Sample Protégé Guidelines

Congratulations on being accepted as a participant in the [name of program]! This program [description of program activities].


You will learn to use the Internet to explore your academic and career interests. You will communicate electronically from home using a computer, modem, software, an Internet network connection, and, if necessary, special adaptive technology. Frequent electronic communications and personal contacts will bring you together with mentors, who will promote your academic, career, and personal achievements. Mentors are college students and professionals in science, engineering, math, technology, and other fields, many with disabilities themselves.

Peer Mentoring

You will develop and practice communication and leadership skills by becoming a peer mentor for incoming participants. You will also recruit students into the program.

After you graduate from high school, you have the option of becoming a mentor. Mentor responsibilities encompass those of other participants, with the addition of the following:

  • Share college experiences with new participants and give college and career transition advice based on these experiences.
  • Mentor younger participants, and help monitor the mentoring discussion list to make sure all participants stay active and netiquette rules are followed, mainly by setting a good example.


I'm sure you can think of one or more people in your life who have supplied information, offered advice, presented a challenge, initiated friendship, or simply expressed an interest in your development as a person. Without their intervention you might have remained on the same path, perhaps continuing a horizontal progression through your academic, career, or personal life.

Mentors are valuable resources to you. As guides, counselors, teachers, and friends, they inspire and facilitate academic, career, and personal achievements. Relationships developed with your mentors become channels for the passage of information, advice, opportunities, challenges, and sup-port with the ultimate goals of facilitating achievement and having fun.

Mentors offer the following:

  • Information
    Mentors share their knowledge, experiences, and wisdom.
  • Contacts
    Mentors provide valuable opportunities by facilitating academic, career, and personal contacts.
  • Challenges
    Mentors stimulate curiosity and build confidence by presenting new ideas, opportunities, and challenges.
  • Support
    Mentors encourage growth and achievement by providing an open and supportive environment.
  • Goal Setting
    Mentors help you discover talents and interests and define and attain your goals.
  • Advice
    Mentors guide you in reaching academic, career, and personal goals.
  • Role Models
    By sharing their stories of achievement with you, mentors can become your role models.

To get to know mentors:

  • Ask them about their personal interests and their interests and experiences in academics and careers.
  • Introduce yourself. Share your personal, academic, and career interests and plans.
  • Seek their advice about college preparation, entrance, and success. Ask about career options. Discuss disability-related accommodation issues.


Safety is an important issue for anyone using the Internet but even more so for minors. It is important that you learn how to identify potential danger and avoid it. Read Kids' Rules for Online Safety, published at,

Our program promotes group mentoring, in which groups of mentors and protégés discuss ideas and a staff member is always part of the discussion. You should not give out personal information to people you do not already know. Do not respond to electronic messages that you receive from anyone if you are not comfortable with the content. Immediately report offensive or troubling electronic mail messages to your parents and program staff.


Follow these electronic mail guidelines.

  • Keep paragraphs in your messages short, and separate paragraphs with blank spaces.
  • Avoid covering several topics in one message. Instead, send several messages. Then the receiver can respond to each topic separately.
  • Use mixed upper- and lower-case letters. Avoid using control characters or special keys.
  • It's friendly to begin a message with the real name of the person with whom you are corresponding. End the message with your real name.
  • When replying to a message that was sent to you, include the email message to which you are replying. You may want to delete parts of it that do not relate to your reply.
  • Do not use words others might find offensive. Avoid personal attacks. Don't engage in name calling.
  • Do not participate in conversations that would not be acceptable to your parents and/or program staff.
  • Do not engage in conversations that you are not comfortable with. Immediately report offensive or troubling electronic mail messages that you receive to [name and email address].
  • Remember that an electronic mail message is easy for recipients to forward to others and, therefore, is not appropriate for very personal messages—it's more like a postcard than a sealed letter.
  • Take advantage of the spell check feature.
  • Review your message BEFORE you send it.

What Is an "Active" Participant?

We encourage you to pursue your interests in college studies and careers. Program activities are to help you in these efforts. To remain on the program team you must be "active." You are considered active if you do, at the minimum, all of the following:

  • Read and respond to electronic mail messages at least once per week.
  • Respond to every personal message sent to you by a mentor, participant, or staff member (response may be as simple as "Thanks for the information").
  • Regularly communicate with participants. Send email messages to the group list at least once every two weeks.
  • Send greetings to new participants and to other students with disabilities upon request.
  • Use the computer and electronic resources in your regular academic classes (for example, use word processing software to write papers, or use electronic resources to obtain information to use in class papers, projects, or discussions).
  • Attend program on-site events when possible.

Acknowledgment: These guidelines were adapted from the DO-IT publication Guidelines for DO-IT Scholars and Ambassadors at Permission is granted to reproduce this content provided the source is acknowledged.