Light Beyond Darkness: From College Prep Scholar to Group Leader

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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

It Takes a Community to Build a Home

Leslie Luqueno, QuestBridge Scholar, Haverford College ’20

A bit over a year ago, I was accepted through Early Decision to my top-choice school, Haverford College. But first-quarter-high-school-senior me would have never imagined myself attending a small liberal arts college across the country. I was set on attending well-known, large research universities, but after attending Haverford’s fly-in in October, I knew that it was the place that felt most like home. Abandoning my original dream institutions was not easy and there were many factors I had to take into account to see if it was worth going across the country, leaving my beloved golden state behind. Continue reading

Why should I apply to be a College Prep Scholar?

If you’re a junior in high school, the reality of applying to college may be starting to sink in. 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:

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“Being a College Prep Scholar prepared me for the college application process like no other prep program could. It also gave me the confidence that I could really make it through the Match and one day call one of the nation’s top schools ‘my school.'”

Evan L., 2016 College Prep Scholar, Duke University ’21
Continue reading

Universe of Possibilities: A Visit to NASA

In August 2016, 11 QuestBridge Scholars had the unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with officials at NASA and the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. Vi Nguyen, a QuestBridge Scholar and Yale University alumna, reflected on the visit to NASA:


Six people.

“At this moment, there are only six people in space? In total?” I re-asked my question, mostly out of sheer wonder. Our guide nodded with a smile, “Yes. Six.”

The 11 QuestBridge Scholars—eight current undergraduates and three alumni—sat around the table in NASA’s Space Operations Center, taking in the experience, unsure whether six human beings were too few or many more than we expected to be living beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

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QuestBridge Scholars at NASA

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Our Top 10 Tips for Academic Success

strategy-iconThe QSN theme for October is Academic Success — just in time for upcoming midterm exams for QuestBridge Scholars! Late nights and last-minute cram sessions may seem inevitable in college; but if you figure out the study techniques that work for you, then you can minimize these as much as possible.

We asked QuestBridge Staff and Quest Liaisons for their best study tips, and here are the top 10… Continue reading

Finding Your College Fit: Q&A with QuestBridge Scholar Daniel Espino

Daniel Espino, QuestBridge Scholar, Vassar ’18
Daniel Espino, QuestBridge Scholar, Vassar ’18

Ranking up to 12 colleges is what makes the National College Match unique from other college application processes. But with 38 college partners to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start your research and how to narrow down your list.

Daniel Espino (Vassar ’18) ranked colleges for the National College Match, and learned a valuable lesson that he’s passing along to this year’s applicants:

How did you choose schools to rank? Based on your experience, do you have any advice for students on deciding which schools to rank?

In the 17 years prior to having to apply to college, 99.999% of my life had been spent in the Southwest. My first time ever being on the East Coast was actually during the fall semester of my senior year, when I applied to a fly-in program and was flown to D.C. for a night (that was also my first time ever flying). Because of this, I didn’t know if I wanted to leave the comfort of familiarity that I had on the West Coast. This prompted me to make the decision to only rank the four schools that didn’t require me to make the commitment of attending if I was matched.

Looking back, I realize that this cut my chances of getting a guaranteed scholarship by half, and knowing that now you can apply to up to 12 schools, I would recommend to take advantage of this opportunity you have been given and apply to as many schools as you can.  Continue reading

Academic Success: Finding Academic Happiness

Have you ever wondered how to balance academic success with your overall well-being? This month, the QSN theme is Academic Success, and guest blogger Alejandra Mendoza (Columbia ’19) is kicking it off with her insight about academics, happiness, and the important balance between the two:

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Alejandra Mendoza, QuestBridge Scholar, Columbia ’19

As I was sitting in my Contemporary Civilization class today, my professor asked our class what happiness was. According to Aristotle, happiness is an activity, a progress. But we didn’t approach happiness the way he did. We listed nouns instead of verbs. We said health, money, love, instead of “living well.” Amidst our definition of happiness was academic success.

While academic success does have the capability to provide happiness, success does not happen overnight. Success, much like happiness, is a progress – it happens because we’re willing to work for 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

My Quest to the White House: A Visit to the Office of Science and Technology Policy

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Ethiopia Getachew, QuestBridge Scholar, W&L ’19

Last week, 11 QuestBridge Scholars met face-to-face with staff from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to discuss issues that are important to them. Ethiopia Getachew, a Biochemistry major and a Computer Science minor on the pre-medical track at Washington and Lee University, reflected on the visit:


Two years ago from this day, I was in constant stress about applying to colleges and finding financial aid as an international student attending high school in the United States.

One year ago from this day, I had just arrived on the Washington and Lee University campus, excited for the four years ahead of me.

And on this day, I was on my way to the Office of Science and Technology Policy with incredibly smart and resilient young people who have dedicated themselves to pursuing their passion. Never would I have imagined this would be my life.
Continue reading

Lessons Learned on the Path to College: Q&A with QuestBridge Scholar Jason Garcia

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Jason Garcia, QuestBridge Scholar, Northwestern ’17

When Jason Garcia (Northwestern ’17) received a letter in the mail from QuestBridge about the National College Match, he made it his goal to become a Finalist. Now a QuestBridge Scholar and History major at Northwestern University, Jason has achieved that goal and is hoping to inspire others to do the same.

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

Once I actually confirmed that QuestBridge was a realistic opportunity, it made all of the sense in the world! I remember getting a letter from QuestBridge through the mail, and asking one of my school counselors about the program. They had never heard of it, and so I had to do a lot of my own research to figure out what QuestBridge was about and what it could offer me. Honestly, I applied just with the goal of becoming a Finalist, because I knew all of the free college applications I would have access to would save my family so much money. Continue reading