Colgate University announced its partnership with QuestBridge, a national nonprofit organization that matches high-achieving, low-income students with prestigious research universities and liberal arts colleges in the United States that pay a recruiting fee for the organization’s services. According to its website, QuestBridge has provided over 6,000 scholars full, four-year scholarships and has served over 60,000 students through its programs. On Thursday, January 16, the Colgate community received a broadcast email, which said that the inaugural QuestBridge students will matriculate in the fall of 2021 as members of Colgate’s class of 2025.
Although the partnership has been in the works for over a year, Colgate University President Brian Casey said he has known about QuestBridge and its reputation for many years. When he joined Colgate in 2016, he knew that a partnership with QuestBridge was something that he wanted to prioritize. Chief of Staff to the President Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar personally knows senior members of the organization and facilitated the first introduction between Casey and QuestBridge founder Ana Rowena McCullough in 2018.
President Casey explained that this partnership with QuestBridge feels deeply personal.
“[QuestBridge is] extremely rigorous. I cannot emphasize how thorough this organization is… They are very good at what they do, and they only want to work with very good people,” Casey said.
Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid Gary Ross said that QuestBridge will bring students to campus that Colgate might not have been able to reach otherwise.
“There are a lot of students that come from populations that may not have access to college advising or there may not be any level of knowledge in the family about the fact that independent, private institutions like Colgate have outstanding financial aid opportunities. QuestBridge can identify and reach those students and make them aware of the outstanding institutions that are partners of QuestBridge, and now that Colgate will be one of those,” Ross said.
Rodriguez-Farrar echoed this sentiment with an anecdote about another QuestBridge partner university.
“When one partner joined QuestBridge, the organization identified prospective students in 200 zip codes that this partner didn’t even know existed. QuestBridge identifies incredibly talented students who are hiding in plain sight,” Rodriguez-Farrar said.
According to Casey, QuestBridge partner institutions share information and data regarding admissions processes. Through the partnership, Colgate will now be able to learn from institutions such as Hamilton College and Harvard University, or any of Questbridge’s 42 college partners.
“We will learn about the best practices that are going on in the best universities. This is invaluable. I don’t think you can put a price on the value of that,” Casey said.
In a message to future QuestBridge scholars interested in Coltate, Ross underscored his regard for the organization and its selection process.
“The fact that they were chosen to be a QuestBridge Scholar is in and of itself a tremendous distinction and they should be enormously proud that at such a young age they have already distinguished themselves at, what I consider to be, a world-class organization,” Ross said.
According to the QuestBridge website, 5,842 students were selected as National College Match Finalists out of 14,926 applications in 2019.
Vice President and Dean of the College Paul McLoughlin said he is eager to welcome the first QuestBridge scholars to Colgate and is committed to every student’s success.
“I want future students of Colgate, including QuestBridge applicants, to know that Colgate is committed to ensuring that the very best students are able to access Colgate…All of us in the dean of the college are very excited by this new partnership and what it means for all students,” McLoughlin said.
QuestBridge expressed its enthusiasm for the Colgate partnership and its regard for Colgate as an institution via an email statement.
“We are thrilled to welcome Colgate to the QuestBridge partnership. We believe that Colgate’s commitment to developing thoughtful leaders fits seamlessly with our vision of these leaders coming from all socioeconomic backgrounds. We believe this partnership will create opportunities for our students to access an exceptional education, while contributing diverse perspectives, backgrounds and experiences to the Colgate community,” QuestBridge said.