Answers from the QuestBridge Educator Advisory Committee:
- Become as familiar with the process and the QB website yourself as possible so that student questions can be easily answered. Make a specific time that you can be available for your QB students; inviting students to lunch works really well.
- First and foremost, reminding them that they are clearly "college material," and that financial aid is available is essential. Then, check in to see how they are progressing with their application, offer to read and give feedback, remind them of deadlines for testing, application, ranking colleges. Since many of them are in multiple AP or honors classes, in activities, working and/or have significant responsibilities at home, these reminders are a great help, and a reminder that you believe in them.
- Deadlines and Timelines....make a chart that you can hand to the student along with information that outlines all of the deadlines that they MUST meet in order to participate in the program. I created a generic timeline with suggested dates that certain tasks need accomplished in order to get all documentation submitted on time. Keep in regular contact with all applicants and ensure that they have all of the records they need. My best advice is to be the biggest cheerleader possible. They are applying to an amazing program and the application process is detailed and they may need the encouragement at the beginning of their senior year, be sure to give that to them; because they deserve the accolades.
- Be aware of deadlines and always be ready with "gentle reminders" and access to a computer. Help other teachers understand the importance of the application and why it can be so time-consuming, albeit briefly, for the student.
- Patience is key because the students become frantic! They want to attend a QuestBridge school! Being truthful works. I explain just how competitive the process is and the importance of throwing their hat into the ring. I also meet with them to do "Justincase" and to shore up their Plan B. It is not easy, but I make myself available to them, during the application period. Believe it or not, the QuestBridge experience serves as a life lesson.
- By requesting a 10-15 minute meeting at least twice per week to check in on progress regarding essay, requests for teacher recommendations and completion of the application. By doing this, you can ensure that students aren't attempting to complete everything at the last minute.