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Ultimate QuestBridge Scholarship Guide 

QuestBridge is a scholarship program that aims to support low-income students of all backgrounds in the United States. This makes the QuestBridge scholarship one of the best need-based scholarships for high school students. As you can imagine, QuestBridge is also a very competitive scholarship.

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Below, we’ll break down every part of the QuestBridge process so you can put together the strongest possible application!

How does QuestBridge work?

The QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship allows high-achieving, low income students to rank 10 to 12 colleges that they would be interested in attending. Students who are finalists will “match” with one of these institutions and receive a “full ride” of financial aid. 

Which colleges are QuestBridge members?

Questbridge members include some of the most selective colleges and universities in the country.

Here are all of the members as of the 2023-2024 admissions cycle:

If any of these colleges are on your list, QuestBridge is an option that is absolutely worth exploring!

Related: Compare the Questbridge partner schools

How to apply to QuestBridge

The QuestBridge Process includes 6 steps for students:

  1. Determine your QuestBridge Financial Eligibility
  2. Determine your QuestBridge Academic Eligibility
  3. Complete your QuestBridge Application
  4. Complete and submit your Match Rankings and Match Agreement Form
  5. If you are a QuestBridge finalist, submit Match Requirements to those colleges
  6. In December, students are notified of their Match results!

Below, we will go into further depth about each of these specific steps so you know exactly what you need to be doing at any point in time:

Determine your QuestBridge Financial Eligibility

One of the major aims of QuestBridge is to support low income students and help them attend top colleges and universities. Because of this, QuestBridge seeks students who have demonstrated financial need through your Expected Family Contribution.

QuestBridge does give some general guidelines for students who are trying to figure out whether they will qualify:

  • Students who are coming from a household of four that makes less than $65,000 per year
  • Students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch at school

These are not cutoffs, but should give you a rough idea of how QuestBridge is defining “low income”.

It’s also worth noting that QuestBridge finalists have to submit official documentation about their finances including the FAFSA and, if required by the school, the CSS Profile.

Determine your QuestBridge Academic Eligibility

Similar to the financial eligibility, there are no cutoffs for academic eligibility. Students generally are taking a rigorous course load and receiving As and Bs in their coursework with strong standardized test scores. 

Complete the QuestBridge application

If you are academically and financially eligible, your next step will be completing the QuestBridge application.

The application process includes six main parts:

  1. The National College Match Application, which includes two essays and short answer questions
  2. Two letters of recommendation 
  3. School report from your high school counselor
  4. School profile from your high school counselor (which is optional, but recommended)
  5. High school transcript
  6. Standardized test scores

The good news is that most of these application materials are items that you will have to provide for any of the colleges that you are applying for. 

Complete and submit your Match Rankings and Match Agreement Form

Once you have finished your QuestBridge application, you are ready to rank your top-choice QuestBridge schools.

Students can choose and rank (in order of preference) 10-12 colleges or universities from the QuestBridge partners list. 

If you are a finalist, submit Match Requirements to those colleges

After you’ve applied, you’ll be notified whether you are a “finalist” in October. Students who are finalists may be required to submit additional information to the colleges that they chose or “ranked.” 

Match Day

In December, students will be notified via email when their Match decisions have been released. Students who are “matched” will be accepted and receive a full ride to the college that they matched with!

When to Apply

Now let’s talk about the most important part of all this, which is the dates! The QuestBridge scholarship is open for a limited time. You should plan to start filling out your application in the summer before you start your senior year. This will give you ample time to write essays, gather necessary materials, and then submit your application on time (which is usually sometime in mid to late September). 

Around the second week of October, you will submit your rankings for your top 12 colleges. Shortly after that, the decisions about finalists will be released, and before you know it, it’s decision time! 

Additional QuestBridge resources

QuestBridge has compiled a number of great resources to help support students going through the application process. If you have any questions or clarifications, we suggest that you take advantage of the resources offered!  

Related: Top full ride scholarships for high school students

Next Steps

Next Steps

  • Assess what time of year it is and what dates are coming up in the application process
  • Begin working on your application, it’s never too soon to begin gathering materials and working on your application
  • Look closely at the schools that are a part of the QuestBridge program and narrow down what twelve schools best fit your interests and needs
  • Remember that even if you are in your sophomore or junior year of high school, you can be focusing on your grades and extracurriculars that will be on your application
Next Steps

Frequently asked questions about QuestBridge

How hard is it to get QuestBridge?

QuestBridge does not have any hard guidelines for academics and financial qualifications, the pool of applicants that you are competing against can be quite vast. In 2022 roughly 18,000 students applied to QuestBridge and of those 5,613 became finalists. This means that roughly thirty percent of applicants are selected to be finalists. However, that does not mean that you have a thirty percent chance of receiving a full ride at the school of your choice.

What GPA do you need for QuestBridge?

There are no cut offs for academic requirements for QuestBridge applicants. However, because this program is designed for high achieving students from low income families, you can expect to need a competitive GPA to increase your chances of becoming a finalist. This doesn’t mean you should let your GPA discourage you from applying, but it is something to keep in mind.  

Who qualifies for QuestBridge?

QuestBridge is open to all high school juniors who are attending a high school in the United States, regardless of their citizenship status. You will then need to go through the application process and follow all the steps laid out above.