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!

Interview with a College Prep Scholar & College Match Scholarship Recipient – Ricky Canton

CantonRichardWalesSummerInstitueRicky Canton
College Prep Scholar
College Match Scholarship Recipient
Current Quest Scholar at Pomona College
Home state: New Jersey

What advice would you give to students who are starting to write their personal statement?
The best advice I heard was “Really be honest with yourself.” It helped me because I hadn’t ever really thought about being a low-income student of color. It wasn’t even something I wanted to discuss, to be honest, because it was still something I was trying to figure out.
I would suggest working collaboratively, especially in brainstorming ideas. One of the best ways to figure out what you want to do is to see what everyone else is doing. One of my friends was writing about how one of her favorite things was doing laundry. And I started thinking, “what do I like to do?” I realized I really like languages, how they work, and their structure. I wanted to explore what that meant in the context of my identity and my prospects for the future.
Also, be critical about yourself. Obviously you shouldn’t defame yourself, but ask if your topic and experiences are really worth talking about. Is it an experience that has really shaped who you are today?
Finally, find your own space to work on your essay. I vividly remember working in this corner of a Starbucks with my notebook. Find your quiet space to think about who you are and, cliché as it sounds, who you want to be. It helped me not only in the college admissions process, but also as I personally figured out who I was.


On a different note, what advice do you have for students who are just starting to research colleges?

One of the things that helped me was getting input from the people who I hold dear to. It wasn’t really an option to get advice from my mom, but my sister and my friends knew what my interests were and had some knowledge about what schools might be best. If those aren’t possibilities, my best advice would be to use Quest Scholars. Everyone’s super friendly and wants to help you figure out what you want and where you want to go. I remember a student from Pomona answered a ton of questions for me and was a huge resource. The Facebook groups are great resources where you can get insight from students who come from similar backgrounds.
How early should students start looking at colleges?
Start as early as possible because once you figure out where you want to go, there’s still the rest of the process to do. I really don’t think you can start too early. Even if that just means going on the college’s website and exploring, using virtual tours, and the FAQ sections. Use those as starting points to see if you’re interested. Also, make sure you look at all of your options: Quest schools, state schools, etc. You want to have all these options open to you.

So you applied for the College Prep Scholarship the day it was due. Based on that experience, do you have any advice for students heading into the National College Match?
I definitely recommend doing all your applications early. Start an application the day it’s released. Always get recommendations as early as possible.

What advice do you have for students who are uncomfortable telling potential recommenders that QuestBridge works with low-income students?
Talk about your aspirations first and how you’ve found this organization that links high achieving students with top-tier colleges. Then say that you’re hoping to get a recommendation for this program. I actually asked my teachers to have individual meetings with me, during their prep period. We went through the QuestBridge website together so they could understand the program. They didn’t even realize organizations like this existed so by letting them know, it was a way to pay it forward.

What would you tell College Prep Scholars who are starting the National College Match application process?
The only thing that can hold you back is yourself. You know, speaking to other College Prep Scholars, I realized that we were all so different but that we shared these commonalities. It helped reassure me that my story and my experiences were valid and that I was a competitive student. So my advice would be to just go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose!

What should I do with my summer?

Dear QB: What should I be doing the summer before my senior year?

summer_jobsThe summer before your senior year of high school is the last opportunity you will have to significantly change your college application. Use this time to take advantage of an opportunity that is related to your academic interests. Admissions officers are looking for students who show passion and engagement beyond their words – students who can back their stated interests with action.

There are many ways you make your summer count, including:

  • Interning with a company of your choice
  • Assisting in a research lab
  • Working part- or full-time
  • Volunteering in your community
  • Working as a camp counselor
  • Building your own project or organization
  • Learning a new skillset, online or in person

Important note: if you’re a low-income student who will be working to contribute to family funds or taking care of other family responsibilities over the summer, don’t worry! This is will not negatively impact your college application. In fact, you should be sure to note or talk more about this in your application. Make sure the reader is able to understand the scope of your family responsibilities and how those might have prevented you from exploring other options.

