Creating Equity through Gateway’s College Counseling Program
By Megan Orciari / February 12, 2019
At Gateway, we are making the dream of college a reality for all of our students. Year after year, nearly 100% of our students are college bound, with 40% of these students being first generation college bound.
We sat down with Jenna Marx, one of Gateway’s two full-time college counselors, to find out exactly how Gateway’s unique College Counseling Program supports the college application and matriculation process, particularly for our seniors who are college bound in the fall.
According to Marx, the first semester of every school year at Gateway is focused on helping seniors with writing their personal statements, completing college applications, preparing for the SAT’s and ACT’s, gathering and organizing letters of recommendation, applying for scholarships, and completing the FAFSA.
New this year to provide students with even more support, Gateway’s College and Community Taskforce recruited volunteers from the community to take students on college visits, participate in after school SAT prep sessions, guide families through financial aid, and work with students one-on-one in class to refine their personal statements and applications.
Support is also offered to families and guardians through supplemental Family Nights on topics ranging from financial aid to application deadlines for UC’s and CSU’s.
“Gateway’s College Counseling Program is all about leveling the playing field and creating equity among students and families,” said Marx. “The structures and resources that are provided during this program make all of the things students and families need to do around college admissions more accessible.”
“Applying to college can be daunting and confusing,” said Marx. “Many of our students either work part-time, intern, take care of family members, participate in sports or after school activities, or take AP and honors classes. It’s essential that we provide the space, time, and support to complete this process.”
“I applied to eight different schools during my time in college counseling,” said Alessa, a Gateway High School senior. “I play sports after school and have a busy school schedule, so it was really nice to have the time to work on my applications and personal statements in class. We had volunteers come in and help us with our personal statements and it was helpful to get feedback from adults who already went to college and know what it’s like.”
Last year, 98% of students from Gateway’s Class of 2018 went on to college, with 80% attending four-year schools. Members from Gateway's Class of 2018 are attending a broad range of colleges across the country, including fantastic public universities such as UC Berkeley and UCLA, as well as private colleges like Boston University, Drexel University, Johns Hopkins University, and Smith College.
All Gateway students take two full semesters of College Counseling, starting junior year, with the mission of decreasing barriers for first generation college students and promoting a college-going culture community wide.