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QuestBridge Sucks

beahonestbeahonest Posts: 5Registered User New Member
edited April 2012 in Questbridge Programs
QuestBridge says it helps "low income" students get scholarships to elite private colleges but the income ceiling is $60,000 (hardly low income) and it's real purpose is to find minority students for elite private colleges. I was not a finalist even though my grade point average and test scores were higher than some of the students (virtually all, if not all, minority) who identified themselves as finalists on various Facebook postings. Could it be because I am not a minority student? I have absolutely no trouble with any organization that helps minorities get into college. That is laudable. But QuestBridge encourages everyone to apply and then appears to hold white applicants to a higher standard or just plain discriminates. Also, if you call the phone number, you won't get a live human and you can't leave a message. And if you email them, they'll respond anonymously and refer you to their web site. There is no appeal process. They simply ignore you if you have a complaint. This organization operates like a third world dictatorship. Their application process is extremely onerous and takes literally days. If you happen to be white, think hard before you want to commit to the effort. Of course, I could be wrong. I invite QuestBridge to post its statistics for the finalists of the QuestBridge College Match Program for 2011. Please break down the number of minority students, whites, income levels, grade point averages, test scores. (Yeah, like that's going to happen.)
Post edited by beahonest on
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Replies to: QuestBridge Sucks

  • woody35woody35 Posts: 930Registered User Member
    My family is white and my kid was selected as a QB finalist this month and also as a QB prep finalist in 11th grade. My kid has called and emailed QB with questions during both the 11th grade prep and 12th grade match process and gotten helpful human responses through both.

    I've seen numerous references about other kids contacting them and getting very helpful assistance with their questions. My kid always got responses back on the first business day after emailing or leaving a phone message. I've also seen QB respond to several student questions in their own discussion forums (such as on Facebook) with links to the QB site because the answers to those questions had been at the site all along, if kids had just bothered to look there.

    From what I've seen online over and over since we discovered QB last February, an incredible number of applicants AND finalists don't appear to have read the QB web site and guidelines very well so they'd all keep asking the most basic questions over and over. Or asking questions about specific colleges to QB when they obviously needed to ask those questions of the colleges instead. I've even seen kids say they were selected as QB finalists and then ask, "So what does this mean now?" as if they don't even know what program they applied for in the first place. I see nothing wrong with QB directing students back to the web site where all those basic answers have been available all along.

    Questbridge = class act.
  • hanaviolethanaviolet Posts: 324Registered User Member
    The only student we know who was selected as a scholarship recipient was white too. And we personally were able to reach QB by phone. Your point that white students are at a disadvantage may or may not be true, but QB is trying to open doors for people, and IF race is a criteria they use, well, it's up to them. It's not good for you, but it still might be justified...

    I would like to encourage you to keep going. Much of what you could have gained through QB, you can still get independently. Do some research on financial aid offered by the schools you are interested in. If you are admitted to many of the QB colleges, you are still likely to get a full scholarship (particularly with the Ivies), or at least a darn good percentage of your cost of attendance paid for.

    You don't know if your accusation is true...
    and when people get themselves all tied up in a knot over this issue, it just leads to their own bad feelings and bad health. If I may offer advice, just keep on doing YOUR best, and good things will happen. You will be rewarded for your performance. And maybe a little more difficult: Be happy for other people's good luck.
  • itsonmarsitsonmars Posts: 30Registered User New Member
    Your complaint would probably be a bit more acceptable if it weren't put so immaturely; right now, you simply sound petulant and butthurt over not getting accepted as a finalist. (Seriously though, comparing a scholarship foundation to "a third world dictatorship"?)

    Also, they actually do post a breakdown of its statistics on the site for 2010.
    2010 National College Match Finalist Profile
    I'm ready to assume that they'll put out the one for 2011 after some people get accepted into their choice schools.

    Although the ceiling is $60k like you said, more than half have an income of less than $40k.
    Though a vast majority of the finalists were from "minority" groups (though technically, in California, white people are already a minority as well), white applicants still hold 29% of the finalist pool. In case you have trouble comprehending, that's second to the Asian 30%.

    Probably the most striking statistic, however, is this: "77% were among the first generation in their family to attend college." So, if your grades and scores were as superior as you proclaim them to be, and your extracurriculars are even half-decent, I'm guessing that either (a) one or both of your parents went to college, (b) your recommenders have a secret vendetta against you, (c) maybe your essays were just crap, or (d) a combination of the above.

