College admits 26 QuestBridge student finalists

by Sunpreet Singh | 1/6/17 1:47am

Twenty-six QuestBridge finalists were accepted to Dartmouth this year through the QuestBridge National College Match and early decision rounds. Of those finalists, 17 were admitted through the QuestBridge Match, accepted finalist Jasmine Butler ’21 said. The 17 students represent a nearly threefold increase from the six QuestBridge finalists matched with the College last year.

The QuestBridge Match is an early-decision program that matches low-income students with 38 top colleges partnering with QuestBridge.

Students can rank up to 12 colleges, and thus be considered for early admission by multiple schools at once, though they can only match with one school.

When matched through QuestBridge, students are required to attend the school they are matched with, except for Yale University, Princeton University, Stanford University and the Massachussetts Institute of Technology. These four schools do not require students to attend if they are matched.

To become a finalist in the program, students submit applications akin to college applications to QuestBridge, with the primary difference being the weight given to income. QuestBridge then selects which applicants become finalists. In 2016, QuestBridge selected 5,338 finalists out of 14,495 applications, an acceptance rate of about 37 percent.

If they are not matched with a school, finalists still have the option of applying to schools through the normal processes. Last year, a majority of the finalists, 1,600, were admitted to their schools through the general early and regular decision rounds, as opposed to the 657 matched by QuestBridge.

Finalists who are accepted through QuestBridge Match are each provided with a full four-year scholarship by their school. However, the specific components of the scholarship can vary from school to school.

Nine of the QuestBridge finalists were admitted through the College’s early decision process this year, bringing the total number of QuestBridge students admitted to 26.

Vice provost for enrollment and president of admissions and financial aid Lee Coffin wrote in a statement to The Dartmouth that the College was excited about the QuestBridge cohort.

“The College expanded our commitment to this national access partnership that serves high-achieving, low-income students,” Coffin wrote.

When asked why she thought the College accepted so many students through QuestBridge this year compared to prior years, Butler said that she thought that top schools are beginning to realize how valuable and unique QuestBridge students are, due to their personal experiences.

Melanie Gomez ’21, a QuestBridge finalist admitted through early decision, said that getting her acceptance letter was an experience she would always remember.

“Getting into an Ivy [League school] is something high schoolers dream of, and for QuestBridge finalists who have had very tough upbringings, it is a dream come true to attend Dartmouth on a full-ride,” Gomez said.

Like Butler, she said that she thought that top schools are increasingly focusing on admitting QuestBridge students because they come from diverse backgrounds, bringing different talents to campus.

Current QuestBridge scholar Andrew Sosanya ’20 was one of the six QuestBridge students matched with the College last year. Sosanya said that Questbridge played a large role in his deciding to apply to the College.

“QuestBridge opened my eyes — it helped me understand the application process and led me to learn about Dartmouth,” Sosanya said. “Without QuestBridge, I would have never even applied to an Ivy [League school].”

He said that he thought that Dartmouth should have started accepting more students through QuestBridge earlier, as it would be doing both the College and the students a favor.

Sosanya added that he was surprised when only five others were matched with him, stating that he thought QuestBridge students brought new perspectives to the College.

The trend of admitting more low-income students is a national phenomenon, with 767 total finalists matching with QuestBridge’s partner colleges this year, an increase from 657 finalists last year.

Associate director of communications and external relations for QuestBridge Grace Sun wrote in a statement to The Dartmouth that an increasing national awareness of the underrepresentation of high-achieving, low-income students on college campuses has resulted in this uptick in focus on programs such as QuestBridge. The desire to make college more accessible while also improving the socioeconomic diversity of student bodies is also a factor.

“Since our earliest years, we have partnered with top colleges, like Dartmouth, to create programs to help these students understand that attending a top college is not only possible, it is also affordable,” Sun wrote.

Singh was admitted to Dartmouth regular decision as a QuestBridge Scholar and is a mentor for current QuestBridge finalists as well as the treasurer of Dartmouth Quest for Socioeconomic Engagement.