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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Why should I apply to the National College Match?

If you have excelled in school but are concerned about the cost of college, we’re here to tell you that you can afford to dream big. The 2017 National College Match can open many doors that can lead to a full scholarship or very generous financial aid so you can attend a top college. The application opens this summer and is due on September 27, 2017.

Sometimes the hardest part of applying to the National College Match can simply be finding the motivation to get started. So we asked QuestBridge Scholars who were matched in the 2016 National College Match to share their insight, and here’s what they had to say…

“If you’ve been introduced to QuestBridge, it’s because someone knows you have what it takes to succeed in an incredible college. You’ll do amazing work however you apply to college, but QuestBridge can be your middle man that makes sure you get the credit you’ve earned.”

– Joseph K., Columbia University, Albion, MI


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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

Paty’s Quest for Excellence in the Bahamas

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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

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
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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:

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“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: I wasn’t matched. Now what?

DearQBWhen December 1 rolls around each year, we know it’s an emotional day for all of our Finalists. Anticipation, curiosity, thrill, disappointment… you name it! If you were not matched, we’re here to tell you that it’s going to be all right. The college admission process is a journey, and you have many bright paths ahead of you.

Remember these important things:

You are a QuestBridge Finalist, which is an incredible achievement that colleges recognize.

Remember how excited you were when you found out you were a Finalist? Don’t forget that feeling! There’s a reason why you were excited — it’s because being a Finalist is a significant distinction. As you continue to apply to colleges through Regular Decision, this distinction will help you stand out as an applicant.

Don’t believe us? Check out what some of last year’s Finalists (who were not matched!) have to say… 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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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

Presidential Scholar Danielle Newton’s Path to Princeton

Danielle Newton, 2016 Presidential Scholar & QuestBridge Scholar, Princeton '20
Danielle Newton, 2016 Presidential Scholar & QuestBridge Scholar, Princeton ’20

In the 2015 National College Match, QuestBridge nominated 10 Finalists for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, which recognizes some of our nation’s most distinguished high school seniors. Four of our nominees received this prestigious honor: Liana Wang (Yale ’20), Calen Firedancing (Williams ’20), Danielle Newton (Princeton ’20), and David Zuluaga (Princeton ’20). 

We spoke with Danielle to get her perspective on her visit to Washington, D.C. for the awards ceremony, and how the National College Match helped her on her path to Princeton:


On being recognized as a 2016 Presidential Scholar

How did you react to the news of being selected as one of only 160 Presidential Scholars  nationwide?
When I received the email that the final selection had been made for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, I had already told myself that I wouldn’t be chosen. I was competing against students who had scored 36’s on their ACT’s — teenage geniuses — and I felt like I had no chance. So when I opened the email and found out I was selected, I was unimaginably shocked, and I couldn’t get a smile off my face. I immediately called my mom, hardly making coherent sentences through my intense happiness and surprise as I realized I would have the incredible opportunity to visit the nation’s capital. Continue reading