The person who knows your goals, needs, and passions best is you. Take a few minutes to reflect on the following questions. Jotting down answers to this self-appraisal will help you assess what you have to offer, and need from, your mentoring relationships.

For a more specific tool to help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and to identify opportunities and obstacles, see Worksheet 2, Strategies for success in mentoring: Personal evaluation.


What are my goals for graduate school and beyond?

  • What connects my prior experiences and my decision to go to graduate school?
  • What do I hope an advanced degree will help me do?
  • What type of training do I desire and what skills do I need to develop?
  • What kinds of research or creative projects do I want to work on?
  • What type of career do I want to pursue?
  • What kinds of networks might I need to develop?
  • What work or training experiences inside and outside my department might I need?
  • How do I want my learning to impact communities beyond the university?

What are my strengths and weaknesses?

  • What skills do I bring to graduate study (e.g., creative, analytical, organizational, etc.)?
  • What skill areas do I need to work on?
  • What experiences might help me strengthen my skills?

What is my preferred work style?

  • Do I like to work independently or collaboratively, or some combination of both?
  • Do I like to manage meetings with an agenda, or do I prefer to let priorities emerge during meetings?
  • How does my work style help or occasionally prevent me from learning?