Asset 1ScholarMatch

Training Module 2

Understanding our students and helping them overcome barriers to accessing and persisting through college.

About this Module

The three articles we’ve selected for you to read in this module highlight a few of the obstacles our students face in the college application process and once they arrive on their college campus. Our mastery assignment at the end of the module checks for understanding and explores what role we can play in helping students navigate these obstacles. You will be required to answer the questions in the Mastery Assignment listed at the bottom of this webpage. Feel free to review these questions before you begin reading. 

We estimate this training should take around 30-45 minutes (including mastery assignment).

Understanding Our Students

ScholarMatch makes college possible for underserved youth, from application all the way to college graduation. We do so by focusing on what our students need most: hands-on support applying to college, financial assistance, and a support system through college.

For our Destination College program, we want to center the challenges, needs, and strengths of the students we serve. Many of our students are high-achieving academically and come from low-income homes. Some are the first in their family to go to college, and many identify as students of color. Whatever backgrounds you and your students bring to your shared work, we want our coaches to familiarize themselves with common obstacles faced by these groups of students and to begin articulating strategies for overcoming these obstacles. We also want coaches to be aware of the challenges these students often encounter once they get to college.

High Achieving, Low- and Moderate-Income Students

Instructions: Read the article Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor by David Leonhardt to deepen your knowledge of this pressing issue. Though the article was first published six years ago, it offers a valuable overview of the research behind the CollegePoint initiative.

Guiding questions:

  1. How should we define diversity on college campuses?
  2. How do we eliminate barriers for High-Achieving, Low-Income students before they arrive onto their college campus?

Underrepresented Students of Color

Instructions: Please read the article “Michelle Obama’s College Experience Is All Too Familiar for Minority Students” by Adam Harris. The questions below are meant to help you engage with the article while you read.

Guiding questions:

  1. What programs, resources, and communities were most helpful for Michelle Obama during her transition to an “extremely white and very male” university?
  2. How does Obama describe the dynamics of social life on campus compared to the “glossy brochure images” of diversity that Princeton promotes?

First-Gen, Low-Income Students

Instructions: Please read the article “The Struggle to Be First: First-Gen Students May Be Torn Between College and Home” by Alina Tugend and consider the guiding questions below as you read.

Guiding questions:

  1. What talking points would you emphasize to encourage a first-gen student and/or their family to consider adding top academic match or reach schools to their college list?
  2. First-gen students often feel nervous about entering their first year of college. How would you help a student prepare for this? What resources and peers should they seek?

Module 2 Assignment

To finish this training module, please complete the mastery assignment linked below.



Once you have finished, you can access Training Module 3 here.