Hitting the Ground Running with Gateway Courses

Gateway courses– the first college-level course a student will take in a specific subject– are a key to ensuring student success in higher education. Only 16% of community college students complete gateway courses in both math and English their freshman year. This is troublesome for student retention, which has been shown to be increased by gateway course completion at a rate of 23% and 34% for math and English respectively. Gateway courses are also an issue of equity. Significant institutional performance gaps exist in math for students of color and adult learners compared to white, younger students.

The keys to making gateway courses function effectively are placing students in the correct classes based on multiple measures, designing efficient learning experiences with one-on-one time with the instructor structured in, and connecting gateways courses with overall student success strategies. The corequisite model of education is very popular, in which students take college-level courses while still receiving significant support from the school in a personalized manner.  If students feel like they belong on campus, chose a major and career path early, and have support for their needs, they are far more likely to succeed in college.

Gateway Course for Student Success
Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative