College Scholarship Programs

QuestBridge National College Match

The National College Match serves low-income, high achieving students on their path to college. Students can apply for free to the nation’s best colleges and be considered for early admission and a full four-year scholarship from the college. If matched to a partner college or university, students receive a full four-year scholarship that guarantee no parental contribution and no loans, but may require a student contribution through Federal Work-Study, summer work, or student savings.

Who should apply?high-achieving, low-income students
Eligible Grade LevelsSeniors
Openslate July 2022
Deadlineinitial application: late September 2022
Finalist materials: November 1, 2022
QB RD materials: mid-December 2022
Decisions ReleasedFinalist decisions: mid-October 2022
Match Decisions: December 1, 2022
RD decisions: March-April 2023
LocationVaries (45 college/university partners across the country)
Selectivity~ 35% of applicants chosen to be Finalists
~ 20% of Finalists matched to a school

Application Requirements

  • graduate from HS during or before the summer of 2023 and plan to enroll as a freshman in college in the fall of 2023 (GAP YEAR STUDENTS ARE ELIGIBLE)
  • be a US citizen or permanent resident OR student, regardless of citizenship, currently attending high school in the US (undocumented students are eligible)
  • be willing to start the process early + be bound to a school Early Decision

Application Process

Round 1 (opens late July, due late September): submit NCM application

  • information on academics, activities, household, finances
  • essays: one 800-word biographical essay, one 500-word topical essay, two 250-word short essays, seven 35-word short answers
  • two letters of recommendation + school report from counselor
  • school profile, transcripts, test scores (if any)

Throughout October:

  • research + create school rankings, write college supplements (look up from previous year’s supplements and/or Common App supplements. Also a good backup plan if you don’t get finalist.)


  • Finalize and submit school rankings. You can rank up to 12 schools (You must do this, rankings can be changed ONCE before November 1).

Round 2: (finalists announced mid-October, after rankings are due. Due Nov. 1)

  • submit all required materials to the individual schools (this includes writing supplements, additional questions, and FAFSA + CSS + IDOC)

Throughout November:

  • Work on supplements for QB RD round

Round 3: (match announced Dec. 1, QB RD due mid-Dec.)

  • if matched, you’re done with the college process! Congratulations.
  • if not matched, check with the school that you want to pursue Early Decision / Early Action with ASAP in order to push your QB app to the ED round for that school
  • apply to other QB partner schools through QB RD, even if you didn’t rank them (due mid-December)

Final QB RD results will be released in the spring.


  • There is a lot of writing. START EARLY and polish them well, you cannot change your application after you receive finalist, after Match Day, or at any point in the process.
  • Remember that if you rank a school, you are essentially applying to them Early Decision (with the exception of MIT). Be sure that you absolutely want to attend that school and would be totally happy. Do your research and talk to people.
  • If you do decide to rank a lot of schools (6+), you have to take the responsibility of writing all those supplemental essays (unless the school/s say they do not have supplements for QB applications). At best, you basically have a month to do them. Officially, you have a little less than two weeks. If you want to rank more schools, good luck and be prepared to work like a demon.
  • Have contingency plans. Just because you got QB CPS doesn’t mean you are guaranteed NCM Finalist (I learned that the hard way). Be prepared with your Common App statement and additional essays you need if you aren’t Finalist and want to apply early to school(s) through the Common App. Above all, be prepared emotionally. It will hurt if you don’t get finalist.
  • To be very clear: the scholarship does not come from QuestBridge. It comes from the schools. The admission decision also does not come from QuestBridge. You are simply applying through QuestBridge. Also, all of the QB schools are full-need-met, meaning that will meet 100% of your demonstrated need. For most QB applicants, this means that they’ll get a full ride just through financial aid (which may have some loans and parent contributions but this mostly won’t happen).
  • If you apply to QuestBridge and decide to rank schools, you are not allowed to apply ED, EA, or REA. If you don’t rank schools or don’t get Finalist, you are allowed to do that. The exceptions to the rule are if you apply to a school early for scholarship consideration, your home state public school with non-binding decisions, or a school with a non-binding rolling admissions process.

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