If you are unable to devote your summer to pursuing your academic interests, you might still be able to find small ways to weave them in. This will be all the more impressive in light of your other responsibilities or duties. For example, a student working full time at a fast food restaurant and also taking online coding lessons stands out for their drive and impressive time management. Similarly, a student who is responsible for their siblings during the week, but spends weekends volunteering at a community center will stand out.

There is certainly something to be said for taking some personal time during the summer to recoup and prepare for the coming year, and we do encourage you to take some time for yourself! However, from our experience, students who use this summer wisely and show continued motivation and drive are students who will stand out in the fall.

Four reasons why being (or applying to be) a College Prep Scholar is Awesome

For three hours now, we’ve heard nothing but blues country music, seen nothing but farm land, and ate nothing but Cheetos and a bag of cuties tangerines. But Mom and I saw beyond the road that seemed to lead nowhere, we were going to the QB College Prep Conference where, for the next 24 hours, I was not just a daughter of a single mother, or a student on the free lunch program—I was nothing but a potential college prep scholar.

The deadline for the college prep scholarship is looming before us. There is less than one week left to contact your favorite teacher for a recommendation and to whip up a personal statement. Seems like a lot of work for something that isn’t a college application? If these are your thoughts, let my try to persuade you otherwise. And if you are already set on applying or have already applied, let me tell you how you have made a great decision.

so here it goes…

Meet yourself again

Going through the college application process, people tend to ask themselves questions they usually never really thought about before, or if they did, never really wrote about. What do I like to do? What sets me apart from the kid down the block? What do I want to do in the next 5 years? And even the same existential questions: Who I am? Who do I want to be? This doesn’t mean that writing a college application essay will answer these questions, but for me, I learned a lot more about myself in a matter of weeks from just sitting and writing things about my life. In beginning to tackle these problems through the College Prep Scholarship application, one is able to open the flood gates to a flow of new thoughts and questions about oneself, a process that I think is vital for preparing for the college application process. And, as a practical benefit, one has a couple of short essay responses prepared for those future essay questions. Some call it laziness, I call it efficiency.

CPS blog

Who am I? I don’t know but I think my nametag does…

Get your questions Answered

I won’t sugar coat it. The college application is not a time period filled with daisies and roses. For me and many others, it was a complicated maze that didn’t seem to have an end. But what if you could have almost all your questions about QuestBridge and your dream colleges answered by the very people who might be reading your application a year later? Hmmm but where could I find that? Hope I’m not too subtle here my friends.

cps blog 1

Questions and more questions. Curiouser and curiouser!

Road Trip

Not all College Prep Scholars are chosen to go to a conference, but if you are and you are quite a ways from your conference location, make a journey out of it! As referenced in the beginning of my article, mom and I took a road trip up to Stanford from LA about 2 years ago, leaving right after my last class finished on Friday and coming back Saturday evening. And while I was completely exhausted, I got to eat junk food, sing Taylor Swift at the top of my lungs, eat fresh fruit from the farms we visited when we got lost, take a quick peep at the golden gate bridge, and most importantly, see Stanford! I talked to admissions officers about their schools, collected name cards and pamphlets like they were Pokémon cards, and took selfies with the Hoover tower. Basically I was killing two birds with one stone—learning about college and having a mini vacation with mom.

Confidence Feeder

Many of you might have been told “You’re not going to college” or “You can’t do that.” “This school is out of your reach.” “Have you tried looking at _______ Community College?” In a sea of “No’s” it is really nice to just have one little “Yes.” Even if it’s small and lonely, one Yes can do wonders for this little thing called Hope and his friend Confidence. It’s hard to find these two from where we come from. Nonetheless, I strongly believe that by taking this small opportunity, this single College Prep Scholarship application can propel you into a world of Yeses. (No that is not the wrong spelling of the plural form of yes, I checked Oxford Dictionary.) I’m not saying it will be easy, nor that this will be guaranteed. But, I know that your road might seem long and endless. It might not be very fruitful in the beginning, but if you have faith, it might lead to something awesome.

 

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Our reactions if you don’t apply…

Why Should I Want to be a College Prep Scholar?

