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  • Writer's pictureZitlali Garcia

Unlocking Opportunities: A Guide to Applying for the Questbridge Scholarship

Interested in going to college for free?

In today's blog we'll be diving into Questbridge, an organization that funds full- four year- scholarships.

Questbridge Logo

Questbridge 101

So what is "Questbridge"?

Questbridge is a national non-profit organization that funds full- four-year- scholarships to high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds nationwide. Partnering with over 50 renowned universities, this scholarship makes a top education possible for students from underserved communities. This scholarship is commonly referred to as the "Questbridge scholarship" or the "National College Match" (NCM), but the NCM is slightly more explanatory as to how this scholarship works.

Questbridge Timeline

When you submit your QuestBridge application, your application is reviewed by a Questbridge committee. After you submit your application, you must submit a "rank form" - this is where you will rank at most 15 of their 50 college partners. If you are selected as a finalist by the committee, you will be notified and will be required to update or confirm your rankings form. You will then have to submit all required materials of each college you ranked - materials could include additional essays and/or additional financial information.

However, ranking schools and submitting all required documents does not guarantee you admission into any of them; the colleges you ranked still have to decide whether they want to match with you or not. A side note on ranking, if two colleges want to match with you, the college that is highest on your rank form is the one you will match with. Match day is often the first of December and it is when students who qualified as finalists and ranked colleges find out if they matched with any of them.

These are the basics of the Questbridge scholarship, but if you are interested in learning more about it, head to their website:

Who qualifies for the Questbridge scholarship?

With that being said, the Questbridge scholarship is highly selective - for perspective, in 2022, 17,929 high school seniors applied to the Questbridge Scholarship; of those students, only 5,613 were selected as finalists, and of those finalists,1,755 were matched. The typical academic profile of a finalist consists of an average GPA of 3.92, top 10% of their class, (if reported) SAT score of 1280-1470, or (if reported) ACT score of 27-33. Although Questbridge does not require test scores and do not penalize students for not including them, it could benefit your application if you choose to add them (for context, 45% of finalists did not report test scores). The financial profile of a finalist is also a critical component of the application as this scholarship targets low-income students who have faced financial hardship during their life. Typically, finalists come from households with an income under $65,000.

This scholarship is exclusive to high school seniors and opens during the late summer. It is a free application but is time-consuming, so make sure to designate sufficient time to submit this application. The application includes 7 major components:

  1. Information on your academics, activities, household and financial information

  2. Two essays and short answers

  3. Two teacher recommendations (make sure to give them plenty of time to submit their documents on their end too)

  4. School report (from your college counselor)

  5. School profile (optional, from your college counselor)

  6. Current high school transcript

  7. Any available test scores if you are choosing to submit, omit otherwise

How to fill out the application

This year, from our Class of 2024, senior Noah Flores was a finalist and a match.

This makes him the first student from IDEA Judson to receive a Questbridge Scholarship!

Noah ranked 9 colleges and matched with Emory University (which he ranked second), meaning he's going to go to Emory University with a full- four year- scholarship. In a short interview, we asked Noah for tips and what his experience was like.

Photo of Noah F.

Interviewer: Overall, how would you describe the entire Questbridge process?

Noah: "It was both terrifying and evolving. While at one point I really had to analyze myself for things that might be appealing...and at the same time I really had to grow my own thinking to be more in line with what I though Questbridge was all about.

Interviewer: What do you wish you knew before or during the QuestBridge Application process?

Noah: "It was very have to think about a lot of things that you wouldn't normally [have] thought of and it's all for the process...but it was new and different."

Interviewer: Which essay would you suggest applicants tackle first? and why?

Noah: "The personal essay is very telling about the second essay because once you get that personal down, you can take things can kinda take some of those pieces and insert it into your topical essay (second essay) or at least use it as a starting basis."

Interviewer: Do you have any final words of wisdom for rising seniors applying through Questbridge?

Noah: "I think you should be very willing and to put as many colleges as you can but also do as much research as you can about all of them...keep an open mind and make sure you have all your ducks in row.

One final piece of advice, don't let the competitiveness discourage you! Discuss the Questbridge scholarship with your college counselor and your family to determine if Questbridge is for you.

From the whole journalist team, good luck! We're all rooting for you, whether you choose Questbridge or not.

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