Quest for Excellence: USA

The Quest for Excellence USA Award celebrates the rich heritage and variety of communities throughout the United States of America. This award recognizes and honors one top high-achieving, low-income high school junior from every state. We encourage students interested in any academic discipline to apply for the Quest for Excellence USA Award. In our selection process, we will be looking for students who show a strong potential to be admitted to one of the nation’s top colleges and who demonstrate a deep commitment to the health, vibrancy, and well-being of their region or state. This initiative is made possible through the generosity of several donors.

College Prep Scholars selected for the Quest for Excellence USA Award will receive:

Up to $1,000 for:

  • A new laptop
  • Coverage in travel costs to QuestBridge college partners
  • Resources to enhance the student's college application (online courses, test prep, test registration fees, and more)

Select awardees will also receive a full scholarship to the online Pioneer Research Program.*

*The Pioneer Research Program is a global virtual research institute that gives interest-driven high-achieving high school students the opportunity to conduct research that meets the highest standards of undergraduate-level work. These studies culminate in a full-length research paper certified by Pioneer. Since 2012, 4,192 students from 71 countries and regions have completed the program. Whether in STEM, social sciences, or humanities, Pioneer provides its scholars with broad institutional research resources through one-on-one professor mentorship, an unparalleled academic system, online undergraduate libraries, and the global Pioneer alumni network.


High school juniors who:

  • Are living permanently in their home state or U.S. territory 
  • Are academically and financially qualified as a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar

How to Apply

  1. Start a College Prep Scholars Program application.
  2. On the Quest for Excellence Awards page, select the box under "USA" and complete the short essay.
  3. If you are interested in being considered for the online summer program, select the corresponding box and answer the additional prompts at the bottom of the page.
  4. Complete and submit the College Prep Scholars Program application by the deadline.

If selected as a College Prep Scholar, recipients of the Quest for Excellence USA Award will be notified by late June. If you have additional questions about the Quest for Excellence USA Award, please send inquiries to