In a few short months, Rigoberto Mendoza, a high school student in Odessa, will become the first in his family to attend college. He says he might major in biology. Or it may go the introductory path. He adds that he was always interested in pathology (the study of diseases). Whatever he decides to pursue, he will do so at one of his dream schools – Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia – on a full scholarship, thanks to a QuestBridge National College Match.
“On the day match day came, I was so overwhelmed because this is like a once in a lifetime thing,” Mendoza said in a press release.
“I found about [QuestBridge] Through a classmate of mine who was a match two years ago,” Mendoza explained. “I was really impressed to get a full tour through this program for low-income students.”
QuestBridge National College Match is a national program that connects high school seniors from low-income backgrounds and full four-year scholarships to top colleges. Of the more than 16,500 applicants this year, 45 of the College’s QuestBridge Partners matched 1,674 finalists, who were recognized as matching scholarship recipients. The Match Scholarship is worth over $200,000 and includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and travel expenses. It does not require parental contributions or student loans.
According to QuestBridge, this year’s high school seniors have an unweighted GPA of 3.93, and 92% are in the top 10% in their graduating class. Financially, 95% come from a household with an annual income of less than $65,000, and 87% are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. The majority of these new QuestBridge scholars – 81% – are among the first generation in their family to attend a four-year college in the United States.
The rigorous application process allows a student to rank up to 12 colleges. Mendoza called him “exhausted” and “nervous” until he received the startling news of his choice.
“I am very happy that I was selected as a match against Emory,” he said. “Because it gives a representation of Odessa, especially OHS. Students here can go far.”
Mendoza is now the second Odessa High School student to be matched through QuestBridge. The fellow Mendoza mentioned earlier in the story is Evan Haley, who in 2019 was a Princeton match.