QuestBridge takes the following factors into account when considering a College Prep Scholarship application:
- Academic Achievement
- Financial Need
- Additional Criteria
We do not use fixed cut-offs in assessing applicants' academic or socio-economic qualifications. Instead, careful consideration is given to all qualifications presented by the student in his/her application through a holistic review process.
QuestBridge seeks students whose academic achievement demonstrates that they have the potential to be strong applicants to highly selective colleges. Some of the factors we use to assess academic ability include:
- Grade Point Average (GPA): Both unweighted and weighted GPAs are considered.
- Class rank: The majority of awardees are in the top 5 to 10% of their class.
- Rigor of high school curriculum: College Prep Scholars typically take the most challenging courses available at their high school, usually including Honors, AP, and/or IB-level courses if available.
- Standardized test scores: We consider PSAT, PLAN, SAT, and ACT scores, as well as any SAT Subject Test and/or AP test results.
(A note about test scores: Standardized test scores are not required, but are an important factor in the selection process. QuestBridge strongly encourages students to submit any of these test scores they have received.)
- Essays: In addition to strong writing ability, essays should show evidence of intellectual spark, determination, and altruism.
- Recommendation: The Teacher Recommendation tells us more about a student's academic abilities, how a student interacts in the classroom and school community, and how the student compares to other students at his or her school.
The College Prep Scholarship is designed for students who come from families with a history of earning low to moderate income. Some of the factors we use to assess financial need when selecting finalists include annual household income, assets, and household circumstances:
Annual household income
College Prep Scholars typically come from households earning less than $60,000 annually for a family of four, and often less than $50,000. 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
- Child support received
Students with divorced or separated parents must report the income of both biological parents, as non-custodial parent information is taken into consideration when determining financial need. The only exception is when the student has not had contact with the non-custodial parent for an extended period of time.
All assets held by the family are taken into consideration, including:
- Home ownership
- Business or farm ownership
- Cash and savings
- Additional properties
Individual 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
We also consider the following factors when reviewing applications:
- Parents' level of education: Many past College Prep Scholars have been among the first generation in their family to attend a four-year college.
- Extenuating circumstances: For example, if students have jobs to help their parents pay the bills, or spend much time out of school caring for siblings if their parents are absent or at work.
- Extracurricular achievements: Accomplishments and leadership positions in extra-curricular and community activities.