    I don't doubt that a lot of people were accepted through QuestBridge for their international status or ethnicity, though. If only "80% scored above 1200," that means 20% scored less than an average of 600 for Crit Reading and Math. However, a lot more factors than just race can be put into account (i.e. essays, GPA, recommendations, extracurricular activities, etc...).

    If this was a complaint about how colleges are biased towards diversity (they practically exploit QuestBridge to raise their diversity rankings for both socioeconomic and ethnic reasons, if the stats for finalists admitted via choice rankings have anything to say) then it would probably be pretty valid. Almost none of your points against QuestBridge hold, though. I do commend you for your admission to possibly being wrong, but it's kinda belied by the sarcastic remark after it.

    That being said, I say put your bitterness behind you and learn from this experience; in the right light, you could probably put a positive spin on the rejection and write an essay on it if you were so inclined. And take some tips from hanaviolet up there. The only possible downside you have now is that you have to pay your application fees, but even those can be waived apart from a Collegeboard fee waiver with a letter from your counselor for most of the Ivies. You still have time ... assuming you don't spend the rest of November complaining to QuestBridge about something that no longer really pertains to you.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 18,802Registered User Senior Member
    I know a Questbridge reject who landed a mighty fine scholarship to an excellent private institution three and a half years ago. That student is set to graduate with honors in May 2012, and will be headed straight into grad school will full support.

    When asked about the Questbridge experience, she reported that even though it was very upsetting to not be chosen as a finalist, she was glad that she had gone through the process because it made the rest of her college applications a snap because all of her essays, letters of reference, etc. were already taken care of. It is OK for you to be ticked-off that you didn't make the cut. That is perfectly natural! But start putting that behind you so that you can focus on the rest of the applications in front of you.

    Wishing you all the best!
  • jacobo2880jacobo2880 Posts: 215Registered User Junior Member
    I second itsonmars' thoughts and what were ur GPA and test scores?
  • boredh12boredh12 Posts: 61Registered User Junior Member
    I think you make the reasoning error that high test scores and GPAs are associated with acceptance, when this is simply not true. Refer to the 2010 statistics; notice how little scored above 1400 on the CR+M section? Stats don't matter as much as you think they do. Questbridge is more interested in the human side of things - that's why they have a SUPER long application with plenty of opportunities to talk about yourself. Don't be bitter because you didn't get in, OP. You seem to have good scores and a good GPA. Obviously your essays were lacking, so work on them and I'm sure you'll get into some good schools. (Too many factors to determine why you were rejected from QB though; essay is just one possibility. One thing is certain: you weren't rejected for your scores and GPA.)
  • OlipondOlipond Posts: 150Registered User Junior Member
    My D is on a facebook page for QB finalists and I can tell you a few things: 1) Many of those minority applicants have SKY HIGH stats. Much higher than my white daughter, who was also named a QB finalist. 2)Many are refugees, new immigrants etc., and yet, they have mastered English, are at the top of their class,AND they have very high SAT/ACt scores etc. As a group, they are a gifted bunch of kids, and no less qualified than their white counterparts. QB isn't a government program, it is a private scholarship program, they can establish their own criteria for selection. Now, if you would like to attack the Gates program, which excludes ONLY whites.....
  • beahonestbeahonest Posts: 5Registered User New Member
    How nice that we have all these parents posting about QuestBridge!

    I don't doubt that there are white finalists and I don't doubt that there are minority non-finalists. So let's just put that to rest.

    My problem is that QuestBridge says it helps "low income" students but it appears to help minority low-iincome students disproportionately. And that raises an inference of discrimination, It would be really sad if you folks were defending discrimination on the basis of race.

    The stats posted in this thread indicate that the vast majority of QuestBridge finalists (more than 70 percent) are minority students. We can't know if that number is reasonable unless we know how many minority students are in the initial pool of applicants. If 40 percent of the applicants in 2011 were minorities and more than 70 percent became finalists, it would raise a question about discrimination against the non-minorities. I think QuestBridge should release a breakdown of the entire applicant pool.

    As I said, I have no problem if QuestBridge wants to give preference to minority students but it should not encourage whites to apply and then discriminate against them.

    In the final analysis, QuestBridge is a shill for rich private colleges that don't want to muck about with low income minority students. Is it really asking too much for truth in advertising?
  • itsonmarsitsonmars Posts: 30Registered User New Member
    In all honestly, I'm going to give a little guess as to how the majority of the applicant pool were probably minority students. Call me racist or biased, but I honestly don't know a large number of low-income, goal-oriented white people. I know a lot of lazy people who are poor because they're lazy, and a lot of rich people who are rich because they're smart, but it takes a certain mentality to be smart, active, and poor.

