By Hannah Jones
It’s fall of 2018 and it is almost an expectation for all graduating seniors to be applying for the colleges. But for some students, college doesn’t feel like it is even an option due to financial needs. QuestBridge is a non-profit organization that is committed to connecting students to scholarships and educational opportunities at US colleges and universities. QuestBridge is trying to change that by offering a College Prep Scholars Program specifically for low-income students who are doing really well in high school and want to go on to a four-year university. They have two very helpful programs for juniors and seniors to help low-income students feel as if top-notch colleges are within their reach.
For high school juniors they have a College Prep Scholars Program. This program allows students to get exclusive access to some of the nation’s top colleges at the QuestBridge National College Admissions Conference. This conference is a day-long, invitation-only event specifically for those in the program. At this conference, participants learn how to make good college applications, write solid college essays, and learn more about the program in general. The conference itself is free once you pay for transportation to the event. However, scholarships are available for a limited number of participants. And a virtual conference is available for students unable to attend.
Juniors also get the opportunity to get a head-start on applying for colleges. You get the opportunity to fill out a full application and then receive guidance about how to make it stand out. This program also gives the opportunity to get full scholarships to summer programs at top-ranked colleges and all-expense paid campus visits. You also may get rewards such as free laptops and reimbursement on college applications. And best of all, you get the distinction of being a College Prep Scholar which is recognized by many of the nation’s top institutions.
For high school seniors they offer the QuestBridge National College Match. This program helps students gain a full four-year scholarship to the best colleges in the nation. This scholarship includes “full cost of tuition, room and board, are loan-free, and require no parental contribution.” Even if you aren’t a finalist, you get to apply for early decision or early action. If you are a finalist, you are considered for the full scholarship. If you win the scholarship you get admitted early to the four-year college of your choice. In 2017, 918 students received this scholarship and 2000 students were admitted in the regular decisions. The average finalist last year had a gpa of 3.89, an SAT score of 1385 and were in the top 10% of their graduating class.
To be eligible for these programs you must be an A student in primarily AP or honors classes. You must be in the top 5-10% of your graduating class and have a SAT score of 1310 or higher or ACT score of 28 or higher. The finalist usually has a household income of $65,000 or less annually. But this is dependent on the number of people in your house and is not a strict cut-off. Most finalists are first-generation to attend a four-year college in the US. They also look for students with leadership accomplishments in extracurricular activities.
The time to act is now. Applications are due by September 27, you must have your transcript, test scores and recommendations. Before October 11th, you must rank your college partners, the colleges you want to apply to, and submit a Match Agreement Form to be considered for both the early admission and the scholarship. On October 18th, the finalists are chosen and those selected submit the College Match Requirements to be considered for College Match Scholarship. Unfortunately if you are are a finalist, you cannot apply for early decision until after December 3rd when the winners are chosen. For the people who are not chosen as finalists can apply for early decision or early action.