Apply to the National College Match

Why apply?

Through the National College Match, high-achieving high school seniors from low-income backgrounds can apply for early admission and full four-year scholarships to the nation’s best colleges. We review all applications holistically, and there are no absolute criteria or cut-offs for GPA, standardized test scores, income, or other factors. Take this chance to dream big.

Did you know?

Over 14,000 high school seniors have received full four-year scholarships through the National College Match.

Any high school senior, regardless of citizenship, currently attending high school in the U.S. and planning to attend college in the fall after their senior year is eligible to apply. Additionally, U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents living abroad are eligible. International students living outside the U.S. are not eligible. 

Students attending high school in the U.S. as undocumented or international students are eligible to apply, but should review Additional Citizenship Requirements to see which QuestBridge college partners will consider them for the Match Scholarship.

Typically, National College Match Finalists…

  • Earn primarily A’s in the most challenging courses available and display intellectual curiosity and strong writing ability.
  • Rank in the top 5-10% of their class.
  • Challenge themselves by taking Honors, AP, and/or IB courses, if available.
  • If submitting standardized test scores, likely score within middle 50% SAT score: 1280 - 1470 and/or middle 50% ACT score: 27-33. 

Test scores are not required to apply. All applications are reviewed holistically, so students who have not taken standardized tests can still be selected as Finalists.

Typically, National College Match Finalists…

  • Come from households earning less than $65,000 annually (for a household of four) and have minimal assets.
  • Qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.
  • Face financial hardship. 

QuestBridge will thoroughly review the financial information in each student's application. Students who are selected as Finalists will need to submit official documentation verifying their financial situation directly to the colleges to which they apply. 

Typically, National College Match Finalists…

  • Demonstrate resilience, integrity, and motivation to succeed.
  • Make meaningful contributions to activities at home, school, or in the community.
  • Are among the first generation in their family to attend a four-year college.
  • Display intellectual curiosity and strong writing ability.

Application components

  • Information on your academics, activities, household, and financial background
  • Writing section
  • Two teacher recommendations from core academic subjects
  • Current high school transcript and additional transcripts (unofficial transcripts are accepted)
  • School Report from your current high school counselor
  • School Profile (optional, but recommended)
  • Any standardized test score reports to-date (if taken). We accept SAT, ACT, IB, AP, and English language proficiency exam test scores (unofficial test score reports are accepted).

Important note:

Access to the previous year’s tax returns, W-2(s), or other financial documents is highly recommended to complete the application accurately.


How does it work?

Did you apply to the College Prep Scholars Program as a junior? Your application automatically rolls over to the National College Match – you’ve got a head start!


Start an application

Begin your free National College Match application in late summer before your senior year.


Gather materials

Reach out to your recommenders and school counselor, and gather financial documents, a transcript, test scores (if taken), and a School Profile (if available).


Submit application

Submit your application by the deadline. You have successfully submitted your application when you see a green check mark on your Manage page.


Rank colleges

Rank up to 15 college partners to be considered for early admission and a full four-year scholarship.


Finalists notified

If you're selected as a Finalist, your next step is to submit additional application requirements to each school you ranked by November 1.


Match Day

In early December, Finalists find out if they matched. Matched? Congrats! You're admitted early with a full four-year scholarship. 


Not matched? It's okay!

QuestBridge Regular Decision offers you a chance for admission at colleges you ranked, and you can apply to additional college partners that interest you.

Application resources


Visit our online help portal to get your questions answered about the National College Match.


Explore short video tutorials on the QuestBridge YouTube channel for key sections of the application.


Explore QuestBridge resources to prepare you for the National College Match. 

Early application policy

Applying through the National College Match requires a serious commitment. Ranking colleges through the National College Match means that you are entering into an agreement with the college that if you are matched (i.e., admitted with a full four-year scholarship), you are committed to attending that college and you must withdraw any other college applications (except students who are matched to MIT).

National College Match applicants who rank colleges cannot apply to other colleges through Early Decision, Early Action, or Single-Choice Early Action (also known as Restrictive Early Action). Even if you rank MIT, which is not binding, you cannot apply early to other colleges outside of the QuestBridge partnership.

National College Match applicants who do not rank colleges, or who are not selected as Finalists, are free to apply to any colleges for Early or Regular Decision.


Exceptions to the QuestBridge Early Application Policy

  • Students may apply to any college or university that requires an early application for eligibility to special scholarships or programs, as long as the admissions decision is non-binding.
  • Students may apply to their home-state public college or university with a non-binding early application option, as long as applying to QuestBridge does not violate that college's policies.
  • Students may apply to any college or university with a non-binding rolling admission process.

Join our mailing list

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