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A dream come true
Rider senior Miranda Salazar reflects on her acceptance into Columbia
January 13, 2022
Miranda Salazar went numb as the senior received a notification regarding the decision into her dream school. No, she had to wait until she came home from school to open the email with her family.
Two hours later Salazar and her mother sat at the kitchen table anticipating the decision that was just one click away.
A FaceTime call? Her father had called while out of town, wanting to experience the significant occasion with them.
This was the moment everything could change for Salazar, the point where her 5.0 weighted GPA, nine science and six math credits throughout her high school career could pay off.
Salazar had seen plenty of college acceptance reaction videos, but unlike the usual excitement within those, the massive weight of becoming her family’s first generation college student had been lifted from her shoulders.
Miranda Salazar was accepted into Columbia University with a full-ride scholarship in hopes to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering.
“With the added pressure of having the opportunity to be the first in my family to attend college in the United States, I was willing to go to the extremes just to get an education,” Salazar said. “Knowing that my entire four years at Columbia are paid for is such a massive relief from the financial burden me and my family anticipated. I couldn’t even begin to process it at first. I just started sobbing along with my parents. I still can’t believe that my dream school is no longer a dream, but soon to be reality.”
The success behind her acceptance into an Ivy League was the Questbridge College Prep Scholars Program for high school juniors. Motivated by her closest friend, Salazar channeled through the difficulties of balancing school and college applications with the Questbridge application.
As a junior, Salazar was selected as a distinguished candidate for admission to the 45 Questbridge College Partners. To increase her chances of being selected as a finalist, she also applied to the National College Match. Out of 16,500 applicants, Salazar was one of 1,674 students to receive the Match scholarship.
“I am one of 79 people who matched with Columbia University. Overall this is a highly selective and competitive process. I was incredibly stressed out throughout the entire process because my future was on the line,” she said. “I spent countless sleepless nights looking over and revising my essays. I consider myself extremely lucky to have not only received a full-ride scholarship, but to my top choice.”
Salazar’s success had blossomed from the assistance of her Questbridge application. With multiple sections dedicated to providing as much context as possible to explain her academic success despite a financial hardship, Salazar’s application was able to tell her own story.
“I think students who choose to apply through Questbridge and meet the requirements have a better chance of getting into elite schools because finalists stand out and are considered separately from other candidates,” Salazar said. “Applications like the Common App and Coalition aren’t as detailed and don’t put as much emphasis on getting to know the student’s personal story.”