With the end of the “dog days of summer” clearly here, all thoughts are moving in the direction of the start of another school year. It’s time to move away from summer opportunities and turn our focus to seniors who are getting in high gear for college planning. One of the biggest priorities for parents and students is the looming question of how to pay for college. As a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, enrolled students have the support of the Higher Education Office. For students not qualifying for tribal support due to their level of tribal membership, or for those simply looking for alternatives means of financial assistance outside of the tribe, QuestBridge may be an outstanding option. QuestBridge, and their exemplary College Match, Quest for Excellence, and College Prep Scholarship programs, connects the brightest low-income students in the country to America’s best universities and colleges.
Recognizing that most top performing, low income students in America don’t apply to the top-tier colleges who desperately want them, QuestBridge strives to close the gap by creating a singular place where exceptionally talented and distinguished students can access support in navigating every step of the college application process. Through its application, students may apply to up to as many as 8 colleges at once for FULL scholarship; the same application is used to apply for a Quest for Excellence award. Once accepted at one of the many partner colleges (these include MIT, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, among many others), students become part of the Quest Scholars Network where they may access leadership opportunities, internships, and future support throughout their college careers. QuestBridge also awards a Quest for Excellence award specifically for Native American students.
QuestBridge’s College Match scholarship recipients receive a full, four year scholarship package which includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and travel expenses. The program’s Quest for Excellence award allows winners to choose from either a laptop or ipad to enhance their studies and also funds a visit to a partner college campus of their choice. An added bonus for students is that QuestBridge’s support and application is completely free. Before applying it is advisable for students to understand QuestBridge’s selection criteria. A successful applicant will supply the GPA, class rank, rigor of high school curriculum, standardized test scores, numerous essays, and recommendations. The profile of a typical awardee includes them being in the top 5% of their class with a strong number of AP or IB level course completions, and with a family income less than 60K annually. As with anything worthwhile however, the application does take motivation and dedication. Applicants complete an on-line application, two essays, complete short answer questions, submit two letters of recommendation, submit a Secondary School Report, a transcript, standardized test scores, and extensive academic accomplishment and financial background information.
For more information about QuestBridge visit their comprehensive website at www.questbridge.org. Good luck seniors on your quest!