New Advisor Guidelines

I. Identifying Your Values: Why do you want to be a MESA Advisor?

VALUES are the principles and qualities we care about most.

  1. Being a MESA Advisor is not just about work, it is about bringing life into balance. Understanding how our projects align with our life direction stimulates commitment and energy for those projects, reducing stress and making us more effective.
  2. A MESA Advisor achieves personal satisfaction and accomplishment by helping others.

II. Characteristics of a Successful MESA Advisor

  1. Leader
  2. Resourceful
  3. Positive and Optimistic Attitude
  4. Relationship Builder
  5. Motivator
  6. Creates a non-threatening learning environment

III. Understanding the Responsibilities of a MESA Advisor

SUCCESS equals met expectations.

  1. Buy into the MESA mission and make sure your values are in alignment with the program’s values. “To enable educationally disadvantaged students to prepare for and graduate from a four-year college and university with a math-based degree in engineering, the sciences, computer science, business or mathematics. Through MESA, students develop academic and leadership skills, increase educational performance, and gain confidence in their ability to compete professionally. To the extent allowed by law, MESA has particular interest in and focus on students from those groups who historically have had the lowest level of attainment in four-year and graduate level institutions.”
  2. Serve as an advocate for the MESA Program.
  3. Exercise all the successful characteristics of a MESA Advisor.
  4. Create a community of learners and college going culture within your MESA Chapter.
  5. Build a relationship with your students. Get to know them.
  6. Empower your students.
  7. Implement MESA Enrichment activities (hands-on activities).
  8. Meet center deliverables (deadlines) and administrative requirements.
    1. Return all required paperwork as shown on MESA Advisor Calendar.
  9. Meet with students for at least one hour per week.
  10. Recruit students that meet the MESA Student Profile.
    Note: MESA is not remedial; students with aptitude are supported to excel.
  11. Lead the MESA Chapter at your school.
  12. Attend all MESA Advisor Training Meetings (1 meeting/month / 4:00-6:00pm)
  13. Work closely with the MESA Center Coordinator.
  14. Attend Teacher training opportunities as appropriate.
  15. Attend MESA Day Preliminary at SJSU and any other appropriate fieldtrips.


IV. Leading the MESA Program: MESA Advisor Practicals

Get a clear vision of MESA
A clear definition and a clear list of expected results are critical to the success of your MESA Chapter. Find out where is MESA going and where it is NOT going.

Getting Organized
Have a plan. A Plan is a predetermined course of events or tasks in writing. Make sure that your plan meets the overall goals of the MESA program. Have a copy of the: MESA center’s mission, goals, objectives, and yearly calendar.

“Planning is the process of outguessing and outsmarting failure.”

Robert D. Gilgbreath

Prioritize your plan
Keep in mind that it takes time to develop a MESA Chapter and produce the desired results. Identify the projects and activities that you will focus on this year and discuss it with your MESA Center Coordinator and your students.

Identify your Resources and Use them!
Create a MESA Team(s) at your school. Use your students, school personnel, and/or parents. Keep a list of your resources including telephone numbers.

Marketing MESA
Get creative in reminding students about their MESA meetings. This is a good opportunity to market the MESA program to your school community.
  1. School Intercom
  2. School Website
  3. Flyers
  4. Science/Math Department Meetings
  5. Meeting w/school Counselor

Identifying Students
  1. First recruit prior MESA students (consult MESA site coordinator)
  2. Identify students from your classrooms that meet the MESA Student profile.
  3. Ask other teachers for help (use student recruitment recommendation letter).
  4. Ask your school counselor for help (use student recruitment recommendation letter).
  5. Identify a small group of students to help you.
  6. Send invitations to their classrooms.

Selecting Students
The MESA Center makes the final decision based on the MESA Advisor recommendation. MESA Advisor’s recommendations must honor the Center’s student profile.

Keeping Students
  1. Build a relationship with your students.
  2. Involve them in your planning and decisions.
  3. Follow-Up with Absentees- send them a notice to their class.
  4. Identify a Student Retention Officer to assist you with follow-up.
  5. Be creative with you activities.
  6. Provide incentives (i.e. MESA Bucks)
  7. Create a non-threatening learning environment.
  8. Empower your students to take a leading role within the MESA Chapter.
  9. Always keep a positive attitude!

Empowering students
  1. Involve your students by giving them a role and deciding who is going to take responsibility for a given task.
  2. Create teams within your MESA Chapter such as:
    1. High School Student Officers (Optional)
    2. Ice-Breakers/Short Activities Team
    3. Administrative Team
    4. Attendance
    5. Agenda
    6. MESA Bucks (for incentive prizes)
    7. Use students as speakers
    8. Recruiting Team
    9. Retention Team
    10. MESA Day Team
    11. Sign-Ups
  3. Acknowledge student leadership.
  4. Hold elections for MESA Officers (High School).
  5. Hold officers meetings (i.e. during lunch)
  6. Have them facilitate an activity (i.e., ice breakers, team building activities)
  7. Communicate with your students.

Advisor Meeting Structure (1 Hour Meeting)
Develop a structure for your MESA Chapter class.
Welcome/Attendance Advisor/Student 5 minutes
Ice-Breaker/Teambuilding Student(s) 10 minutes
Activity Advisor/Student(s) 35 minutes
Follow-Up (i.e., collect forms)   5 minutes
Announcements   5 minutes

First Meeting
  1. Tell your students about yourself.
  2. Get to know your students.
  3. Ask them about their career interests, sports, hobbies, etc…
  4. Tell them about the MESA Program overall. How will it help them? What are some of the exciting activities they could get involved in?
  5. Tell them what you want MESA to look like at your school (i.e. a community, a team, group of student leaders working together to succeed). Motivate them! Tell them that you care about their success.
  6. Review student expectations.
  7. Distribute a MESA Student Enrollment Form/Application (EF) and a Parent Authorization Form (PA).

MESA Advisor Resources
  • MESA Center Staff
  • Students
  • Counselors
  • Other teachers
  • Principal/A.P./V.P
  • Other School Personnel
  • Parents


V. MESA Advisor Time Commitment

Planning/Administrative 10
Student Meetings at School Sites 36

Advisor Meetings 16
TOTAL 78 hrs.

VI. Welcome to MESA!

To sign up and be a MESA Advisor you must complete the Advisor Profile Form online and schedule a planning meeting with the designated MESA Coordinator at your school.


Contact Info

MESA Schools Program
College of Science DH-241
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0099
T: 408.924.3798  |  F: 408.924.4026
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