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Cabertmom

Is Questbridge a Scam?

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I'm not exactly thinking it's a scam, but I wonder if they overpromise and underdeliver.  My son has been getting information from them, and while we do meet their financial qualifications, I find myself wondering if he has much of a chance for their scholarships.  As far as I can tell, the CollegeMatch Scholarship, which is an early-decision process and offers a full ride, goes to only 3% of their applicants.  The regular decision statistics look to me to be very similar to what each of the selective colleges do with their normal applicants, and these same colleges state that they will meet the financial need between the EFC and/or CSS/Profile and their tuition.

 

I'm trying to figure out if there are advantages or disadvantages to having him apply via QuestBridge rather than having him apply the normal route via the Common App for some of the same universities. 

 

Has anyone done this?  What advantage am I missing here other than the possibility of applying to 35 colleges for free?

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Not a scam at all. Yes, only a small minority get the full match scholarship. but that is a huge award - including travel and books.

 

Free applications and the chance to apply to a lot of selective schools is worth a lot.  Being able to multiple schools on ED for free is also a huge benefit.

 

As you compare admission stats keep in mind overall stats for the applicant pool may be very different than average admissions rates for low income students. That's true even at need blind schools. It is harder for low income students to be as competitive on paper and Questbridge is one way for students to have more opportunity to do so.

 

 

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Questbridge is definitely NOT a scam and is well worth trying if it applies to you and your student is open to where they attend college.  High stats, low income, esp first generation should give it a shot IMO.  There's no guarantee, but there's no shot if they don't try and saving the app fees is helpful.

 

I have NOT read through this forum, but it could have some worthy info.  It's a link to College Confidential's Questbridge discussions:

 

http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/questbridge-programs/

 

If I had a student who could do it, I'd be reading and gleaning info just in case there were anything I could find in there.  In certain areas CC can be quite useful.

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While not a Questbridge scholar herself, my dd's best friends at college were Questies.  

 

Just be sure to have all your documents done EARLY - the deadline for 2015 applicants is Sept. 26.  But you'll get your decision in early December.  You might want to have a look at their website

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Perhaps I should redirect.  My son has received information from them, and I have gone over their website extensively.  What I see is that the chance of the big scholarship--a CollegeMatch--is quite small at about 3% of applicants.  After that, it looks like for the 97% who don't win the CollegeMatch, there is the opportunity to apply to the same 35 really great schools via their regular decision.  That's where I'm a bit confused about the advantages.  At that point, most of the colleges require students to apply using the Common App and basically applying just as other students do.  It appears from QuestBridge's website that the acceptance rates are about the same as those colleges offer to the general public as well, and all of their partner colleges offer full financial aid to those who need it, so what I feel like I'm missing is what the advantage is of applying through QuestBridge for the other 97% of students who do not get CollegeMatch compared with just applying directly through the Common App.  What am I not seeing here?

 

By the way, Barbara H, your blog is wonderful.  I've visited it quite a few times in the last few weeks.

 

I had previously decided to skip this but am now rethinking it and trying to help my son decide.  We just received word that he is a National Merit Scholar semifinalist and he did very well on his SATs too. However, there's not a lot there in terms of leadership positions and just a few extracurriculars. Also, he's signed up to retake the SAT in October and take the subject tests for the first time in November.  That means his subject tests will be too late for the schools that require them for QuestBridge.  Obviously, it would have been better if we had figured this out months ago.

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Thanks on the blog compliment... and big congrats to your son on National Merit. Is he looking at schools that offer bigger National Merit offers.

 

For general information I don't suggest College Confidential, but I'm agreeing with Creekland that it is a good place to look for info about Questbridge and be sure to check out the threads on major scholarships for National Merit Finalists. There are some dedicated people really maintaining that information.

 

I always think it is tricky "from the outside" (not knowing the student's full profile) for anyone to offer a lot of specific advice. If it was as simple as just stats colleges would not need to have a full application process. Here in cyberland we can't know all the other factors that might be coming into play to make your student more or less competitive - everything from great extracurriculars, to a compelling story, to regional diversity to an unusual interest, to brilliant essays, etc.  Once you get to that super highest level of competition that stuff makes a significant difference. So, "from the outside" I'm never going to tell a student not to bother to apply to something that could be a huge scholarship.

 

Good luck!

 

ETA: I think Questbridge also pays for a free CSS/Profile. Whether your son does Questbridge or not please look at the CSS/Profile soon. A lot of families overlook that step and some schools want it is quite early.

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Barbara, yes, he is looking at some colleges that offer the biggest rewards for National Merit Scholar too.  Regarding QuestBridge, as well as fitting their financial profiel, I guess I would say we have a fairly compelling story. However, our son would definitely not be the first generation to go to college, we're not minorities, and perhaps worst of all is the fact that while our income is small, we do have substantial home equity, which I've seen a couple people say probably led to their children not being finalists in the program.

