Gateway courses are a powerful tool for student retention and equity. These courses are the first class a student will take in a specific subject at the college level. Nationwide, only 16% of community college students complete these courses in their first year. Gateway English and math courses improve student retention by a rate of 23% and 34% respectively. Completion of these courses is aided by a focus on corequisite education in which students have access to college level courses while receiving structured institutional support.
This institutional support ideally includes one-on-one time with the instructor and effective, multi-factor placement practices. Other, larger student success strategies such as culturally responsive teaching, review time, making sure students chose a major early, ensuring student belonging on campus, and supporting basic student needs are essential to fortifying gateway courses and making them as efficient as possible. Incorporating gateway courses into conversations about student success has been shown to multiply the impact of the courses.