July 02, 2013

Good Timing

When I first began exploring the possibility of starting a school, I received loads of positive feedback and shared countless energetic conversations.

I couldn't tell if people were being genuine or if they were just flattering me; but, either way, those conversations were electric and they expanded my vision and deepened my hopes.

As 2012 and my Leap Year Project came to an end, I had no idea what it would take to start Experience Institute. But all along the way I stumbled upon great people who wanted to build this with me. Lawyers, designers, educators, advisors, and many others kept showing up to tell me they wanted to be a part of this story. Slowly, an amazing team began to form.

Over the past six months, the conversation around higher education soared to a new level of attention. The number of questions surrounding the value of traditional degrees have been startling and the topic of "learning" is being unpacked and reexamined like never before.

However, we're not here because this has become one of the hot topics of our generation.

Have you ever tasted, felt, or experienced something so good that you had to find a way to share it?

The Leap Year Project was like that. And in many ways, we have been able to share it. Our small community pushed and fought to create something that would inspire people on the brink of something great to take risks. What we created has taken shape as a website, a book, and small gatherings of people supporting each other to take their next leaps.

Still, there had to be a way to replicate this year of experiential learning for others—to create a school that was both credible and formative without leaving a trail of debt.

There are still questions about where experiences fit into the landscape of higher education and new disruptive technology. But there is an equal amount of openness to explore the possibilities of where experiential learning might lead us. Potential students, partner companies, and even prominent institutions have rang in with their hopes, hesitations, ideas, and visions.

All of this has confirmed in me and our team that the time for Experience Institute is, indeed, now.

And, we’re inviting you to join us.

We’ve spent the past six months building relationships with companies, institutions, and individuals who are ready to support ten pioneering students who will build Ei into something great, and we want you to be one of them.

Here's how this is going to work:

  • Apply. Yes a video is necessary. But don't worry about creating anything flashy. Your computer or phone camera will do just fine.
  • Meet. If you're accepted, all of us will begin in Chicago. A group of individuals from Stanford, Kellogg, and prominent design thinking agencies are creating a curriculum centered around process-based learning. This focuses on Storytelling, Self-Awareness, Community Building, Project Management, and Problem Solving. We'll meet three times throughout the year.
  • Three Apprenticeships. In between the meetups, you'll be charged with completing three paid apprenticeships. These act as core classes to your year of learning. You'll be paid for your time with these companies (yes, you heard that right, you will be paid to go to class!). The cohort of students will meet online weekly and will write to our community monthly to document and share our lessons.
  • Electives. During your apprenticeships, you'll choose elective experiences that sharpen the skills you hope to acquire. These can include conferences, workshops, dabble/skillshare classes, etc. All of which will be documented as part of your year.
  • Graduate. The third and final meetup will culminate with a graduation, where you present your learnings to friends, family, and potential employers.
  • Cost. The cost is $10,000. However, students can start the program with $3,500 up front and then simply have your monthly payment be taken from your paid apprenticeship stipend.

It is our hope and our mission to create a school that will outlast us — one that will equip people with the tools necessary to transform our world with an inventive spirit. Whether or not you choose to join us, we hope you'll stick around to see the story unfold.

And for those who are on the edge, time is nearly up. Apply today.

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