In a few months, Rigoberto Mendoza, the Odessa high school, will become the first of his family to attend university. He says he could major in biology. Or he can take the premedical route. He adds that he has always been 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 the QuestBridge National College Match.
“The day Match Day arrived, I was very upset because it’s like a once in a lifetime thing,” Mendoza said in a press release.
“I found out about [QuestBridge] thanks to a classmate of mine who paired up two years ago, ”said Mendoza. “I was really impressed to have participated in a full tour of this program for low income students. “
The QuestBridge National College Match is a national program that matches high-performing high school students from low-income backgrounds with full four-year scholarships to top colleges. Out of more than 16,500 applicants this year, QuestBridge’s 45 university partners were matched with 1,674 finalists, who are recognized as scholarship recipients. The Match scholarship is worth over $ 200,000 and includes tuition, accommodation and food, books and supplies, and travel expenses. It does not require parental contributions or student loans.
This year’s outstanding high school students have an unweighted GPA of 3.93, and 92% are in the top 10% of their class, according to a statement from QuestBridge. Financially, 95% come from a household with an annual income of less than $ 65,000 and 87% are entitled to free or reduced school meals. The majority of these new QuestBridge scholars – 81% – are the first generation in their families to attend four-year college in the United States.
The rigorous application process allows the student to rank up to 12 colleges. Mendoza described him as “stressful” and “scary” until he received the incredible news of his selection.
“I’m so happy to have been chosen as a game against Emory,” he said. “Because it gives representation in Odessa, and especially in OHS. Students here can go a long way.
Mendoza is now the second Odessa High School student to be paired through QuestBridge. The Mendoza classmate mentioned earlier in the story is Evan Haley, who in 2019 was paired with Princeton.