QuestBridge takes all of the following factors into account when evaluating an application for the National College Match:
- Academic Achievement
- Financial Need
- Additional Criteria
We seek students who have demonstrated a level of academic achievement that meets or exceeds the admissions standards of our partner colleges. Some of the factors we use to assess academic ability when selecting finalists include:
- Grade Point Average (GPA): Both unweighted and weighted GPAs are considered.
- Class rank: Over 75% of finalists are in the top 5% of their class.
- Rigor of high school curriculum: Finalists typically take the most challenging courses available at their high schools, usually including Honors, AP, and/or IB level courses, if available.
- Standardized test scores: The average test scores of past finalists are 1940 for the SAT and 30 for the ACT. SAT Subject Tests and AP test results are also considered. (A note about test scores: To be considered for a College Match scholarship, applicants selected as finalists must submit the standardized test scores required by the QuestBridge partner colleges they are interested in attending directly to the colleges. For information on the tests each partner college requires, please see the Standardized Testing page.)
- Essays: Most finalists' essays show evidence of strong writing ability, as well as intellectual spark, determination, and altruism.
- Recommendations: The Teacher Recommendations and Secondary School Report (or counselor recommendation) tell us more about a student's academic abilities, how a student interacts in the classroom and school community, and how the student compares to other students at his or her school.
The National College Match is designed for students who come from families with a history of earning low to moderate income. Some of the factors we use to assess financial need when selecting finalists include annual household income, assets, and household circumstances:
Annual household income
College Match finalists typically come from households earning less than $60,000 annually for a family of four, and often less than $50,000. 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
- Child support received
Students with divorced or separated parents must report the income of both biological parents, as non-custodial parent information is taken into consideration when determining financial need. 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
- Additional properties
Individual 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
Please note that finalists will need to submit official documentation verifying their financial situation to the colleges to which they apply. A thorough financial review will be performed by QuestBridge and by the colleges for all students who become finalists.
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.