Keys to Student Success: How Gateway Courses Impact Students

Any success in college begins with a strong start. Gateway courses help with this initiative, as they are a first course that a student takes in their subject area of interest. Passing these gateway courses become the first academic milestone on the path to earning their degree. Completing courses of this nature are becoming more common, as by May 2021, 35% of students had completed gateway courses in math and English.
Studies show that gateway course completion has a positive impact on retention from a student’s first to second year. In addition, national data shows that nearly 50% of students completing these courses graduate in three years. This is in comparison to those who do not
complete these courses, as only 20% will graduate in three years.
All students have the potential to succeed, but most are currently labeled as underprepared in math and/or english. In order to fix this inadequate preparation, it is recommended that students are placed into college-level courses in the subject. Even the lowest performing high school
students are more likely to be successful when taught in this way. Institutions are expected to be “student ready” and able to provide the needed support for all who are admitted to their programs. The bottom line is that student success is a collaborative effort between students,
their teachers, administrators, and the institution as a whole.
Gateway course completion is an equity issue that affects everyone, especially students of color and other minority groups. Therefore, it is not only academic factors that create a barrier to success in gateway courses. The impact of their effort is multiplied when success is integrated
with other institutional priorities. Focusing on the accessibility and effectiveness of these courses will allow for as many people as possible to benefit from them, improving the lives of countless students across the country.

Gateway Course
for Student Success

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