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Questbridge is great. The match, the free apps, etc... Jack Kent Cooke Foundation offers similar benefits...

 

However, if your socioeconomic status qualifies for these programs then the full need Ivies and *many* other schools will offer very generous financial aid packages. Is Questbridge a path to these schools, yes. Are there other need based paths to most of these schools, yes. For some like Chicago, WUSTL, Duke, Rice are there merit paths with perhaps a need based booster, yes. For a savvy family there are many paths... Questbridge offers a more supported path to folks without a savvy family. This additional benefit may or may not be beneficial for you.

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OK.  We're going for it.  My son is going to apply to QuestBridge.  Maybe next year I can provide some insights to the next person who asks about QuestBridge on this forum.

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How did it go? Did your son get a full ride by doing it? I'm wondering because I was going to do this as well.

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Just wanted to say my daughter was accepted to Amherst College as a Questbridge finalist, not a match.

It's a fantastic scholarship with includes travel abroad, internships, private music lessons, winter clothing, and support.

At Yale, Questbridge students with EFC $0 pay $400 per semester for the entire undergraduate years.

At Amherst, they charge $1,000 as a freshman but waived it if my daughter will start early (college replaces summer work contribution.) She was also named a Meiklejohn Fellow.

It's a lot of work (what college applications aren't?) and I messed up several times in the process. The good news is that if you do Questbridge applications, you are essentially done with college applications in October of your senior year.

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This is the URL of the Home Page:   https://www.questbridge.org/

In retrospect, had my DD been eligible to participate (we are Overseas) I believe QuestBridge would have been a plus for her. By the time I began to understand what it was about, it was too late.

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How soon in the process do you find out for sure if you qualify financially? I didn't bother with Questbridge, because we looked to be borderline for qualifying, but in retrospect I think I probably should have investigated more closely. 

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I did go through the QuestBridge process with my oldest son, and he was named a finalist.

He did not match, and he was not chosen through regular decision. 

In retrospect, I wish I would not have done it- and just gone through regular decision at 100% need school(s) of his choice/interest- (or knowing what I know now, even Early Decision)

The college match scholarship is amazing, and it would have been such an incredible opportunity- so that is why we did it.

In the end, he ended up in a Honors Program with Scholarship that we felt was the best fit for his future and aspirations (current freshman).

I did not go through QuestBridge with my current senior son (even though we qualify)- and he did get an amazing package at a 100% need school. Amazing.. As in, I literally fell over (on the bed) and cried. I did go through Jack Kent Cooke with this son, and he did not make the semi finalist stage.

QuestBridge was an incredible amount of work- and we do not meet the demographic- i.e. my sons are white males who are not first generation college students.  We have income above the "number" threshold but qualify (well-qualify) based on federal guidelines.  Also, although everything for QuestBridge is done by October, if the student does not match and then goes through Regular Decision at these schools- then there is additional writing- much more additional writing for every school. One additional item of note - we experienced some very difficult circumstances during my oldest son's high school years that I thought might make us be considered. Finally, I do not think I provided enough records for homeschooling. The QuestBridge application was SO thorough. Some of the schools also required the CommonApp on top of the QB app for the match(not just regular decision.)  -- that I just didn't realize all else I needed to do. I did provide course descriptions for some courses, etc. However, I did not provide a comprehensive record. My son was also in a state credited academic diploma program, and I foolishly thought that would hold some weight. I did create the comprehensive record for my current senior after learning from the whole process with my oldest. My QB finalist had an ACT of 31 with 34 and 35 in the English and Reading Sections- and he is a humanities major (history). 

If you meet the income guidelines for QuestBridge, be assured you will AUTOMATICALLY qualify for the CSS Profile fee waiver- and it will be automatically applied during checkout.

Also, you will qualify for application fee waivers via the CommonApp.- in other words, there are ways to be able to apply to colleges with fee waiver without QuestBridge. This is important for families to know in my demographic/income bracket- because all the fees- SAT, ACT, CommonAPP, Profile, AP exams, AP score sending, are so horribly prohibitive and cause so much anxiety.

I hope this helps.

Edited by Rebecca
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My twins were both QuestBridge finalists. Neither one matched but my son was accepted during regular decision. My daughter was not accepted to any of the schools but this was mostly due to the fact that she decided to major in music half way through the application process which through a wrench into everything. 

My son has been very happy with his school and the aid package he recieved (which was very generous and included two extra scholarships awarded in the summer to cover books and a future summer internship). He has also enjoyed the extra support of being a QuestBridge scholar on campus and has made some close friends with the other QuestBridge students.  It is a lot of work to apply but for us it was worth it. 

I wrote a blog post on QuestBridge for anyone looking for more information. 

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