Katie Couric's Notebook: Early College

At the beginning of "Sixteen Candles," Molly Ringwald laments her fate: She's facing two more years of high school with no boyfriend, no car - and a bratty little brother to boot.

Under a new pilot program, she could have called it quits. Eight states will soon allow some tenth graders who pass board exams to graduate early and go straight to community college.

According to the plan's organizer, kids with a tangible goal tend to study harder and are better prepared for college. As it is, more than a million college freshmen end up in remedial courses every year.

But what about the preparation that happens outside the classroom? For many teens, those last two years are when things finally click, when they start to care less about fitting in and more about finding their own identities.

By the end of "Sixteen Candles," Molly's home life improves, her crush comes through and the future seems far less bleak. It's the type of happy ending that only happens…if you finish high school.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.