    I don't doubt that there aren't any out there since I hold the assumption that the 29% statistic is true, but I personally don't have a single white friend whose GPA is over a 3.5 and whose parents both make under $40k. I do, however, know a couple dozen Asians, Indians, and Mexicans who fit that criteria since they're all first- or second-generation students and their parents had to start from scratch when they came to America. And why do you think those parents came to America? To give their children a chance at a better life-- and THAT mentality right there is why such a large amount of minority applicants became finalists. We know that desperation. We know that struggle. We know life isn't fair, and we accept it.

    What would I have done had I not become a finalist? Cry over how I should have gotten in since I was Asian? Since I have the highest SAT score out of all my friends? Since QuestBridge is a mean bully and "it's not fair?" Do you really, really not see how immature and petulant and infantile you sound? I would have put it behind me weeks ago and sought alternatives. Narrowed down my list of possible colleges. Called some universities to know their fee waiver policies. Expand my list of safeties. Be grateful that I already have most of my CommonApp done while my friends flounder away. (In case I'm not being obvious enough, or your reading comprehension is awkwardly low, those are suggestions. For you to do. Unless you don't have many friends, then just skip that last one.)

    Also, there's no special place in QuestBridge's website that actively asks white people to apply. Heck-- the pictures revolving on their homepage? Take a minute to scroll through them. Though there are some white people there, the vast majority are undoubtedly minority students. A third of them are white students. It accurately represents the finalist pool. There is no false advertising /what/soever.

    Your two statements: "And that raises an inference of discrimination, It would be really sad if you folks were defending discrimination on the basis of race" and "As I said, I have no problem if QuestBridge wants to give preference to minority students but it should not encourage whites to apply and then discriminate against them" COMPLETELY contradict each other, so don't even try to feed anyone any BS. We know you're hurt; get over it.

    In the final analysis, QuestBridge is a very FREE scholarship program aimed at goal-orientated, low-income students, and it doesn't make you pay a single cent to apply. Do you know how many scholarships out there force you to send them official scores of your SATs? How many scholarships make you pay a down fee to even be considered for a finalist position? Just calm down and be grateful that QuestBridge even gives people in the world an opportunity to have a chance at some colleges that they can't afford. That while some people are struggling to pay for heating in their freezing houses, they at least know that their children can go to a good school and get a great education in this horrible economy and possibly help their families out in the future, for a better, more positive life.

    And I'm sorry. Sorry that you didn't make it past round one. Sorry that you might maybe possibly have to pay for your applications since it doesn't seem like you're making much of an effort to research alternative ways to get fee waivers, if the fact that you're still here and trying to make noise has anything to say. (Honestly, if your income's as low as you claim it is, you'll be able to get a free application with Yale at the very least, and you don't even have to call or e-mail them; it's right there on the CommonApp.) Sorry that you seem to believe that the majority of the partner schools don't offer full scholarships to low-income students without Questbridge. (FYI, almost all of them do. Almost all of them even have ceilings of $100k before they stop doling out financial aid; may not be full, but it's the same as if you made it to Regular Decision.)

    Sorry that you're kind of a jerk and that you have to live with yourself and your own bitter thoughts. If your essays reflect any of the negativity in your personality that I can see through your words, no wonder the QuestBridge application reviewers rejected you. ((By the way, not sorry if that offends you; it was meant to.))

    With copious amounts of exasperation, frustration, and incredibility,
    a sixteen-year-old QuestBridge College Match Finalist whose parents didn't help her through /any/ of her application process because they can't speak fluent English, but still made it past the first step because, apparently, she actually has a touch of maturity.

    P.S.: "I was not a finalist even though my grade point average and test scores were higher than some of the students (virtually all, if not all, minority) who identified themselves as finalists on various Facebook postings."
    Unweighted GPA: 3.9
    Highest SAT: 2300+, not cumulative
    SAT IIs: Took six, mean average of 740 each, median of 770
    APs: 5s on all of them
    Income range: $40k-$50k (one parent unemployed)
    Ethnicity: Asian-American.

