So, what’s happening at UC Berkeley??

A quick update on The Experience Lab at UC Berkeley

Victor Saad

Founder

You may have heard that we’ve been building a new program for recent college grads. It’s called The Experience Lab at UC Berkeley. Here’s a quick update:

First, some context:

The statistics around college students failing to “launch” after college are surprising. Over half remain unemployed or under-employed one year after graduation. Education is great at helping students swim in swimming pools (classes, campuses, etc.) for most of their lives:

 

But then we take students to the middle of the ocean (real world) and expect them to swim the same way. But the ocean is very different than the pool.

Footage taken from real-life college graduate

For students who’ve completed internships, launched their own projects, or studied abroad, their transitions are a bit smoother. But only a small subset of students get those opportunities, or can afford to take them.

To make matters more choppy (really into the water illustrations today), when students begin struggling after college, a common message is that MORE school will help them really launch. So they hop into yet another pool, hoping they have a better chance of being prepared for the ocean. Oy vey.

So what did we build?

The Experience Lab at UC Berkeley is designed for recent college grads from anywhere in the world to launch into their next step with more clarity and confidence. We partnered with our friends at Sage Corps to combine relevant curriculum in trending jobs with a field experience alongside a growing startup in one of 15 cities around the world. So after college, students can meet with other recent grads, study a specific career path, travel to and live in a new city, and work with a start-up for three months — all at a fraction of the cost of a master’s.

It’s like going for an ocean swim with experts and friends.

How’s it going?

We finished building the program late last year and opened applications for a Fall 2019 launch — the first curriculum track is focused on Digital Marketing & Content Development.

We were flooded with hundreds of applications for the first 20 spots! It was awesome to see the idea resonate with students from so many different places and backgrounds. Our first class has already started the pre-work curriculum online and has been interviewing with teams and companies where they might work this fall.

What’s next?

The group of founding students from around the world will meet us at UC Berkeley’s downtown campus on September 5th! Then, they’ll travel to their respective field experiences in bustling startup cities (Dublin, Sydney, Buenos Aires, & Chicago). Cool, right?!

All of this is part of making shifts in how higher education works. If we can continue to elevate the role of experience — making it a more credible, celebrated, and central part of how we learn — society’s young and fresh minds will have a better opportunity to focus on real challenges and great work, rather than flailing in an ocean they’ve never really experienced.

Final question: Are applications open for the Spring?

Why, yes they are 🙂 You can nominate a student here: https://forms.gle/p3CZr9ND6xS2UkVP6

Or if you are interested, your application here: http://explab.berkeley.edu/

Thanks for swimming along. More soon!

Didn’t make the cut, but too cute to not include…

posted by

Victor Saad

Founder

I’m an author, educator, and community builder living in Chicago. I started Experience Institute, an organization helping college students and career professionals learn and grow through short-term, real-world experiences.

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