Gateway to College

Madison College's Gateway to College program helps students between the ages of 16 and 23 who dropped out of high school or are behind in graduation requirements. Through this program, you can obtain your high school diploma and earn college credits at the same time. Many graduates go on to finish associate degrees and transfer to four-year colleges.

Gateway to College at Madison College

  • Overview

    How It Works

    Once you have been admitted, you will be enrolled in a Gateway to College learning community at Madison College’s Truax Campus.

    • A learning community is a group of 20 to 25 students who take all of their first term courses together in preparation for becoming independent college students on the Madison College campus.
    • The course placement of you and your learning community are dependent upon evaluation scores.
    • Students will earn both high school and college credits starting in their first term.
    • Students spend 3 to 4 hours outside of class working on homework.

    After successfully completing the first term, students transition into independent college-level courses.

    The Support You Need

    Gateway to College contracts with your school district to offer you a scholarship to the program. If you are currently out of school, you may be eligible for a scholarship via the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition and books.

    In addition, you’ll have a resource specialist dedicated to your success. Your resource specialist will guide you through the college experience as an academic advisor; inform you about careers, organization and time management; and provide you with referrals to community resources.

    Ready for the Challenge

    To succeed in the program, you’ll need to be in class about 20 hours a week and do three to four hours of homework per day. You are expected to attend every class. Because the program requires a strong commitment, it’s best if you work fewer than 25 hours a week outside of school hours.

    The program takes time; most of our students achieve their high school diploma in one to three years, but they often earn more than 30 college credits too!

    True Change

    Gateway to College can help you change your life. Students just like you are earning their diplomas, succeeding in college and pursuing exciting careers.  You can choose a new path and create a bright future!

  • Eligibility

    To qualify for the Gateway to College program, you must:

    • Be between the ages of 16 and 23
    • Be behind in credits based on age group
    • Be a high school dropout or on the verge of dropping out
    • Have a record of not doing well in school, such as low GPA or irregular attendance

    If you are currently attending high school, please consider staying in school until you know that you have been accepted into the Gateway to College program. Once you have been accepted into the program, you will be released from your high school as a participant of the Gateway to College Program at Madison College.

  • Process

    Spots in the program are limited; therefore, acceptance is NOT guarantee. (Please keep in mind, these steps may vary due to our current situation.)


    Step 1: Attend a Gateway to College Information Session


    Information Sessions may be available at your high school, please check with your counselor. If it is not or you would prefer a smaller environment, please check out our Information Session Schedule tab.

    At the Information Session, you will:

    • Learn more about the expectations and benefits of the Gateway to College program
    • Have a chance to ask questions
    • Allow us a chance to meet you and learn why you are interested in the program
    • Complete the Applicant Interest Form


    Step 2: Fill out application for admission and complete all 3 essay questions


    In the folder that you received at the Information Session, you will need to complete the entire application and all 3 required essays before moving on in the process. Application and essays can be return to the Gateway to College office in person, via e-mail, or by mail.


    Step 3: Attend an Evaluation Session


    Once you have turned in all required application materials, you will be contacted to come in for a placement (Accuplacer) testing. The tests consists of un-timed reading, math, and essay assessments. Upon testing completion, you will schedule to return for an interview.

    Feel free to visit for more information and/or practice tests.


    Step 4: Participate in an individual interview


    Your interview will be with one or more Madison College Gateway to College staff member(s). This gives us an opportunity to get to know you better and learn more about your strengths and motivations. You will have a chance to ask questions about the program.


    Step 5: Watch for a decision from the committee


    The selection committee will review your file and determine your acceptance into the program. A staff member in the Gateway to College office will contact you regarding your status.


    Students are conditionally accepted will be required to complete a mandatory one week Bootcamp before a final decision will be made for acceptance into the program.


  • Information Session Schedule

    Thank you for your interest. Due to the current situation, all in-person info sessions have been suspended until further notice. Until that time, we will be holding virtual info sessions.


    We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2021.


    Please send an email to to set up a virtual information session. 

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.