Gateway to College program is designed to provide students who have not experienced success in the traditional K-12 school setting a pathway to a college career. It serves youth 16 to 21 years old who are significantly behind in credits and have been referred by the schools. Gateway to College provides the opportunity to reconnect with their education, graduate with a high school diploma, and work towards a post-secondary credential.
Gateway courses are taught on the Western Iowa Tech campus by college faculty for high school credit and college credit. Students simultaneously work towards a high school diploma and a post-secondary credential while focusing on a career pathway leading up to their career goal.
The program also provides wraparound support to students throughout their time. Students have the opportunity to build their academic habits and study skills, learn time management techniques, explore career choices linked to academic programs, and gain confidence with the support of instructors and resource specialists trained to help them adjust to college life. Students then transition to taking courses with the general student college population. They follow a specific pathway or career major to ensure that all credits count toward both the diploma and the student's college goals. Students in good standing remain in Gateway to College until they earn their high school diploma or turn the maximum age that students can be served by K-12 education funds in a given state. Students who graduate or "age out" are provided with an individualized plan for continuing their college education.