aida garrido


Aida Garrido

“The College Prep Scholarship taught me to pace myself, to plan everything ahead of time, and, most importantly, what to expect from an actual college application. As a result, I started working on my college stuff in early August. I was definitely ahead of the game.”

San Diego, CA
2013 College Prep Scholar
2013 National College Match Recipient
Princeton University, Class of 2018

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Who Should Apply for the College Prep Scholarship?


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The QuestBridge College Prep Scholarship is designed for high school juniors who have shown outstanding academic ability despite facing economic challenges, and show the potential to attend top colleges. We do not have absolute criteria or cut-offs for GPA, standardized test scores, or income and we take a holistic approach in reviewing applications. When selecting College Prep Scholars, we try to answer the following questions:

  • "Does this student have the potential to thrive at one of our partner colleges?"
  • "Has this student overcome socio-economic obstacles to achieve academic excellence?"

Eligibility |  Selection Criteria 


Students must be juniors who are planning to apply to college during the fall of their senior year.

Citizenship requirements:

  • U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents OR
  • Students, regardless of citizenship, currently attending a high school in the United States

Please note that international students living outside the U.S. are not eligible to apply for the College Prep Scholarship.

Selection Criteria

QuestBridge takes all of the following factors into account when evaluating an application for the College Prep Scholarship:

  • Academic Achievement
  • Financial Qualifications
  • Personal Circumstances

Academic Achievement

We seek students who have demonstrated a very high level of academic achievement. The academic characteristics below are based on profiles of past College Prep Scholars from previous years, and are not strict requirements or cut-offs:

Grades and rigor of high school curriculum: Primarily As in the most challenging courses at your high school (usually including Honors, AP, and/or IB level courses, if available.)
Class rank: Top 5-10% of your graduating class.
Standardized test scores: SAT (CR+M) scores above 1259; ACT composite score above 27. We also recommend submitting any PSAT, PLAN, AP, IB, or SAT Subject Test scores. 
We also look for evidence of strong writing ability, intellectual spark, and determination through essays and the teacher recommendation.

Financial Qualifications

College Prep Scholars typically come from households earning less than $60,000 annually for a family of four, and often less than $50,000. This is not a strict cut-off and we encourage students who feel they have faced significant financial hardship to review these financial details carefully to see if they may qualify. 

All sources of family income are taken into account, including:

  • Salaries, wages, and tips
  • Business and farm income
  • Rental income
  • Interest and dividend income
  • Retirement distributions
  • Alimony
  • Child support received


Students with divorced or separated parents must report the income of both biological parents, including the non-custodial parent. The only exception is when the student has not had contact with the non-custodial parent for an extended period of time.

All assets held by the family are taken into consideration, including:

  • Home ownership
  • Business or farm ownership
  • Cash and savings
  • Investments
  • Additional properties

Individual household circumstances are taken into consideration, including:

  • The number of people supported by the household income
  • The number of students in college (undergraduate only)
  • Unemployment or other changes to the household income
  • Eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch
  • Having been in foster care
  • Other non-discretionary financial commitments, such as high medical bills

Personal Circumstances

We also take the following factors into account when reviewing applications:

  • Parents' level of education: Many past award recipients have been among the first generation in their family to attend a four-year college.
  • Extenuating circumstances: For example, if students have jobs to help their parents pay the bills, or spend much time out of school caring for siblings if their parents are absent or at work.
  • Extracurricular achievements: Accomplishments and leadership roles in extracurricular and community activities.


College Prep Scholar Profile

conroy-6820 College Prep Scholar Profile
View a profile of our College Prep Scholars from last year.
daniel mayo cropped College Prep Scholar Stories
Read about some past College Prep Scholars who were successful in applying to college through QuestBridge.


Why Apply
Who Should Apply
How to Apply

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