By KYLEE BAGLEY
The notion that traditional college is not for everyone is rapidly becoming part of mainstream society, but what about the idea of an anti-college? Anti-college is the opposite of traditional schooling, yet still higher education nonetheless. There are many people who believe this type of schooling is more beneficial for prospective students, but due to the short amount of time anti-schooling has been in effect, it is hard to know whether or not it truly is a better way to handle education.
In 2012, the Make School was founded on the idea of allowing students to learn and create without the pressure of grades and tuition fees. The only one of its kind, Make School has become a prototype of experiential learning with eyes heavily watching to see whether it will succeed or flounder.
Advocates for Make School and budding replications include the founders of PayPal, Virgin Airlines, and EBay. These are all people who didn’t go to college, or they themselves have dropped out. CCC’s Professor Kevin McGarvey thinks that these founders and geniuses like them are more readily available to support nontraditional ventures like Make School seeing as they flourished in this type of environment and felt that they didn’t need college.
Make School was co-founded by Jeremy Rossman and Ashu Desai. According to HuffingtonPost.com, Rossman and Desai were high school friends who, after each spending a year at MIT and UCLA, respectively, decided to take a semester off and explore the process of creating mobile apps. Rossman describes Make School as “a college replacement for founders and developers.”
MakeSchool.com reports they only have 50 spots to offer to prospective students each two-year program. There is only a 10 percent acceptance rate, but Make School is not for every major. The school specifically teaches classes in software engineering and computer sciences. According to McGarvey, “Make School is for people who are already at the top of their game. There are thousands of students who need the guidance a professor provides to point them in the right direction. Most people don’t just “know” these things; they have to be learned.”
What prospective students find so alluring is that Make School requires no upfront tuition. In a year where student loan debt is at 1.2 trillion in America (marketwatch.com) and the cost of tuition is at an all-time high, people are desperate to keep themselves out of monstrous debt. It is not until after graduating from Make School and acquiring a “career” that you are required to begin paying for your schooling. No official tuition rate has been released, but as stated on MakeSchool.com, students will pay 25% of their salary each year until the cost is covered.
Make School gives no grades. There are no tests or homework. Rather, they focus on project-based learning. Depending on the rapid advances in the technological world, students learn based on what is happening right now. In an interview with Seeker Stories, a YouTube channel that produces short documentaries, Rossman described their core philosophy: “…if you teach the same thing two years in a row, it has got to be wrong because computer science as a field and software engineering as a discipline are moving so fast.”
This new twist on education has raised the bar for effective learning, but McGarvey thinks colleges have nothing to fear. “Don’t count colleges out yet. Students learn to think critically; they discover ideas and concepts that hadn’t occurred to them before. They become individuals who can make rational decisions and think for themselves. For so many, college is a rite of passage into adulthood.”
There is no one right way for a person to learn, similar to the question students ask themselves, “Am I a visual learner? Auditory? Kinesthetic?” McGarvey stated, “The best and brightest rise to the top regardless. But that’s a small number of gifted people. Most of the rest need a push, a nudge in the right direction, some moral support when things become overwhelming. Those are some of the things a college like Cumberland does best.” And it’s true. The best type of schooling for an individual is based solely on said individual’s personality.
Make School offers students another alternative to traditional school. With diverse types of schooling popping up like this, it is clear to see that people are taking school seriously; something that can only cause our country to progress more rapidly.