Guide to the QuestBridge National Match Program
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Aja Altenhof in a CollegeVine Livestream, entitled “All About QuestBridge with Aja.” You can watch the full Livestream for more info.
What is the national match program?
National match is a scholarship application process that is aimed to match low income high achieving students to elite universities and college partners. Students who are matched receive a full ride to these selective schools.
What expenses does the QuestBridge match program cover?
The match program scholarship includes tuition, room and board, and travel expenses to and from school. That means: When you’re moving up, going home for Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks, your expenses are all covered. The program also covers things like books and school supplies. (As any new college student will tell you, textbooks are so expensive, it’s basically highway robbery!)
The key here is that if you match with one partner school, you and your parents will basically pay nothing. There is no expected family contribution, and there are no student loans.
However, in some cases, you may have to contribute some student savings – for example, if you have a part-time job and you’ve been saving up on the side.
How much money does QuestBridge grant students?
To give a picture of how much money there is in the QuestBridge program: Over two billion – billion with a B – dollars have been offered to QuestBridge students by their college partners.
How does the match program work?
Let’s talk about how the QuestBridge match program works. As mentioned above, it’s a college admissions and scholarship process through which QuestBridge matches high achieving low income students to selective schools.
When do you rank schools?
Once you fill out the QuestBridge match application – the internal application – you then get to rank twelve partner schools. You then submit application materials to these schools, just like you would in any other situation where you’re applying to college (e.g. on the common app).
What happens if you are admitted to a ranked school?
If you’re admitted to one of these schools, you’ll receive a full ride to the highest school that you ranked. However, once you match, that admission is binding, which means you have to attend the school you matched with in order to receive the scholarship.
So, let’s say that you ranked, from first to last, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Yale, UChicago. If you get into the University of Pennsylvania, your admission is binding and you will go to the University of Pennsylvania. Even if you get into the University of Pennsylvania and UChicago, you still have to go to the University of Pennsylvania.
Are there schools that don’t have a binding element?
What is the timeline for the match program?
The national match program is aimed at seniors and the application opens during the fall of your senior year.
Applications for the main QuestBridge match program are due September 28th.
You have to submit your ranking of college partners, up to 12 of them, by October 14th. You are notified if you’re a finalist on October 19th.
If you’re a finalist, that means QuestBridge has identified you as a high achieving low income student. They feel that you’re a good fit for the program and you represent QuestBridge’s values.
After you’re notified that if you’re a finalist or not, you need to submit your additional materials to the colleges that you ranked by November 1st.
If I am a finalist, do I need to rank schools?
Being a finalist does not require you to participate in the match program. And, in fact, not all finalists even rank schools. For example, Aja didn’t rank any schools because she knew that Penn was her first choice, and wanted to apply to Penn for the regular early decision.