Applying Through QuestBridge Regular Decision: Q&A with QuestBridge Scholar Raisa Reed

Raisa Reed, QuestBridge Scholar, Duke ’20

Namaste! I’m Raisa, a current sophomore (Class of 2020!) at Duke University majoring in Psychology with a possible double in Sociology. I’m also a former College Prep Scholar—and I got to do a summer program at Stanford because of it. I applied to Duke through Regular Decision.

P.S. My greeting is in Hindi because I’m in my third semester of the language, and it’s fantastic. I thought about a minor in it, but there’s only so much time.

Why did you decide to apply to college through QuestBridge Regular Decision?

Quite frankly, the college application process was so long and draining that I thought if I could save time (which I really needed to do because senior year was rough) by using my QuestBridge application to apply to more schools, then why not! There wasn’t a school I was in love with yet—I say “yet” because I inevitably fell in love with Duke— so QuestBridge Regular Decision was a good fit for me.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in applying for QuestBridge Regular Decision, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was more of a personal one—there weren’t really people in my life that understood or could assist me with the college application process. So, I was pretty much winging all of my essays and supplemental materials. Time was a bit of a hassle because senior year was demanding in all aspects, but mostly writing supplemental materials required creativity and support that I couldn’t find. I didn’t allow my lack of direct resources to keep me from finishing my applications. I looked to QuestBridge for tips, and I found articles and YouTube videos on the college application process.

What do you enjoy most about attending a research university?

For all of those research-motivated individuals out there, Duke is a cool place. There are so many opportunities available to do research and funding to do it—beginning even when you’re a freshman. Any question you are curious about, Duke encourages you to find the answer. It’s a beautiful thing because it allows you to meet at the intersection of all of the things you are passionate about—for me that is Psychology and Education. Duke is always putting you in positions to spark your curiosity and delve into some research. I’m considering writing a thesis about Psychology and Education, but I have to find my passion for research first.

Advice you would give QuestBridge Regular Decision applicants?

Get help! It is no fun to stare at a computer screen for hours on end with no inspiration for your essays or supplemental materials. Your friends, family members, and teachers all know you well enough to help you think of some good responses. You can use QuestBridge as a resource if you don’t have other sources of support. You can even consult your friends that are also applying to top schools for help—I didn’t have those either unfortunately—but you probably do! I tried to do the process on my own, and it was overwhelming. Also, apply to as many schools as possible through QuestBridge Regular Decision—it’s the easiest and cheapest way. Just remember to use your time effectively.

Anything else to add?

 Duke is going to win a national championship in basketball this year. You can quote me on that. #GODUKE! Tell your friends about QuestBridge. There are so many other people out there that deserve this opportunity but simply don’t know about it. Be patient with your parents—they might not understand this whole process, but do your best to help them understand so that they can support you through this.