Dear QB: What are the benefits of being a Quest Scholar, and are they the same if you’re admitted through the Match or Regular Decision?

DearQBIt’s almost easier to answer this question in reverse order.

Who is a Quest Scholar? Anyone who was selected as a Finalist and was then accepted to and decided to attend any one of the QuestBridge partner schools. The three primary paths to becoming a Quest Scholar are:

1. You are matched through the National College Match.

2. You are admitted to a partner school through Early Action or Early Decision and decide to enroll.

3. You are admitted to a partner school through Regular Decision and decide to enroll.

But here’s the thing – there’s no hierarchy between Matched and non-Matched students! That’s because there are many considerations that go into selecting students for the College Match package.At the end of the day, Quest Scholars are Quest Scholars whether they matched or not, and that bond supersedes exactly how one was accepted to college.

It’s important to remember that if you weren’t matched with any schools you ranked that you were not rejected from them. That bears repeating: schools that did not match with you did not reject you. You can (and should!) apply to them again for Regular Decision.

In fact, the majority of Quest Scholars have been admitted through Regular Decision. Last year, 440 Finalists were matched to one of our partner schools, but over 1,000 Finalists decided to attend our partner schools via Regular Decision.

So now that you know who a Quest Scholar is and the many paths to becoming one, let’s talk about just a few of the benefits of being a Quest Scholar.

  1. You are automatically a member of the Quest Scholars Network. There are many opportunities this gives you access to, but the most important is the most simple: a supportive community that understands where you’re coming from. Each of our partner schools has a Quest Scholars Chapter filled with wonderful individuals who are there for each other.
  2. You have access to fantastic financial aid. Obviously, the College Match Scholarship is a great deal, but don’t forget about financial aid that these colleges offer to all admitted students! While it varies per specific situation, Quest Scholars often find that their financial aid is comparable to a Match package, or at the very least makes it affordable for them to attend a college they never thought they’d be able to pay for.
  3. You are connected with leadership, career, and service opportunities. Your journey doesn’t stop after your admission to college, and the Quest Scholars Network is there to support you during college and beyond. Be a Liaison, Group Leader, Ambassador, Quest Mentor, summer intern – the opportunities are endless and growing!

Match, RD – it doesn’t really matter how you become a Quest Scholar. What matters is what you do once you are one!

DearQB is an advice column for QuestBridge applicants and Quest Scholars. It is answered by QuestBridge staff and Quest Scholars. To submit to DearQB, email

Dear QB: Is being a QuestBridge Finalist an advantage in the college admissions process?

In short: yes.

And that isn’t just a “yes!” answer that anyone would say to make you feel good about yourself. That’s a “yes” grounded in facts and experience. Let’s take a look at some of these facts.

Fact 1

Our partner colleges trust us. QuestBridge has been in the college admissions scene for a while – since 1994. The College Match has been around since 2004. That means that QuestBridge knows the college admissions process very well. After all, we have been working with the nation’s best colleges for 20 years! (Did you know we started as a summer program called Quest Leadership at Stanford University?)

So, what does this history mean? It means that QuestBridge has worked hard to gain the trust of the partner colleges we work with. These colleges work with us because we have proven that the students we select as QuestBridge Finalists are students that they want on their campuses.

Fact 2

We carefully select Finalists; you are a Finalist for a reason. Did you know that we read every single application sent to us? That’s right, every single one. Applicants aren’t automatically filtered based on test scores, GPA, or other numbers. That’s because we believe in taking a holistic approach and letting your story shine.

When we select Finalists, we select students who we are fully confident in. We select students who meet both our financial and academic qualifications. So, when colleges see that you are a QuestBridge Finalist, they already know that you are a competitive applicant.

Fact 3

It will not hurt you if the reader knows you come from a low-income family. Many students are concerned that our partner colleges will be reluctant to admit them (especially through Regular Decision) if they see that you applied through QuestBridge and will likely need significant financial aid. Wipe that thought from your mind right now!

Our partner colleges are actively seeking out qualified low-income students. That’s right. They want more low-income students on campus. Since they have already guaranteed to meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need of every student admitted, your financial need and personal story actually help differentiate you from the other applicants.

Fact 4

Yes, your QuestBridge application stands out – in a good way. Every college reads applications differently, so it’s hard to make generalizations in this area. However, time and again, we hear from admissions officers who absolutely love reading the QuestBridge applications. The additional space we provide for you to tell your story lets them see into your life. And they like what they see.

So congratulations to all you Finalists out there! Even if you don’t match with a school, the simple fact that you are a QuestBridge Finalist gives you an advantage throughout the college application process.

DearQB is an advice column for QuestBridge applicants and Quest Scholars. It is answered by QuestBridge staff and Quest Scholars. To submit to DearQB, email