Last year, all incoming ninth-graders were still enrolled in college courses, but they no longer had to stay on the track if it didn't work for them. This school year, the start of college courses was delayed, and ninth-graders were signed up for an extended seminar course in the fall that covers the basics, like how to take notes during a lecture or study for tests. (Previously, students took the seminar at the same time as their first college course.) If students prove during this time that they're mature enough to take a college course, they'll be enrolled in the spring.

Jackson eventually wants to avoid cases like that of Rosa, who had to endure struggles before learning how to be a college student. Yet Rosa eventually found success in college courses. He has since improved his grades and still wants to earn his associate's degree and transfer to a four-year college.

For Rosa, the benefit outweighs any drawbacks. Without the Early College High School Initiative, "I don't know what I'd be doing," he says. Instead of going to college, "I'd be confused and pissed off."

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