Student Expectations

  • A student should only apply for a mentorship out of a sincere interest in a specific subject area. If you are not sure if you are a good fit for a mentorship or what subject area you are interested in, please discuss this with the mentorship director before submitting an application.  
  • The student is responsible for making sure the mentorship application and all paperwork is submitted to the mentorship director by the appropriate deadlines. The student is also responsible for any forms the mentor requires as part of initiating the mentorship project (e.g. release forms)  
  • Students are responsible for ensuring that they have at least four hours of open time in their class schedules for a mentorship. The time can be split over more than one day, but each session should be at least two hours long. If classroom instruction does not allow time for a mentorship, the student must request a scheduling change from the vice president of academic services.  
  • Once the student and the mentor have agreed on a weekly schedule, the student should inform the mentorship director. The mentorship will then be included on the student’s class schedule.  
  • If the mentorship is within walking distance of the OSSM campus, students are responsible for getting to and from their destination at scheduled times. OSSM will provide transportation for students who must travel farther away, but they are responsible for meeting designated drivers at the prescribed day, time and place.  
  • Students must check out of the dormitory each time they go to their mentorship and check in upon returning to campus.  
  • If a student has to miss a session, the mentor must be informed by phone or email as far in advance as possible. Valid reasons for missing a mentorship include school-sponsored events, a temporary change in class scheduling, illness or family emergency. Students may also be excused from mentorship for inclement weather but only when transportation is not available. Missing a mentorship in order to study for exams or work on class assignments is not acceptable. If a mentor excuses the student from mentorship early, the student should return to campus immediately and use the free time wisely.  
  • The mentor will establish the goals of the project, but the student is expected to become familiar with these goals and any techniques or skills required. 
  • The student must write a short proposal at the beginning of the mentorship that describes the goals of the project. The student will also be required to submit periodic progress reports during the school year. 
  • The student will be expected to learn and comply with all safety rules as provided by the mentor. 
  • Students must follow the same codes of conduct at their mentorship that apply when at school. This includes rules about proper dress and use of electronic devices. 
  • At the end of the mentorship, the student must give an oral presentation and written summary of his or her project.

Mentor Expectations

  • Anyone who volunteers to serve as a mentor for an OSSM student agrees to provide a safe, educational, and productive experience. 
  • The mentor and the student should work together to come up with a project that fits the student’s interests and capabilities, as well as contributes to the mentor’s overall research or business goals. Some mentors permit students to design their own projects while others involve students with existing projects. The project should have meaningful, specific, and feasible objectives that the student is responsible for. The project does not need to be completed by the end of the mentorship however the goals of the project should be possible to complete within the timeframe of the program (usually one or two semesters). 
  • The mentor may permit the student to be supervised by one or more staff members (lab technicians, postdoctoral fellows, assistants, etc.) during the course of the project as necessary. However, the student should not be expected to work on tasks that are not directly relevant to their project. 
  • The mentor is expected to provide relevant safety training to the student and to ensure that the student is in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations set forth by the mentor’s institution.  
  • The mentor should not expect the student to work on a project at times that conflict with the student’s class schedule or the OSSM academic calendar. Students are only permitted to be at their mentorship between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Temporary exceptions to these rules can be granted with permission from the student’s parent or guardian and the OSSM dean of students.  
  • Students may not receive payment for any work accomplished as part of their mentorship. 
  • Mentors make a generous donation of their time and resources by allowing OSSM students to work with them. This includes the costs of any equipment or supplies that are necessary to complete the student’s project. Neither the student, the student’s family, nor OSSM will be expected to reimburse the mentor or the mentor’s organization for these costs. 
  • At the end of the mentorship program, the mentor should help the student produce an oral and written presentation about the project. Oral presentations are open to the public and mentors are strongly encouraged (but not required) to attend.  
  • In lieu of the oral presentation, the student may participate in the Graduate Research, Education and Technology (GREAT) symposium at the OU Health Sciences Center. 
  • The student’s paper must be approved by the mentor in order for him or her to complete the mentorship program and receive credit. The paper should be a thorough description of the student’s project including a detailed description of the rationale for the project, the methods used and the results. 

