Gateway to College


"American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen is a long term public media commitment, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting  (CPB), to help communities implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. Public media plays a significant role building individual activity, community capacity, and national awareness"

Gateway to College is proud to be a featured program for this event. Please click the picture/link below to view a video about American Graduate Day.

American Graduate Day


Are you 16 to 20 years old?
Have you dropped out of school or are on the verge of dropping out?
Are you interested in returning to school and completing your high school diploma?
Would you like to earn college credit for free?

Lake Washington Institute of Technology's high school programs department is proud to provide several programs to help students complete their high school diploma. Gateway to College is a national dropout recovery program originally developed by Portland Community College in Oregon. National studies show about 1 out of 3 students drop out of high school. Without a diploma, dropouts face a dim future, few job opportunities, low wages, and limited chances for advancement. Gateway to College is designed as an alternative for students who may have thought they had none.

Learn more about the program by taking a look at our video!

Gateway to College Video Title Slide


 Gateway to College program is for 16-20 year olds who have either dropped out of high school or on the verge of dropping out and are interested in returning to school and completing their high school diploma. Students simultaneously accumulate high school and college credits, earning their high school diploma while progressing toward a certificate or associate's degree. Students selected to participate in the Gateway to College program will receive a scholarship for tuition and books.

The Gateway to College staff is committed to providing the support necessary for educational success. New students join one of two learning communities, morning or afternoon which meets 5 days a week. A learning community is a group of students who take all of their first quarter (Foundation) courses together. In the Foundation term, students will have a resource specialist who will act as an academic coach. The resource specialist guides students through the college experience as an academic advisor, instructor and a mentor. They will assist students with different facets of the college experience-everything from teaching students about careers and time management to providing referrals to community resources.

During the Foundation quarter students take reading, writing, and math, plus a college strategies class where students learn how to take effective notes, study for tests, and juggle school, work, and family life. Students will also spend time on career exploration to help them focus their goals and select a program of study at Lake Washington Institute of Technology. After successfully completing the Foundation term, students are accessed on their college readiness and placed into the appropriate second term of either academics and support classes or technical and support classes. Students who had little chance of even graduating from high school are earning their diplomas and succeeding in college. They are pursuing college degrees and challenging careers. In short, they are reinventing themselves for a better future!

Gateway to College is changing lives

Is Gateway to College right for me?

Based on a comprehensive evaluation, students may be referred to Gateway to College. These students are typically behind in credits with low GPAs, have already left school without earning a high school diploma, or are still enrolled but are very likely to dropout.


Gateway to College at LWTech is approved as Washington State's first Open Doors Reengagement program. The state's dropout reengagement system focuses on providing educational options and services to older youth. Students are accepted three times per year. Enrollment is limited and students must meet certain eligibility requirements. In addition, students must be at least 16 and not yet 21 by September 1 to be considered for admission.  In addition, students must have completed or attempted to complete two full years of high school (9th and 10th grade). All interested students must first attend a High School Options (HOP) information session. 

If a student meets all eligibility requirements, is their enrollment guaranteed?

Eligibility determination is the first key step but does not guarantee enrollment.

What is expected of me after admission? After admission students must:

  • Earn at least a 2.0 GPA each quarter
  • Make satisfactory progress towards high school requirements
  • Meet attendance requirements
  • Comply with the Student Code of Conduct and Conditions of Enrollment


 Special Education (IEP) Services

If you have an IEP, or 504 plan, we will want you to meet with LWTech Disability Support Services to discuss accommodations that are available in the college environment. It is important to determine if the kinds of services a student would need to support their success would be available to them at LWTech prior to entry. For more information, contact LWTech Disability Support Services by email or their website.

 To be eligible for this program, students MUST:

  • Have a GPA below 2.0 (exceptions are considered)

  • Have chronologically completed 10th grade (this means a student is old enough that they should have finished 10th grade but may not have enough credits to actually be a junior).

  • Have left high school before graduation or be at risk of dropping out. Students cannot be enrolled in another high school program once they enter our program.

  • Be at least 16 as of midnight August 31 for admission any time during the school year

  • Be no more than 20 as of midnight August 31  

  • Be behind in high school credits for age and grade, with fewer than 17 credits total

  • Achieve minimum test scores on the COMPASS

  • Live within one of our 20+ partner school districts

  • Complete all steps in the application process within specified time frame

Click HERE for information on how to enroll in our program

We invite you to review our Frequently Asked Questions section. If you have a question that is not included, please call us at (425) 739-8107.