Admissions Officer Insight: Now is the Time to Brag

Meghan Grandolfo, Colby College,
Senior Assistant Director of Admissions for Access and Inclusion

You may have seen or heard the term “holistic” while exploring the admissions policies for many colleges and universities. And you may know institutions that practice a holistic review consider not only your grade point average and standardized test scores, but the entirety of who you are, the broader context of where you’ve come from and the opportunities you’ve been presented with, and the ways you’ve contributed to your family and community. As admissions counselors, we want to learn more from your application about the passions and interests that inspire you and the stories and experiences you’d bring to our institution. Each and every applicant has a unique background and perspective to share, and each has the opportunity to highlight their diverse talents and involvements in a distinct and meaningful way.

It may feel awkward to be boastful as you approach the college admissions process, but if there was ever a time to boast, this is it. Sharing who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what matters most to you can help distinguish you from many other students and can provide admissions counselors with invaluable information as they consider your application. Continue reading

Dear QB: How can I find a summer job to help pay for college?

DearQBIf you have already received your financial aid package, you may have seen the term “Summer Work Contribution,” which is a common component of financial aid. This is the amount of money you are expected to save this upcoming summer to bring with you to college.

Why is this so important? Well, this money is your responsibility to earn. Be sure to arrive on campus with this money on hand or else you will be short during the year. Here are a few tips to make sure you stay on track to earn your summer work contribution: Continue reading

Admissions Officer Insight: Top Three Reasons to Attend a National College Admissions Conference!

Jazzmin Estebane, Pomona College, Admissions Officer
Jazzmin Estebane, Pomona College, Admissions Officer

Every summer QuestBridge hosts their National College Admissions Conferences for College Prep Scholars, giving students and parents a chance to learn more about the QuestBridge National College Match process and college applications. Here are the top 3 reasons (and one bonus!) I think you should attend a National College Admissions Conference in-person.

1. Visit a college campus.

Whether it’s during high school visits in the fall, at college fairs, or in our office, one of the most frequent topics of conversation I have with students is college fit. During the National College Admissions Conference, you’ll not only have a chance to sit down with real admissions officers and discuss college fit, you’ll get to see how questions of fit work while you visit a college campus in-person. Continue reading

A Look Back on 2016 Match Stories…

As 2016 comes to a close, we want to take a look back on some of the great moments from the 2016 National College Match. This year, 5,338 high school seniors were selected Finalists, and 767 students were matched to our college partners — both record numbers that are definitely worth celebrating! But the individual stories of each student are truly what make 2016 a great year for us. Check out some of the reactions from our recently matched students:

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“When I was matched I was speechless. I felt as if a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders for the next four years of my academic career. I stared at my phone in disbelief, but also in confidence because I knew that this was my prize for all the hard work and dedication I put in during these four years of high school.”

Mazie A., Williams College, Class of 2021 Continue reading

Admissions Officer Insight: What You Can’t Find on Colleges’ Websites…

With the deadline to rank colleges for the 2016 National College Match quickly approaching, we hope you are diving deep into college websites to do as much research as possible. We asked a few of our college partners for insight about things you may not find on their websites, but are central to their campuses…

Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College“Four years at Bowdoin teaches you to be intellectually fearless. Surrounded by people from all over the country and the world, your professors and peers will push you outside of your comfort zone in and out of the classroom, and in doing so will open the world and help you to find your path through it. Continue reading

Words of Inspiration from the Class of 2020

The 2016 National College Match application deadline is right around the corner! To help applicants in the final push, we asked QuestBridge Scholars who were matched in the 2015 National College Match to share their advice. Here’s what they had to say…

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Juan O., Rice ’20 – Liberty, Texas

 

“Just do it! There is nothing to lose and the world to gain! It is worth the time, the effort, and the emotional stress involved.

Don’t let yourself or anyone else discourage you from applying to your dream college because you never know what life may have in store for you.Continue reading

Dear QB: What do I need to know about the QuestBridge application and the Common App?

DearQBHere at QuestBridge, we know that the college application process can feel a little daunting at times. We’re here to guide you through that process, and questions about the Common App are not uncommon!

Before you dive in to both applications, make sure to read through these frequently asked questions:

Do I have to submit the Common App? If so, is it also due by the National College Match deadline?

Some of our college partners require you to submit the Common Application as an additional “College Match Requirement” if you rank them for the National College Match. You can see all college requirements on each college partner’s page under the “Application Requirements” tab.  Continue reading

Presidential Scholar Danielle Newton’s Path to Princeton

Danielle Newton, 2016 Presidential Scholar & QuestBridge Scholar, Princeton '20
Danielle Newton, 2016 Presidential Scholar & QuestBridge Scholar, Princeton ’20

In the 2015 National College Match, QuestBridge nominated 10 Finalists for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, which recognizes some of our nation’s most distinguished high school seniors. Four of our nominees received this prestigious honor: Liana Wang (Yale ’20), Calen Firedancing (Williams ’20), Danielle Newton (Princeton ’20), and David Zuluaga (Princeton ’20). 

We spoke with Danielle to get her perspective on her visit to Washington, D.C. for the awards ceremony, and how the National College Match helped her on her path to Princeton:


On being recognized as a 2016 Presidential Scholar

How did you react to the news of being selected as one of only 160 Presidential Scholars  nationwide?
When I received the email that the final selection had been made for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, I had already told myself that I wouldn’t be chosen. I was competing against students who had scored 36’s on their ACT’s — teenage geniuses — and I felt like I had no chance. So when I opened the email and found out I was selected, I was unimaginably shocked, and I couldn’t get a smile off my face. I immediately called my mom, hardly making coherent sentences through my intense happiness and surprise as I realized I would have the incredible opportunity to visit the nation’s capital. Continue reading

Advice from an Applicant: Q&A with QuestBridge Scholar Daniel Espino

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Daniel Espino, QuestBridge Scholar, Vassar ’18

Having been a College Prep Scholar and National College Match Finalist, Daniel Espino (Vassar ’18) knows the ins and outs of applying to QuestBridge. Now a Computer Science major (and potentially Math, too!) at Vassar College, Daniel is sharing his advice with this year’s applicants in hopes that it will put them on the same path to success. 

Why did you decide to apply to college through the National College Match?

As a College Prep Scholar, I was invited to attend the Stanford National College Admissions Conference in 2013. There, I learned all about what the National College Match was and I learned about all of the benefits that came with applying through it. I learned that I could apply very early to up to eight schools (it’s now up to 12!) and have a chance at a guaranteed, full, four-year scholarship to any of those schools. Of course, I took that chance and decided to go through the application process. Continue reading

Path to Success: QuestBridge Alumna Aya Saed

Originally from Annandale, Virginia, Aya Saed graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013, with a BA in International Relations. She has an impressive roster of experiences already: intern at Google for two summers, Henry Luce Scholar, and Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. She’s currently pursuing a J.D. at Harvard Law School and a Masters of Public Affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.


Aya Saed

 

Aya Saed, QuestBridge Scholar
Annandale, Virginia
University of Pennsylvania ’13, BA in International Relations

 

On applying to QuestBridge:

I discovered the program quite randomly as I was Googling resources that could be of help to low-income students. I landed on the website the summer before my senior year and applied immediately!

I was excited, and quite energized to know that such a program exists for low-income students. I was a bit overwhelmed by the application process, but realized very early on that this would help expedite my college application process and streamline an otherwise complicated system. Continue reading