An outdoor photo of a female student

Early graduation plans

“Penn State Wilkes-Barre has been the perfect university for me and my personal needs. I think the 2+2 Plan really helped me be able to advance as far as I wanted to. I think without it, I wouldn’t have been able to be a year ahead in my studies.” — Alessandra Ayoub
By: Goldie Van Horn
Student credits 2+2 Plan for academic pathway that will make it possible for her to graduate a year early

Alessandra Ayoub is on track to graduate college a year early and says her time at Penn State Wilkes-Barre as part of the 2+2 Plan helped make that happen.

She completed 18 credits’ worth of Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school, which already put her a semester ahead. After starting college, working with her adviser at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, she learned she could extend that to a full year.

“I didn’t even realize I was a semester ahead until I talked with my adviser,” Ayoub said. “And as the last school year wrapped up, I had 9 additional extra credits. My adviser asked if I wanted to take classes over the summer to be able to take those credits to a whole year, and I thought that was a great idea.”

The 2+2 Plan allows students to start at any Penn State campus, including Penn State Wilkes-Barre, and complete their first two years of coursework in more than 275 majors before transitioning to a larger campus to finish their degree. Ayoub will transition to University Park for the start of the spring 2024 semester.

“I think the 2+2 Plan really helped me be able to advance as far as I wanted to,” she said. “If it weren’t for that program, I would have graduated just a semester early, instead of the whole year. It’s been great for my academics and my college experience.”

Ayoub, who is majoring in criminology, chose her major because she wanted to do something to help others and to give back to her community. She said the faculty at Penn State Wilkes-Barre made the decision easy for her.

“The people at this campus are so friendly and easy to talk to,” Ayoub said. “Dr. (Jeremy) Olson and Dr. (Rebecca) Sarver make my criminal justice classes such a unique experience. Being in their classes has made me fall in love with Penn State Wilkes-Barre and I don’t think I would have been able to have that experience at any other place.”

She is a native of Millburn, New Jersey, who now lives with her family in the West Chester area when her classes aren’t in session. While at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, she lives off campus with a friend.

She selected the Wilkes-Barre campus “on a whim” when completing her Penn State application but said it “worked out amazing.”

“At first, it was the best option for me financially. And when I went there, it aligned with everything I wanted,” Ayoub said. “Because it is a smaller campus, everything is much more personalized, and that was something I really wanted in a university. It was important to me that when I needed help, people would actually help me. Penn State Wilkes-Barre has been the perfect university for me and my personal needs."

Her connections go beyond the classroom at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. On campus, she is involved in Lion Ambassadors and Students For Justice. She also hopes to find an internship in the legal field, which she wants to pursue by attending law school after finishing her bachelor’s degree.

“I love being able to welcome new and potential students to campus,” Ayoub said. “It’s great being able to share your experience with other people and help them on their journey.”