4 seniors announced as Questbridge Finalists


Aastha Banga

(From left to right) Niyah Troup, Tiwaniya Tyler, Essence Hughes and Steil

Caroline Boltz, Copy Editor

For most students, their first college application deadlines come in November, December or even January, but some have been anxiously waiting for results for over a month now. On Oct. 16, four seniors–Tiwaniya Tyler, Niyah Troup, Essence Hughes and Steil–were named as QuestBridge Finalists. 

Questbridge is a non-profit program that gives the opportunity to low-income, high-achieving students to be matched with one of the country’s top 40 schools. The application opens in August and closes in September–a bit of a time crunch for those applying. Once finished with the application, they rank up to 12 schools that QuestBridge is partnered with. Questbridge then sends out the finalist’s application to the schools chosen, and the college gets back to them if they want to accept them. If the college accepts them, students will attend free of all costs.

Although Tyler ranked her 12 schools, she didn’t think she has any top choices.

“I’ll be happy with whatever school that matches with me. It’s free,” Tyler said. 

On the day that Finalists were announced, Steil wasn’t very hopeful they would be chosen because they didn’t feel as qualified compared to first-generation students and those with lower household incomes. 

“When I got the email that there was change in my application, my heart dropped. But somehow I became a finalist,” they said.

Steil’s top three colleges are Bowdoin College, Middlebury College and Bates College. However, of the three, QuestBridge is only partnered with Bowdoin. Instead they applied to Stanford University and Tufts University. 

“I didn’t even think about Oct. 16 being the day that the finalist decision was made,” Troup said. “I received a call from Alisha telling me to check and record my reaction. Everything else was a blur when I saw the word ‘Congratulations’ and the next thing I knew, I was running down the halls of Hooper screeching at the top of my lungs.” 

Troup’s top three schools are Duke University, Vanderbilt University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

When Hughes found out she was a finalist, she didn’t believe it.

“I stared at the screen in disbelief. Then I called my mom and went to Hooper to find Dr. Morgan and Mrs. Truitt to tell them,” Hughes said.

Hughes applied to Claremont Mckenna College, Tufts University and Oberlin College, and she would be happy to go anywhere she is matched with.

All the students agreed that the application process was long and stressful and that there wasn’t enough time.

“The application process was terrifying because it was really lengthy. Applying to 12 colleges in two weeks was even harder,” Tyler said. “Even though I’m crying in the club, I’ll survive.”

“There is a short time period to turn everything in, so you are trying to rush while also trying to give your best work,” Hughes said. 

It took convincing and a lot of support from their friends and family to continue the trek through the application. The MSMS class of 2019’s Finalists also inspired Tyler and Hughes to apply, even if they thought they didn’t have a shot. 

Match Day will be on Dec. 2 this year, where the finalists will know if they’ve been admitted to any of their schools.