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. 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

How Telementoring Helped Karli Get Into College

Karli Cecil YaleOne of the unique awards offered through the College Prep Scholars Program is telementoring with Amherst College students. But what is it exactly? And how can it help you get into college?

To give you a better idea of what telementoring looks like, we spoke with Karli Cecil, a 2015 College Prep Scholar and telementoring award recipient:
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Explore, Challenge, Strengthen: Summer Programs in a Nutshell

Close your eyes and picture yourself on the college campus of your dreams. What do you see? Ivy covered buildings? Late night study sessions in the library? Hang outs with a roommate in your dorm? Laboratories filled with cutting edge equipment?

What if you could see it for yourself the summer before your senior year of high school? The College Prep Scholars Program offers full scholarships to college summer programs so you can experience life beyond high school and to gain first-hand experience attending a selective college. As you get into the rhythms of college life, a summer program also gives you the opportunity to:
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Dear QB: Why should I apply to be a College Prep Scholar?

It’s your junior year of high school, and the reality of applying to college has started to hit. 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. We chatted with Marilyn, Arriana, and Romeo to find out how the College Prep Scholars Program helped them get to where they are today:
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How Can I Stay Organized While Applying to College?

How to stay organized while applying to college

Applying to college might be the first time in your life you’ve had to juggle so many deadlines and tasks. In order to successfully navigate all the minute details and different policies, you’ll need to track a lot of information. But how? Below we offer organization ideas for different stages of the college application process.

Researching colleges:

Keep a spreadsheet of all the colleges you are interested in.  Have columns including (but not limited to):

  • Size, location, school type, etc.
  • Acceptance rate, average test scores, etc.
  • Application deadline(s), required tests, etc.

You want to be sure to keep track of information that will later help you narrow down your list of schools to apply to. Also, be sure to identify if it is a reach, target, or safety school for you, based on your own academic performance. Later on you can use that information to make sure you are applying to a range of schools.

Conduct the majority of your college research over the summer. You can continue research on a small scale throughout the school year, but you’ll be juggling many other activities. Try to complete at much as possible during the summer to minimize your stress throughout the application process.

Applying to colleges:

Create a timeline or spreadsheet to track all deadline related information. You should be tracking:

  • All materials that must be submitted and the respective deadlines. For example, if you are ranking Amherst College through the National College Match, your deadline/requirement list could look like this:

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Note: College Match and Regular Decision requirements for each partner college can be found here: http://www.questbridge.org/for-students/college-requirements.

  • As you make this list, look for items that overlap. Use your own system (such as different highlighter colors) to group that information. Then, when you go to submit those materials, look for ways to streamline the submission process.
  • Make sure you have a clear method of checking off the items you have accomplished. It’s never fun to anxiously search through your email to see if you remembered to submit something – after the deadline has passed.

If you follow these organization techniques, we can guarantee you’ll make it through the college application process with much less stress than the typical high school senior!