Dear QB: Is being a QuestBridge Finalist an advantage in the college admissions process?

In short: yes.

And that isn’t just a “yes!” answer that anyone would say to make you feel good about yourself. That’s a “yes” grounded in facts and experience. Let’s take a look at some of these facts.

Fact 1

Our partner colleges trust us. QuestBridge has been in the college admissions scene for a while – since 1994. The College Match has been around since 2004. That means that QuestBridge knows the college admissions process very well. After all, we have been working with the nation’s best colleges for 20 years! (Did you know we started as a summer program called Quest Leadership at Stanford University?)

So, what does this history mean? It means that QuestBridge has worked hard to gain the trust of the partner colleges we work with. These colleges work with us because we have proven that the students we select as QuestBridge Finalists are students that they want on their campuses.

Fact 2

We carefully select Finalists; you are a Finalist for a reason. Did you know that we read every single application sent to us? That’s right, every single one. Applicants aren’t automatically filtered based on test scores, GPA, or other numbers. That’s because we believe in taking a holistic approach and letting your story shine.

When we select Finalists, we select students who we are fully confident in. We select students who meet both our financial and academic qualifications. So, when colleges see that you are a QuestBridge Finalist, they already know that you are a competitive applicant.

Fact 3

It will not hurt you if the reader knows you come from a low-income family. Many students are concerned that our partner colleges will be reluctant to admit them (especially through Regular Decision) if they see that you applied through QuestBridge and will likely need significant financial aid. Wipe that thought from your mind right now!

Our partner colleges are actively seeking out qualified low-income students. That’s right. They want more low-income students on campus. Since they have already guaranteed to meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need of every student admitted, your financial need and personal story actually help differentiate you from the other applicants.

Fact 4

Yes, your QuestBridge application stands out – in a good way. Every college reads applications differently, so it’s hard to make generalizations in this area. However, time and again, we hear from admissions officers who absolutely love reading the QuestBridge applications. The additional space we provide for you to tell your story lets them see into your life. And they like what they see.

So congratulations to all you Finalists out there! Even if you don’t match with a school, the simple fact that you are a QuestBridge Finalist gives you an advantage throughout the college application process.

DearQB is an advice column for QuestBridge applicants and Quest Scholars. It is answered by QuestBridge staff and Quest Scholars. To submit to DearQB, email