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Jennifer Shin

"The QuestBridge application is free, and if you become a finalist, applying to other partner universities is also free. Besides the fact that QuestBridge removes the financial burden, it provides an application that focuses on low-income students' accomplishments while highlighting the hardships they endured. Applying to QuestBridge certainly benefits low-income students because colleges come to understand the challenges they have faced."

Irvine, CA
2011 National College Match Recipient
University of Notre Dame, Class of 2016

 

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Who Should Apply for the National College Match?

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The QuestBridge National College Match is designed for high school seniors who have shown outstanding academic ability despite facing economic challenges. 

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 finalists for the National College Match, we try to answer the following questions:

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

Eligibility |  Selection Criteria  |  Additional Citizenship Requirements



Eligibility

In order to be eligible to apply for the National College Match in fall 2014, applicants must graduate from high school during or before the spring/summer of 2015 and plan to enroll as a freshman in college in the fall of 2015.

The QuestBridge National College Match is open to all:

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

View additional citizenship requirements below.


 
Selection Criteria

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

  • Academic Achievement
  • Financial Qualifications
  • Personal Circumstances

Academic Achievement

We seek students who have demonstrated a level of academic achievement that meets or exceeds the admissions standards of our partner colleges. The academic characteristics below are based on profiles of finalists from previous years, and are not strict requirements or cut-offs:

Grades and rigor of high school curriculum: Mostly A's 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 1250; ACT composite score above 27. We also recommend submitting any AP, IB, or SAT Subject Test scores.  Review the standardized testing requirements for each partner college.
We also look for evidence of strong writing ability, intellectual spark, and determination through essays and teacher/counselor recommendations.

Financial Qualifications

College Match finalists 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

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Students with divorced or separated parents must report the income of both biological parents, as non-custodial parent information is taken into consideration by our partner schools 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
  • 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

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.

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.


 

Additional Citizenship Requirements


Important considerations for students who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents, but are attending high school in the United States
: Only some of our partner colleges will consider non-U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents for admission and full scholarships through the College Match. Most of our partner colleges use federal and state funds to finance a portion of the scholarships, and these funds are only available for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents. 

College Match Requirements: The following partner colleges will consider undocumented students (students who live in the U.S. and do not have a current visa) for the full College Match scholarship: Brown, Carleton, Grinnell, Pomona, Princeton, Swarthmore, University of Chicago, Vanderbilt, Washington & Lee, Williams, and Yale. 

The following partner colleges will consider international students (students attending high school in the U.S. on a valid visa) for the full College Match scholarship: Brown, Carleton, Grinnell, Pomona, Princeton, Swarthmore, University of Chicago, Vanderbilt, Washington & Lee, and Yale.

The schools that are not listed may still consider students who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents on a case-by-case basis. If there is a school that you are very interested in, you may still include that school in your rankings list even if it is not listed above. 

Regular Decision Requirements: Most of our partners will consider all students who apply through QuestBridge Regular Decision, regardless of citizenship status. Each year, many QuestBridge applicants who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents gain acceptance and financial aid to our partner colleges via Regular Decision.

 


 
Applicant Profiles

christopher pineda Applicant Profile
View a profile of our finalists from the most recent College Match.
chanda dickey Matched Students Profile
View a profile of our matched students from the most recent College Match.

 

Why Apply
Who Should Apply
How to Apply
 

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Where Quest Scholars connect through leadership, mentorship, and friendship at our partner campuses.

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National College Match Flowchart

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Click here
to see the flowchart.