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A Quest Fulfilled: AHS Senior Earns Full Ride


Nick Soria


Angleton High School senior Nicholas Soria has signed the paperwork to attend Rice University in the fall with a full scholarship, but he’s not sure he’ll believe that such a lofty dream came true until he actually walks on campus for his first day.


“For me, it’s almost unbelievable,” he said. “I probably won’t really believe it until I attend my first lecture.”


Soria gained the acceptance to the top-tier university through his participation in QuestBridge, a national non-profit that connects high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds with first-class colleges and universities.


QuestBridge’s mission is to reach students who are qualified for the best higher education institutions in the nation but who may not apply to those select schools from fear of the financial commitment. Through the QuestBridge program, students who meet the program’s requirements have access to full-ride scholarships to the organization’s 40 high-ranked college and university partners, which includes the Ivy League schools Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Princeton.


Any student can fill out the QuestBridge application, a detailed form that looks at a student’s finances as well as academic achievement. The organization chooses finalists who QuestBridge executives believe are competitive enough to potentially earn the guaranteed four-year, full-ride scholarships from the organization’s university partners.


If the university accepts the student, it’s considered a “match” and the student is legally obligated to go to the highest-ranked school he or she is matched with, according to QuestBridge rules.


Soria was chosen as one of these finalists and was then asked to submit a list of his 12 favorite QuestBridge partner colleges. While he had the option to choose from schools like MIT and Stanford that rank high in clout, being ever the critical-thinker, Soria put Rice University at the top of his list because of the school’s exceptional biology program and because he was pretty confident he’d get in.


“It was the best school that I had a solid chance of being accepted by and it has the finest facilities for the biological fields I want to delve into,” he said.


Luckily, Soria didn’t have to wait too long to find out if he made it.


After only about a month - a very tense month, as he puts it - he heard back with news he never expected: he’d been matched and offered a full-ride scholarship to his top-choice school, Rice University.


This is the first QuestBridge match for the district that AISD Advanced Academics Coordinator Angela Neal remembers and she said it’s a huge stepping stone to success for Soria.


“The opportunity to attend Rice University and connect with outstanding staff and research experiences will without a doubt provide an environment for Nicholas to meet his dreams,” she said. “I am so proud of his passion for learning and this exciting achievement.”


For Soria, it’s still a dream that he hasn’t quite wrapped his head around. Through QuestBridge, he always knew there was a chance for a match, but actually getting matched with his top-choice school wasn’t something he really prepared for, he said.


“I’m not going to lie and say that I had some grand plan before going into the process,” he said. “Truth be told, I had more than a few doubts about the whole thing while going into the QuestBridge program. It just didn’t seem like the sort of thing that happens, you know? Full ride scholarships to the finest institutions in the nation are for random people on the news, not Nicholas R. Soria.”