School House Wonk

"Genius without education is like silver in the mine." Benjamin Franklin

Another Option in the UnCollege Movement

Nate Hindman of The Huffington Post writes this week about a new player in the world of college-isn’t-the-answer-for-everyone arena, this time in the form of [E]nstitute. This latest entry in the UnCollege movement hopes to tap into the market of budding entrepreneurs who would rather jump right into the working world than drift through a traditional four-year college experience that doesn’t meet their needs. The program inserts college-aged students (age 18 to 24-years old) into a two-year apprenticeship program working in some of New York’s hottest start-up companies. Instruction includes on-site work as well as lecture series, panel discussions, guest speaker dinners, projects, readings and real-life simulation projects.

The inaugural class of 15 students were chosen from over 300 applicants from all over the country (11 percent previously had attended an Ivy League school). Hindman writes that founder Kane Sarhan describes the typical [E]nstitute applicant this way:

Many of these kids have been in school, realized it wasn’t for them, and found other people like them who have always learned differently and are really interested in something alternative. And we’re definitely finding kids who are on the entrepreneurial side, who have built stuff, and who may not have the best grades, but are running non-profit groups or businesses on the side that are making money.

My take:  As explored in previous blog entries, [E]nstitute continues a promising trend in higher education of providing students alternatives to the traditional four-year, brick-and-mortar college experience by developing learning options that better meet the needs of students. The result is a good one: more choices, more flexibility, and more connection to real-world work experiences. [E]institute’s motto “learn by doing” captures this movement well.

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