Frequently Asked Questions
gateway scholars program
If I attend the information session, am I obligated to join the program?
No. Participation in the program is voluntary. The information session will explain the program. An advisor will help you with your class selection regardless of whether you choose to participate in the Gateway Program.
What is the difference in the biology and chemistry classes for the Gateway Program compared to a regular program of study?
The classes for the Gateway Program and the regular course of study are identical. Both the biology and chemistry courses have the same instructors, the same syllabi and the same course content as the regular classes. The difference in the first semester is class size; the Gateway students will be in biology and chemistry classes with an enrollment of 35-40 students (regular freshman biology and chemistry classes have 100-200 students). The small class size will allow for better interaction with the instructors and give the students more opportunities to ask questions and seek help if needed. In addition, during the first semester, the Gateway students will take Gateway discussion sections for both of the biology and chemistry classes; the discussion carries one credit and includes graded homework, designed to improve class performance. Students in the regular program do not have a biology discussion, and their discussion for chemistry does not carry an academic credit.
If I have had an AP biology course in high school, may I still join the program?
Yes. As with all biology and chemistry classes, the population of students will have a mix of high school backgrounds. Most students with AP biology or chemistry begin their freshman year with Molecules and Cells and General Chemistry. Exceptionally strong students may use the AP option for biology and by-pass Molecules and Cell, going directly into Cell Biology (a sophomore level course). Students choosing to accelerate their progression through the major cannot be part of the Gateway Program. This decision should be made in consultation with the academic advisor at orientation.
I’m not really sure if I want to major in a science. Is it possible to sign up for just the biology or chemistry, or do I have to take both classes?
Participants in the Gateway Scholars Program must enroll in both biology and chemistry. The program is designed for students with a serious interest in science. There are a number of possible courses to “try out” a major course of study. You should talk this over with your advisor during orientation.
What if I start the program but decide to change my major? Do I have to stay with the program for two years?
Of course not. Students can leave the program at any time. Students often change their major and rethink their long-term goals. This is perfectly normal. Our hope, however, is that students with a strong interest in science will feel supported in their classes and have sufficient connection to the science faculty to continue with this course of study, if this is their desire.
I am interested in medicine but I don’t want to major in science. Can I still be part of the program?
Yes. This program is suitable for biology and biochemistry majors and for students interested in fulfilling the biology and chemistry requirements for medical school, veterinary medicine and a variety of allied health programs.
Do I have to take calculus during the freshman year?
No. Calculus needs to be taken before calculus based physics, which is usually taken in the junior year (for biology and biochemistry majors). Calculus can also be taken during the summer.
I would like to major in biology but I have a very weak background. I have never been very strong in science. Would this be a good program for me?
Probably not. If your background is not strong, and you feel academically weak in science, there are better ways to finding a path to and through the sciences besides jumping into majors-level biology and chemistry classes. I would see an advisor in the Biology Department. You may want to start with BI110 General Biology (a course for non majors). If you do well and like the material you can follow with Molecules and Cells in the spring and begin chemistry in the sophomore year. Alternatively you may consider a major in psychology or a BA in biology which does not have all the chemistry and physics required for biology majors or medical school preparation.