College is an important step for nearly any young adult who wants to embark on a rewarding and lucrative profession after graduation. Unfortunately, many of these students drop out of high school
before they even earn their diploma
, leaving them with few options in employment that can support a family or allow for career advancement. To help some of these students rediscover their academic roots, Gateway to College was created. This innovative program provides the information, resources and support high school dropouts need to get back on track and earn their diplomas and their degrees.
What is Gateway to College?
The Gateway to College program began at Portland Community College
in 2000 as a means to help high school dropouts bridge the gap in their educational careers. According to the Gateway to College website
, the program helps students earn their high school diplomas and community college credits simultaneously, setting them on a path to completing not only high school, but college as well. Since its humble beginnings more than a decade ago, Gateway to College has grown to a nationwide network that includes 30 colleges in 16 states and more than 100 school districts across the country.
The Gateway program operates as an organization within a community college campus, teaching students how to succeed in an academic setting where they may have fallen short before. The instructors and specialists that work with Gateway specialize in helping youth who have dropped out of school for a variety of reasons. The students work together in small peer groups, mastering basics like reading, writing
before heading into college skills classes specifically designed to prepare them for the rigors of postsecondary education. Once the foundation is set, Gateway students transition into the general college classroom, where they work on a pathway created to combine high school requirements with college coursework in the major of their choice.
The success of the Gateway to College program is the adept combination of high academic expectations and one-on-one student support
that increases an individual’s odds of success. With courses provided on a college campus, students between the ages of 16 and 21 are comfortable with the idea of being treated like an adult, while receiving the necessary resources and assistance to overcome hurdles and find academic achievement. Gateway classes are also flexible, allowing students to take classes during the day or in the evening
, if they work full-time.
One school that has seen success the Gateway to College program is Des Moines Area Community College
. According to a report in the Des Moines Register
, the latest effort in the partnership between the colleges and Des Moines public schools will kick off this fall, with registration beginning during the summer. The program will provide up to 75 scholarships
to students who qualify. Since the establishment of the Gateway to College program in 2009, Des Moines has seen nearly 50 students return to school, earn their high school diploma and work toward a college degree.
Marlana Schnell, Gateway to College program director for Des Moines Area Community College
, told the Register, “Students in the program are finding the educational opportunity and the future they thought they’d lost when they dropped out of high school. They’re seeing that education matters and that their future can be different by coming back to school.”
Community College of Philadelphia Offers Alternative Academic Environment
Community College of Philadelphia is a school specifically designed to help students achieve academic success when they have struggled in the past. The Gateway to College program is a natural fit for this school, with opportunities for students who are willing to work hard and pursue their goals. According to the college website
, registration is already underway for the Gateway program ready to begin this fall.
Durham Tech is another community college with a robust Gateway to College program. Like other schools in this category, Durham Tech is committed to helping students who have struggled academically in the past to find success and a future with a postsecondary education. The college website states that the school is currently looking for motivated students to apply for the Gateway program set to begin fall semester. The school website
also offers information about the program, including its student eligibility and contact information for the instructors involved in the program.
According to the website for TriCounty Technical College
, one in three students drop out of high school, facing lower wages, few job opportunities and little chance for advancement. That is why this school offers a wealth of information about the Gateway to College program available on their campus, including application paperwork, a program overview and even information about the staff that works with the students in the program. This college works in partnership with three neighboring districts - Oconee, Pickens and Anderson - to ensure students who drop out of high school in these communities have the opportunity to get back on the right academic track.