Light Beyond Darkness: From College Prep Scholar to Group Leader

2015-06-27 09.35.54
Cesar Rufino leading students at the 2015 National College Admissions Conference at Yale.

It took me a while to realize how fortunate I am. I don’t say this because I never appreciated my parents’ hard work or because I complained about materialistic things I never obtained during my childhood; I have always been happy about my life, but I never understood the context.

I still remember the day I attended QuestBridge’s National College Admissions Conference at Northwestern University. I was wearing new dress shoes, new khakis, and a crisp picnic-like shirt that my mom had purchased with her Tupperware earnings. I was so excited to learn more about colleges and continue pursuing my long-term ambitions. Continue reading

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

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

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.
Continue reading

Paty’s Quest for Excellence in the Bahamas

cps16-qfe-paty
Paty Calderon, 2016 College Prep Scholar and Quest for Excellence Award Winner

When Paty Calderon applied to the College Prep Scholars Program last year, she received a full scholarship to a summer program through the Quest for Excellence STEM Award that took her on an amazing journey of discovery and learning in the Bahamas. Read Paty’s story below!


Upon researching the QuestBridge summer programs awarded to College Prep Scholars, I was amazed by the opportunity of researching with the Island School in the Bahamas. I have always been very passionate about the environment and how marine life is affected by human actions, so the Island School was the perfect place for me to engage and learn with my surroundings through important research I really cared about. 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

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

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:

5

“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

Dear QB: How do I write a great supplemental essay?

DearQB

At this point in the application process, you have probably spent countless hours on the QuestBridge application, and likely wrote numerous drafts of your essays. It would be great to hear that you never have to write a college admissions essay again, but unfortunately, that is probably not the case.

Many of our partner colleges have a short answer/essay prompt that you need to pay attention to. Sometimes it’s just a few words long: Continue reading