DearQB

Sitting in the QuestBridge office, it can be easy to forget what it was like to be a high school junior. It seems obvious why anyone would want to apply to the College Prep Scholarship and it’s easy to forget how ominous the application can appear in the face of homework, extracurricular, and family responsibilities.

So let’s step outside the QuestBridge office. Here’s what you need to know, straight from last years’ College Prep Scholars.

The application is really long. Why should I take time to fill it out?

“The process of filling out the College Prep Scholarship application allowed me to get a taste of what the college process is like. I was definitely more prepared for the college process and for the College Match application after going through the process of filling out the College Prep Scholarship application.”
– Benjamin Bornstein, Rockaway Beach, NY

I’ve heard that everyone gets free test prep, but why is that such a big deal?

“Prior to being named a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar, I felt that my college application was not competitive with regards to my test scores. The QuestBridge test preparation award gave me the opportunity to take online SAT courses from Kaplan. I used this award a significant number of times. When I finally went in to take the college admissions test, my score increased substantially. Without QuestBridge, I would not have been able to afford a test preparation course and thus, would never have had extra resources that allowed me to receive a competitive test score.”
– Katherine Ochoa Castillo, Alexandria, VA

“The test preparation helped me to become a more competitive applicant because I was able to explore a new approach to studying for standardized tests and increase my test scores.”
– Jasmin Kamruddin, Duluth, GA

I know that many students are invited to attend one of the National College Admissions Conferences? Why does everyone rave about them?

“The National College Admissions Conference was an eye-opening experience. Up until then, I had been in the dark about the college admissions process. Being at the conference taught me valuable information that prepared me to become a well-informed, prepared college applicant.”
– Arriana Jones, Arizona City, AZ

“The National College Admissions Conference broke down the entire admissions process in a way that made it easy to understand. Hearing essay and application tips from actual admissions officers from the most prestigious schools in the nation definitely made me a more competitive applicant. Also, without the college fair at the conference I would have never even heard about the school that I have been matched to, Vassar College.”
– Leah Clark, Tuscaloosa, AL

“When I attended the QuestBridge College Admissions Conference at Princeton, it opened my eyes to all the opportunities that I have available. I learned some effective techniques in writing competitive college essays and how to make my application stand out among the many candidates. I also learned more about the QuestBridge partner schools.”
– Fatoumata Diallo, Bronx, NY

Is it worth applying if I’m not sure I’d be able to attend one of the conferences (if invited)?

“Yes. Although I was unable to attend the Conference, I received the PowerPoint presentation of everything that was presented at the conference. That material really helped me to understand what QuestBridge is. It was also one of the first things that helped me realized that I have a chance in pursuing my dream.”
– Zuly Maimaiti, Germantown, MD

“My 2014 College Prep Scholarship award was a huge benefit even though I had to decline attending the National College Admissions Conference at Northwestern. The distinction of being named a College Prep Scholar was hugely beneficial as were all of the QuestBridge informational emails, videos, and follow-ups sent throughout the summer about college admissions and counseling.  When I attended admissions sessions I was able to ask informed questions about the application requirements for admission to the top tier universities, thanks to my background research through QuestBridge.”
– Ethan Nelson, Scottsbluff, NE

The awards sound cool, but is there any other meaning to being designated a College Prep Scholar?

“The College Prep Scholar Award helped me realize that I truly was a competitive applicant because it’s an accomplishment in itself. The application process alone prepared me for what was to come in the fall.”
– Amaris Benavidez, Phoenix, AZ

“These awards helped me become more competitive not due to having been given more knowledge but because of being awarded in general. When I learned that I had been chosen as a College Prep Scholar and granted these awards I finally saw myself as being “smart.” I finally believed what everyone told me: “you’re smart,” “you can do whatever you want in life,” and “you work so hard.”
– Daniel Mayo, Surprise, AZ

So there it is, loud and clear: the College Prep Scholarship has the power to change lives. We invite you to explore all the awards offered (we didn’t have time to talk about all of them in this blog post!) and start your application today!

DearQB is an advice column for QuestBridge applicants and Quest Scholars. It is answered by QuestBridge staff and Quest Scholars. 

