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International Interior Design Association

Chicago, IL
Toll Free: 888 799 4432
International: +01 312 467 1950

Student FAQs

About the Student Mentoring Program
Registration and Pairings
Mentoring Day

About the IIDA Student Mentoring Program


Why should I participate?

The Student Mentoring Program offers IIDA Student members a chance to gain insight into a career in the interior design community by shadowing a professional for a day.

When is the IIDA Student Mentoring Program?

The Student Mentoring Program is an annual program that runs during the month of March. For the 2020 program, the mentoring window has been extended through June 5, 2020. We encourage students and mentors to connect virtually over the next several months.

Does it cost money for students to participate?

The Student Mentoring Program is free for all IIDA Student members.

I am not an IIDA Student Member, can I participate?

This opportunity is available to student members only. Interested in becoming a student member? Visit our students page. You may register for this program as soon as you become a member!

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Registration and Pairings


How do I register for the Student Mentoring Program?

Registration is currently closed and will re-open in November 2020.

What are the registration dates?

Registration for students opens on Thursday, November 14, 2019, and closes on Friday, January 31, 2020. Applicants will be notified of their student / mentor pairings on Monday, February 10, 2020.

Do I get a mentor for the whole month?

Even though the IIDA Student Mentoring Program runs for the entire month of March, you will be paired with a mentor for a one day job shadowing session. Sessions will be scheduled between you and your mentor based on both of your availabilities. The mentoring window has been extended through June 5, 2020. We encourage students and mentors to connect virtually over the next several months. 

How much time do I need to set aside for my mentoring day?

The exact length of your mentoring experience depends on the mentor. However, we recommend leaving a full business day available (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) to make the most out of the program. For virtual mentoring, you can connect virtually over over one day or through multiple, shorter sessions. 

Can I request a specific mentor?

All pairings are based on vicinity. We will do our best to incorporate the information you give us when you sign up to find the best match for you!

Do I have to travel?

Yes. In some cases, you may be required to travel up to one hour to reach your mentor's location. We will attempt to pair you with someone from your area so you may try and arrange a carpool. To keep our community healthy, we recommend virtual mentoring to avoid travel and support social distancing.

Can a friend and I sign up to be paired with the same mentor?

We cannot promise that you will get paired with your friend, however, any special requests can be sent to or included in the sign-up form. We will do our best to honor them.

When will I find out who my mentor is?

Applicants will be notified of their student/mentor pairings on Monday, February 10, 2020.

What if I have to cancel?

Please contact if you need to cancel before you are paired with a mentor. If you have received your pairing, please contact your mentor directly to reschedule. We understand priorities have changed, but we encourage you to participate in the Student Mentoring Program virtually. For helpful tips or questions, please contact

If I register, am I guaranteed a mentor?

We cannot guarantee that you will be paired for an on-site mentorship as it depends on the availability of mentors in your area. However, we will do everything we can to ensure you will participate.

What happens if I do not get paired with a mentor or there is no one in my area?

If no mentors are available in your area, we will reach out to any local contacts we have in attempt to find you one. If that doesn't work, we may connect you with other options within driving distance. If we still cannot find a mentor for you, we will attempt to organize a virtual mentoring session.

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Mentoring Day


What can I expect on the day of my mentoring session?

Your mentoring day may, but is not required to, include a firm, factory, or showroom tour, portfolio or resume review, client meetings, site visits, team brainstorming sessions, project presentations, review of contracts and client binders, new software demos, Q&A sessions, and more. Every mentor has something different to offer, sometimes from what you might expect, and we recommend being open-minded to the experience. We recommend virtual mentoring to support social distancing. Virtual mentoring can still include many of the items above through phone or video conferencing and can be completed over several virtual sessions or on one day.

What should I wear?

You should dress in business appropriate attire unless otherwise notified by your mentor. Dress so that you are comfortable walking, standing, and visiting clients. We suggest comfortable, closed-toe dress shoes, dress slacks, button down shirt or blouse. For virtual mentoring, the same tips apply. Make sure to be camera ready! 

What should I bring?

Bring business cards, a note pad, and money for lunch. Check with your mentor to see if you should bring your resume and/or portfolio. Have a digital resume and your portfolio ready to share. Be prepared to virtually share each and discuss through screen share.

Any tips on how to make the most out of my day? 

We encourage you to read the IIDA Student Mentoring Guide for mentees for tips on how to prepare and what to do to make a lasting connection and best first impression with your mentor. Read the guide

Will I get reimbursed for my travel expenses?

IIDA does not reimburse any expenses for the Student Mentoring Program.

I heard I could win $1,000. How?

The Wilsonart Student Education Fund, part of the IIDA Foundation, is proud to offer a $1,000 prize to the winner of the Wilsonart Essay Competition. Only students participating in the Student Mentoring Program are eligible to enter by submitting an original essay reflecting on their mentoring experience.

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Win $1,000! Enter the Wilsonart Essay Competition