National College Match: Who Should Apply

The 2021 National College Match will open in late summer. Sign up to be notified when the application opens >>

We are looking for high school seniors who have shown outstanding academic ability despite financial challenges. We take a holistic approach to reviewing applications, and we do not have absolute criteria or cut-offs for GPA, standardized test scores, income, or other factors.

Be sure to review carefully:

Eligibility  |  Academic Achievement  |  Financial Qualifications  |  Personal CircumstancesFAQs


Eligibility

Class Year Eligibility

In order to be eligible to apply to the National College Match in the fall of 2021, applicants must graduate from high school during or before the summer of 2022 and plan to enroll as a freshman in college in the fall of 2022.

Citizenship Eligibility

The National College Match is open to all U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents OR students, regardless of citizenship, currently attending high school in the United States. 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 the Additional Citizenship Requirements to see which QuestBridge college partners will consider them for the Match Scholarship.


Academic Achievement

We seek students who have demonstrated a level of academic achievement that meets or exceeds the admissions standards of our colleges. The following is based on profiles of past Finalists, and are not strict cut-offs:

Academic Criteria

Grades and rigor of high school curriculum

Primarily A's in the most challenging courses available (usually including Honors, AP, and/or IB level courses).

Class rank

Top 5-10% of graduating class.

Standardized test scores (if taken)

SAT score >1260
ACT composite score >27

We encourage students to report any SAT, ACT, AP, IB, TOEFL, or SAT Subject Test scores available.

Please note that test scores are not required to apply, and around 50% of QuestBridge applicants in the past year did not have test scores. All applications are reviewed holistically, so students who have not taken standardized tests can still be selected as Finalists; however, they should ensure they meet the standardized testing requirements for each college partner they're interested in.

Additional criteria

Evidence of strong writing ability, intellectual spark, and determination.


Financial Qualifications

Finalists typically come from households earning less than $65,000 annually for a typical family of four and have minimal assets. This is not a strict cut-off and we encourage students who feel they have faced significant financial hardship to review these financial criteria carefully to see if they may qualify.

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. 

Financial Criteria

Household income

All sources of household income are taken into account, including, but not limited to:

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

Assets

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

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

Non-custodial parent income and assets

Students with divorced or separated parents must report the income and assets of their non-custodial parent, as this information is taken into consideration by our college partners 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.

💡 Visit AskQB to learn more.

Household circumstances

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:

Personal Circumstances

Parents' level of education

76% of Finalists are among the first generation in their family to attend a four-year college in the U.S.

Activities, including home or family responsibilities

Participation in extracurricular, community, or other activities.

Activities may include home or family responsibilities, such as part-time jobs to help pay bills, or caring for siblings if parents are absent or at work.

Honors, awards, and achievements

Accomplishments and leadership roles in extracurricular or other activities.

Personal traits Strength in character and motivation to succeed. 

Eligibility FAQs

What does QuestBridge consider low income?

What does QuestBridge consider high-achieving or academically outstanding?

How are National College Match applications evaluated?

Can I apply to the National College Match if I am not a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident?

How can I evaluate my chances of gaining admission to a QuestBridge college partner through the National College Match?