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

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

Path to Success: QuestBridge Alumna Aya Saed

Originally from Annandale, Virginia, Aya Saed graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013, with a BA in International Relations. She has an impressive roster of experiences already: intern at Google for two summers, Henry Luce Scholar, and Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. She’s currently pursuing a J.D. at Harvard Law School and a Masters of Public Affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.


Aya Saed

 

Aya Saed, QuestBridge Scholar
Annandale, Virginia
University of Pennsylvania ’13, BA in International Relations

 

On applying to QuestBridge:

I discovered the program quite randomly as I was Googling resources that could be of help to low-income students. I landed on the website the summer before my senior year and applied immediately!

I was excited, and quite energized to know that such a program exists for low-income students. I was a bit overwhelmed by the application process, but realized very early on that this would help expedite my college application process and streamline an otherwise complicated system. Continue reading

Finding My Identity: QuestBridge Scholar Harpreet Singh’s Path to Emory

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Harpreet Singh, QuestBridge Scholar, Emory ’17

QuestBridge Scholar Harpreet Singh (Emory ’17) has come a long way since applying for the National College Match in 2012. Originally from New Jersey, Harpreet ended up finding his college fit with a school 800 miles away that he had hardly heard of before being accepted. But that’s just the beginning of Harpreet’s transformative journey…

Since starting the National College Match application, I would say a lot has changed about me. I would say my self-confidence has increased. I would say I no longer doubt who I am and what my potential is. I would say I take risks more often than before. I would say I am proud to be who I am: a first-generation low-income student at a top-tier college.

What truly catalyzed this transformation, you may ask? I would say QuestBridge.
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Q&A with a College Prep Scholar & QuestBridge Scholar – Kim Rosa

Kim-Rosa_Swarthmore (1)QuestBridge Scholars are known for their scholarship, leadership, and service, and Kim Rosa truly exemplifies each of these traits. Since becoming a College Prep Scholar in 2013, Kim has been a Quest Liaison, Quest Ambassador, Essay Coach, Group Leader, and — most recently — a Quest Intern! We sat down with Kim so she could pass along her advice to the next generation of QuestBridge Scholars:

Based on your experience applying to college through QuestBridge, do you have any advice for students heading into the National College Match?

Begin the National College Match application as soon as possible, even if you just log in to your application and read through the different prompts and requirements. Oftentimes it can be overwhelming to think about everything that needs to be completed, but if you begin early, you will have enough time to talk to your teachers about recommendations and you can begin to brainstorm your essay responses.

Do you have any tips for students who are just starting to research colleges?
Continue reading

An Open Letter to My Mentor

Dear Mentor,

Maybe I say it too much, maybe I don’t say it at all, but let me put it out there right now: thank you.

For all that you’ve done, do, and may do in the future. You are so appreciated. You swept in to guide me, even when you didn’t need to, selflessly, patiently, and full heartedly. You knew coming into this type of relationship that they serve mainly as a one-way street, where you teach and give all that you can, and I attempt to absorb it all, and you stayed anyway.
Continue reading

End Your Year With Reflection

As many of you know, reflection is woven into QuestBridge’s founding story. In the early days of QuestBridge, “Reflection Time” created a space where introspection and personal reflection could be explored, practiced, nurtured, and strengthened. At the very beginning of 2015, QuestBridge Co-Founder and CEO Ana McCullough wrote a blog post about the importance of taking time to reflect: Continue reading

Time for a “Rematch”

Sunpreet Singh, 2015 National College Match Finalist
Sunpreet Singh, 2015 National College Match Finalist

I was at Buffalo Wild Wings eating away my tears. I’d just opened my match results and, like thousands of other Finalists, I found out that I wasn’t matched. I cried. A lot. I put hours of work into not only my QuestBridge application, but also my supplements and I somewhat felt like I got rejected. However, this truly couldn’t be further from the truth.

What I’m trying to say is that this is not at all a time of grief or sorrow. We should be immensely proud of our peers who have been matched, and, likewise, they should also be very supportive for non-matched Finalists looking ahead to the Regular Decision and Early Action/Decision processes. Continue reading

When You Don’t Make the List (For Now)

David Guirgis, 2015 Finalist and QuestBridge Blogger
David Guirgis, 2015 Finalist and QuestBridge Blogger

I cried like a child on December 1, but I wasn’t crying because I didn’t match; I cried because I was so happy for everyone. (Masculinity may be fragile but so are my emotions.) I’ve met a million wonderful people through QuestBridge, people I wish I’d met a million years before. And seeing their success—their hard work and the way they powered through lives that weren’t picture-perfect—pay off in such a grand fashion made me feel that much more special, because I’d become a part of their story the way they’d become a part of mine.
Continue reading

Turning a New Leaf Over

Autumn on college campuses is a picturesque time of year. However, the changing colors can also signal a change in seasons of life for Quest Scholars, making it more important than ever to seek support from your Quest Family. Today we’re featuring a post from 2013 by a Quest Scholar at Grinnell who reflected on her first autumn in a new place.

Stop and take in nature once in a while.A huge, orchid-like tree stands reaching into the heavens. With colors of purple, orange, red, yellow, pink, and green, it stands magnificently. It is untouchable and beautiful. That was how I always pictured fall. The colors of the trees changing and nature changing itself into something even prettier than it was before. Fall is my favorite season and has been for a while now. But moving away to college, it hit me why I really love fall. The changing of the tree colors means time has passed by since I moved to Iowa from Missouri. It means that I am starting to notice things around me that I haven’t noticed before. It means that I am also starting to miss family and friends. Going off to college, it is easy to miss family, friends and places. For me, the idea of missing home was never really a problem until fall started. I guess you never really notice something until there is a physical reminder.

Experiencing fall in the small town of Grinnell, Iowa, was not something I envisioned at the start of the year. I guess you can say that I am one of those people who doesn’t think about what’s to come but who lives in the moment. I pictured myself freezing in the cold winter of Iowa, but I never pictured the fall and all the beautiful colors I might see. I always thought that fall was experienced the same way no matter where you were. But that is not the case. During the early days of fall when the leaves were starting to change and my friend and I were walking to the store, he looked over at me and said, “Wow the colors are so beautiful. Now I know why artists paint trees in the fall.” And with that remark, I wanted to laugh and ask if he had been living underneath a rock. But as he continued to talk, I soon realized that every place in the U.S experiences fall differently. He is from Miami, Florida, and the trees don’t change colors into the dark reds and purples he was seeing right then and there.

Stop and take in nature once in a while.

It made me realize that that fact was also true for Missouri. Where I lived in Missouri, the colors varied and were more vivid than the ones in Grinnell. Thinking about those trees made me miss my home, my school, the huge orchid-like tree, and my friends. The seasons change. It is a fact of life. No matter where you are, you are sure to notice the difference. Moving to a new state, however, makes you notice these changes even more. Fall signals the change into winter when everything appears bleak and dead. However, fall is also a reminder of time and the beauty of nature that we all tend to take for granted. Nature is something that has always intrigued me, so whenever fall rolls around, I am reminded of all the things around me that I don’t notice during the other three seasons. It is not simply because of the colors (well, it has a lot to do with the colors), but it’s also all the things you can do during fall like celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. So with each year, I impatiently await for the arrival of the fall season. And each year, I am not disappointed no matter where I am.

— by Charlotte Gbomina, Quest Scholar, Grinnell College

This was originally posted on 11/07/2013 on the Quest Scholars Network Blog.