The QuestBridge College Prep Scholars Program provides outstanding low-income high school juniors with resources, guidance, and opportunities to help prepare for applying to top colleges. If selected as a College Prep Scholar, you gain access to college admission counseling, application guidance, test preparation, and more to help navigate the path to higher education.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the QuestBridge College Prep Scholars program – from eligibility and benefits to the application timeline, tips for applying, and what happens if you are selected.

What is QuestBridge College Prep Scholars?

QuestBridge College Prep Scholars is a prestigious program that equips high-achieving, low-income juniors with the support needed to gain admission to top colleges. It was started by nonprofit QuestBridge, which aims to increase opportunities in higher education for talented students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The College Prep Scholars program provides benefits like tailored college advising, application assistance, test prep, priority access to the full QuestBridge scholarship program as seniors, and more. The goal is to empower deserving students to navigate the complex college admissions process successfully and attain their academic dreams.

Being named a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar signifies that you are recognized as one of the nation’s exceptional students on track to gain admission at selective colleges with proper guidance. Around 1,500 students are selected annually from over 5,000 applicants.

Am I Eligible to be a College Prep Scholar?

To qualify for the College Prep Scholars program, you must:

  • Be a current high school junior graduating next year (not a senior)
  • Attend high school in the United States
  • Intend to apply to and attend college in the United States
  • Meet strict financial criteria to demonstrate need (details below)
  • Have a strong academic record and test scores (minimum 3.5 GPA)

Additionally, your household must meet the following financial eligibility criteria set by QuestBridge:

  • Total annual family income below $65,000
  • Typical family assets under $50,000 (excluding home equity)
  • Qualify for free or reduced lunch at your high school or other public assistance programs
  • Come from a household that experiences economic challenges limiting access to college

If you meet all the eligibility requirements above, you are encouraged to apply to be a College Prep Scholar. This program opens up a wealth of resources to equip you for admission to top universities.

Benefits of Being a College Prep Scholar

As a College Prep Scholar, you gain invaluable support on your journey toward higher education, including:

  • College admissions counseling: Work one-on-one with former admissions officers from schools like Yale, MIT and Amherst to craft a compelling application strategy.
  • Application assistance: Get help brainstorming essay topics, editing application drafts, and determining target colleges to apply to.
  • Standardized test prep: Access free SAT/ACT test prep courses, books, and practice tests to maximize your scores.
  • Financial aid guidance: Learn how to complete the FAFSA, CSS Profile, and financial aid applications to optimize aid.
  • Waived application fees: Receive fee waivers for up to eight college applications, saving over $800 in total costs.
  • Priority access to National College Match: College Prep Scholars get early access to apply to QuestBridge partner colleges for full four-year scholarships in the National College Match program.
  • Exclusive summer opportunities: Scholarships, grants, and coding programs only for College Prep Scholars to boost your profile.
  • Community of fellow strivers: Connect with past Scholars on a similar journey toward high achievement.

The College Prep Scholars program removes barriers that exceptional students from disadvantaged backgrounds often face in navigating the path to college. You gain individualized support, tools, and guidance to set you up for admission to leading universities and unlock your full potential.

QuestBridge College Prep Scholars Application Timeline

QuestBridge College Prep Scholars

The application for College Prep Scholars opens in spring and closes in late September. Here is the typical timeline:

  • March-April: Application goes live. Begin working on components.
  • June-August: Application deadline. Submit before late September (exact date TBA).
  • Late October: Finalists notified and asked to submit additional financial documents.
  • Mid-November: Selected scholars are notified and confirmed.
  • December: Benefits begin and continue through senior year until college enrollment.

To allow time for processing transcripts and recommendations, QuestBridge advises submitting your full application as early as possible once it opens, ideally by early June. Late applications may not be accepted.

How to Apply to be a College Prep Scholar

The College Prep Scholar application requires the following key components:

  • Personal information: Standard biographical details, high school, family income range, etc.
  • Academic information: Self-reported test scores, transcript, grades, coursework, rank.
  • Short essays: Respond to 2-3 essay prompts about your background, interests, and goals.
  • Recommendation: One recommendation letter from a teacher discussing your qualifications.
  • Financial documentation: Tax forms or documentation of public assistance to confirm eligibility.
  • Parent/guardian portion: Information on family finances and household challenges.
  • Signature form: Signed confirmation of accuracy and permission statements.

Compile all required parts of the application carefully following instructions. Submit online through the QuestBridge portal by the firm deadline. Late or incomplete applications are typically not accepted.

5 Tips for a Strong College Prep Scholar Application

Follow these tips to submit the most compelling College Prep Scholar application possible:

  1. Start early: Begin working on your application components weeks in advance to avoid a last-minute rush. Give recommenders ample time to write great letters.
  2. Follow directions: Carefully adhere to all word counts, formatting guidelines, and requested information to precisely match requirements.
  3. Choose an insightful recommender: Ask a teacher who knows you well and can speak in depth to vouch for your strengths, abilities and character.
  4. Write meaningful essays: Craft thoughtful, vivid essays that tell Admissions about your personal story, passions, and dreams through engaging anecdotes and reflections.
  5. Proofread meticulously: Review your entire application multiple times for errors. Verify details are consistent across sections. Submit a polished application free of typos and inaccuracies.

With attention to detail, compelling content, and timely submission, your application will make the best possible case to QuestBridge that you are deserving to become a College Prep Scholar.

What Happens if You Are Selected as a College Prep Scholar?

