Widener Helps High School Students Fast-Track their Futures
As a high school student thinking ahead to her college experience, Chloe Mingioni started to stress about time management.
She had committed to Widener to study nursing and play on the women’s lacrosse team. Mingioni would also be joining the university’s Bonner Leaders / Presidential Service Corps, a scholarship program that requires participants to complete 250 hours of internship-level community service each year.
Then one of Mingioni’s high school teachers told her about Widener’s dual enrollment program, which enables students at participating high schools to enroll in college-level classes and receive both high school and college credit.
Mingioni took three dual enrollment classes while in high school – sociology, psychology, and a humanities elective. By having these college credits in hand, she can now lighten her course load each semester at Widener. By taking fewer credits each semester, Mingioni has found the time to pursue her athletics and other outside-the-classroom interests.
And Mingioni was already familiar with university resources, software systems, and class setups when she entered Widener.
It’s helped me balance everything and alleviated the stress. I got a taste of the course load and knew I can manage this. I felt more comfortable coming in to Widener as a freshman. — Chloe Mingioni '25
Dual enrollment is just one of several programs that Widener offers high school students to help them jumpstart their college careers, thereby saving time and money and fast-tracking their professional pursuits.
Depending on the partnership and program, classes may be taught by Widener professors or by high school teachers following the Widener curriculum, and may be held on site at the high school or online.
These programs benefit students who ultimately enroll at Widener, as well as those who choose to attend college elsewhere.
As in Mingioni’s case, some participating students choose these pathways to lighten their semester loads; in other cases, they see it as an opportunity to graduate early or complete an undergraduate-graduate pathway program faster.
Widener’s high school pathway programs carry other benefits as well. They offer college-level courses at significantly discounted rates so participants can save on the overall cost of tuition. Lower tuition rates improve college access and equity, and these programs can help provide a pathway to college for disadvantaged and first-generation students.
The university’s high school pathway programs also pave the way for students to explore their academic interests, get a preview of college life, and prepare for its rigors.
“One of the many benefits of dual enrollment is that students enrolled in our courses begin to view themselves as college-capable. In other words, they recognize that they have the ability to do well in a college-level course, and it builds their confidence to continue,” said Janelle West, associate dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies, which houses these programs.
Dual enrollment has been a significant addition to Delaware County Technical High Schools’ offerings, said Rachel Cotton, who oversees the program for DCTS.
“This helps our students in the long-run. They can graduate early, pick up another minor, jump ahead of other people, and earn extra opportunities. They’re getting a sample, to see if they like college,” said Cotton.
Widener’s newest high school offering is the exclusive Pride Scholars Accelerated College Program, which allows high-achieving high school students to earn up to 30 college credits while still in high school through a combination of Advancement Placement, International Baccalaureate, and individual discounted Widener courses.
If participants choose to attend Widener, they can enter as sophomores and graduate in three years; or join a 3+1 track to earn their undergraduate degree in three years and earn their master’s degree in just one additional year. Students also receive a credit of the discounted tuition they paid in their high school years.
Those Pride Scholar participants who do not enroll at Widener can submit for potential transfer credits to another institution of their choice.
Pride Scholar participants work with a dedicated college advisor who will assist them in selecting courses that align with their educational goals and personal needs.
“This exciting new program provides high school students an advantage that will save them time and money as they pursue their degrees,” said Widener Provost Andrew Workman. “In addition to the classes and credits, it offers participants one-on-one advising from Student Success Advisors, who are critical in helping students understand their options and putting them on track to successful careers.”
Widener also offers high school students a chance to take flexible, online, asynchronous college courses from Widener faculty, which can help students strengthen their college applications and stand apart from their peers. These courses cover topics not typically offered through the AP/IB curriculum and fulfill most schools’ general education requirements.
School districts seeking to become partners in the Widener High School Pathways Programs, or individual students and their families seeking more information, should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.