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Articles / Applying to College / Financial Help for First-Generation Student From Kentucky

Jan. 10, 2011

Financial Help for First-Generation Student From Kentucky

Question: I'm a currently a high school senior in Kentucky and I will be the first member of my immediate family to go to college. I looked at the Coca-Cola scholarship, but the form I found is only for Alabama and the links to one of the sites will not open. I'm unsure of what to do because I have no way of paying for college and I need a scholarship. What do I do?

I wish you'd written to me sooner because I could have helped to direct you to appropriate colleges that might have adequate financial aid for you. Often the best aid comes right from the colleges themselves rather than from outside scholarships, but many application deadlines have now passed.


Regarding the Coca Cola First-Generation Scholarships which you mentioned: I wrote an entire "Ask the Dean" column on this topic a while back. You can read it here: http://www.collegeconfidential.com/dean/000187

Note that these scholarships are awarded through specific participating colleges, so you have to put the cart before the horse ... that is, you need to decide where you plan to want to go to college and then find out if they participate in the Coca Cola program.

Meanwhile, here are some other suggestions for you:

1) If you haven't done so already, consider Berea College in Kentucky. See www.berea.edu

Berea provides FREE tuition to ALL students in exchange for work on campus. The Berea philosophy is that its "Student Labor Program" not only enables them students to get an excellent education without tuition bills and debt but also allows them to learn through their work for the community as well as in the classroom.

Not surprisingly, the admission is very competitive. About a fifth of all applicants are accepted. For median SAT and ACT scores, see: http://www.collegeview.com/schools/berea_college/testscores

An interview is also required for freshman admissions. The application deadline is April 30, so you have plenty of time.

2) Fill out the FastWeb questionnaire at www.fastweb.com This is a free way to find scholarships for which you are eligible. Once you've submitted the questionnaire, you'll get a list of scholarships to consider. Some will require fairly simple applications; others (especially the big ones) may demand more work. You can check out the requirements (and the amount of the award) and decide which ones seem worth the time it will take to apply. Needless to say, the bigger the pay-off, the more competition you'll face.

Presumably, you will also be filling out the FAFSA form and following the financial aid application requirements at all of the colleges on your list. Pay strict attention to these requirements –and to the deadlines—because they can vary from school to school. If you are confused by all of this (and it is indeed confusing), write back.

(posted 1/9/2011)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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