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The Center partners with South Central Kentucky GEAR-UP to host ‘College Countdown Conference’

When faced with all-important decisions about college and careers, students—and their parents—often have more questions than answers.

Seventh- through 12th-grade students from across the region will be able to get many of those questions answered as they plan and prepare for their post-secondary education at the “College Countdown Conference,” a one-day planning and informational event and career fair, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 27, at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

The conference, sponsored by the South Central Kentucky GEAR-UP program in partnership with The Center, will include a series of informational breakout sessions, a catered lunch featuring motivational speaker Bart Darrells, and a college-career fair.

“One of The Center’s missions is to provide opportunities for the youth of Southern and Eastern Kentucky to receive training and skills they need to become the region’s next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs,” Jessica Melton, associate director of education and training, said. “That mission in mind, we are proud to partner with the South Central Kentucky GEAR-UP program to help students and their parents learn more about what they need to do to prepare for college.”

At the break-out sessions, students and their parents will receive information on steps they need to take to apply for college. Later in the afternoon, participants will meet one-on-one with admission counselors from some of the state’s leading colleges and universities gathered together in one location for a college career fair.

“In one day, in one room, parents and students alike will be able to visit a mixture of colleges and universities that would normally by car takes weeks and thousands of miles,” Jeff Pharis, director of South Central Kentucky GEAR-UP program, said. “At the College Countdown Conference, students can find a college that fits them, instead of trying to fit in to college.”

“The conference will in many ways be just as beneficial to parents as it will be to many of our students,” Allen Burchett, GEAR-UP assistant director, added. “Many of their parents have no idea where to start, what questions to ask, or whom to speak with when it comes to helping their young person make this all-important decision.”

Students in Wayne, McCreary, and Clinton counties who are already members of the South Central Kentucky GEAR-UP program can attend the event at no cost. Students and parents from other counties who are not members of the program are welcome to attend, but must pay a $20 per person registration fee.

South Central Kentucky GEAR-UP (which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) provides support for middle and high students to prepare academically and plan financially to attend a post-secondary school, whether that is a vocational school, college, or university.

For more information on “College Countdown Conference” or to make reservations by March 22, contact Jessica Melton at 606-677-6000 or via e-mail jmelton@centertech.com.

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