Knowledge Produces Confidence

daniel_ana
Daniel and QuestBridge CEO Ana McCullough on National Quest Day.

[A note from QuestBridge: This is a special guest blog post about the College Prep Scholarship from Daniel Wilson, a Quest Scholar and a member of Quest’s staff!]

My name is Daniel Wilson. When I was told that I was a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar, I had no idea what that really meant. I knew that I was a good student, and I had filled out a CPS application, but what was next? In my case, I was invited to attend a National College Admissions Conference, but I had no idea whether it was worth putting in the effort to go. It turns out that it was definitely worth it. If I had not participated in the College Prep Scholarship program (CPS from now on because it’s sort of a mouthful), I honestly think that my life would be extremely different. The CPS program gave me the knowledge, the confidence, and the hope to later succeed in the college admissions process, and that success has been important in shaping who I am today.

When I was a junior in high school, I had no idea what was involved in applying to college. I knew I wanted to go to a good university because I love knowledge and learning, and I felt that better universities with more resources could provide a better learning experience. I just had no idea what those schools were looking for from an applicant. What do colleges want in an application essay? How should I explain my family’s circumstances? I didn’t know the answer to any of these questions at the time, but by the end of the CPS program, I not only had all of my questions answered but also had been pointed toward the resources I needed to figure out how to overcome any future difficulties in the application process.

Knowledge produces confidence. When I walked out of the conference, I said to myself, “I can do this,” and I wasn’t crazy. I knew what I needed to do to succeed in the college admissions process, and it really doesn’t have to be that scary when you know what you need to do. There’s a lot to process, and there’s a lot to do. College Prep Scholars are chosen, though, because Quest believes they have what it takes. It was great feeling that belief in me, and that’s one of many incredible things that Quest gave me that made me choose to come back and serve on Quest’s staff.

If I’m being completely honest, knowledge and academics were never simply ends for me to pursue as I grew up. To me they were also a means to escape my struggles. I was so stressed out and upset by my family’s situation, and I dreamed of a day when that wasn’t going to always be the case. One of the reasons I didn’t give up was because I felt like I couldn’t. Failure couldn’t be an alternative, but I didn’t know what was possible to aspire for. Quest helped change that. Unfortunately, going to a good university didn’t solve my family’s struggles, but it did give me access to an incredible range of opportunities for me to make a meaningful difference with my life.

For many of you, life has already presented plenty of obstacles to you, and you have had to decide whether it was worth it to pursue your dreams. I commend all of you for not giving up yet. You’ve made the right choice so far. Unfortunately, obstacles in life are still going to come, and it’s still going to be tough, at least for a while. I can honestly tell you that there’s something better out there for all of you. Working with Quest with the College Prep Scholarship program and hopefully more in the future can help you figure out how to do that, as it did for me. Regardless of what you choose to do, though, please don’t give up.

A Story of Stress, Grace, and Hope

suhe_post1Once upon a time, I was stressed out.

It was the fall of my junior year in high school, the time where my classmates were discussing which colleges they were planning on applying to, and I had no idea if I was even going to go to college. As a student from a low-income family, I was particularly worried about the expense. I was considering getting a job straight out of high school. Then I told my friend, Grace, about everything that was worrying me after school one day. She gave me a pensive look and said, “Why don’t you apply to QuestBridge? It’s a full four-year scholarship for low-income students. College is a possibility.” At that point, all of my worries shifted. I went from worrying over what job to apply for to worrying over whether I wanted to apply to Stanford, Vassar, or Wesleyan.

After that, Grace and I researched and worked on our applications together weekend after weekend well into our senior year until we were both accepted as College Prep Scholars, and subsequently as College Match Finalists. As a College Prep Scholar, I was fortunate enough to be able to road-trip with my cousin to the QuestBridge College Admissions Conference at Northwestern University and learn more about the Quest colleges from admissions officers. I relayed information from the conference to Grace, and together we decided that we would rank colleges when we applied for the College Match. We wrote essay after essay, traded and reviewed and re-edited, then repeated the process with our other friends and teachers up until the last minute when we submitted our applications and hoped for the best. It was stressful, but we pulled through.

