How can I help parents of first generation students understand the benefits of sending their student to one of these great colleges?

QuestBridge -

Answers from the QuestBridge Educator Advisory Committee:

  • For me, casual works best, so I make sure that once a student qualifies as a good QuestBridge candidate, I meet with the parents. These are very relaxed, casual meetings with lots of questions and answers. I try to paint verbal pictures of the student's future for the parents and encourage more discussion.
  • It helps to present the economic benefits of a college degree, along with the reputation and opportunities available specifically at the college partners, including small class size, undergraduate research, graduate and professional school admissions records, and some of the specialized programs each offers. The financial aid offers at these colleges are also spectacular, highlighting these helps too.
  • I think it goes back to involvement and allowing the parent to be active in the application process and aiding from day one....once involved in the process the parents will see first hand how QuestBridge can begin opening doors for their son or daughter. Many parents may not understand how the finances work since they have never been through the process and you may need to spend time with them reviewing the paperwork from the various schools and help them understand what is being offered and what is the next step in the process.
  • As the counselor or educator this many be where you need to give more support, not just meeting deadlines or writing recommendations, but maybe emotional support for the decisions that are being made by student and parents alike.
  • I have found that they often take very little convincing--so much data supports the power of an education at a great college...but most parents won't even need you to quote statistics or amounts before seeing the benefits.
  • We explain the myriad opportunities that QuestBridge college partners offer the students. We also discuss how these opportunities translate into positive change and growth for generations to come. During the past twelve years, we have a Great Minds Panel come in and speak to the students. This panel is comprised of  more than a dozen of our former graduates who attend colleges throughout the nation. It is a very popular panel!  Let's face it; QuestBridge is a win-win situation. We are fortunate. Rarely do the parents of our first generation students refuse to allow their student to embrace such a wondrous opportunity.
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    Barry Carrus

    I find in many instances, that our QB applicants not only come from families of first generation college students, but in many cases are the first in their family to actually graduate high school. It's best to first attempt to explain the advantages that continued education provides a student. From there the discussion can become more focused on college in general, and then more specifically to QuestBridge partner colleges. I find that trying to make real life analogies for the parents works the best. "Do you know what university your doctor graduated from?...." "Would you want to go to a doctor that graduated from one of the best schools in the nation or just any school?" After more discussion like that, with more real life examples, the parents really key in on the value of the partner colleges and the opportunities they offer their students.

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