Brandon Karavitch earns full scholarship to Tufts University

Eric Jeffries, Student Writer

College is one of the most exciting times in a young person’s life due to the multitude of new experiences that you will encounter. You now get to study things that are legitimately interesting to you and will begin to learn skills that are going to be integral to your future success in the workforce.

Going away for four years and fully immersing yourself into an unfamiliar environment will guarantee you a certain degree of growth and maturation as an individual that forces you undergo a metamorphosis of sorts, stepping foot on campus as a nervous kid and eventually evolving into an educated adult.

All in all, college is a great experience, but this great experience comes at an even greater cost. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition at a four year private university is $32,000. This fairly large sum is a pretty substantial amount of debt to hang over your head at the start of your adult life. Even though we try to get as much money in scholarships as we can, most students will end up taking a metaphorical several thousand dollar punch to the gut in the form of student loans.

One GNA student, Brandon Karavitch, used his intelligence to his advantage, escaping this fate and earning a full tuition scholarship to Tufts University through the platform QuestBridge. On behalf of the entire Nanticoke community, The GNA Insider would like to congratulate Brandon on his fantastic achievement.

Below is a question and answer session with the young scholar:

Q: What is QuestBridge?

A: QuestBridge, or more specifically The QuestBridge National College Match is a “college application process that helps outstanding low-income high school seniors gain admission and full four-year scholarships to the nation’s most selective colleges.” QuestBridge allows a student to apply Early Decision and rank up to twelve different colleges out of the 40 college partners the program offers. This is special because normally a student may only apply Early Decision to one school because of the obligation to accept attendance if admitted. In order for a student to match to one of their selected schools, each individual college that the student applied for must view their application and choose whether to select them. It’s called the National College Match because both sides must choose to pick each other; it’s something very unique. If a student is matched to more than one college the one that is ranked higher on the student’s list will be the ultimate match for that student.

Q: What was your reaction when you learned that you had received a full ride?

A: It was a feeling incomparable to any other. Going on the QuestBridge website to view my decision, I didn’t have high hopes. I just remember counting to three and clicking the “View my Decision” button. First my screen was white serving to further build the tension that I felt, but then all of the sudden I was greeted with flashing red letters and a banner that said “Congratulations, You Have Been Matched!” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. From one click of a button, everything I worked so hard for was unveiled right then and there. My dream had just became a reality.

Q: How many people were you competing against for this scholarship, and how many got it?

A: The QuestBridge application process is very in depth and layered. The first stage of the process is submitting the summer application to become a National College Match Finalist. Out of 15,606 applicants, only 5,759 made it to become a Finalist (About 37%). From the Finalist stage, the remaining students continue their Match applications which means sending all writing supplements and financial documents to each college on the students’ rank list. The application is due at the end of Fall. In December, Match results showed that 918 Finalists received a National College Match Scholarship to a top college or university, about 6% from the initial pool of applicants. Out of those, 17 students will be admitted to Tufts University with a College Match Scholarship.

Q: What motivates you to do so well in school?

A: This was a similar question to one of the QuestBridge prompts. I will include the answer here: I completely believe the phrase, “You could do anything you set your mind to,” to the fullest extent. Growing up, I lived with both my mom and my dad in Sugar Notch, Pennsylvania, right on the main street. Life was great; I didn’t have a worry in the world. Every morning, I remember watching my dad go outside, get in his truck, and leave for work while my mom stayed home to take care of me. While he was gone, my mom and I shared some good memories like talking to our pet Macaw and playing with her hearing aids; however, the true highlight of my day was when my dad got home. I was always so fascinated with construction videos. That was exactly what my father did for a living. He would come home, covered in dirt and concrete, and instantly be bombarded with questions from my construction-fascinated self. My poor father! I have no idea how he put up with me. I remember telling him that I wanted to be just like him when I grew up. His response was something I will never forget for as long as I live. He looked at me with his most serious face and said, “You don’t want to be like me, go to school and learn; be somebody great.”

Q: Who supported you on this academic journey?

A: My main source of support is my friends. My parents play a significant role too, but my friends are always there and completely understand the challenges that I face. My best friend, Mykaluh Marcy, is always there for me whenever I need her and always pushes me to be the best I can be. She, unlike others, knows my family situation more than others and encourages me to always shoot for the stars. I also can’t forget to mention the teachers and of course my college advisor Ms. Jarman. Without their leeway given to me during my crammed application process I likely wouldn’t be where I am today. Ms, Jarman is honestly one of the most caring people I have ever met and extremely values her students’ futures. The countless hours I’ve spent in her office for applications alone is astounding! She’s never got frustrated with me even though she definitely had the right to be.

Q:What were the requirements to qualify for this scholarship?

A: The QuestBridge National College Match is open to all students who are in their senior year in a U.S. high school. The website requires students to be within the top 5-10% of their class with primarily A’s in the most challenging subjects their school offers, and to have a SAT score greater than 1310 or ACT score above 28. Financially, the program requires an income of less than $65,000 per year for a family of four. Personal circumstances recommend a student to be the first one in their family to attend college, proof of work, and accomplishments and leadership in extracurricular activities.

Q:What do you plan to do with the degree you earn at Tufts University?

A: After I get my degree in either Biochemistry, Cognitive and Brain Sciences, or Bio-Psychology I plan to apply and attend Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania. Once in Medical school I plan to continue my education to become a Neurologist.