Unlocking College Success:  How Gateway Courses Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Starting college can be both exciting and intimidating.  However, a strong start is key to college success.  The first academic milestone on the path to a degree is passing gateway courses in math and English.  Gateway courses are the first college-level courses that students take in a subject area.  Unfortunately, only 16% of community college students nationwide complete gateway courses in both math and English in their first year.

However, all students can succeed in gateway courses, even those who are academically underprepared in math and/or English.  Placing these students directly into college-level courses can increase their chances of success.  Moreover, institutions that focus on being “student-ready” will be best prepared to provide the necessary support for all students admitted to their programs.  Corequisite models, which provide structured academic support, increase gateway course success and shrink institutional performance gaps across student groups.

Improving gateway course success and closing equity gaps are essential to reaching Kentucky’s educational attainment goal of 60% of the population with a postsecondary credential or degree by 2030.  Kentucky is taking the right steps by updating its admissions and placement regulations, requiring corequisite courses for underprepared students, and ensuring all Kentucky Community and Technical College System students have access to corequisite courses. Pathways that connect gateway course success to overall student success strategies, such as choosing a major or career path early, feeling a sense of belonging on campus, and supporting basic needs, can make a significant difference in unlocking students’ success in college.  By prioritizing gateway course success, institutions can ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in college. So take that first step towards success and start with gateway courses.

Gateway Course for Student Success
Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative