Here are five scenarios where relationship mapping can be useful:
- If you’re trying to teach students about the power of networks and social capital: Use relationship mapping to start the conversation. There’s a simple reason why mapping relationships is a critical first step to investing in students’ networks: visualizing their own network can ensure that students learn about networking through a personal and asset-based lens.
- If you’re trying to increase the likelihood that students mobilize their
networks: Attach mapping to personal goals and real-world stakes. Building a network doesn’t just have to be about students meeting new people; it can be about students having new types of conversations with people they already know.
- If you’re trying to increase students’ sense of belonging and access to support: Find out who students already trust. Particularly in light of the pandemic, schools are focused on belonging and support as crucial ingredients to helping students thrive. Instead of assigning support, relationship mapping offers the opportunity to first ask students whom they already feel they can trust or depend on.
- If you’re trying to expand students’ professional networks: Start with the employers students and their families already know. Schools and career centers often look for ways to expand students’ professional networks by inviting guest speakers, mentors, and alumni to meet their students. While those new connections can be helpful, this approach tends to ignore the professional networks that may already surround students.
- If you’re trying to boost persistence and success long-term: Use maps to remind students about various connections they’ve formed along the way. A relationship or network map can be a tool for students to revisit and expand on their networks as new goals or challenges emerge. Often, that means pairing maps with coaching and support on help-seeking behaviors, and revisiting these maps on a consistent basis to update and reflect on progress.
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