Photo of James

Hi Mina, I am James and I serve as a guild coach.  I like that your plan keeps graduates involved in there school.  I left high school and never went back.  I think your idea builds long-lasting community.  What's next in your process?

Photo of Mina

Hi James. That's a fair question, but I don't think I have an answer. I'm not in my home state, so I personally can't go back to my schools. I'm hoping by sharing this idea, college counselors or teachers will take it into account and start reaching out to alumni, especially since spring break is coming up!

Photo of James

Yes, I immediately shared the  idea with our Alumni Affairs office because it is a good idea.  I wonder if you could continue to flesh out the framework.  This might provide a step by step game plan for anyone willing to implement your idea.  

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