    Your turn.
  • jacobo2880jacobo2880 Posts: 215Registered User Junior Member
    ^that's watered-down?!?! dang, I feel a whole lot more respect for you all of a sudden O_O
  • itsonmarsitsonmars Posts: 30Registered User New Member
    jacobo2880 - Thank you? I think? I know it's still (a bit more than) harsh, but I honestly just can't hold much respect for people who can't take responsibility for their own inadequacies. So many people try to redirect their blame towards another source instead of towards themselves because they can't handle it, and it's that kind of thinking that leads to negativity and .... ultimately, not bad things, but a kind of stagnation of character? Or morality? It's why some people simply aren't able to put things behind them; they account the blame to an outside source and do nothing towards improving themselves internally.


    beahonest - I probably overdid my response and made a fool of myself, but I'm just being honest about what I feel. If you keep this kind of mindset, I truly don't think you'll go too far in this world, simply because the world is unforgiving. You won't have people patting your back and soothing you because life isn't fair enough for you. It's brutally honest and honestly brutal and you have to learn to pick yourself up and go with the circumstances.

    Take this as a kind of "I am disappoint, son" or however you will. I don't hate you. I'm just disappointed to see proof that there are intelligent people out there who are my age, or older, and still think this way--- because I don't doubt your academic intelligence. I can look past the grammatical errors and typos as mere slip-ups. Your tone of false sincerity, inability to take other opinions into account, and emotional maturity as a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old, however, disappoint me.


    jacobo2880 - ohgod, you really shouldn't feel respect for me at this point, actually. xD;;; i'm looking through all this and i just sound like a really tight loser. Still not regretting any of it though, so I guess that means I did the right thing? In my own code of morals, at the very least.

    I type and theorize a lot when I'm procrastinating. I'll go do more productive stuff now.
  • ACollegeDadACollegeDad Posts: 55Registered User Junior Member
    I have to disagree with all of you. I personally think the selection process is more random then we think. I am going to compare here.
    Black female, with an unweighted 4.0 with many AP's and college courses. Family makes under $30k first gen college student. She did NOT become a finalist. Very well rounded and she has a talent for writing essays.

    White male, with an unweighted 4.0 with no AP's but many college coureses. Family makes under $30k one parent graduated with bachelor degree from an unaccredited college. Not as well rounded, but does good with essays. He DID become a finalist.

    These 2 went to the same high school and had the same advantages. Recommendations would have been equal.

    There is no rhyme or reason why one was chosen over the other. The only possible differences that can make a difference is if there was something missing on the application. (Such as copies of transcripts not sent or scores listed)

    I also believe, as with colleges admission officers, that if they woke up on the "wrong side of the bed" you have a better chance rejection. On the other hand if someone is having a great day they may be more apt to accept someone. It could mean the difference of your application was looked at in the morning when someone was fresh or; it was looked in the evening when they wanted to go home and are trying to get through a quota of apps.

    I think overall it is more of a random process.
  • beahonestbeahonest Posts: 5Registered User New Member
    It's very tempting to hijack an argument by getting personal but this isn't about me or you. It's about Questbridge.
    Apparently 77% of Questrbidge 2011 finalists are minority group members. That is a very high percentage given U.S. demographics but it's not possible to say definitively whether it is disproportionately high until Questbridge releases a breakdown of all applicants who applied to Questbridge this year. Questbridge has not released this information. Why? Ask them.
    Personally, I noticed that I (white person, non finalist) appear to have superior objective credentials when compared to at least some of the minority students who became finalists. This, plus the low percentage of white finalists, raises a question in my mind. Did I receive fair treatment. Were whites treated differently because they don't fit some bureaucrat's stereotype? Of course, it's possible my essays were crap or that I had poor recommendations but I don't think so and the numbers indicate that something more is going on.
    QuestBridge advertises itself as a service for "low income" students (not just minority students but all low income students). That means that all low income students should be treated the same. Questbridge does not have any right to engage in illegal discrimination.
    I have much more respect for scholarship organizations that SAY explicitly that their scholarships are for minority students because it is not moral or right to encourage white people to apply and to allow them to go through the many hours it takes to apply and then to discriminate against them.
    I will go on to have a successful life but I certainly hope this discussion provides fair warning to other non-minority low-income students who might be considering applying to Questbridge. Prepare to be disappointed. Prepare to discover that life isn't fair. But that's point isn't it? Questbridge exists to recruit minorities for rich private universities who don't want to get their hands dirty.
    Questbridge sucks.
  • jacobo2880jacobo2880 Posts: 215Registered User Junior Member
    ^question, did you have a life story? A number of the finalists (and by a number I mean pretty much all the ones I've talked to) had/have a life story: a massive obstacle they overcame in addition to the low-income status. Whether it be domestic violence, or rape, or emotional problems, they overcame much more than one would think...

    Also, how did you come off in your essays? did you come off as arrogant? believing you DESERVED it? or did you come off as humble and hopeful of a bright future no matter what?
  • jacobo2880jacobo2880 Posts: 215Registered User Junior Member
    and @itsonmars, I still 'spect you
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