Thursday, November 30, 2017

GATE College System (Blogging Through the Alphabet)

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GATE College System (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

After so many years of homeschooling, I've had plenty of opportunities to try curriculum and explore all kinds of resources, so during this Blogging Through the Alphabet tour, I'm highlighting some of the many homeschooling resources that have been stand-outs. Sometimes it will be a walk down memory lane as I share something we enjoyed many years ago, and sometimes it will be something we're using currently. Sometimes I'll focus on a specific curriculum, and sometimes on a subject area. And I imagine I'll have to be a bit creative with a couple letters of the alphabet! This week I'm delighted to share my review of the GATE College System.

GATE College System (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

GATE College System is an interactive online college admissions tool created by Founder Pamela Donnelly and a team of 26 educators. Together they put their expertise in college counseling, GPA support and test prep into a digital system to help high schoolers learn effectively, get accepted into college, and earn financial aid. GATE's mission is to equalize access to college admissions and financial aid. The GATE platform helps students and their parents get a good handle on test prep, understanding financial aid, effective strategies for college acceptance, and it even guides students in college selection.

Designed especially for homeschooled students, GATE for Homeschool brings these same step-by-step tools to the homeschool community. College-bound homeschool students can follow the road map to ease their confusion and anxiety and help them get competitive scores on the ACT and SAT exams, as well as guide them through admissions and essays and financial aid. It's designed to be used over four years, but because it's modular, it can be easily adapted so students can benefit even if they start using it partway through their high school years.

GATE is a self-paced, modular, online guide that can be accessed on any digital device. A parent dashboard allows the parent to act as facilitator and view their student's progress through the system.

GATE College System (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

The student dashboard has a place to keep track of practice test scores and college lists, and has access to all the interactive components of GATE.

GATE College System (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

Each letter of GATE stands for a different module in the system. G is for Grades, and this section is where students can learn how to assess their own learning styles and preferences, and how to leverage that information to help them learn, study, and memorize most effectively. There's also a section for studying Greek and Latin roots to help students improve their vocabulary in preparation for exams. In the A module, students will learn all about College Applications. They'll understand the admissions committee and college terminology; they'll be able to optimize the college application; and they'll get practical help in determining majors, minors, and academic focus. There's also an interactive tool to help them work on their own list of possible colleges. In T, for Testing, students can use the GATE to the SAT/ACT mobile app to give them strategies and practice to ace those tests. And in E for Essays, students will find plenty of help in showcasing themselves and their writing skills in their essays. Each of the modules includes text, interactive components, colorful graphics, videos, and is present with humor and an encouraging tone that makes it fun for students to worth through.

GATE College System (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

GATE College System (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

How did we use it? My daughter, a junior, had been using GATE for about a month (at the time this review was originally written - she has worked on it more since then), and has been focusing on the Grades section. She enjoyed the humorous presentation of information in the videos, and the insight she gained from learning about and assessing her own learning styles and preferred study environments. She hasn't yet written a college entrance exam, but is already more confident that she'll be able to do a good job of it, thanks to the vocabulary study help and the practice tests that help her know what to expect. Using the Gateway to College School List to explore which schools she'll be considering really is a lot of fun. As a mom without much personal experience navigating the mazes of college applications and financial aid, it's a relief to have the explanations and guidance of the GATE website and the eBooks included with membership.

What we liked best:  We really like that it is geared to the student, and makes it clear that the student has ownership over how well they prepare for college. We also appreciate that it's so easy to use, and breaks down the daunting task of preparing for college into bite-size and manageable steps.

What I need to mention: The Parent Dashboard is limited in how much information it shows about the students. I was able to see which modules my student had completed, her scores on the SAT and ACT pratice tests, and her school list, but from the Parent account, I could not view any of the module content, such as the videos or lessons, or her answer to the lessons. I would like to see the Parent Dashboard expanded or modified so that parents can look at the content and know more about what their student is doing and learning, rather than just seeing whether they've completed a module or not.

Our bottom line: I've often heard homeschool parents express the wish that the homeschool community had guidance counsellors to help us navigate college choices, applications, and testing. I think that for many homeschool families, the GATE College System will meet that need and demystify so much of the process. We certainly plan to keep on using it as we move towards college choices and applications.

GATE College System (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

Are you interested in going through this GATE? Here's what you need to know:

Visit the website:

Recommended Ages: Students in 9th through 12th grades

Pricing: Enrollment costs $29/month for one year. After 12 months on this plan, you have ongoing access to GATE with no further payments.

Social Media:  Facebook Group - Twitter - YouTube

The original version of this review first appeared on The Old Schoolhouse Magazine website.

Blogging Through the Alphabet again? Yes, I'm taking the challenge, along with several other Crew members, including our three co-hosts for this round - Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool, DaLynn at Biblical Womanhood, and Kirsten at DoodleMom's Homeschooling Life. The link is open from Thursday to Wednesday each week, so join in if you'd like!

This post is linked at Blogging Through the Alphabet for Week 7, Letter G.

This post is part of a #breakthrulinkup at Breakthrough Homeschooling - Join us! This post is also linked at the Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop hosted by Apron Strings & Other Thingsat Homeschool Blog & Tell at The Homeschool Post; and at the Homeschool Linky Party on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

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Mother of 3 said...

I have never heard of this program; it sounds so wonderful! Pinned.

Rebecca C. said...

Sounds like a great program. I need to look into this. Thanks for sharing.

Lori said...

Sounds like a very helpful program for students beginning to look at colleges and entrance requirements. I'll be sharing this with a friend, since we aren't quite there yet. - Lori

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for your review! We'd love others to also help us spread the word. See to learn how you can earn passive revenue while helping other homeschoolers. Thanks so much, from Pamela (homeschooling mom and founder of GATE).

Unknown said...

Wow, what a great explanation of how works for your teen. I am a homeschooling mom and I found GATE truly fills in the information gap that I was experiencing on her behalf. I love what you wrote about GATE being a guidance counselor for homeschoolers. Most parents do not have access to this valuable information. Lori, I discovered with my older daughters that many of our state universities expect students to acquire critical high school classes in middle school. It's never too early to learn your child's learning style and acquire strategies for test taking and study skills.

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