This article discusses how an experimental social science curriculum has influenced Latina/o students‘ perspectives of their potential to graduate high school and attend college. The curriculum, which is called the Social Justice Education Project (SJEP), requires students to adopt a serious academic subjectivity to analyze and address social conditions that may undermine their future opportunities. The curriculum reflects graduate-level seminars in critical theory and participatory action research. Many students in the first cohort to participate in the program were labeled ―at risk‘‘ of dropping out. These students not only graduated but also excelled with the advanced-level course work. Their exposure to advanced-level work was the best measure for preventing their premature departure from high school as well as preparation for college. The article concludes with recommendations for how universities can work with local schools to foster the type of academic climate that is conducive to success.
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