Answers from the QuestBridge Educator Advisory Committee:
- Spending time in casual conversation usually reveals a pretty detailed student story.
- Distributing a questionnaire to all juniors, which includes one or more college application essay prompts about their background or their story is one way. It can be optional, but encouraged, and let them know that you are asking as a way to help you get to know them and be able to direct them to college and scholarship opportunities.
- As an educator, counselor, or administrator I feel that getting your student's story is essential as a core component of the job. Many students are proud to share their stories, especially those you have overcome some level of adversity. Putting their basic story together with academic achievement and extracurricular activities you can begin to build the puzzle and determine if the student has a 'QuestBridge' story. Some stories will catch your attention immediately and have a impact; however, other stories may be hidden a little deeper and have built up over time.
- Try to shape your question in terms of "What makes you stand out from other students who have the same scores as you?" I often ask my students, 'How would I know you had to work hard to make these grades and test scores?" Most students in today's competitive college admissions culture probably have a sense of their "QuestBridge story" before you even ask them about it--it won't take much coaxing if they know what kind of money may be at stake.
- Students have to feel comfortable and want to share their story with you. Many willingly tell me their story. Because our population is so large, our guidance department and many of the teachers refer students to me that they feel have a genuine QuestBridge story.
- I ask students to tell me why a college education is important to them and to give me examples of how they have persevered and stayed focused despite daily challenges while excelling both in school and in their community.