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QuestBridge at Carleton

Erin talks about her experience coming from a small town to Carleton College as a QuestBridge student.

Erin talks about her experience coming from a small town to Carleton College as a QuestBridge student.

Everything I read about Northfield before coming to Carleton was about how to find fun in such a small town. But because I came from a town of roughly 2,000 people (compared to Northfield’s 20,000), it seemed huge to me!

I grew up in a small, rural town in North Carolina, so coming to Northfield was a big transition for me. I still haven’t explored the whole town, and somehow still get lost on Carleton’s grid system.

You may be wondering, how did someone from a tiny North Carolina town hear about Carleton?

 Good question.

For me, Carleton happened as a happy-accident. In 2017 when I was a sophomore in high school, my physics teacher handed me a pamphlet titled “QuestBridge.” QuestBridge is a program open by application to “high achieving, low income, and/or first-generation students.” It partners with 42 top notch colleges and universities around the nation, including Carleton!

I applied to become a QuestBridge Scholar as a junior, where, after getting accepted, got to go to Vanderbilt for a conference about all of the schools they partner with. We got more information about the program, how college applications worked, and tips to get into high level universities through QuestBridge.

Their program is a little confusing at first, but here are all the “levels” to QuestBridge:

QuestBridge Scholar

QuestBridge Finalist

QuestBridge Match

QuestBridge Regular Decision

I became a Finalist, but did not “match” with any universities (meaning I didn’t earn a full ride scholarship). However, I applied to several other QuestBridge partner schools through Regular Decision — this is when I got accepted into Carleton! Even though I didn’t get “matched,” because Carleton is a need-blind college, I got financial aid that was really accurate to my need. Coincidentally, my roommate also happens to be a QuestBridge student; we found out we had even crossed paths years ago at Vanderbilt. They matched to Carleton, which is so awesome!

Being a QuestBridge student at Carleton means that you are automatically considered for resources for low-income/first-gen students on campus, which has been very helpful to me. There is also a club here for Questbridge students, which helps you meet other students who are in the same position.

I was very intimidated when I first got here — to this day, I still find myself stuck in “imposter-world” sometimes. I’m worried that because of my background, I don’t belong here — that I am not a genius or a “super-star.” What I am, though, is determined, excited to learn, and ready to get out of my comfort zone. This is why I belong at Carleton. QuestBridge students belong at Carleton, just like every other person here. I hope that wherever your are on your college journey, this post showed you that you aren’t alone; Carleton is possible for you, too!

Erin grew up catching salamanders, recklessly climbing trees, and running around barefoot in the Appalachian Mountains in a small town in North Carolina. This is her first year at Carleton, and she’s looking forward to meeting new people, exploring campus (especially the arb!), and experiencing her first Minnesota winter. She is currently interested in studying psychology and gender, women’s, and sexuality studiesMeet the other bloggers!