Have the grades to get into colleges like Princeton, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, but don't come close to being able to afford the steep tuition and related costs?

If you are in the top 5% to 10% of your graduating high school class, and have financial "need" (typically translating into family income below $60,000, though circumstances may vary), you may qualify for a full scholarship, courtesy of the Questbridge National College Match Program.

QuestBridge is an initiative of the non-profit Quest Scholars Program that identifies high-achieving, low-income students nationwide, assists them with their applications and helps them connect with competitive colleges they would like to attend. To date, 29 colleges and universities are members of a select coalition, including Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Columbia and Rice universities, as well as liberal arts colleges such as Bowdoin, Oberlin and Wellesley, that partner with QuestBridge.

Through the College Match Program, high school seniors chosen as finalists have their names and applications submitted by QuestBridge to college “partners” during the early admissions cycle in lieu of submitting their applications directly to schools. [That means no initial application submission via either the college's own application or the Common App.]

The colleges then rank the students they are interested in, and the students rank their top-choice colleges. If there is a match, the student may attend the school and receive a scholarship package that includes full cost of tuition, books and room and board. Students who do not find a match during the early admission cycle may apply to their choices regular decision by completing the Common Application Supplement.

Students apply for the QuestBridge College Prep Scholarship during 11th grade and for the College Match program during 12th grade. For more information on QuestBridge visit www.questbridge.org.

Be sure to read the FAQs for the fine print (such as the "binding" nature, with limited exception, of your decision to attend a "matched" college), and do consult with your high school guidance counselor and independent college planning counselor before submitting your Questbridge application. Also, pay close attention to deadlines, here and elsewhere.

The Questbridge College Match program is not for every student, and, clearly, not every student is either eligible or will qualify. Still, if financial need is a consideration, and you've got the grades and scores to be competitive, Questbridge could open doors to some of the nation's top colleges and universities.
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Are you a high school student about to enter the 11th or 12th grade? Don't delay your scholarship search. Start to look for money for college TODAY by registering and completing your profile at the Fastweb.com search portal. It's the important first step toward finding the money you need to pay for college!

Scholarship and grant opportunities are plentiful and obtainable, if you know where to look and how to apply yourself!

E-mail The College Whisperer at info@TheCollegeWhisperer.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.
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