Finding a Better Match: A QuestBridge Story

By Salman Khan, Applied Data Strategist

As partners in the RISE Network, we want all of our students to graduate high school with a meaningful postsecondary plan; however, every year, a large proportion of students undermatch in the college admissions process. Undermatching occurs when high-achieving students, often from underrepresented backgrounds, do not pursue a competitive college even when they meet admissions criteria. Too often, highly-qualified students attend open-access colleges or choose not to attend college at all. This is a concern for individual students who show tremendous potential, as well as a societal challenge. This can perpetuate economic inequality, which can reduce economic growth. 

Nationally, a number of organizations have sought to address undermatching. For example, QuestBridge offers a powerful solution to facilitate strong college matches. Founded in 1987, QuestBridge has created an intermediary matching service where students that apply to QuestBridge may be matched with 40 of the top universities across the country. If students are accepted as a National QuestBridge Finalist, they are matched with a highly-selective college and do not have to apply separately to gain admission. The best part? Students are provided with a full scholarship to their matched university in addition to supplemental services that help students transition smoothly to their matched university. Some QuestBridge universities include Yale, Wesleyan, Williams, Princeton, MIT, Brown, Duke, and more. Click here for a full list of QuestBridge college partners

One of our goals in the RISE Network is to help students gain access to strong-match colleges and postsecondary plans. To help achieve this goal, last spring, RISE provided the East Hartford Guidance Department with a list of high-achieving Grade 11 students that were eligible to apply to the QuestBridge College Prep Scholars program. This program, specifically for Grade 11 students, is a summer program meant to jumpstart students with their college applications and prepare them for QuestBridge’s National College Match program. After providing the East Hartford Guidance Team with a list of eligible students for the Grade 11 College Prep Scholars Program, RISE helped conduct an information session for students about QuestBridge with the Guidance Team. Students received information on the program and details around the application process. 

This past fall, we were delighted to learn that one of the Grade 11 students, not only applied to the program, but was accepted into the College Prep Scholars program. After attending the Grade 11 College Prep Scholars Program over the summer, she applied to the Grade 12 National College Match program and was accepted as a QuestBridge Finalist! Tahlea was ultimately matched with the University of Pennsylvania and will be attending on a full scholarship in the fall! While this is only one student’s story, spreading the news about the possibilities of QuestBridge can help reduce undermatching in our schools and help high-achieving students match with excellent colleges. There are students like Tahlea in each of our schools awaiting life-changing opportunities like this one.

Key Dates

  • Annual Grade 11 College Prep Scholars Application Deadline: Late March
  • Annual Grade 12 National College Match Application Deadline: Late September