From UCNJ to the Ivy League: Precious Opaola Set to Join Princeton University

Cranford, NJ – UCNJ Union College of Union County, NJ student Precious Opaola, of Linden, has been accepted into Princeton University for fall 2024. Opaola graduated from UCNJ this spring with her associate degree in social services.

In addition to her academic success in the classroom, Opaola was very active on campus. She served as the Vice President of Service and Fundraising for Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society, was a Union Honors scholar, a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success, and a peer tutor at UCNJ’s Academic Learning Center. Opaola is not a stranger to Princeton University. In summer 2023, she was among 40 community college students who participated in Princeton’s inaugural transfer scholar initiative program.

This year, Opaola was a semifinalist for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship and was chosen as a Kaplan Leadership program scholar. She also served as the student speaker during the spring 2024 UCNJ commencement ceremony.

“On behalf of the UCNJ community, I want to congratulate Precious on her acceptance into Princeton. This achievement is a testament to hard work, both in and out of the classroom, perseverance, and passion. Her success is an inspiration to many, and we know that she will continue to shine at Princeton,” stated UCNJ President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.

Opaola will continue to study social work at Princeton. Opaola aspires to guide people, specifically lower income children, and set them up for a successful future. Her goal is to own a non-profit organization that focuses on helping lower-income children take advantage of the opportunities around them.

UCNJ is a public, comprehensive community college that provides quality, affordable, accessible educational programs to the greater Union County region. It is the first of New Jersey’s 18 two-year colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The College offers a wide variety of academic and extracurricular activities. UCNJ provides many experiential learning opportunities such as access to a Bloomberg Business Center, Innovation Center, and Student Research hub. Additionally, students at UCNJ attend one of the top 20 community colleges in the country for 2025 as designated by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. To learn more, visit