Riddhavee K.'s Story

“There is a sense of solidarity in being among students who share similar backgrounds and aspirations.”

When Riddhavee Kapadia was a senior in high school, her older sister told her about the QuestBridge National College Match. “My sister was worried that I would have to take out student loans like she did to afford college tuition,” Riddhavee explained. “However, she had made friends in college who were QuestBridge Scholars. They recommended I apply.”

Riddhavee, a U.S. citizen living in Mumbai, India, grew interested in the National College Match. “Knowing that through QuestBridge I could have guaranteed housing, tuition, and food costs covered made me feel like I could really apply anywhere, and I would be confident in my ability to attend,” Riddhavee said. “My sister convinced me to apply and was my emotional support through the entire college application. My parents weren’t familiar with the college application process, but were there for me every step of the way.”

Even with support from family, applying to college during the peak months of the pandemic had its challenges: “At that time, everything felt make it or break it. Everyone was on edge with how quickly the world had changed, and I felt insecure about whether I was deserving of a QuestBridge scholarship,” Riddhavee explained.

Despite these doubts, Riddhavee found out that she had been matched with Colby College on December 1. “All at once, I felt shock, excitement, and fear. Colby was far away from home and everything I knew, but I was so, so happy to be able to take a weight off my parents' shoulders,” Riddhavee said.

That fall, Riddhavee moved to Maine to start her first year at Colby. “Entering college, I was uncertain about my future career path, and the possibilities that lay ahead,” Riddhavee shared. “However, after taking several classes in various different fields, I gained an understanding of my personal motivations.” Riddhavee decided to major in Computational Biology and Spanish and developed her goal of someday working in the public health space.

Outside of the classroom, Riddhavee got involved in Colby’s South Asian Society, International Program, FLI Program (First-Generation-to-College/Low-Income Program for Student Success) Program, Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and the QuestBridge Scholars Network. “I am an active participant in the Colby QuestBridge Scholars Network Chapter on my campus and feel a great sense of community, belonging, and support with other Scholars,” Riddhavee explained. “There is a sense of solidarity in being among students who share similar backgrounds and aspirations.”

Looking back on her path, Riddhavee notes that college has been a journey of self-discovery. “College has shown me that seeking guidance is not a sign of weakness and that growth comes from embracing my own vulnerability,” Riddhavee said. “Through academic exploration, extracurriculars, and developing relationships, I have been able to contemplate how I can make a meaningful impact on the world around me.”