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Frequently Asked Questions

gateway scholars 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 syllabi and the same course content as the regular classes. However, Gateway students will be in a General Chemistry class with an enrollment of 30-35 students as opposed to the regular chemistry classes which have close to 200 students. The small class size will allow for better interaction with the instructor and give the students more opportunities to ask questions and seek help if needed. In addition, the Gateway students will take Gateway discussion sections for both of the biology and chemistry classes; the discussions carry one credit each and include graded homework that is 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 as either a Biology or Biochemistry major. 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.


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?

Possibly. But, if your background is not strong, and you feel academically weak in science, there may be better ways to find a path to and through the sciences besides jumping into majors-level biology and chemistry classes. On the other hand, the support provided with this program may be sufficient to overcome perceived deficiencies. You should talk this over with an advisor in the Biology or Chemistry Department during summer registration.


How do I sign up for the program?

During orientation, eligible students will meet with the Gateway advisors, learn about the program and fill out an application. Students will be notified of the decision prior to the beginning of the Fall semester.