Student Support and Belonging
Students outside during the Berea Bridge Program

Berea College

Student Support and Belonging

Students who don’t come from wealthy backgrounds—and students who are the first in their families to go to college—don’t always have the college experience you see in the movies.

If a student's parents didn't attend college, they might not have the experience or knowledge to offer guidance or support to their child in navigating the college environment. And sometimes, scholarship students among wealthier peers can feel out of place and very alone on their journey. That’s because:

  • It’s hard to go out with friends when you have to work and they don’t.
  • It’s disappointing when a great-sounding spring break trip isn’t financially feasible for you.
  • It can be devastating when you have to turn down that great internship opportunity because you can’t be without a paycheck for the summer and can’t pay living expenses.

Financial stress and feeling out of place very often lead to a student dropping out and not finishing their degree. At Berea, we understand that our obligation to you isn’t completed just because we opened the door and let you in. We have created support mechanisms specifically for first-generation students and students who don’t come from wealth so that they can finish their education and successfully transition into life after college.

Starting college doesn’t have to be a “leap of faith.” We built a bridge.

Support for the Journey

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

That's one faculty member for every eight students.

The average amount provided to each student for an internship experience.

Berea College funds internship opportunities that help students grow, learn and find their career paths.

Approximate number of students seen at White House Clinic's free dental clinic in Berea each day.

The dental clinic provides basic dental care so our students can smile with confidence.

Berea Bridge

The month-long Berea Bridge experience helps students ease into the college experience so that when they arrive in August, it’s not so strange and overwhelming.

  • Get a “preview” of college life the summer before the academic year starts
  • Stay in a residence hall
  • Take classes
  • Work a campus job
  • Make friends in advance
  • Have a lot of fun

Berea Bridge was my very first welcome to Kentucky, with all its glory and collegiate life. It was, in fact, a bridge that connected me with a world full of acceptance, opportunity, and reality. It was a challenging, yet rewarding experience that helped me see how much I could grow with the education I was about to receive once I began classes that Fall.

Osvaldo Flores
Osvaldo Flores Berea College class of 2018

Bridge Through

Starting college can be very stressful. Berea’s First-year Residential Experience Supporting Health (FRESH) START program, along with the Office of Student Success and Transition, offer programming and support to help maintain a new student’s emotional, financial, academic, occupational, physical, social, spiritual and environmental wellness so they can stay in school and accomplish their goals.

Outside of class and work, Berea College offers students many resources to help them navigate college life successfully. In addition to academic counseling and coaching, there are tutors available in the most challenging subjects as well as writing assistance through the Center for Teaching and Learning. With mental health issues on the rise among college students, Counseling Services is also available to help students cope with the life’s stressors.

Orientation leaders at Berea College Move In Day
Berea College faculty greet incoming students
Berea College Campus Christian Center Chaplains

A major reason students, especially first generation and economically disadvantaged students, drop out of college is because they feel they don’t belong there. In some instances, being from a low-income household is enough for a student to feel alone. Every Berea student comes to campus with similar economic backgrounds, so they have something in common from the very start. But there may be other reasons a student feels alone, reasons related to race, gender or culture. Berea College offers several accommodations to foster a sense of belonging among students.

The Black Cultural Center and the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center offer space and programming, as do the bell hooks center and Espacio Cultural Latinx. In addition, Berea offers gender-inclusive housing and an environmentally friendly townhouse-style residence option for married students and single parents. Also, the Campus Christian Center, which prides itself on “radical hospitality,” provides interfaith programming and student chaplains for a student’s spiritual needs.

Bridge Out

When students get that well-deserved degree, we don’t just say, “Goodbye and good luck!” Instead, we provide a path to your next great adventure.

Transition Beyond Berea

Amount given to seniors who have secured a job position, been accepted into a grad school, or officially secured a gap year after graduation to help them transition to life after college.

Stipend provided for professional clothing

We provide juniors and seniors with funds to buy professional clothing, and we even take them to a department store where a representative helps them make the best choices.

The Office of Internships and Career Development helps students get their foot in the door through paid internships, career planning, and resume writing. They’ll also help you prepare for graduate school, practice interviewing and link students to networking opportunities. In addition, students can access our extensive alumni network and find available positions through Handshake.

Transitioning from college to the next phase of life can be expensive. Fortunately, thanks to Berea’s network of donors, there is funding available to help recent grads in their life after college. Need professional clothing for interviews? There is funding for that. Graduate school exams and applications racking up costs? There is funding to help offset these expenses. There is even funding to help with job relocation expenses.

Berea students are never alone, never a number.

Ready for Her Moment

Rhea Carter ‘20 shares hows her experiences at Berea College led her to the “experience of a lifetime.”

BereaCorps Group Photo
The Bridge to a Successful Career

BereaCorps is tailored to the needs of recent graduates, to support graduate school applications or job applications, and to help participants figure out whether to stay close to home or give them the confidence and resources to bridge out.