Do you have a teen who is nearing the college application process? If you have a high school student, you may be thinking about which application would be best for them to use. Today there are many different ones and, depending on the schools your student chooses to apply to, they may be filling out more than one.
Some applications you may be familiar with are the Common App, the Coalition App, and, if you are in California, the UC Application. There is another application out there that is not as well known, especially in the homeschool community, and that is the QuestBridge College Match application.
QuestBridge College Match is more than just another application though. It is a non-profit that aims to match high-achieving, low-income students to elite private schools. It is open to students, including homeschooled students, who have a family income under $65,000 for a family of four and who score above a 1310 on the SAT or a 28 on the ACT. Students should also have mostly A’s and a course load that is challenging. You can read more about what students should apply here. If you think your student would be a good match, you can refer them to the program here.
In the summer before senior year, the application will open up. Your student will have until sometime in late September to fill it out. There are quite a lot of steps to the application including gathering letters of recommendation and writing essays so you will want your teen to get started early in the process. The wonderful thing about QuestBridge is they support and encourage the students to get the application filled out with daily reminders, webinars, and badges. They also have support available if any questions or concerns come up.
After the application has been turned in, your student will fill out the college match form. This is what makes QuestBridge so unique. The student chooses up to 12 schools that they would be happy to be matched to. Matching in QuestBridge means the student is “admitted early with a guaranteed full four-year National College Match Scholarship.” The school the student is matched with is the school that was highest on their list that also wants to match to them.
Of course, not every student is matched and it can seem like a drawn out process that might not lead anywhere. First a student has to be picked as a finalist. In 2017 15,606 applied and 5,759 were named as finalists. Once you are a finalist you have to finalize your college match list and submit any materials (mostly financial) that the individual schools request. All this material is usually due on November 1st. The student will then find out if they are matched on December 1st. Not everyone will be matched in early decision. But many will be accepted into a QuestBridge school in the regular decision round with great financial aid.
In addition to the College Match, QuestBridge also has a program for juniors called the College Prep Scholars Program which you can read about here.
QuestBridge is not for everyone. Some do not like the idea of having to wait until December to hear whether they have been matched (and the student can’t apply ED or EA to any other schools if they are participating in College Match). Others don’t like the idea of being in a binding agreement so early in the process. Still QuestBridge is a wonderful opportunity for your student to receive a 4-year scholarship to a top ranking school. For many, especially those who are low-income, this is too good of an opportunity to pass up.
For more information on QuestBridge and their partner schools, please visit their website where they have a wealth of information for you and your student.