Non-profit sets up students’ futures

QuestBridge helps connect low-income and high-achieving students with universities


Seniors Danielle Dean and Brian Mercado got full ride scholarships covering over 50-60 grand to some of the best institutions in the country.

“When I saw the update during band I was hesitant on opening it,” Mercado said. “When I opened it I couldn’t register the news of being matched to Rice University, I was so excited and grateful for the opportunity I was given.”

QuestBridge is a college application platform that helps excellent students from low income backgrounds by providing them with academic opportunities at leading institutions. QuestBridge’s goal is to allow more of a percentage of talented low-income students to attend some of the best universities in the country and their dream schools.

Mercado applied to Rice University through this process and has been admitted to the class of 2026 this fall.

“I was looking for schools with a really good engineering program and was fortunate to match with a school I really liked,” Mercado said. “QuestBridge helped me get into a school with a program I liked without worrying about paying for school.”

Seniors are most familiar with the application process through platforms such as Common App and Coalition, QuestBridge being unique in its process.

“The Questbridge process was pretty tedious. There were a lot of questions about my family and finances, along with my coursework,” senior Danielle Dean said. “I had to write several short essays all for my original Questbridge application which would determine whether I’m a finalist.”

After the rigorous application process, Dean matched with the University of Chicago and will be attending the institution next year.

“I was so nervous that I went into another room and let a friend open it first and when they started jumping I knew it had been great news,” Dean said.

“Questbridge helped my chances of getting into a university of my choice because colleges are automatically looking at me in a higher regard which I believe made me more appealing to UChicago” Dean said.

Looking back on the process, applicants are glad to have applied to their dream schools and be admitted to them through the opportunity that QuestBridge provided.

“The possibility of getting a full ride scholarship is worth applying,” Dean said. “If you don’t get matched to a school but you are a finalist, you still can get substantial aid and colleges look at you in a higher regard.”

Rising seniors who meet the quota should consider applying to some of their dream schools through QuestBridge when it is time for college applications.

“While it does require lots of work, being awarded a full ride scholarship or being granted generous financial aid makes it all worth it in the end,” Mercado said. “The application opens in summer and closes at the end of September, so give yourself adequate time to get everything completed.”