The Wayfinding Academy is a new two-year college in Portland, OR at the heart of a movement to change higher education. It was founded upon the frustrating realization that our culture of higher education is backwards:

First you pick a 4-year college
…because “everyone needs a degree to succeed!”

Then you pick a major from a list
…maybe you meet with an advisor for 10 minutes a year to count your credits.

Then you figure out what you’re going to do
…if there’s time between lounging in the lazy river and reading 17 chapters on subjects irrelevant to you.

Then you try it out
…after you graduate thousands of dollars deep into debt.

Wayfinding Academy exists to turn the system frontwards:

First, we get to know you and help you make an informed and intentional choice about your education
…hint: it might not be 4-year college, and it might not even be Wayfinding Academy.

Then we ask, “Who are you? What are you passionate about? What do you want to contribute to the world?”
…through a core curriculum of 9 classes designed to cultivate good humans.

Then we connect you to internships and mentors so you can try things out
.…and you get an advocate who guides you every step of the way in the 2-year program.

Then you confidently pursue your path after graduation
…equipped with–not a mountain of debt–but a network, a portfolio, and your next steps.

Applications for the inaugural cohort starting August 29, 2016 are now OPEN!

What They Promise

Students will leave Wayfinding Academy with their next step in place, a portfolio that shows the world who they are and what they can do, and a network of people who support them.

They will be equipped with skills that apply to their chosen path. Of course, they’ll be able to write thesis statements, read challenging articles and books, and use the scientific method. But, more than than that, we prepare students to be engaged citizens of the world.

Students will know how to…

  • Learn
  • connect with people
  • ask good questions
  • Collaborate
  • make a plan for something hard that requires other people’s help
  • set up life systems that work for them
  • find their way back to their purpose when they feel lost

Students will understand…

  • why story matters
  • what it takes to do something epic
  • how to inspire others toward a vision

They promise to cultivate humans who are empowered to thrive throughout the rest of their lives. That means embracing curiosity, being willing to stretch, creating community, and living life on purpose.

A New Kind of Application Process

The application process will look a lot less like sorting people based on test scores and letter grades and a lot more like getting to know them as humans. They’re looking for the intersection of what they offer and what students need. It’s matchmaking, higher education style.

I’m inviting you to do two things:

Become a Student*
Were you saying “Yes! Yes, this!” while reading this? It all starts with a conversation, so sign up to chat with us!

Nominate a Student*
Know someone who might be an outstanding match for this program? Tell them about it and nominate them here.

*Want a clearer idea of who’d be great for this program? Awesome full-time Wayfinders..

  • Are from anywhere in the U.S.
  • Are 18 years or older by August 29th.
  • Question whether traditional college is right for them OR have a degree and still feel lost OR gave the traditional college model a try and decided they want something more.
  • Are curious and creative–they’re always trying to connect the dots
  • Are driven to be of service to the world.
  • Simply don’t know who they are or what to do next.
  • Want peers, mentors, and teachers who are invested in their growth and push them to do their best work.
  • Want to learn in all sorts of ways, like internships, creative projects, and service trips–not just memorization and lecture halls.
  • Want to connect to a network of people in their field of interest.
  • Would benefit from creating a portfolio of experiences to show the world who they are and what they can do.