Admissions Officer Insight: Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions!

Here at QuestBridge, we constantly seek ways to help students on their journey through college admissions, so we asked College Prep Scholars what they wanted to know from admissions officers. Four similar themes surfaced from more than a thousand responses. Take a look at the answers from admissions officers who represent some of our college partners!

Question 1: What can I do to stand out among other applicants?

UChicagoRebecca Kahn-Witman, University of Chicago, Senior Assistant Director of Admission

“Be yourself! I know that sounds cliché, but if every student put together the same application, our jobs as Admissions Counselors would be quite boring. I also always encourage students to figure out what they want while applying to colleges and universities. Being able to identify something (whether big or small) that is important to them, will help the applicant “stand out”. Never do anything because of how it will look on the application; do things because you are excited and passionate about them and it will shine through in the application. Standing out doesn’t mean being the most unique person the admissions committee has seen. The passion, genuine nature, and thoughtful reflection of the application and essays are most important, as we will see the care that you put forth and ultimately, that’s how you’ll stand out.” Continue reading

Money-Saving Tips I Learned Studying Abroad in Hong Kong, Summer 2018 (That Can Be Applied Almost Anywhere!)

Wei Wei Chen, Emory University (’18)

WWC_HK_View-from-Wooloomooloo.jpgThis past summer, I interned abroad in Hong Kong through Emory University’s Global Internship Program. I had wanted to study abroad throughout my entire undergraduate experience but faced financial and personal barriers. How do I, for example, convince my family who has never heard of studying abroad that it was worthwhile? How would I navigate the expensive program fees if I could not secure the proper scholarships? Continue reading

Dear QB: How is it possible that a top college can be more affordable than my state school?

DearQBThis is one the most frequent questions we receive here at QuestBridge — and it’s also one of our favorites to answer! We know that every year, there are over 30,000 outstanding high school students from low-income backgrounds who are academically qualified to attend the nation’s top colleges. Over 80% of them do not apply to even one selective college.

Many of these promising students assume they can’t afford an education at a top college, or think that these schools don’t want low-income students on their campuses. QuestBridge exists to tell these students this: you can afford to dream big. Why? Keep reading…
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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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