Quest for Success

Matchmaking gets a bad rap, but, for six first-year students, a college matching program for bright, motivated, applicants has provided them with full, four-year scholarships to Scripps. Through the QuestBridge College Match program, Scripps is moving forward in its outreach efforts to attract qualified but economically disadvantaged students who might not otherwise consider applying to a private liberal arts college.

“Students and counselors don’t always believe small, liberal arts colleges are a viable option for high achieving, low income students,” explains Assistant Director of Admission Patty Alcala-Jacobo. “What I like about QuestBridge is that the students know they want to go to college and are exploring their options—they’re ahead of the game.”

QuestBridge’s College Match program is billed as an alternative admission and financial aid process, whereby finalists rank those colleges they would definitely attend from a list of 15 participating schools—including Stanford, Columbia, Princeton, Swarthmore, and Wellesley. These rankings are binding, so if a college also ranks the finalist, both parties are committed to admission and a full, fouryear scholarship package.

In its first year in the program, Scripps had an “incredibly productive experience,” says Director of Admission Amy Abrams. “We went in thinking we’d match with three students, and we ended up with six amazing young women.”

Among those amazing new members of the Class of 2010 are a budding forensic scientist, an aspiring museum curator, and an academic athlete who dreams of working with Doctors Without Borders someday. “Having an education— especially at a place like Scripps,” says Djamila Ricciardi, a QuestBridge student from Denver, “really opens up the world to you. I think I can discover what direction I’m going in while I’m learning here.”