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Are you a low-income high school senior who has excelled academically, but feels that the nation’s best colleges are financially out of reach? The QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners can be your pathway to a top college. Through this college and scholarship application process, you can apply for free to the nation’s best colleges and be considered for early admission and a full four-year scholarship from the college.
QuestBridge is a powerful platform that connects the nation’s brightest students from low-income backgrounds with leading institutions of higher education and further opportunities. We are an aggregator of excellence. By facilitating these exchanges, QuestBridge aims to increase the percentage of talented low-income students attending the nation’s best universities and the ranks of national leadership itself.
If you acknowledge that you also fall into this category, then don’t hesitate to join QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners. Below we have compiled a complete guide on the program that you can use as a reference for applying.
Let’s get started.
QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners Program Overview
The recipients of QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners are granted admission to one of QuestBridge’s college partners with a full, four-year scholarship worth over $200,000 each. Its college partners use a combination of their own funds as well as state and federal aid to fund the scholarship. This scholarship is offered as part of a generous financial aid package provided by the QuestBridge college partner that covers the cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and travel expenses.
All scholarship packages:
- Have no parental contribution
- Have no student loans
- May contain a student contribution in the form of work-study, summer work, or student savings
The application gives you extra space to tell your unique story as a student who has excelled academically despite financial hardship. All the college partners are actively seeking students like you. If admitted to a college partner through the match or QuestBridge Regular Decision, you will join a supportive community of thousands of other QuestBridge Scholars currently attending the college partners.
Higher education institutions that are included as college partners in the QuestBridge Scholarship program are:
- Amherst College
- Boston College
- Bowdoin College
- Brown University
- California Institute of Technology
- Carleton College
- Claremont McKenna College
- Colby College
- Colgate University
- Colorado College
- Columbia University
- Dartmouth College
- Davidson College
- Duke University
- Emory University
- Grinnel College
- Hamilton College
- Haverford College
- Macalester College
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Northwestern University
- Oberlin College
- Pomona College
- Princeton University
- Rice University
- Scripps College
- Stanford University
- Swarthmore College
- Tufts University
- University of Chicago
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Southern California
- University of Virginia
- Vanderbilt University
- Vassar College
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Washington and Lee University
- Wellesley College
- Wesleyan University
- Williams College
- Yale University
QuestBridge Scholarship College PartnersEligibility Requirements
QuestBridge is looking for high school seniors who have shown outstanding academic ability despite financial challenges. It takes a holistic approach to review applications, and it does not have absolute criteria or cut-offs for GPA, standardized test scores, income, or other factors.
Be sure to review carefully the requirements below.
In order to be eligible to apply to the QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners, applicants must graduate from high school during or before the summer of 2021 and plan to enroll as a freshman in college in the fall of 2021. It is open to all U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents or students, regardless of citizenship, currently attending high school in the United States.
Important considerations for students who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents, but are attending high school in the United States: Only some of the colleges will consider non-U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents for admission and full scholarships through the QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners.
2. Academic Achievement
QuestBridge seeks students who have demonstrated a level of academic achievement that meets or exceeds the admissions standards of the college partners. The following is based on profiles of past Finalists, and are not strict cut-offs:
- Grades and rigor of high school curriculum: Primarily A’s in the most challenging courses available (usually including Honors, AP, and/or IB level courses.)
- Class rank: Top 5-10% of graduating class.
- Standardized test scores (if taken): SAT score >1280 and ACT composite score >27. Students are also recommended to submit any AP, IB, TOEFL, or SAT Subject Test scores, if available. Students who do not have standardized test scores can still be selected as finalists if the rest of their application is strong; however, they should ensure they meet the standardized testing requirements for each college partner they’re interested in.
- Additional criteria: QuestBridge also looks for evidence of strong writing ability, intellectual spark, and determination through essays and teacher/counselor recommendations.
3. Financial qualifications
Finalists typically come from households earning less than $65,000 annually for a typical family of four and have minimal assets. This is not a strict cut-off and we encourage students who feel they have faced significant financial hardship to review these financial criteria carefully to see if they may qualify.
Please note that finalists will need to submit official documentation verifying their financial situation to the colleges to which they apply. A thorough financial review will be performed by QuestBridge and by the colleges for all students who become finalists.
- Household income: All sources of household income are taken into account, including, but not limited to salaries, wages, and tips; business and farm income; rental income; interest and dividend income; retirement distributions; alimony; and child support received.
- Assets: All assets held by the family are taken into consideration, including homeownership, business or farm ownership, cash and savings, investments, and additional properties.
- Non-custodial parent income and assets: Students with divorced or separated parents must report the income and assets of their non-custodial parent, as this information is taken into consideration by our college partners when determining financial need. The only exception is when the student has not had contact with the non-custodial parent for an extended period of time.
- Household circumstances: Individual household circumstances are taken into consideration, including the number of people supported by the household income, the number of students in college (undergraduate only), unemployment or other changes to the household income, eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch, having been in foster care, and other non-discretionary financial commitments, such as high medical bills.
4. Personal circumstances
The following factors are also taken into account when reviewing applications:
- Parents’ level of education: 70% of finalists are among the first generation in their family to attend a four-year college in the U.S.
- Extenuating circumstances: Students who have an unusual level of responsibility, such as part-time jobs to help their parents pay the bills, or caring for siblings if their parents are absent or at work.
- Extracurricular achievements: Accomplishments and leadership roles in extracurricular and community activities.
How to Apply for QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners
To be considered for a full four-year scholarship to one of our college partners, your first step is to submit a free, online application. You will also have to submit the following document alongside the application:
- A free, online QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners application, including information on your academic and extracurricular accomplishments, financial background, two essays, and short answer questions (access to previous year tax returns and other financial documents is highly recommended and will help you complete the application accurately)
- Two letters of recommendation from teachers in core academic subjects
- A School Report from your high school counselor
- A School Profile (optional, but recommended)
- A high school transcript and additional transcripts (unofficial transcripts are accepted)
- Any available standardized test score reports (if taken). We accept the SAT, ACT, Subject Tests, IB, AP, or TOEFL test scores. SAT and/or ACT test scores are highly recommended (unofficial test score reports are accepted).
If you are selected as a finalist, additional materials are due to the colleges.
QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners Closing Date
Applications for QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners close on October 15th each year. You can view all dates and deadlines here.
Submit your questions regarding the QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners to its online help portal here. The staff will get back to you as soon as possible.
QuestBridge Scholarship College Partners Official Website
Interested to apply? Visit QuestBridge’s official website at www.questbridge.org. There you can also learn more about the program.
If you are a finalist who did not match, some of the schools you ranked may still be interested in you. Many students who do not match are accepted to the college partners with generous financial aid through QuestBridge Regular Decision or other admission rounds. Some college partners will consider students who ranked them but did not match for Early Decision or Early Action.
You will be able to review potential early admission opportunities and next steps from the schools you ranked. If the school will consider your application in an early review cycle, instructions on how to apply will also be included.
You can also still apply to the schools you ranked as well as additional college partners through QuestBridge Regular Decision. To do so, you should select which QuestBridge college partners you intend to apply to with the Regular Decision Form, available from your Application Management page through December 9th. In addition, you will need to take further steps to have your application considered for Regular Decision by QuestBridge’s college partners; please see the Regular Decision Requirements for specifics. The colleges will then consider you for admission and financial aid.
You should also continue with the regular admissions process for colleges other than QuestBridge college partners since all of the schools are highly selective.