“Before becoming a College Prep Scholar, I wasn’t necessarily ‘dreaming big’.”
Halle, Williams College
Hometown: Bourbonnais, Illinois
During her junior year of high school, Halle Schweizer got a letter in the mail from QuestBridge. Since she hadn’t heard of it before, she didn’t think much of it. However, after telling her coworker at JCPenney about the letter she received, she told Halle about her brother’s positive experience with QuestBridge. “That encouraged me to learn more about the College Prep Scholars Program, which ultimately changed my entire life trajectory,” said Halle.
While Halle loved her experience attending a large public high school in Illinois, very few students at her school ever even considered top colleges like QuestBridge college partners. “Before becoming a College Prep Scholar, I wasn’t necessarily ‘dreaming big,’” Halle reccounted. She had a college list mostly made up of local colleges since not many people from her community went far away for college, let alone to attend a highly selective school. However, being a College Prep Scholar gave her the confidence to pursue elite colleges. “I never thought that a college like Williams was in the cards for me until QuestBridge equipped me with the knowledge, resources, and confidence to consider myself a competitive applicant to top colleges.” Halle felt energized by QuestBridge. Having never considered attending a top college, as a College Prep Scholar she felt that by using QuestBridge’s resources, she could follow a dream she had never considered possible. “I quickly realized that I could blaze a trail that no one in my life had done before, and I was enthusiastic about creating a new path for my family and myself.”
When she applied to the National College Match, Halle says her biggest obstacle was her initial lack of knowledge about the schools she was considering applying to. Although she felt that she didn’t know enough to make a very informed decision in her rankings, she took a leap of faith and trusted that she could find happiness in whichever school chose her. Williams was that school. “I put a lot of trust in the National College Match to find me the school that I otherwise would not have known to choose… and I’m glad that I did.”
Although she received incredible moral support from her mom who was finishing her own college degree, as well as several supportive teachers, Halle mostly navigated the college application process alone. After receiving advice from her school counselor that wasn’t very helpful, she decided to use QuestBridge resources to guide her application process. To this day she is immensely grateful for the support she received from her mother, her teachers, and the secretary of her counselor’s office who helped her submit her application materials. “It really is the little things that can make all the difference to people.”
As a student at Williams College, Halle’s experience has taught her that there is immeasurable value in each person’s story. At first feeling unsure of where she belonged, she realized that her story is what makes her an asset to Williams. “My experiences and the empathy that I have developed as a result… that is what matters to me and to the people around me.” Halle plans on graduating in 2021 with a major in Economics and concentrations in Africana Studies and Public Health. She is very involved in her QuestBridge Scholars Network chapter as Vice President and is co-founder of Educational Opportunities for Success. She hopes to learn how to incorporate her values into her professional life and to work in child advocacy law after graduation.