Andre '22 Achieves a QuestBridge College Match Scholarship

Andre '22 Achieves a QuestBridge College Match Scholarship

For the second year running, a Govs senior has been awarded a match scholarship in the QuestBridge National College Match, a national program that connects high-achieving high school seniors with full four-year scholarships to top colleges. Out of over 16,500 applicants, Andre Rocker '22 was chosen as one of 6,312 finalists to be considered for the QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship and later went on to be recognized as one of 1,674 finalists to receive a match scholarship. 

"The achievements of our Match Scholarship Recipients are a culmination of their hard work and perseverance," said Ana McCullough, Co-Founder, and CEO of QuestBridge. "Thanks to the commitment of our college partners, these deserving students can tap into their full potential without worrying about the cost of a great education."

The Match Scholarship is part of a generous financial aid package provided by the college that covers the full cost of attendance, including tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and travel expenses. Competition for the scholarships is intense: these outstanding high school seniors have an average unweighted GPA of 3.93, and 92% are in the top 10% of their graduating class. 

Upon applying to the National College Match, students rank the QuestBridge colleges of their choice. Working alongside Govs College Counselor Julia Kobus, Andre secured a match with Northwestern University. "I am incredibly proud of Andre for becoming a Questbridge scholarship recipient. Andre took a diligent approach to college applications from the beginning, and I am incredibly pleased that the Questbridge committee recognized his tenacity, passion for social justice, and academic achievement," said Kobus. 

Andre spoke about his application experience, future career goals, and advice for students hoping to apply for the QuestBridge program in the future.

GOVS: How did you first learn about this opportunity?
I met with Ms. Kobus last year to begin thinking about programs and opportunities to help me prepare for the college admission process. That same day, Mrs. de la Guardia (Govs language department chair and GovsPLUS director) connected me to Questbridge's college prep summer scholars program, and she and Ms. Kobus helped set me up to do the match program. I also saw the Instagram post last year when Lemuel L'Oiseau '21 won the Questbridge scholarship, and I thought, "That could be me!"

GOVS: Can you describe the application process?
ANDRE: Students who participate in the Questbridge summer program are more likely to become a finalist for the Match Scholarship, so really, the whole college process began last spring for me. I spent all of March break last year writing essays about my interests, accomplishments, and activities. After that, I participated in the summer program and then applied to become a finalist this past September. In October, I learned that I was a finalist, at which point I had to rank my list of schools, write more essays, and complete applications for those schools. All this while managing a demanding course load, playing varsity football, and keeping my grades up. 

GOVS: How did it feel when you found out that you were a finalist to receive a Match Scholarship?
ANDRE: I found out via email right after football practice and thought, "Man, I am happy today!" My friends were really supportive and happy for me. But the whole process was a lot of work, and while you are in it, you don't have a lot of time to think about getting to this moment. I also thought, "Wow, what do I do next?" There's always a next step. 

GOVS: What do you think helped you stand out in the application process?
ANDRE: A big theme in my essays is independence. I have achieved a lot, and I've had great support from teachers and friends, but I do everything on my own. I'm not getting that support from my family, so all the work and responsibilities come down to me. A lot of my life has been working through difficult situations and coming out successful, regardless of the odds stacked against me. Being independent has bred a deep conviction in me to be self-reliant. 

I'm so grateful that Northwestern chose me and that I have the opportunity to prove myself, but I also feel that they made a great choice in giving me that chance. I've worked very hard for this, and the work has been done consistently across many areas. I'm a two-season varsity athlete, a captain of the wrestling team, a co-head of BLA (Black Latinx Association) at Govs, and I maintain high honors while taking five AP classes.

GOVS: What are your future career goals, and how will Northwestern help you achieve them?
ANDRE: I plan to double major in political science and sociology, and I'll continue with wrestling. I also want to work with the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern's Pritzker School of Law — students have the opportunity to make a positive change there. For me, freedom, justice, and the truth are the most important values, and I want to protect these values for others. Wrongful convictions and criminal injustice affect black and brown people at a much higher rate. 

Down the road, I want to become a lawyer and return to my hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts. When I was younger, I definitely needed someone to help me, and I want to be that person for others. I don't care about gaining material things as much as giving others the help they need. I also want to be a senator for Massachusetts — I hope you'll see me on the floor of Congress one day, working for all people.

GOVS: Any advice you can give to future students hoping to apply for the scholarship?
ANDRE: All of the hard work is worth it, and yes, you are good enough. Believe in yourself, even if the odds are stacked against you because, well, that's life. You must keep moving forward. 

I'd also say value your education for the sake of learning, even if it doesn't seem to apply to your interests or future goals. I consider myself more of a humanities student than the sciences, but some things are interesting to learn. Like calculus — I thought, "I'll never use these skills," and yet I'm excited to learn new things. I enjoy my AP Government class and AP English class in different ways because they provide many different ways of thinking. Even though I may not agree with everything said, I believe it's beneficial to hear how others reason. The process of learning is exciting — it gives me intellectual satisfaction. I'm a big thinker, and learning new ways to think never hurts!