Admissions Officer Insight: Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions!

Last month, we asked College Prep Scholars which questions you have for admissions officers. Out of the hundreds of responses, three questions appeared over and over again. Check out the answers below, provided by admissions officers at a few of our college partners!

Question 1: How would being a National College Match Finalist be viewed by an admissions officer, and how does it benefit the student?

patricia-grinnellPatricia Amador-Lacson, Grinnell College, Senior Assistant Director of Admission

“Involvement with QuestBridge in any way shows your commitment to being part of a highly selective and diverse college or university. Additionally, it signals a commitment to responsible financing of a college education, which will open up post-graduation options. My colleagues and I enjoy reading the applications of National College Match Finalists during any admission round. We recognize that achieving the National College Match Finalist designation is an involved process that takes time, dedication, and organization. Finalists are impressive scholars and citizens who have demonstrated success both inside and outside the classroom. So, when we see that a student is a National College Match Finalist, we know we’re looking at someone who will impress us and shine—not just on paper, but also as part of any campus community.”
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Q&A with a College Prep Scholar & QuestBridge Scholar – Julybeth Murillo

julybeth-emory

Since attending the National College Admissions Conference at Stanford in 2015, Julybeth Murillo has returned to the conference as a Group Leader to share her advice with the next generation of QuestBridge Scholars. We chatted with Julybeth to hear her perspective:

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I am Julybeth Murillo, and I am currently attending Emory University as an upcoming junior studying Sociology and Spanish. I was a College Prep Scholar in 2015 and attended the Stanford National College Admissions Conference. The conference gave me the confidence to apply to top-tier colleges and universities and have an open mindset. I did not match to Emory, but got in through QuestBridge Regular Decision.
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Dear QB: I’m on a college wait list. Now what?

DearQBIf you’ve been put on a college’s wait list, it may feel like you’re in the purgatory of college admissions decisions. Neither a clear “yes” nor a downright “no,” the wait list can be an unsettling place to be.

Although there isn’t a foolproof method to getting off a college’s wait list, we’re here to help you navigate this uncharted territory. Here are a few tips to help you demonstrate your continued interest to the college(s) at the top of your list: Continue reading

Admissions Officer Insight: How High School Juniors Can Get a Head Start

Jennifer Gargano
Jenni Gargano, Dartmouth College, Assistant Director of Admissions

In your junior year of high school, it’s probably hard to escape the reality that you’ll be applying to college in the coming months. You’re probably already thinking about all the different parts of your application, from crafting your story through the personal statements to keeping your grades up in your challenging classes, on top of trying to enjoy your final year and a half as a high school student with your family and friends.

As an admissions officer at Dartmouth, I know we ask you to do a lot throughout the college application process – that’s why I want to share how the QuestBridge College Prep Scholars Program can help you on your journey. When I was a junior in high school (a long, long time ago, I know), I was a College Prep Scholar myself and attended the National College Admissions Conference at Stanford. Please believe me when I say that this opportunity was one of the most formative in my college search journey. My hope is that you could gain as much or even more than I did when I was in your shoes – and so I encourage you to give the application a shot to see what might happen.

Here, I’ve listed the top three ways the College Prep Scholars Program and application could give you a head start in applying to colleges in your senior year:
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Finally Finding My Niche at a National College Admissions Conference

20160109_125602If someone ever looked at my notebooks from school, it was easy to tell that I wanted to go to college. Stickers ranging from “I love UC Berkeley” to “Future Harvard Student” were plastered on the covers, and my extensive college list was on at least one page of each of my notebooks. However, the closer I got to the end of my junior year, the smaller the list would get, until the point where I did not find anywhere I wanted to go. Sure, some of these schools looked great on paper, but I could not find a place I could call “home.” Was I being too pessimistic? Why didn’t I like the schools everyone wanted to go to? With only a summer left to finalize my college list, I pondered on millions of these questions, wondering if I would ever find “the one.” It wasn’t until I attended the National College Admissions Conference at Stanford that I discovered the place I would fit in.
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Q&A with Summer Program Scholarship Recipient Josiah Gouker

Josiah-PrincetonLast year, Josiah Gouker applied to the College Prep Scholars Program and received a full scholarship to a summer program at the University of Chicago. Over the course of his summer, Josiah got a feel for what it would be like to attend a top-tier university. The program affirmed his interest in public policy, which he will be pursuing at Princeton University next year as a National College Match Scholarship Recipient. We spoke with Josiah to learn more!

Why did you decide to apply to the College Prep Scholars Program?

I first heard about the QuestBridge College Prep Scholars Program from the high school counseling secretary, who constantly updates other students and me with the latest academic opportunities. At first, I was not sure of the purpose of the program, but after more research into how QuestBridge would be able to help me and how the College Prep Scholars Program would prepare me for the National College Match process, I decided to apply.

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Why should I apply to be a 2018 College Prep Scholar?

If you’re a junior in high school, the reality of applying to college may be starting to sink in. Standardized tests. Teacher recommendations. Essays. Transcripts. The list goes on! But instead of feeling overwhelmed by those things, what if you had a head start? The College Prep Scholars Program can give you just that.

We could go on about the program’s many awards and opportunities (all-expense-paid campus visits, anyone?), but we thought you should hear straight from College Prep Scholars themselves:

Emmanual-Dartmouth“Getting accepted to the College Prep Scholars Program boosted my confidence because I realized that someone else believes that I am a competitive applicant. As a College Prep Scholar, I learned tips on how to improve my writing skills and how I can use my story to strengthen my college application.

Emmanuel S., 2017 College Prep Scholar, Dartmouth ’22

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Dear QB: How do I show a college that I’m still interested?

DearQBAs you are finishing your Regular Decision Requirements, you may be wondering what you can do to further stand out as an applicant. One way is to stay engaged with the colleges to which you’re applying. This is especially important if you ranked schools and submitted all of your materials to them in November. Each college is unique, but here are a few ways you can stay in touch with the colleges on your list:

1. Submit your midyear report and financial aid materials on time.

The midyear report and financial aid materials are likely the last few materials you need to submit for your applications to be considered complete. Make a good last impression! Continue reading

Dear QB: How do I fight senioritis?

DearQBSen·ior·i·tis (noun)

A supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.

If you’re a high school senior, you have likely been forewarned by your counselor, teachers, or parents about “senioritis.” Graduation is now less than six months away, and it can be tempting to slip into a senioritis state of mind. But now — more than ever! — it’s important to stay on track. To make this part easier on you, we’ve compiled our tips to help you fight senioritis: Continue reading