Finding out you have been chosen as a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar is exciting news! Here’s what you can expect next as a newly selected Scholar:

  • Notification in November: You will receive notice in mid-November that you have been selected. This comes after finalist selection and verification of financial eligibility documents.
  • Acceptance required: You will need to formally accept your place in the program within 2 weeks of notification. Declining the offer makes your spot available for another student.
  • Welcome package: QuestBridge will mail you a welcome package with information, timelines, guidance for next steps and more.
  • Counselor assigned: You’ll be paired with an admissions counselor, usually from a top college, to advise you one-on-one.
  • Test prep access: Instructional materials for SAT/ACT test prep will become available to begin preparing for standardized tests.
  • College application guidance: Your counselor will work with you on all aspects of college applications – essays, targeting schools, deadlines and more.
  • Ongoing support: Your Scholar benefits and advisor access continue through the rest of high school up until you begin college.

The support structure is designed to ensure that College Prep Scholars thrive every step of the way from junior year through successful admission to selective universities.

College Prep Scholars Application Essay Tips

The short essays are a crucial part of the College Prep Scholar application. This is your chance to come to life beyond just stats and convey your personality, interests, passions and dreams.

Follow these tips for excellent essays that make you memorable:

  • Plan ahead: Brainstorm meaningful stories and messages you want to convey weeks before writing. Outline key points in advance.
  • Show, don’t tell: Illustrate who you are through vivid anecdotes and examples rather than stating general traits. Transport readers into meaningful moments from your life.
  • Be genuine: Answer honestly and openly to paint an authentic portrait of your background, hopes, challenges and motivations.
  • Keep it simple: Avoid complex language. Write from the heart in your own natural, engaging voice.
  • Be positive: Keep focus on the future and your strengths rather than dwelling on struggles. Convey optimism and determination.
  • Proofread carefully: Double check for typos, errors, unclear sentences, repetition, or inaccurate details. Every word must be polished.

With thoughtful preparation and strategic essay writing, you can craft a compelling application that brings all your outstanding qualities to life.

Pros and Cons of Being a College Prep Scholar

There are many benefits to becoming a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar, but also some potential drawbacks to consider:


  • Gain specialized college application guidance tailored to you
  • Access test prep materials and waivers worth over $1000
  • Priority chance at full scholarships from top colleges as a senior
  • Join a network of talented low-income students seeking high goals
  • Develop confidence in your ability to gain admission to selective universities


  • Time commitment to complete advising appointments and recommended tasks
  • Need to complete additional applications and essays senior year if pursuing National College Match
  • No guarantee of college admission or scholarships later on
  • Missing out on other scholarship options restricted to non-QuestBridge students

Overall, the pros seem to heavily outweigh the cons for most driven, college-bound students from underprivileged backgrounds seeking access to excellent higher education opportunities.

Life After College Prep Scholars

The College Prep Scholars program is just the beginning. The advising, test prep, and application assistance prepare you for the culmination – applying to top colleges your senior year. Here is what the future holds:

Senior Year

  • Work closely with your college advisor to build a stellar college application profile
  • Leverage waivers and support materials for standardized test success
  • Get help crafting essays, targeting colleges, and applying for financial aid
  • Priority access to apply early to QuestBridge partners for full four-year scholarships

After High School

  • Attend one of the 40+ top-ranked colleges that are QuestBridge partners
  • Take advantage of mentoring and support programs for QuestBridge Scholars
  • Access funding and scholarships for summer opportunities and internships
  • Join the alumni network of QuestBridge Scholars excelling at top universities and beyond

The College Prep Scholars program opens doors to your dream of a high-caliber college education and a successful future. QuestBridge equips you with exactly what you need to navigate the path to admission and thrive.


The QuestBridge College Prep Scholars program opens doors for outstanding low-income students to gain admission and scholarships at top-tier colleges that can serve as springboards to future success.

If you are an academically gifted, economically disadvantaged junior committed to higher education, becoming a College Prep Scholar provides personalized guidance and support to help you navigate the complex admissions process at selective universities.

The benefits are invaluable – from test prep to application assistance to college counseling tailored specifically for you. QuestBridge removes systematic barriers holding back talented, driven students and clears the path to highly selective colleges where you can access transformative opportunities.

With focus and diligence, you can submit a stellar College Prep Scholar application and position yourself to attain your full academic potential. If selected, you gain entry to a close-knit community of scholars on the rise, equipped with exactly the tools and mentorship needed to excel in college and far beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions About College Prep Scholars

Here are answers to some common questions about the QuestBridge College Prep Scholars program:

How selective is the College Prep Scholar program?

Extremely selective. Of around 5,000 applicants per year, only 1,500 students are admitted for a roughly 30% acceptance rate. You need to demonstrate outstanding academic ability and potential.

Can I apply again if not selected as a junior?

No, the program is only for current high school juniors. You cannot reapply for College Prep Scholars again as a senior.

Is this program only for QuestBridge partner colleges?

No, College Prep Scholars receive broad guidance useful for applying successfully to any selective college, not just QuestBridge partners.

Do I need to know my 12th grade schedule when applying?

No, you can provide your planned senior year courses but do not need to submit a complete schedule before starting 12th grade.

Can I still be a College Prep Scholar if my family income increases?

Yes, financial eligibility is only verified once when applying as a junior. Higher income as a senior will not revoke your College Prep Scholar status.

How do College Prep Scholars get full scholarships from partner colleges?

In 12th grade you can apply early via National College Match to QuestBridge partners and if matched, gain a likely full scholarship offer before regular admissions.

What is the time commitment?

Plan for 1-2 hours of advising per month, plus time on recommended tasks like test prep, essay writing, and research on colleges and aid.

With careful preparation and a compelling application, the QuestBridge College Prep Scholars program can empower you with tools to attain your college dreams.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *