Q&A with Quest for Excellence Arts Winner Sisam Bhandari

Paty Calderon, 2016 College Prep Scholar and Quest for Excellence Award Winner
Sisam Bhandari, 2016 College Prep Scholar and Quest for Excellence Award Winner

Last year, Sisam Bhandari applied to the College Prep Scholars Program and received a full scholarship to a summer program through the Quest for Excellence Arts Award. During her summer at the Rhode Island School of Design, Sisam was challenged to think of both her art and her interests in exciting new ways. We spoke with Sisam to learn more!


How did you initially learn about the Quest for Excellence Arts Award, and why did you decide to apply?

I was a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar and heard about the Quest for Excellence Arts Award through the QuestBridge application, QuestBridge emails, and also through other students in a Facebook group.

Leading up to the program, what were you most excited about?

I was most excited to experience the “college experience”—  living with a roommate, making new friends, and working tirelessly to learn about something I was very passionate about.

What did a typical day look like in the program?

On a school day, I woke up around 8:00 a.m., got ready, ate breakfast at the dining hall, walked down to my class for the day by 9:00 a.m. After that, I worked on projects until around noon, went to lunch with my friends, and went back to class until 4:00 p.m. Once classes were over, I went back to my dorm to start on the countless but intriguing homework/projects with my roommate, ate dinner, worked some more, and finally called it a day.

screen-shot-2016-08-08-at-7-42-23-pmWhat was your favorite piece of art you produced at the program?

My favorite piece of art I created was a sculpture, which is really interesting since I had never sculpted anything before this program. This project made me think in a different way, and although it was tedious work, I was so happy with how it turned out. I was even more excited to see my teacher had posted a picture of it on her Instagram!

How did the program help you become a stronger college applicant? 

The art program on my application helped show the creative side of me. Getting accepted to such an amazing program through such a selective process as QuestBridge also showed my passion and competency. Furthermore, applying to non-art colleges with such an amazing program helped me stand out among other applicants.

Did the program influence your future ambitions?

Before the program, I wasn’t sure where art fell into my life because I always considered it a hobby. However, after the program, I came to realize that art is an important part of my life and is something that I would like to continue to improve myself in. Although I am not going to be attending an art school, I plan to continue taking art classes and minor in art practice or art history.


Want to have an experience like Sisam’s? Apply to the College Prep Scholars Program for high school juniors, and apply for any Quest for Excellence Awards for which you are qualified!