At Wayfinding Academy, our core values are being human, welcoming adventure, and living life on purpose. In all that we do, we strive to embody these core values. We promise to focus on each Wayfinder as a human, never a number. We promise to be intentional and grounded in the “why” behind everything we do and we’ll always be open to sharing our purpose. When done well, adventure is hard. We believe in the importance of this. We promise to provide Wayfinders with opportunities to stretch, to try new things, and to challenge themselves in new ways.

We are proud of this new college we created from scratch and our alternative, intentional approach to higher education. As we near the end of our first student year, we asked parents of students in cohort 1 to share their perspective on the Wayfinding experience.

Several parents shared that prior to Wayfinding, their child was 'discouraged by education' and 'uninspired traditional learning formats', 'wondering what to do with their life' and 'had no idea where to start', and 'worried they were never, ever going to be good enough'. These responses and feelings are exactly why Wayfinding Academy was created. For 16 years, our founder, Michelle Jones, was a college professor and listened to students express their frustrations. The feeling that higher education wasn’t helping them figure out what they wanted to do with their lives or helping them to find meaning and direction was pervasive.

Over the past year, parents have noticed 'increased confidence' that has resulted in their child 'expressing more of their own thoughts and ideals', being 'more outspoken', and 'taking risks in pursuing own goals'. Students have become more 'independent' as well showing 'tenacity to help themselves', 'no longer being hyper fixated on what other people think', and 'making conscious own choices'. Significantly, parents have observed deeper 'engagement with the learning process', application of the learning, and 'desire to learn' even more.

The Wayfinding Creed shares the belief that “We are humans to be cultivated, not objects to be sorted. We value students before edifice. And crafting by hand over assembling by line.” When we asked parents what 2-3 things stand out the most about Wayfinding, our intentional approach to individualized learning and the involvement and care of our community (crew, faculty, Guides, Board members) were highlighted again and again. As one parent said, we walk our talk.

Wayfinding parents are an important part of the Wayfinding community as well. Over the past year, we have been honored to have parents contribute to the Wayfinding experience in several ways including as a participant on our first ever Learn and Explore trip on the Camino de Santiago in April, as hosts for a house party in Massachusetts where people from the area can get to know Wayfinding better, and inviting Michelle to speak at a conference to introduce the Wayfinding approach to attendees. Wayfinding is college and community woven together.

If given the opportunity to speak directly to other parents of prospective Wayfinding students, here's what a few current Wayfinding parents would share:

“Wayfinding can help your child tap into what makes them come alive … and bring it out into the world.”

“Wayfinding Academy asks the right questions and provides the environment and tools that equip students to begin a thoughtful, courageous journey toward discovering and reaching their dreams.”

“My son's experience thus far at Wayfinding has changed his life. The content of the core classes has challenged his thinking, and the relationships he is forming with his mentors and teachers makes me feel like he is in a place where he is valued and respected as a young man making his way in the world.”

“If it feels like a fit, then be courageous and let your child be a part of an innovative higher education program. You will NOT regret it!”

One Wayfinding parent shared that 'Wayfinding is a place that challenges the norm in many ways'. From our 9 classes designed to cultivate good humans to the Wayfinding Guides who walk with and supports students every step of the way to the Learn and Explore trips that stretch students' world view, this perspective is absolutely true.

We believe there’s more than one way to do life. And one definition of success is not enough. Too often the choice posed is what college to pick. The real choice is what life to pick. These parents expressed deep appreciation to us for creating this college where their children can explore their potential with care and support. We are deeply grateful to these parents for supporting their students’ choice to learn and grow at Wayfinding Academy and for sharing their Wayfinding experience so far with us.

Interested in Wayfinding Academy? Contact us on matchmaking@wayfindingacademy.org to start a conversation today.

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