When I found out that I was a College Match Finalist, I was nervously excited. Since I had ranked colleges, I had to check which of them required extra submissions and complete them within the two week deadline. Depending on the college, this became a bit pricey as I submitted my ACT and SAT scores, high school transcript, and Common App to my ranked schools. I also had the option of rearranging my ranked schools as I pored over stacks of informational pamphlets at the last minute. Double-checking the rankings was imperative since there was a very real possibility that I could end up at any of my six schools for the next four years of my life.

A month later, I got my Match letter telling me I was accepted at my second ranked school, Vassar College. Fast forward ten more months and every morning that I wake up to a beautiful view of the Vassar campus. I’m thankful and content that I stuck through the application process and was chosen to attend this school.

Zuheily Quinones, Quest Scholar, Vassar ’18

More Lessons from a Group Leader

thais_college_prepAttending the 2014 QuestBridge National College Admissions Conference at Princeton was, in a unique way, bittersweet. You see, I had attended the very same conference two years ago. I can remember the day like it was yesterday. I was wearing an oxford blue dress (wasn’t much of a dress girl, so it was weird), feeling nervous and excited. I had a great time at the conference and I came home full of motivation to fill out the QuestBridge College Match application. So coming back to the same chemistry building two years later as a Quest Scholar from Amherst gave me such a sense of relief, the kind a hiker gets after getting to the highest point of the mountain and admiring the glorious landscape. Believe it or not, but Frick Chemistry building in Princeton, New Jersey was my glorious landscape.

After meeting the other fellow Quest Scholars/Group Leaders and going through training, I had the opportunity to meet the staff behind the magic that is QuestBridge. They seemed just as excited as the Group Leaders, which just filled the meeting room with energy — something we all needed after a long training session. At 5:00 a.m. the following morning all the Group Leaders reluctantly crawled our way out of bed to get ready for the big day. Thankfully there were bagels and coffee waiting for us at Frick. Before I knew it, it was 7:35 a.m. and we were all headed to our first stations. I was on parking lot duty, meaning Daniel (part of the QuestBridge staff) and I got to greet people at the park lot and direct them to Frick. I met many of the College Prep Scholars and their parents, guidance counselors, and family friends and even got hear their travel stories; some came from the town over, others drove all night from Kentucky. I headed over to meet my group, full of nerves and excitement. My mind was full of endless thoughts. “Don’t forget transition times!” “Don’t forget to pass out bingo sheets!” “What if I can’t remember the next room to go to?!?” “What if my kids are anti-social?!”.

Luckily none of that happened! I got a great group of students who were excited to be there and eager to learn as much as possible about the College Match process and QuestBridge. My favorite part about my conference back in 2012, and still my favorite part about this year’s conference was the college fair. I remember running around going from table to table learning about fly-in programs, summer programs, core classes, liberal arts schools (What were was those?!?). This year I got to watch the madness from a different looking glass. As I stood at the Amherst table with my admissions officer, I quickly realized how much I knew about my college. It was great to be able to show students how much Amherst has to offer and how even at a liberal arts schools there’s top tier research, athletics, dance and theater programs, fellowships, and best of all personal, relationships with the faculty. I also love Michael McCullough’s talk at the conference; both times he has managed to leave me and my fellow Group Leaders dumbfounded with the ideas and topics he brought to our attention — within only just that hour and thirty minutes or so. Once the conference was over, I had students come up to me, asking for advice, more information about Amherst/QuestBridge, and even my email address, so they could keep in touch during the application process. It was such an eye-opening experience.

So far you’ve seen the “sweet” part… but now comes the “bitter.” Once the day ended, I realized that I actually missed the application process (SHOCKER). Even though it was the most stressful time of my life, it was also one of the most memorable. I realized the door has closed on that period of my life and that a new group of students were about to open it to experience everything I did and maybe even more. But it’s most definitely not a sad ending! I realized that I had been looking at the wrong door. Instead of reminiscing on my past life experiences, I had another door that was opened right next to me — a door I had opened by becoming a Quest Scholar, full of my freshmen year college experiences and waiting for three more years full of memories. I have QuestBridge to thank for my experience. It has been a rollercoaster in itself — full of joy, anxiety, unexpected turns, that funny feeling in your stomach as you plummet to the bottom of the hill where all you can do is scream, and much more. QuestBridge reminds me that we all have opportunities to be great and do great things and still humbles us as we embark on the ride.

