Answers from the QuestBridge Educator Advisory Committee:
- I plant the seeds for the "early in the year crush" during the second half of the previous year, that way they are fully prepared to devote the necessary time and effort to the QB process.
- Do some prep work in the spring and over the summer so that you are prepared to hit the ground running when school opens. Getting to know juniors early helps a great deal. Drafting letters of recommendation for potential candidates for QuestBridge and individual colleges' early application programs can be a sanity-saver in September. Creating a calendar or timeline with all deadlines, and benchmarks along the way, is helpful for professionals and for students, too.
- I believe ground work begins in the spring by identifying the juniors in your school for the scholarship program. You really need to know who you want to approach about QuestBridge when the doors open in the fall. Many seniors might now think that they need to get started so early in the process; however, for QuestBridge the seniors need time and plenty of support to work through the process in the early fall. By having your list of student to contact you can continue on with your normal duties and not have to search and dig for students that might meet the program qualifications.
- Set internal deadlines! Look at your own calendar and compare it with the QuestBridge calendar--and make students stick to the deadlines that work best for you in that framework. It's not wrong to insist on this if you know (and can tell the student) that it will allow you to craft a better application.
- This is truly where time management comes into play. The majority of our QuestBridge applicants are identified as juniors. They understand the process and are responsible for meeting their deadlines. Since I know them and write their recommendations, I attempt to begin a few over the summer. They are also one of the first groups I meet with in the fall.
- I write all of my letters of recommendations for all seniors during the summer after their junior year. I am able to tweak that letter based upon summer experiences and further interviews with students. If writing letters for all students during the summer is not possible, then attempt to write letters for those students who may have "high visibility" during the fall, such as National Merit/Achievement, ED/EA applicants and prospective QuestBridge scholars. By completing these letters, you have a foundation to start the counselor report or recommendation form.