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2020 Bridge to College Summary

Tier Explanation

Tier 1: All college intending high school graduates receiving tailored, pre-programmed text message reminders and encouragement.

Tier 2: All first-generation high school graduates intending to attend college.  Receive all Tier 1 services in addition to a personal call from a college counselor to ensure college plans are finalized.

Tier 3: Any college intending high school graduate requesting additional support; either in response to system-generated text message or from the personal phone call offered to Tier 2 students.  These students receive 1 on 1 support from a college counselor.

Tier 3 Student Needs

Paying for School

Completing FAFSA or finding additional or alternative opportunities for funding was the top need among our Tier 3 students in 2020.  28% of Tier 3 students required help with funding at the start of the 2020 program.  Of those, 61% completed their FAFSA documents.  Those who didn’t complete this step were either found to be undocumented, planned to defer enrollment, or lost contact with their counselor and no final status was able to be confirmed.

Application & Registration

The second highest need for Tier 3 students was starting or finalizing their application process and registering for classes.  20% of Tier 3 students required help finalizing their applications with 59% of students completing the process.  The remaining 41%either chose  not enroll in higher education, deferred their application until the spring, or lost contact with their counselor and no final status was able to be confirmed.

Enrollment Rates for NCC Intending Students

Norwalk Community College (NCC) is a popular destination for Tier 3 students and many first-generation students within Stamford Public Schools (SPS).  With its close proximity to Stamford and NCC’s relationship with SPS and SC2C, we use the enrollment rates for students who indicate their intention to attend here as a measure of our success in helping students enter higher education.  In 2020, enrollment rates were down significantly due to COVID-19, however, students receiving Tier 3 support continue to enroll at NCC at higher rates than those not receiving this additional support.


What Went Well?

  • Use of text message platform. 98% of Tier 1 students added to the platform opted to receive messages all summer and 86% were satisfied with the platform
  • 80% of Tier 3 students remained actively engaged with their counselor throughout the summer
  • 61% of Tier 3 students enrolled in a college according to fall data from National Student Clearinghouse


  • Earlier, more detailed messaging on financial aid and how to access FAFSA, PACT, and other alternative sources of funding
  • Earlier messaging around the Tier 3 supports available to students over the summer
  • Ensuring Community College students get applications in early before the spring to have a better idea of which students will need dedicated support over the summer

Tier 3 Student Feedback

“It helped me stay on track with deadlines I may have forgotten about (like looking into textbooks and financial aid deadlines). Also, if I asked a question they actually responded and gave their opinion”

Westhill High School Senior

“The communication between me and my counselor and how helpful she was. I would not be going to NCC right now without her help”

Stamford High School Senior

“They were always there with helpful tips”

AITE High School Senior

Download the 2020 Bridge to College Summary here.