QuestCast Recap: Behind the Scenes with Admissions Officers

To best assist you with completing your National College Match application, we invited admissions officers from some of our college partners to give you their insider tips. In this blog, you’ll find excerpts from their responses to commonly asked questions. For their full responses, watch the QuestCast recording.

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Admissions Officer Insight: Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions!

Here at QuestBridge, we constantly seek ways to help students on their journey through college admissions, so we asked College Prep Scholars what they wanted to know from admissions officers. Four similar themes surfaced from more than a thousand responses. Take a look at the answers from admissions officers who represent some of our college partners!

Question 1: What can I do to stand out among other applicants?

UChicagoRebecca Kahn-Witman, University of Chicago, Senior Assistant Director of Admission

“Be yourself! I know that sounds cliché, but if every student put together the same application, our jobs as Admissions Counselors would be quite boring. I also always encourage students to figure out what they want while applying to colleges and universities. Being able to identify something (whether big or small) that is important to them, will help the applicant “stand out”. Never do anything because of how it will look on the application; do things because you are excited and passionate about them and it will shine through in the application. Standing out doesn’t mean being the most unique person the admissions committee has seen. The passion, genuine nature, and thoughtful reflection of the application and essays are most important, as we will see the care that you put forth and ultimately, that’s how you’ll stand out.” 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 39 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

Admissions Officer Insight: Researching Colleges You Can’t Visit

kathleen-abels-haverford
Kathleen Abels, Haverford College, Associate Director of Admission and Coordinator of International Admission

There are amazing QuestBridge college partners all over the country, and it would be nearly impossible to visit each campus. Admission officers understand just how much time, energy and resources it can take to visit colleges in person, and we want to support you in finding alternative opportunities to learn about our communities. With a little initiative, you can make meaningful connections without having to be physically present on campus.

Here are just a few ways to get to know what it would be like to live and study at a particular college: Continue reading

Admissions Officer Insight: 5 App Tips from Vanderbilt University

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Zeben Ashton, Former Admissions Counselor, Vanderbilt University

The college application. A summation of your high school experience and a guide to who you think you’d like to become in the future. Naturally, it is one of the more stressful aspects of any student’s final year of high school. While college admissions counselors are telling students to “have fun with the process” and “not to stress” – students are looking at the process knowing that the outcome could have an incredible influence on their future.

That being said, it is an important process and while students really shouldn’t spend sleepless nights stressing about the question “is my application good enough?” – students should be prepared to invest a good amount of time into presenting themselves and their experiences to the best of their ability. How does one go about doing that? Here are five tips for students as they think about preparing their college applications. Continue reading

Advice from an Applicant: Q&A with QuestBridge Scholar Whitney Beamer

Having been a National College Match Scholarship Recipient and a QuestBridge intern, Whitney Beamer (UChicago ’20) knows the ins and outs of applying to QuestBridge. Now a Computer Science major at the University of Chicago, Whitney is sharing her 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?

Leaving Florida and getting to live in and explore a new city was always my dream, but I never really thought that it could be a reality. Coming from a high school where most students ended up at our state universities, I thought that I was destined for that path of normalcy as well. But applying to the National College Match allowed me to dream bigger than that and create a new normal, one where I had the chance of attending a top college for little to no cost and one where I could live out my once “unattainable” dream.
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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

Admissions Officer Insight: The Top Five Reasons to Apply for a Fly-in Program

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Tori Guen, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Colby College

If you are a rising senior in high school, now is the perfect time to apply for fly-in programs. Numerous QuestBridge college partners offer campus visit opportunities that are known colloquially as fly-in or overnight programs. A majority of these programs are focused on bringing underrepresented students to their campus, and travel grants are available to cover all costs of transportation, lodging, meals and programming. Take advantage of these opportunities — you may be able to visit an amazing school for free! If there is a specific college you are interested in, contact the admissions office to inquire about funded opportunities to visit campus. Here, I’ve listed the top five reasons why attending a fly-in program will benefit you during your college search. Continue reading

Admissions Officer Insight: Research Tips from Colby College

school-iconNow that you can rank up to 12 schools for the National College Match, it’s more important than ever to spend time researching which colleges are a good fit for you. Tori Guen, Assistant Director of Admissions at Colby College, shares her insight about the importance of research and tips to compare schools. 

Researching colleges contributes to four important parts of the college admissions process. Research helps you broaden your search, narrow your selection, make you a more competitive applicant, and find the best-fit college for you.
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