Gateway to College

MWCC Gateway Student, Arturo

What is Gateway to College?

Gateway to College LogoGateway to College is a unique dual enrollment opportunity for students who either have not experienced success in the traditional high school setting or are looking for a new opportunity to excel while still in high school or home school. The program is ideal for students who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out. Gateway students have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma with the added benefit of receiving free college credits toward an Associate degree or certificate through a variety of career-focused pathways.


  • This unique scholarship program funds tuition, fees, and first-semester books for all enrolled students
  • Upon acceptance, students are responsible for a one-time $100 fee (good for the entire time a student is enrolled in the program)
  • The Gateway to College Program is funded through Chapter 70 School Choice funds from the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District

How does it work?

Gateway graduates earn their high school diploma from Mahar while earning free college credits toward an Associate degree or certificate at MWCC.

All classes take place on MWCC campuses. During the first semester, students complete coursework in core academic subjects at the Gardner Campus. In subsequent semesters, students are guided toward a pathway or college major based on courses needed for both the high school diploma and an MWCC Associate degree/certificate. At that point, students have the opportunity to enroll in courses at other MWCC campuses (Leominster and Devens). They have full access to MWCC support services, student activities and free tutoring including MCAS support.

Who is eligible?

Students who should consider this program:

  • Have not earned a high school diploma (includes currently enrolled students), GED/HiSET recipients, home-schooled students and students who left high school prior to graduating
  • Are at least 16, no older than 21
  • Live in Massachusetts
  • Are motivated and willing to work hard

Application Process

Application materials must be complete and neatly written, printed or typed, and students wishing to be considered for acceptance into the program must attend two days of information sessions along with an in-person interview.

  1. Complete the following applications (including the essay questions):
    Gateway Application Fall 2018-Spring 2019
    High School/Home School Student Application Form
  2. Provide an official high school transcript from all high schools attended
  3. Provide a copy of Grade 9 Biology and Grade 10 Math and ELA MCAS score (if applicable)
  4. Provide a letter of recommendation from a guidance counselor or teacher
  5. Call 978-630-9248 to schedule and attend an Information Session
  6. Complete the Placement Test (Accuplacer)
  7. Complete an in-person interview

Please note: Acceptance to the program is not guaranteed, and program space is limited. The Selection Committee will take into consideration the applicant’s motivation for the program, the completeness of the application packet, and information session attendance.

Students who have a disability and who may require accommodations in order to participate fully in program activities at MWCC should contact Gateway to College to discuss their specific needs at 978-630-9248.

Gateway to College is administered through the Access and Transition Division at MWCC and is funded by School Choice funds from the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District. The program is a member of Gateway to College National Network and is a training and partner support site for three community colleges selected to host a Gateway program through the Massachusetts High School Graduation Initiative.

Eden Shaveet Shares her Journey to Gateway

Eden dropped out of high school when she was 14. She had been bullied and was using substances to cope. She never returned to high school – she went straight to community college instead and enrolled in MWCC's Gateway to College program.
“The Gateway to College program offered me the second chance I needed and that little extra push to get my schedule in order.”

Jonathan Blouin, 2018, Liberal Arts & Sciences (2017, Gateway to College)

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