Senior earns full scholarship to the University of Chicago

Felix+Venegas%2C+a+senior+with+ambitions+of+studying+astrophysics%2C+will+get+to+do+exactly+that+at+the+University+of+Chicago+after+earning+a+QuestBridge+scholarship.

Photo courtesy / Felix Venegas

Felix Venegas, a senior with ambitions of studying astrophysics, will get to do exactly that at the University of Chicago after earning a QuestBridge scholarship.

Adriana Adame, Writer

For students across the country, the trials and tribulations of high school are all part of the process to pursue their passions at top schools. The stress of acing exams and juggling schoolwork with extracurriculars can be overwhelming but no doubt worth it. For senior Felix Venegas, all this hard work has allowed him to follow his dreams.   

Venegas recently matched with the University of Chicago through the QuestBridge program, a nonprofit organization that gives exceptional, low-income students the opportunity to attend prestigious universities free of financial constraints. There, he plans to major in astrophysics. After studying general physics, Venegas plans to continue with grad school and explore research options within the field. Having had these goals in mind throughout the college application process, Venegas decided to apply for a QuestBridge scholarship.  

“I’ve always wanted to go out of state, but out-of-state tuition is expensive and I’m not eligible to fill out the FAFSA as an international student,” Venegas said. “I first heard about QuestBridge my freshman year. Then my close friend, Emily [Zenner, a 2020 Coronado graduate], did the QuestBridge program and told me about her experience throughout my junior year. That got me involved with the program.”   

The QuestBridge scholarship is very selective, only choosing a handful of students out of thousands of applicants. Applicants first fill out an application and rank up to 12 college partners they are interested in. By Oct. 21, finalists are notified and continue by submitting match requirements. By Dec. 1, finalists find out if they matched.   

Throughout high school, Venegas has been involved in several extracurriculars, including High Q, Math Team, and Student Council as the vice president. Additionally, Venegas is part of the IB program at Coronado. He says the program is challenging in terms of writing, which has encouraged him to step out of his comfort zone while also allowing him to improve his English with guidance.   

A friend of Venegas introduced him to UChicago’s culture and interdisciplinary academics. For Venegas, UChicago checked all the boxes, especially being in a big city in the Northern U.S. 

Venegas has also been inspired by his older sisters. He has always looked up to them for insight and advice throughout his high school career, and they encouraged him to explore his love for math.   

“Being a QuestBridge scholar means I can pursue a high education without having to worry about my financial situation,” Venegas said. “It means a lot to me.”