Finding My Identity: QuestBridge Scholar Harpreet Singh’s Path to Emory

Harpreet Singh, QuestBridge Scholar, Emory ’17

QuestBridge Scholar Harpreet Singh (Emory ’17) has come a long way since applying for the National College Match in 2012. Originally from New Jersey, Harpreet ended up finding his college fit with a school 800 miles away that he had hardly heard of before being accepted. But that’s just the beginning of Harpreet’s transformative journey…

Since starting the National College Match application, I would say a lot has changed about me. I would say my self-confidence has increased. I would say I no longer doubt who I am and what my potential is. I would say I take risks more often than before. I would say I am proud to be who I am: a first-generation low-income student at a top-tier college.

What truly catalyzed this transformation, you may ask? I would say QuestBridge.

QuestBridge inspired me to take on the college application process because there was a chance I could go to a top-tier college for free. But this process was hard. Throughout it, I avoided discussing my low-income experiences because I was not proud of it. I didn’t want to apply to those big name schools because I didn’t think I could get admitted. I told myself that my application wasn’t good enough, nor were any of the efforts I have put forth 16 years prior to starting the application. But I still applied, and it was exciting.

After being selected as a Finalist and ranking eight schools, I got the news that I wasn’t matched. Although many students get frustrated when they are not matched, I did not take no for an answer. I will go to college, I said, dusting myself off from rejection and submitting applications for Regular Decision, exhibiting the type of resilience many first-generation low-income students have of immediately getting back up when pushed down.

As Regular Decision rolled around, I remember getting some acceptances, but mainly rejection letters and one wait-list letter. My first acceptance came from Emory, but I wasn’t familiar with what it was. I discovered I had forwarded my QuestBridge application there and got in! I was ecstatic to be accepted to a college partner. I wanted to visit the school after finding out it was a good fit for my interests. So I booked a Greyhound ticket and traveled 26 hours on the bus with my mom to visit. It was the most valuable trip I ever made. I instantly fell in love with the school. The campus was beautiful and everyone was so friendly. This was the place for me.

Now as a senior at Emory University, I realized none of this would have happened without QuestBridge. I now take more risks academically and socially because I know these challenges can foster my growth and present opportunities I would not have otherwise. I discovered what my potential is and that I am valued. But most importantly, I became proud to be a first-generation low-income college student. I now understand that colleges wanted me and other low-income students so much that they’ll pay for us to attend because they know we can thrive, excel, and succeed there due to our resilience, passion, and tenacity.

My process of applying for the National College Match allowed me to go to college, but that was just the beginning. QuestBridge played a major role in putting me on a journey through which I learned how to be myself and take ownership of an identity that was once neglected, but is now celebrated. QuestBridge will be glad to take you on your own transformative journey, just like it did for me.

– by Harpreet Singh, Emory ’17