National College Match: Who Should Apply

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 Circumstances

 

Eligibility

In order to be eligible to apply to the National College Match in the fall of 2019, applicants must graduate from high school during or before the summer of 2020 and plan to enroll as a freshman in college in the fall of 2020.

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.

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 colleges will consider non-U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents for admission and full scholarships through the Match.

Learn more >>

 

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

SAT or PSAT scores > 1310
ACT composite score > 28

We also recommend submitting any AP, IB, TOEFL, or SAT Subject Test scores. Review the standardized testing requirements for each college.

Additional criteria

We also look for evidence of strong writing ability, intellectual spark, and determination through essays and teacher/counselor recommendations.

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.

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.

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.

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

70% of Finalists are among the first generation in their family to attend a four-year college in the U.S.

Extenuating circumstances

Students who have an unusual level of responsibility, such as part-time jobs to help their parents pay the bills, or caring for siblings if their parents are absent or at work.

Extracurricular achievements

Accomplishments and leadership roles in extracurricular and community activities.