Questbridge College Prep Scholarship Essay Tips

The 2018 College Prep Scholars Program application is now open! Apply by March 21, 2018.

The QuestBridge College Prep Scholars Program gives outstanding low-income high school juniors an early advantage in college admissions.

College Prep Scholars are uniquely prepared to gain admission and full scholarships to top-tier colleges through QuestBridge. The majority are also selected as Finalists for the National College Match. Being selected as a College Prep Scholar is a notable distinction that celebrates your achievements and gives you an early start in applying to college. 

View the:  2018 Brochure  |  2018 Flyer



All College Prep Scholars will receive:

  • Exclusive access to 40 of the nation’s best colleges at a QuestBridge National College Admissions Conference: Learn from and interact with admissions officers from leading colleges and universities at this full-day event
  • A head start on applying to college: Fill out a full college application as a high school junior and receive valuable support and guidance to make yours further stand out
  • The distinction of being a College Prep Scholar: Our college partners are among the nation’s best institutions, and they identify College Prep Scholars as outstanding potential candidates to highly selective colleges

College Prep Scholars could also receive:

We are looking for high school juniors who have shown outstanding academic ability despite financial challenges. Be sure to review carefully:
 

Eligibility  |  Academic Achievement  |  Financial Qualifications  |  Personal Circumstances
 

Eligibility

Any high school junior, regardless of citizenship, currently attending high school in the U.S. is eligible for the College Prep Scholars Program. Additionally, U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents living abroad are eligible for the program. International students living outside the U.S. are not eligible. 

Applicants must be high school juniors who are planning to apply to college during the fall of their senior year.

Academic Achievement

We seek students who have demonstrated high academic achievement. The following is based on profiles of past College Prep Scholars, and are not strict cut-offs:

 

Academic Criteria

Grades and rigor of high school curriculum

Mostly A's in the most challenging courses available (usually including Honors, AP, and/or IB level courses).

Class rank

Top 5-10% of your graduating class.

Standardized test scores

PSAT or SAT scores >1280
ACT composite score >27

We also recommend submitting any ACT Aspire, AP, IB, or SAT Subject Test scores.  

Additional criteria

We also look for evidence of strong writing ability, intellectual spark, and determination through essays and teacher/counselor recommendations.

Financial Qualifications

College Prep Scholars typically come from households earning less than $65,000 annually for a family of four with minimal assets. This is not a strict cut-off and we encourage students who feel they have faced significant financial hardship to review these financial details carefully to see if they may qualify. 

All sources of family income are taken into account, including:

  • Salaries, wages, and tips
  • Business and farm income
  • Rental income
  • Interest and dividend income
  • Retirement distributions
  • Alimony
  • Child support received

All assets held by the family are taken into consideration, including:

  • Home ownership
  • Business or farm ownership
  • Cash and savings
  • Investments
  • Additional properties

 Individual household circumstances are taken into consideration, including:

  • The number of people supported by the household income
  • The number of students in college (undergraduate only)
  • Unemployment or other changes to the household income
  • Eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch
  • Having been in foster care
  • Other non-discretionary financial commitments, such as high medical bills

Students with divorced or separated parents must report the income of both biological parents, as non-custodial parent information is taken into consideration by our partners when determining financial need (households are evaluated separately). The only exception is when the student has not had contact with the non-custodial parent for an extended period of time.

Personal Circumstances

We also take the following factors into account when reviewing applications:

Personal Circumstances

Parents' level of education

Many past College Prep Scholars are among the first generation in their family to attend a U.S. four-year college.

Extenuating circumstances

If students have an unusual level of responsibility, such as part-time jobs to help their parents pay the bills, or caring for siblings if their parents are absent or at work.

Extracurricular achievements

Accomplishments and leadership roles in extracurricular and community activities. 

Personal traitsStrength in character and motivation to succeed. 
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