— by Thais Calderon, Quest Scholar, Amherst ’17

Lessons from a Group Leader

ashley_land

I had no idea that the College Prep Scholarship was a thing until I was already a Quest Scholar at my respective school, but that just goes to show that you all are really on top of your game. I don’t think I was nearly as prepared to go into my senior year of high school than the dedicated, intelligent, and diligent students I met at the conference. The fact that you all took time out of your present summers to do something that is going to benefit your futures, (it will trust me), shows that your futures are already bright.

I honestly cannot believe I am about to be a junior at one of the most elite colleges in the country–the long nights doing college apps, the endless research at the library and on the internet for scholarships, the constant nagging from my parents about if I was making the right decisions, the persistent proofreading of every morsel of information I put into the 1000 character essay that was going to dictate my destiny one way or another–it all doesn’t seem so far in the past.

All I can say is that receiving an acceptance letter from that school that was in your top ten, your top five, or even your dream school will definitely feel satisfying. I definitely know that all of you College Prep Scholars are on the right track to getting those acceptance letters and I don’t know what a washed up upperclassman like me could tell you that you probably don’t already know.

The only piece of advice that I can  give is that I know for us low-income students, a key factor that turns up when choosing a college is the financial aid package. Money (or lack thereof) has been a key factor in many of our lives for a long time. What I want to share with all of you is that yes money is a factor, but it should not be the deciding factor. You have overcome so much adversity and  and you deserve to get a top-tier college education at a school that makes you happiest AND takes the least amount of money out of your pocket.

I believe in my heart of hearts that this is truly possible especially with help of organizations like QuestBridge that are showing elite colleges that low-income students can excel at elite institutions just like everyone else. For such a long time being low-income has been a problem for students like us, but being low-income is just an economic status. It should not define who you are and the mental capacity that you have. If anything it should only define where you are going because there is only one way to go from the bottom and that’s up.

Being low-income does not have to be your dirty little secret anymore, it can now can be your super power because you have experience on handling life’s difficulties. You have overcome obstacles before and you will overcome them time and time again. I am currently thriving in college. I am going abroad this semester, I am basically getting a full ride, and I am loving the people that I get to call my professors and peers. Best part is that I am getting to stimulate my mind and grow each and every single day. I can say that going to college was a dream come true and I believe that it will come true for you all too, just stay positive, keep up the hard work, and believe in yourself, you deserve it!

— by Ashley Land, Quest Scholar, Pomona ’16

My Experience at the National College Admissions Conference at Princeton

cps_conferenceAs I made my way to the Princeton campus, I could feel the anticipation rising. A growing group of students and their guests marched towards the Frick Chemistry Lab not entirely sure of what they should expect. But as I walked through the glass doors, my nerves melted away, and I was greeted by a friendly table of QuestBridge employees directing me, and the other conference-goers, to our groups.

Once I settled into my groups, I was metwith a long, yet incredibly rewarding day. When my group first convened, we were all handed a small trivia sheet, which we all worked to solve together. Our groups allowed us to socialize in a smaller setting, and get to know more about other College Prep Scholars. Numerous presentations supplied us with information concerning financial aid, the College Match, and college applications in general. And, as my group members and I toured the campus with our parents, mentors, and friends, talked to admissions counselors, and learned more about our Group Leaders, who were current QuestBridge college students, we all gained a powerful insight into college life, and the college process.

As a Fein Fellow, one of the highlights of my day was getting to meet the other fellows during our lunch break. Sitting at the tables together truly reminded us that no matter how far apart we may reside, QuestBridge had connected us all.

Though the National College Admissions Conference was mostly a very informative event, it opened my eyes to the importance of finding a college that truly fits your needs, rather than finding a college that is highly ranked, because happiness does not lie in a number on a website. And that is the most important lesson of all.

— by Veronica Brusilovski, 2014 College Prep Scholar