Wilkes University


Wilkes University Announces Young Scholars Gateway Program

Wilkes University has announced an agreement with five Luzerne County school districts that will allow students to complete their first year of college by the time they graduate from high school. Participants also will earn a scholarship to Wilkes if they enroll after graduation. The Young Scholars Gateway Program was launched on May 12 with a formal signing ceremony with Wilkes officials and superintendents from Crestwood, Dallas, Hanover Area, Lake Lehman and Wilkes-Barre Area school districts. The program will eventually be open to all school districts in Luzerne County. 

The Young Scholars Gateway program offers high school students a coordinated pathway for high school students to complete their first year college requirements and earn credits by the time they graduate from high school. Students accomplish this by combining Wilkes courses with Advanced Placement classes offered in their high schools.  The program expands on the University’s existing Young Scholars program by providing a way to complete the entire first year of college, assigning an academic advisor from the University and guaranteeing a path to placement in the entire portfolio of academic majors. About 35 students are expected to participate in the first year.

High school students enrolled in the program will pay the discounted Young Scholar tuition rate during their junior and senior years of high school.  For the 2015-2016 year, this is $80 per credit or $240 for a three-credit course. Students who complete the program and enroll at Wilkes in the fall semester immediately following high school graduation will receive a scholarship that is four times the amount of Young Scholar tuition they paid. The scholarship, which will be awarded in addition to other scholarships for which the student may qualify, will be applied to students’ Wilkes tuition, spread out over the sophomore, junior and senior years. Students are not required to apply to Wilkes to participate and credits can be applied at other colleges.

Wilkes University Provost Anne A. Skleder said the partnership helps to make college more affordable and allows academically able students a chance to challenge themselves while getting a head start on their college careers.

“Many excellent students are seeking new academic challenges as they near the end of their high school careers. Taking college classes is a great way to challenge them intellectually,” Skleder said. “The Young Scholars Gateway Program makes this especially attractive because they have an opportunity to complete an entire year of college, earn additional scholarships, and begin their careers or enter graduate programs a year earlier than by a traditional four-year path to a bachelor’s degree. It is another way we are working to make college more affordable for students.”

Skleder was joined at the signing ceremony by Michael Speziale, Wilkes vice president for strategic initiatives, Crestwood Superintendent Dave McLaughlin-Smith, Dallas Superintendent Frank Galicki, Hanover Area Superintendent Andrew Kuhl, Lake Lehman Superintendent James McGovern and Wilkes-Barre Area Superintendent Bernard Prevuznak. Wilkes sophomore biology student Sergey Svintozelskiy, a Wilkes-Barre resident and Coughlin High School graduate, also spoke about his experiences as a Young Scholar and the benefits of the new program. 

“Wilkes is extremely grateful to the superintendents and their staffs for collaborating with us to offer these opportunities to their students,” Skleder said, adding that the superintendents helped to develop the program.

Because Advanced Placement classes offered vary by school district, Wilkes has worked with each high school to develop the sequence of courses needed for students entering various majors, including the University’s guaranteed seat pharmacy program. Young Scholars Gateway participants begin by taking courses in their junior year of high school, completing the sequence by the end their senior year, or in some cases by the end of the summer after their senior year. Students will need to complete 30  to 33 credits to meet first-year college requirements, depending on the major they wish to enter.

The program allows students to complete their degree at Wilkes in less time. By completing their first year college requirements by high school graduation, they can enter Wilkes University as sophomores in the fall semester immediately following high school graduation. Students will follow the normal application process for admission to Wilkes but they can declare their major while they are still in high school. Students who meet the academic benchmarks in their high school and college courses taken as Young Scholars will be guaranteed admission in their major, including Wilkes’ guaranteed seat pharmacy program.

A flexible class schedule has been arranged with early morning, late afternoon, on-line and summer course options that will allow students to also attend high school classes. 

More information about the Young Scholars Gateway Program is available in the guidance offices of the participating high schools or by visiting www.wilkes.edu/youngscholarsgateway.