Did you know that only 16% of community college students complete gateway courses in both math and English in their first year? A gateway course is the first college-level course a student takes in a subject area, and taking these courses can impact whether or not a student completes their degree.
More than two-thirds of community college students are labelled as academically underprepared in math and/or English, often due to not getting the help they need before they graduate high school. Even the lowest performing high school students are more likely to complete school when placed directly into college-level courses successfully. This success transfers to community college as students feel more prepared for the content they will learn as they work towards their degree.
The earlier students can take gateway courses can make a big difference. Retention from the first to the second year of college drops as much as 35% when students do not complete their gateway courses. With such a significant focus on getting as many people to complete post-secondary degrees by 2030, gateway courses should be one of the main focus areas as they have so much sway on whether or not a student stays to finish their degree.
Students completing gateway courses means that they need those courses to be available to them first. Students of colour are less likely to be enrolled in early gateway courses than white students due to equity issues. Improving gateway course success and closing equity gaps are essential in increasing the number of students that can complete their degrees.
Gateway courses are a great way to give students a headstart in their college career, but there are other important factors. To learn more about supporting students in their college careers, take a look at the infographic below: