4 MHS students get full-rides through QuestBridge

Posted on Jan 14 2022

Clockwise from top left, Arisa Custodio, Christina Kim, Jigger Parayaoan, and Vivien Liu. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Four Marianas High School students have received full four-year scholarships to top colleges through the QuestBridge National College Match program. Thus far, this is the highest number of MHS students to be selected for the prestigious scholarship in a single year.

The MHS students are Arisa Custodio, who “matched” to the University of Notre Dame, Christina Kim, who “matched” to Northwestern University, Vivien Liu, who “matched” to Amherst College, and Jigger Parayaoan, who “matched” to Bowdoin College.

In comments emailed to Saipan Tribune yesterday, Custodio, who will be heading to the University of Notre Dame, said that, as the eldest child, there was much pressure for her college applications and on getting scholarships to keep her family from being financially burdened. She recalled finding out about QuestBridge in her freshman year, and decided from then on to boost her extracurriculars and maintain her grades.

With several life-changing events happening in the months leading up to the application due date, along with the hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Custodio felt driven to apply for QuestBridge last year.

“I am truly grateful for Questbridge, Notre Dame, and everyone in my life who has contributed to my growth and helped me get to where I am now! I’m so sad to be leaving my home so soon, but super excited to be starting my fall semester at ND,” said Custodio.

University of Notre Dame, a private university in Indiana, has a 17% acceptance rate for the Class of 2026.

Kim, on the other hand, will be heading to Northwestern University, a private university in Evanston, Illinois with a 6.8% acceptance rate for the Class of 2025.

Kim said that she has participated in several summer programs through QuestBridge before, which she said provided her with valuable networking and support opportunities. She was more than glad to apply for QuestBridge’s scholarship program. When she learned she matched to Northwestern, Kim said she remembered being in “pure shock” and constantly refreshing the Web page to make sure it was really true.

“The day that I found out I matched to Northwestern University I was in pure shock. …I want to thank Northwestern University, QuestBridge, my teachers and peers who have encouraged me through this process, and my mom who worked endlessly to give me this opportunity,” she said.

Liu will be heading to Amherst College, a private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts which had an 8% acceptance rate for the Class of 2025, last year’s application cycle.

She recalled “countless nights” independently weighing her college options and stressing over how to afford a college education, and is excited and grateful to attend Amherst College on a full-ride. Liu thanked her parents for working hard to get her to where she is today, and a few teachers in her life for refining her thinking and challenging her preconceptions.

“I have been challenged academically and personally throughout my years in high school, and I am more than ready to embrace the academic rigor and personal growth to come in the next four years,” she said.

Parayaoan will be heading to Bowdoin College, a private liberal arts college in Brunswick, Maine with an 8.8% acceptance rate for the Class of 2025, last year’s application cycle.

Parayaoan said the college application process was very stressful, and he knew there would be financial barriers as he continued with the college process. He said he heard about QuestBridge his sophomore year, and dedicated his high school career to getting involved in extracurriculars he enjoyed and would help him develop.

Parayaoan said he was in disbelief when he learned that he got the scholarship and had a brief moment of “imposter syndrome.” However, Parayaoan reassured himself that he is fully deserving of the achievement, and that he worked hard to get to where he is today.

“I’m infinitely grateful to Questbridge for opening me up to this opportunity, Bowdoin College for seeing me as a good fit for their school, and everyone in my life who has helped me make it this far. I truly could not have done it without their support,” he said.

The QuestBridge National College Match is a national program that connects high-achieving high school seniors from low-income backgrounds with full four-year scholarships to top colleges. This year, out of over 16,500 applicants, QuestBridge selected 6,312 finalists to be considered for the QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship.

This year, QuestBridge’s 45 college partners matched with 1,674 Finalists, who are recognized as Match Scholarship recipients. This is reportedly the highest number of Match Scholarship recipients to date for QuestBridge.

Joshua Santos | Reporter
Joshua Santos is a Mount Carmel School AlumKnight and University of Florida Gator Grad with a passion for writing. He is one of Saipan Tribune’s newest reporters. Josh enjoys golf, chess, and playing video games with friends in his spare time. Reach out to him @rarebasedjosh on all socials.
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