It’s never too early to start researching colleges that interest you. As a talented low-income student, we particularly encourage you to look closely at top-ranked colleges with good financial aid. These colleges will be able to support you, academically and financially, through college.
One of the biggest concerns for low-income students is determining the quality of financial aid over four years. How can you determine which colleges will support you financially for four years and which ones will not?
All QuestBridge college partners have financial aid policies among the best in the country; they each guarantee to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need. However, you should also apply to target and safety colleges outside of QuestBridge. For these schools, ask the following questions:
For more information on paying for college, please see our Paying for College section. You can also fill out a Net Price Calculator for individual colleges to see an estimate of your financial aid package if you were to attend.
As a low-income student, it’s especially important to think critically about which college will provide you with tools to succeed in life. Whether you choose to work right after college, or pursue graduate studies immediately, consider what undergraduate school will give you the best tools to build your future.
Besides looking at the academic fit of a college and the strength of its financial aid, there are also considerations of personality and lifestyle. Choosing a college that facilitates your personal happiness will greatly enhance your undergraduate years. Aspects to consider include, but are not limited to:
Whether or not you’ve decided what to study, it’s important to attend a college that suits your general range of potential interests, your personality, and even your relative academic strength. When looking at colleges, ask yourself:
The social scene on college campuses can vary widely. If you aren’t able to visit the campus in person, use admissions websites, student blogs, and talk to real students to get a sense for the campus personality. Then, when you have enough information, ask yourself:
One of the most exciting parts of the college search is the opportunity to think about where you want to live for the next four years. To determine the location that is the best fit for you, ask yourself:
Taking time to carefully reflect on the questions above will ensure that you apply to colleges that are truly a good “fit” for you.