How do I know which students to refer if I don't know their financial background?

QuestBridge -

Answers from the QuestBridge Educator Advisory Committee: 

  • The easiest way to get an indication is to see if the student qualifies for free or reduced lunch. I also make it a point to invite interested students to my room for lunch, breakfast, whatever. Casual conversation ensues and someone intuitive enough to be an educator will certainly get a family "vibe".
  • One way is to ask students to self-refer. You can announce that if students qualify for Free or Reduced lunch, there are many college prep and college scholarship opportunities for them, and ask that they see you individually. These students are potential candidates for ACT, SAT and college application fee waivers, as well as QuestBridge candidates. You can also ask teachers and other staff to refer students if they have first-hand knowledge of financial need.
  • At my home school we have a "Senior Information Form" that students complete at the beginning of each year and on this form is a financial section where they select a from a range of household incomes (utilized in need based local scholarships in the spring). Sometimes I am just honest with the students. I provide them with the qualifications and simply ask if they qualify.
  • If you have access to a list of student with free- or reduced-lunch eligibility, see if you can look at that list and compare it to a list of high-ranking students that your counselor can provide. Alternately, you can trust your gut and approach students that you think might qualify--all you are doing is sharing a scholarship opportunity that hinges somewhat on family finances; if the student seems uncomfortable discussing it, the conversation can be dropped easily.
  • We carefully scour our records for appropriate students who receive free or reduced lunch.  Our faculty also keeps a watchful eye out for students who have the appropriate grades and a low income, but do not to apply for free or reduced lunch.
  • I am able to obtain a list of students who qualify for Free/Reduced lunch at our school. Also, students who qualify for Free/Reduced usually will request a Fee Waiver for ACT/SAT tests.
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  • 0
    Barry Carrus

    Development of a casual rapport over time with potential QuestBridge applicants is the best way for me to learn most of what I need to proceed with a recommendation.

  • 0
    Shelly Gorman

    Because we no longer have access to information regarding the federal school lunch program, I tell students about testing and college application fee waivers and fee reductions for eligible students, including providing the income guidelines, then ask students to voluntarily self-identify on the "College Prep Update Surveys"  I give to Juniors and Seniors each Fall.  This has been a great help. Sometimes a coach, Advisory Teacher, or another staff member can provide good info, too.

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