CSC Mentoring Programme- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Who can apply to take part in the programme?


  • All 2023 Commonwealth Scholars studying in the UK
  • Continuing PhD Scholars


  • All Commonwealth Alumni at least one year post-Scholarship
  • Current Mentors may apply to take part for another year

What does it mean if I apply and am not paired?

There are a greater number of eligible Commonwealth Alumni than incoming Scholars. This typically means the programme receives more applications for Mentors than Mentees and as such, not all Mentor applications can be paired.

Pairings are made based on application responses across a number of areas, including: pairing country preference; Mentor and Mentee subject and/or field of study; topic area; key words; motivations for becoming a Mentor/Mentee; and the professional experience of a Mentor.

Will I receive feedback on my application?

We are unable to provide feedback on individual applications. We encourage all unsuccessful applicants to apply to the programme in future, or submit a request to volunteer for any similar opportunities by contacting the CSC Alumni Team at

About the pairing

Will I have the same Mentor/Mentee throughout the programme?

Yes, you will have the same Mentor/Mentee for the duration of the year-long cycle.

Will I be paired with a Mentor/Mentee from the same subject area?

Pairings are made based on application responses across a number of areas, including: pairing country preference; Mentor/Mentee subject and/or field of study; topic area; key words; motivations for becoming a Mentor/Mentee; and the professional experience of a Mentor.

Where possible, the CSC will match applicants using the above information. You should note, direct matches (Mentee and Mentor studied the same subject at the same institution) are rare and not the aim of the programme.

Are all pairings successful?

During the programme there is the possibility that not all pairings will continue and complete the cycle. In these situations, the Alumni Team will terminate the pairing. Reasons for unsuccessful pairings vary and some are outlined below:

  • Mentor/Mentee has not submitted their agreement form confirming participation
  • Mentor/Mentee can no longer participate in the programme due to other commitments and/or unforeseen circumstances
  • Mentor/Mentee mutually agree that the pairing cannot continue

The Alumni Team do not guarantee to provide an alternative pairing but encourage unsuccessful participants to seek out alternative means of support through CSC activities.

What should a Mentor/Mentee do if there is a disagreement?

You should refer to the section on constructive feedback in Mentoring Programme Handbooks available on the CSC website. The information on constructive feedback will support pairs in having healthy and positive mentoring conversations. If you still have any concerns about how to go about this or are unable to reconcile differences, please contact

Can a Mentor engage a third person or expert to help their Mentee regarding a specific need?

The CSC Mentoring Programme connects Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni in a one-to-one relationship. You can recommend a third person with an expert opinion based on the specific needs of your Mentee, however you must not share any personal details, including names, without first gaining consent from both parties to be connected.

Can Mentors proof-read essays?

Mentors can provide guidance, look at sections of work, but should not edit whole chapters or essays, as this is not the purpose of a Mentor.

If a Mentee goes to the same university as their Mentor, and is doing a similar course, can they share notes or past exams papers?

This practice can be frowned upon in some UK institutions. Mentees should contact their course coordinator if they wish to view or access these materials.

Meeting your Mentor/Mentee

Who should initiate the first introduction?

The Mentor should always make the first contact via email and introduce themselves. You can read guidance on the type of information to share in initial communications in the Mentoring Programme Handbooks.

Is a physical meeting between Mentors and Mentees allowed?

In most cases, this will not be possible as Mentors and Mentees will be located in different countries during the study period. As such, contact will be via virtual platforms.

If Mentors and Mentees are in the same country for any reason, you may wish to meet in person, however you must adhere to government and other guidance regarding in person meetings. Please check all COVID-19 and other guidelines before arranging this in the first instance and ensure that you both feel comfortable with meeting in person. Mentors and Mentees must decline such meetings if they do not feel safe and should meet in a setting that works for both parties (e.g. public space).

What is the minimum commitment to meet every month?

The minimum commitment of engagement is two hours every month. You can organise this time in whatever way works best for your goals and time commitments.

Can I meet with my Mentor/Mentee more than 2 hours in a month?

Yes, you can. You will both need to agree meetings and time commitments.

What if I do not hear from my Mentor/Mentee, despite repeatedly trying to get in touch with them?

When contacting your Mentor/Mentee, keep in mind that they may have reasons to not respond immediately. The reasons could include important work/study deadlines, travel, illness, or other personal reasons. Always provide a sufficient deadline for them to respond by and if you still fail to hear back, notify the CSC Alumni Team at

Goal setting

What type of goals can I set?

It is important to set clear goals at the start of the cycle so you know what support your Mentor/Mentee needs to provide, and you understand what you can ask them about. Goals may relate to academic, professional, and personal growth. Please refer to the SMART goals framework in the Mentoring Programme Handbooks.

Should Mentors set goals?

The CSC Mentoring Programme is a two-way learning experience for Mentees and Mentors. It is as important for Mentors to set goals as it is for Mentees. As a Mentor, you should think carefully about what you would like to learn from your Mentee and the skills you would like to develop as a Mentor. Please refer to the SMART goals framework in the Mentoring Programme Handbooks.

Post-mentoring programme

Will I get a certificate for participating in the programme?

Participants who complete the full mentoring cycle and complete the final feedback survey will receive a certificate confirming their participation.

Can Mentors and Mentees continue to stay in touch after completing the formal Mentoring Programme?

We encourage Mentors and Mentees to discuss whether they would like to keep in contact following the end of the formal programme and you should discuss this during the final stage. It is important to remember that the dynamics of this relationship may be different post-programme.