Application Procedure

All students interested in a mentorship, should consult with the Mentorship Director who will make decisions about selection for the program and placement with mentors. The Mentorship Director can help the student focus on his or her area of interest prior to completing the application. The Mentorship Director maintains a list of previous mentors by discipline and particular fields of research. If a student is interested in working with a particular mentor, the student should discuss this possibility with the Mentorship Director.

All students who wish to participate in the mentorship program must fill out the online mentorship application. The application asks for specific information about the student’s interests and goals. Once the application has been submitted, the Mentorship Director will review it for approval. Approval depends on meeting three primary criteria:

Demonstration of a clear and specific interest in a particular field of study. 
Good academic standing including no more than two grades of 80 or below and no failing grades on the student’s most recent grade report
A class schedule with at least four hours per week of open time 
Students must also maintain an exemplary conduct report in order to participate in a mentorship. Students who are not approved for any reason my reapply as necessary. The deadline to apply is generally two weeks after the beginning of the semester in which the mentorship is scheduled to occur.


Mentor selection

Once the student’s application has been approved, the Mentorship Coordinator will arrange an interview between the student and the potential mentor to discuss mutual interests and feasible projects. As the student visits with his/her potential mentor, the student must keep in mind the amount of work and time involved in the research project. The mentor and student should consider the student’s schedule and the guidelines of OSSM before committing to work together.  

If the student and the potential mentor agree on the mentorship, a work schedule will be established and the proposal will be discussed. If the student and the potential mentor are not compatible, additional interviews with potential mentors will be arranged by the Mentorship Director. 


Once a mentorship has been approved, and a mentor selected, it is the responsibility of the student to complete and submit the following to the Mentorship Proposal and Mentorship Consent Form to the Mentorship Director. 

Mentorship Proposal

Once a mentor has been selected, the student, with input from his/her mentor, is required to write a mentorship proposal. It should contain a description of the project including the hypothesis or justification, goals and methods. It should also state the extent of the commitment including a time line of the project and the amount of time per week it will require. It should also describe how the final project will be presented and any other specific goals or expectations set by the mentor. 

Mentorship Progress Report 

After the mentorship has begun, the student must submit periodic progress reports to the Mentorship Director. The report should detail all major developments in the project and any major changes from the project proposal. 

Mentorship Consent Form 

The consent form is a formal document which the student must sign. If the student is under 18 years of age, his/her legal guardian must also sign the form. The consent form notes the personal commitment and responsibility of the student toward the mentorship and outlines OSSM’s limited liability in case of accident. 


At the completion of the mentorship the student must submit a written report and an oral presentation summarizing the project. The paper will be due to the mentorship director before the last day of classes of spring semester. The paper must be read and approved by the mentor before being submitted. 

The oral presentation can be in the form of a poster or a seminar. Students who wish to present their project as a poster will participate in the Graduate Research Education and Technology (GREAT) Symposium at the OU Health Sciences Center. The symposium is usually held at the beginning of the month of April. The abstracts for the symposium are usually due in February. 

Seminar presentations will be held on the OSSM campus. Students will be responsible for scheduling their own presentations. All presentations must be completed before the last week of classes of spring semester. Following the oral presentation, the student should be prepared to answer questions from the audience. The mentor is not required to attend the presentation but they are welcome and encouraged to attend. The mentor should approve the presentation before it is given.  


Students can receive ¼ unit of credit per semester of participation in the mentorship program. To receive full credit, the student must meet the requirements established in the proposal, and submit a satisfactory written and oral report.  

If the student withdraws from their mentorship prior to the end of the semester no grade will be reported. However if the student’s mentorship is not completed or terminated by the end of the semester, the mentorship student’s transcript will indicate a grade of ‘unsatisfactory’.