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Incoming high school freshmen navigate 'University of Success'

The University of Scranton is helping to break down barriers for high school students preparing to be the first in their families to go to college.

SCRANTON, Pa. — It's a taste of college life for a group of 20 soon-to-be high school freshmen.

A program hosted by the University of Scranton helps prospective college students prepare for higher education.

"So trying to navigate what you need to do to get to college becomes very difficult for them, so we guide them through that whole process," Margaret Loughney, director of the University of Success program, said.

The program is specifically for students who would be the first in their families to go to college.

Over the next four years, students enrolled in the University of Success will come to campus one Saturday a month. During the summer, they have a two-week campus stay.

"A sense of curiosity at this age is important, especially [as] they go into high school. If we can instill that, help instill that, that's all the better," Michael Fennie, associate professor of chemistry, said.

The program allows students to explore all sorts of career paths to see what sparks their interest. The lesson of the day was science.

"When they get to college and have an idea of the possibilities that are out there, they can make better use of their time," Fennie said.

Participating students said they're keeping an open mind while also setting realistic goals.

"I'm exploring a lot of my options, but I've taken to accounting because I like math and numbers," student Lucianna Gonzalez of Clarks Summit said.

"I'm exploring, but I'd say engineering. I'm really into engineering, physics, that kind of stuff," Engel Ovalles of Scranton said.

At the end of the program, students can decide to go to any university of their choosing.

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