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Denver Scholarship Foundation helping first generation college students find the right fit

Posted at 3:01 PM, Sep 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-19 21:31:24-04

DENVER – Senior Lawrence West is looking forward to the day he can finally go to college, and at the Denver Scholarship Foundation’s Future Center at North High School he is able to get a lot of the guidance he needs in pursuing a career in medicine.

“I’m looking for colleges that mostly have a major in nursing or biology,” Lawrence said.

The Future Center has been exceptionally important to Lawrence because until now, the only person in his family to go to college was his older brother, Laz. Now a junior engineering major at CU Boulder, Laz West is a prime example of how the DSF system works.

“I showed up every single day,” Laz remembers. “I went in there to figure out what I have to do, what I have to work on.”

A DSF counselor help Laz find the right school and financial aid package. They also connected him with an on-campus partner for regular support while at CU.

“We know that if students are on the best pathway for them academically, socially and financially they are more likely to be successful,” DSF senior program director Renae Bellew told Denver7.

Bellew says that like Laz and Lawrence, a good chunk of the students who use the future centers at their schools are the first in their families to go to college.

“They don't necessarily have the support with the technical pieces with applying to college and securing financial aid to pay for college,” she added.

But she says once one or two students in a family go to college, it often creates even more interest.

“It's really exciting to see that hope sparked in an entire family.”

Laz says that’s exactly what happened in his family.

“Now it's pretty cool to be able to talk to my younger cousins, telling them what college is about, hearing them say ‘Oh, I want to go to college one day,’” Laz said.

If those cousins do pursue their dreams, the Denver Scholarship Foundation will be there to help them achieve them.

“DSF helps people learn more about college and learn more about what they could do in the future,” Lawrence added.