Questbridge: An Alternative Road to College

Katie Boback ‘17
EE Sr. Entertainment Editor

Even with college prices consistently on the rise, taking out a daunting pile of loans is not the only way to ease the burden of attending college.

Questbridge is a non-profit organization that attempts to provide low-income, top high school students with an affordable education at the country’s best schools. They provide scholarship opportunities to high school juniors, and for seniors, a program called the college match.

If you think that your family’s financial situation meets the Questbridge requirements, you can begin to fill out their application in the last few weeks of August before your senior year. It requires several essays tailored toward highlighting the characteristics of a student who grew up in a low-income environment, or with a significant challenge to their achievement.

Once you have submitted your application, you must wait to learn if you have become a finalist or not. The selection process is based on your family’s finances, your performance in school, and the essays you have written.

Students selected as finalists will receive the option to rank Questbridge’s partner colleges (shown below), and their applications will be sent to the schools of their choice. The schools will then decide whether or not to admit the student, and for many lucky Questbridge scholars, they will receive a full, four-year scholarship.

All this can seem too good to be true, and indeed the process of becoming a finalist is very difficult. In the past academic year, about 37% of students that completed the Application became finalists. About 86% of them are ranked in the top 10% of their class, and 70% identified as first generation college students.

If you are not accepted, don’t panic. Many of the schools that partner with Questbridge also accept the application even if you were not chosen as a finalist. Additionally, all of them will waive your application fee, whether you apply using the Common App or Questbridge, if you qualify for reduced-price lunches.

Those who are selected as finalists for the college match receive the many benefits that the Questbridge name has to offer. Another Trumbull High School senior who wished to withhold her name said, “When I found out I was a finalist I was so excited because that meant I might actually have a chance at going to an amazing school without the financial burden hanging over my (and my family’s) heads.” She did not get matched to a college through Questbridge, but affirmed that it was a very beneficial experience nonetheless.

Questbridge provides a community of people who can help you in each step of your college process, from the application itself to a support network after graduation.

Vittorio Colicci, a junior at Trumbull High School, said regarding Questbridge’s program for juniors, “Although I was always told not to think too much about the cost of college, I knew it would be a hurdle for me. My experience applying to schools has no doubt been made far easier by Questbridge.”

If you believe yourself to be eligible, Questbridge can open many doors to a fantastic and surprisingly affordable education. You can read more about their qualifications at https://www. questbridge.org.

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