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5th Year: Post Higher Ed Work Within College (Build on this)

After classes and education are done, students would pair with teachers their fifth year to create startup projects together.

Photo of Andrea Zelenak

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5th Year: Post Higher Ed Work Within College (Build on this)

Once you graduate college, you're ready for the real world and ready to start at any job. It can be hard, I know, to find relevant work after college and sometimes hard to get your first big start.

Instead of hoping for jobs, interviews and connections, what if a year after college students got experience within their college by using their skills to create Start ups.

This idea is something we joked about with our professors. We had a lot of great ideas and tallent, and a lot of us weren't finding jobs close to graduation. 

These projects could be started from a "senior thesis" in the end of your fourth year and could be granted funding after submitting proposals to the college.

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

It would be great for colleges to have talent and ideas make it into the market place and it would be great for students to have work experience when they can't find a job.

This idea emerged from:

  • A student brainstorm

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Any thoughts are appreciated! This is a new idea that hasn't been formed...I'd love to see any other ideas branch off of it.


Join the conversation:

Photo of An Old Friend

I experienced a similar situation upon graduating. So many other students in my program had great ideas for feasible startups! There's such a hurdle, though, when it comes to investment.

It's almost a sort of catch 22 where students need the right cocktail of skills and experience to elevate the idea but investors need the most groundbreaking and innovative ideas to venture for profits.

I wonder what form this idea would take on in an actual University. Whether it's a souped up course offering, a program within itself, or a whole school! Interesting to consider the scalability of the concept and the impact that it could have if pointed in the right direction!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Andrea, Michael Matthews   Jawad Ali   and everyone.

I posted the idea that Kate Rushton  linked in her comment about innovations in medical education. I am a physician and I thought that these recent innovations might inspire some thinking about Higher Ed in general. Jumping into the conversation hereā€¦Re: The NYU Med School accelerated tract: It is a specific path which requires a student to choose the specialty that they will do their Residency Training in when they apply to medical school. This is very unusual. The traditional educational path is 4 years and after 3 + years of school, having rotated through the major clinical fields, one chooses and applies to a training program in the field they want to specialize in. The accelerated 3 year path asks students to decide from Day 1 of school what field they want to pursue. If selected the student has a guaranteed spot in that Residency Program at NYU. This will be their first paid job.

Can you see this approach applied to undergraduate education? Andrea's idea focuses on start ups as a path to work. Another idea - What if universities partner with industry and a 3 + 1 path leads to a job within industry? An example - Might a student entering design school be given an option to choose their path after the 1st year, at which time they would be placed into a summer job at the affiliated industry, and be matched with a faculty mentor? During the 2nd and 3rd years +summer they might continue to do project based work with the industry in some capacity/?internship? The 4th year becomes full time project work?

Any thoughts on this approach as another idea that might connect education and employment, and perhaps lead to less student debt? Might students receive course credit for project based work? Would they be responsible for tuition the 4th year? Would industry support the student in anyway?

Photo of An Old Friend

I like where this is headed. There's a definite trend in this challenge towards vocation and setting students up for a career rather than a degree. I think there are many schools that purposefully try to generalize their programs to allow students more diverse opportunities after they graduate. Normally the responsibility of the student to reach out to their desired industry and get the ball rolling while they're still attending school.
There are several schools like that teach a skill which will set you on a specific course. It would be prudent to ask ourselves which key industries we could benefit from programs like this, which transferable skills might students need to focus on to gain opportunity there, and how might we prototype something that industry partners will agree to try (whether we can pitch it as a value added for their organisation rather than something they will see as a liability).

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

The connection between education and employment is also an area that the Challenge Sponsors are interested in investigating and building as per these recent OI blog posts.

Michael Matthews 
Are you wondering what key industries can benefit from both Andrea's start up idea, and the other idea I posted in the comment? I wonder whether incorporating work/industry experience into higher ed might be an opportunity to build one's soft skills, writing and communication skills, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving skills in addition to any industry specific skills.
Could the idea that I suggested work for liberal arts majors?

Photo of Jawad Ali

Hi Bettina,

This is an interesting twist on the internships that engineering students often do. I see potential for more involvement and less delays of graduation. Often students take 5 years to graduate, if this was shortened to 4 with even more real-world experience that would be a big win. It could also allow a company to train a future employee so that when they do come on board they are ready to go. My brother works in the oil and gas field, he had to do a year of training after college on the companies dime. I can definitely large companies be interested in having this kind of relationship with a university.

Another example is in general surgery residency training; they are proposing that residents do 4 years of general surgery training (instead of 5) then go on to the specialty training. Those that don't want to specialize will do the regular 5 year program.

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