How to Start a College: Introducing The Wayfinding Academy

Link: The Wayfinding Academy

Crowdfunding: Read more and Support the Project


Most of us know that traditional higher education, especially in North America, doesn’t work for everyone. Far too many students struggle, wander aimlessly, go into debt, or do all of these things.

The Wayfinding Academy is a new answer to the age-old problem of “What should I do with my life?”

WFA is founded by Michelle Jones, a longtime friend who’s been a college professor and also served as the WDS Magician for the past five years. When I heard she was starting her own college, I knew it would be an interesting and meaningful endeavor.


Here’s how Michelle and her team describe Wayfinding:

We’re a group of professors, students, higher education professionals, non-profit and community leaders, and everyday citizens with over 100 years of experience in higher education who know college can be the incredible experience it promises to be.

Right now too many students can’t afford college, drop out, or even finish college without finding direction or purposes in their lives. We believe there is a better way. We are starting our own college, a new model for higher education.

The current model for higher education works for some people, but not all. You might know someone who:

  • Has a job unrelated to their major
  • Went to college as a rite of passage, but wasn’t ready
  • Has interests that don’t fit in a specific major
  • Learns better through experience than in a classroom
  • Wants guidance to help discover their strengths, passions, and interests
  • Accumulated an unacceptable amount of student loan debt
  • Has a job they are not passionate about

The Wayfinding Academy will be an affordable, 2-year college based in Portland, Oregon focused on what matters most in education: real-world experience, community support and individual passion.

Students won’t be asked to choose a major from a list; they’ll be supported in discovering their own personal mission. They’ll take core classes building skills that will serve them on any path. And they’ll work with advisors to create handcrafted experiences meaningful to them and build a portfolio through real experiences.

We’re committed to helping students find their own path, so when a student graduates from the Wayfinding Academy, we’ll work with them to plan and execute their next steps. We promise no student will leave the Wayfinding Academy not knowing what they are doing next.

And here’s a fun video:


Michelle & co. debuted the Wayfinding Academy at WDS 2015 and it’s already well on the way to being funded.

If you believe in the idea of changing higher education, check it out!


Link: The Wayfinding Academy

Crowdfunding: Read more and Support the Project


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