The Hard Work Payed Off: Julie Maldonado Questbridge Recipient


Melissa Hernandez

As Julie Maldonado prepares to take on the world, she will always remember her time at the home of the Cavaliers.

As seniors prepare to move onto the next chapter of their lives, applying to colleges is not the only concern. In order to graduate with little to no student loans, scholarships are of the utmost importance. The more prestigious the scholarship, the more complicated the application process is. Senior Julie Maldonado applied for the Questbridge scholarship, which is worth $200,000 in funds and applicable for all four years of college. Having worked up to this point for the entirety of her high school years, she is ready to explore her  Questbridge match, Northwestern University.

“I wanted the opportunity to go out of state and this full-ride scholarship was the only way I could afford to go. I also wanted the chance to apply to top schools in America without having to pay for the application because it’s a lot of money,” senior Julie Maldonado said.

Not just one’s senior year, but a student’s entire high school career is what culminates into their college and scholarship application portfolios that scholarship committees consider. Typically, well-rounded students such as student-athletes or club leaders with impressive academics are sought out. 

I was completely in shock when I found out I got the scholarship. This was completely unexpected, I was so ready for a rejection that I opened it up by myself and I didn’t even bother filming the reaction. I was just incredibly happy and in disbelief that all of the hard work in school paid off,

— senior Julie Maldonado

Throughout her time as a Cavalier, Maldonado has been involved in various clubs such as the National Honor Society, the International Baccalaureate Honor Society and Gables Earth. Additionally, she is also active in two sports: volleyball and softball. She played softball for two years, where she would switch between playing catcher and third baseman. Her time on the volleyball team lasted four years, where she played defensive specialist and guided the team with her skills as co-captain

“I didn’t necessarily pick Northwestern I was matched to the school because they considered me a good fit. I chose to rank Northwestern 4th on my applications because I knew I wanted to be close to a big city like Chicago and knew that it was a top 9 school in the US,” senior Maldonado said.

After hearing about the Questbridge Scholarship from Gables’ former CAP advisor, Ms. Driver, Maldonado sought to apply. As Questbridge is one of the most competitive scholarships in the United States, she was doubtful she would make it past the preliminary round, since millions of other students applied for the scholarship. 

In order to become a finalist, a lengthy essay, short essay questions and multiple short questions are required. Additionally, once a student makes it to the final round, they are required to write 18 supplements in just two weeks. Wanting a chance at achieving eminence, the opportunity to be able to go out of state made the application process worth it for Maldonado. 

Once she became a finalist, Maldonado was matched with Northwestern as the Questbridge selection committee believed she would fit right in based on her personality and work ethic. Although she is unsure about a major, she is considering environmental science or engineering. What once seemed like an unattainable dream with a steep price tag became a reality for Maldonado thanks to Questbridge.