Frequently Asked Questions

Who are Gateway to College students?

Gateway to College is for students who are:

  • 16 to 20 years old
  • Not performing to their full potential or are otherwise not thriving at their current high school
  • A diverse group of young people facing various challenges
  • Bright, creative, capable, and ready to make a life change
  • Willing to make a long term commitment to work hard to complete a high school diploma and progress toward a college degree, certificate, or transfer

Gateway to College is not intended to serve students who are doing well in high school and want to make an early transition to college.  Gateway to College is uniquely designed to support students who have not experienced success in a traditional high school.  They are often no longer attending or are significantly behind in credits and are unable to graduate with their peers.


How does the Gateway to College program work? 

Once you have been admitted, you will be enrolled in Gateway to College Academy, a Petaluma City Schools charter high school located at SRJC Petaluma. All new students are placed into a Foundation Term cohort upon admission.

  • Each Foundation Term cohort is a group of 20-25 students who take their first semester courses together in preparation for becoming SRJC college students on the college campus.
  • Foundation Term courses are pre-selected by program staff and include reading & writing, College Survival, and Study Skills; Foundation Term students may also be placed into a Social Science course.
  • Students will earn both high school and college credits beginning their first semester in GtC.
  • Students spend 8-10 hours per week outside of class to complete homework.

After successfully completing the Foundation Term, students transition to the Continuing Students cohort.

  • Students enroll in SRJC Petaluma college courses and continue to earn both high school and college credit, as they work towards the completion of a high school diploma.
  • All courses after the Foundation Term are selected with the assistance of a GtC Counselor based upon each student's high school completion plan and educational goals. 

What can I achieve in this program?

Students can earn their high school diploma and earn college credit toward a certificate, degree, or transfer to a university.


How long would it take me to earn my high school diploma?

Most students are in Gateway to College for 2-3 years.  The exact length of time to earn a diploma varies by a student’s course load and credit needs.  Students remain in Gateway to College until they earn a diploma as long as they maintain continuous enrollment and maintain satisfactory progress and achievement (2.0 or higher cumulative GPA).  We encourage graduates of the program to continue their college studies to meet their academic goals.


What is expected of me? 

  • Students are expected to attend 100% of their classes. 
  • Students are expected to come to class on time, be prepared with class materials, and to complete all class and homework assignments.
  • Students are expected to spend 2-3 hours a day working on their homework (outside of class time).  We strongly encourage students who have a job to consider the time demands of the program when applying to our program.
  • Students are expected to adhere to all Santa Rosa Junior College and Petaluma City Schools policies and procedures. 

What is the cost of the program? 

Gateway to College Academy is a public charter high school.  College tuition is exempted and required textbooks and materials are not charged to students; however, students are responsible for paying for books and/or technology if they are damaged or not returned at the end of each semester.


What kind of support will help me be successful in a college setting?

Students who are accepted into the program are assigned a GtC Counselor. GtC Counselors provide support and access to resources to help all students in the program to be successful. GtC Counselors provide the following services: 
   • Transcript reviews and academic advising
   • Assistance with completing enrollment and registration
   • Referrals to resources, such as tutoring, counseling, student activities, health services, and more
   • Personal counseling and guidance including assistance with problem solving, time management and stress management

If I have been on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) at my high school, will I still receive the same services and support at Gateway to College Academy?

Applicants who have received Special Education Services and who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) in place are required to participate in an IEP meeting in the school district where they are currently enrolled.  This meeting will involve a manager from the GtC program and a Petaluma City Schools Special Services representative, all of whom will help determine if Gateway to College Academy will be able to provide all the services that the student needs to be successful.  We cannot guarantee that this process can be completed in time for enrollment for the term for which you are applying.

I am enrolled in high school and do not want to withdraw until I know if I have been accepted.  Can I be considered for the Gateway to College Academy if I am still enrolled in high school?

Yes. If you are currently attending high school, please continue attending school until you know that you have been accepted into the Gateway to College Academy.  Once you have been accepted into the Gateway program, we will coordinate the transfer to our school.  You cannot be enrolled in the Gateway to College Academy and another high school or alternative education program at the same time.

How do I apply? 

Please review the GtC Admission Process webpage.