Gateway to College serves youth, 16 to 21 years old, who have dropped out of school or are significantly behind in credits and unlikely to graduate. The dual credit program allows students to earn a high school diploma while progressing toward a college degree or certificate.
Gateway to College operates as a program within a community or technical college, or as a charter school located on the college campus.
Gateway to College students learn how to succeed in an educational setting, under the guidance of a caring team of instructors and resource specialists with experience and interest in dropout youth. In their first term, students learn in a small community of peers. This experience builds their academic and personal skills, preparing them to transition to college courses with the general student population. In addition to reading, writing, and math, students take a college skills class to learn and practice the habits of mind needed to transform themselves into successful college students.
After completing the initial Foundation term, students transition to the comprehensive campus, taking classes with the general student population. Students focus their studies in a "pathway" or major that is aligned with high school completion requirements and college degree or certificate requirements. This allows students to maximize college credit acquisition toward their post secondary goals.
The program achieves success by combining high academic expectations with one-on-one advising and support. Resource specialists act as coaches, mentors and advisors. Students work with their resource specialist on issues ranging from transportation and study habits to pathway selection and applying for scholarships. The wrap-around support of the resource specialist keeps students on the right track for success.
Because the program is offered on a college campus, students feel that they are treated as adults, and respond well to the academic and behavior expectations of the college environment. All classes are college classes, and the program is fully integrated into the college setting. Gateway to College classes are offered both during the day and in the evening, providing much needed flexibility for working students or students with children.