Poking at the Universe of Higher Education

College is changing rapidly. Here's how we're helping.

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.) But then we take students to the middle of the ocean (real world) and expect them to swim the same way. But swimming in the ocean, alone and far from shore, is very different from swimming in a pool. The job market is tough, and most students have kept so busy taking classes they didn’t have time to get the real-world experience that companies are looking for. 

COVID has only exacerbated the situation. 

Experience Institute programs provide opportunities to work in companies, organizations, and communities to have a real impact. We teach a mix of technical skills along with the life skills companies are looking for such as self awareness, problem solving, and storytelling. And students don’t have to do it alone — we bring together communities of creative, curious students and incredible instructors who are also practicing their craft in the marketplace. Together, students learn and work, leading them to their next steps with greater confidence and clarity.

Here are three of our current programs. Take a look, and if you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for our weekly newsletter for college students and recent graduates

Experience Lab

A Gap Semester or Career Launcher for Recent Grads

Experience Lab is designed for recent college grads from anywhere in the world to launch into their next step through curriculum in trending jobs and full-time work with growing companies. We partnered with our friends at Sage Corps to combine relevant curriculum in trending jobs with a field experience alongside a growing company 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.

We’ve partnered with UC Berkeley to launch the in-person version of the program, but due to COVID-19 the program has since been suspended.

In November of 2020, we announced a new fully virtual version of the program with University of Pennsylvania. Learn more at: https://explab.sas.upenn.edu/.

If you’re interested in bringing Experience Lab to your institution, please contact hello[at]expinstitute.com or stop by www.explab.org.

Stanford Design Summer

Helping Students Work With Alumni Throughout College

In 2017, we began a conversation with our friends David Kelley and Bill Burnett at Stanford about how the days of lifelong careers are long gone. As soon as students graduate, their task isn’t just to find a job, but rather to continue navigating ever-changing industries and new problems that don’t even exist yet.

But there seems to be a lack of opportunities for students to start thinking that way throughout their college career. There need to be more invitations and support for students to launch off campus and into meaningful experiences.

Specifically, Bill and David were looking for new ways to support Product Design students at Stanford to think more creatively and intentionally about their summers — an obvious gap right in the middle of the higher ed experience.

We Started Building

We wrote curriculum and classes focused on four key pillars: Self-Awareness, Community Building, Storytelling, and Career Navigation. We’ve been teaching those workshops throughout the year to prepare students for the summer — all under the program title, Design Summer.

Connecting Students and Companies/Orgs

Last fall, Ei led the build-out of our very first piece of software — a simple tool for companies and teams to post summer projects and connect with students. It’s one-part job board and one-part dating site for companies to meet students who could work on projects over the summer. It’s now the cornerstone of the program.

North Dakota State University | Nice Center LEAPS

Helping Students Design Solutions to Real-World Issues

The NICE Center at NDSU has been commissioned to expand entrepreneurship throughout the state of North Dakota. The directors asked Ei to adapt our Leap Kit to a full-fledged class that empowers students and community members to design their own projects to make an impact in the community.

Launching Fall 2021

In late August, we’ll work with The NICE Center host an introductory workshop. This initial event introduces participants to the Leap Map, helps them identify a specific project to work on, and begins the process of building a community of support and accountability.

About ten weeks later, we’ll host a Showcase Night, which provides a forum to bring together leapers and the broader community to celebrate the work and learning that has taken place.

Along the way, leapers benefit from regular touch-points to stay on track, stay motivated, and troubleshoot obstacles that arise.