Many Paths, Many Summits

The path to and through college does not have to be linear. How might we support offering many paths, that undulate, double back, & diverge.

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In the Discover Phase Rachel Wolf shared an amazing short documentary she made sharing the story of high school students as they prepare for entry into college.

A couple of the most striking points were the times where the students in the video had trouble identifying how their passions and college aligned, and their struggle with the fear  that they only have one chance at finding a major or choosing a college. once  chance to get it right.

Why can't there be many chances?

Why cant there be many passions explored?

and Why do we have to wait until this last crucial moment to get all these things right?

What if there were many points for students to make corrections, observations, explorations, and acclimatize along the way. Safe places to try something new - and double back to reflect on the experience before setting out on the next adventure.

What might that experience look like?

What if we had College Base Camps  - A place where students can explore many possible college and career paths risk free. While a high school student, these could be available within their own school.

As a college student, they could attend another at a high school local to their college (should they have traveled far from home).

The camp would be a great place to connect with peers, explore different majors, or just make community connections - all without the risk of grades, identifying a major, or getting "locked-in" top something.

Have a doc or slides that you're collaborating in? Link it here.

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Photo of Ela Ben-Ur

Hi Chris and Dan - I love where this was headed, did you develop it?  This message - of many chances - seems to be one of the most powerful we can offer to young people.  

How might this live in, or alongside traditional college?  Is it a seminar? I have a seminar at Olin college where students use design thinking to explore anything in life/school with coaching from me and each other.  It's so lovely seeing them pursue their own questions, under their own motivation.  I sense you intended something bigger here though - even an alternate "track" in which majors are declared later.  Or, an additional year (financially prohibitive, I realize) - an interesting bridge with the "service year" idea.  Regardless of scale, how might you help make sure students find some [initial] answers as they explore, and learn how to continue to see the world as an open, forgiving place as they emerge into "real" college/life?

Photo of Chris Good

Thanks Ela Ben-Ur , I admit, I've been a little delinquent trying to develop this idea.

I definitely sense this could be something big (something as big as a complete alternative to the traditional 4 year college model), but also something as small as a program to help students adjust to college life before declaring majors.

I have been really inspired by several posts on "Bridge" "Gap"  or "Service Years" such as College Transition - A Natural Approach , Year of Service  and Mind the Gap (Year) 

The idea of reconnecting alumni Update: Alumni on Campus! 

And the idea of rethinking the entire access and delivery modes for higher education. Uber for Learning 

At it's basic level  - having a community or place for students to spend time with their peers, alumni, and informal advisors/mentors, or even parents Owl Hotline . This kind of BASE CAMP could be extremely  helpful for students to find their path.

Giving them time to make those decisions and explore alternative topics and subjects also helps in the choice of the final path and destination. and prevents them from getting railroaded onto a particular path that might be inflexible or going in the wrong direction. (Maybe a service year helps fill this need)

But having a variety of paths for delivery of learning (with many branches to divert and redirect)- which are easily accessed, diverse in their delivery, and completely focused on the many varied needs of students should also play a major role! (Check out the Uber for Learning  post)

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