Early College Graduates: Adapting, Thriving, and Leading in College
In 2003, JFF funded a research team from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to lead a longitudinal qualitative study on the experiences of students at two start-up early college high schools: Wallis Annenberg High School in Los Angeles and the Dayton Early College Academy in Dayton, Ohio. Led by Dr. Michael Nakkula, now at the University of Pennsylvania, the researchers followed the students from their ninth-grade year through their second year of college, delving into the students’ experiences as well as what these experiences can teach us about the impact of early colleges.
This brief summarizes the study’s Year 5 report, which explores the extent to which the structures and supports provided by the early college experience help students as they move beyond early college high school and into college. Through interviews with 43 graduates of these two schools, most in their second year of college, the researchers found that early colleges appear to play a central role in the development of students’ academic identity.
This is the fourth of several publications JFF released during its 3rd annual National Early College High School Week, celebrating the successes of our 230 schools across 28 states. Early college high schools serve more than 50,000 students a year, most of them from minority and low-income families.