Over the past few months, we have been getting to know prospective students through incredible conversations and our intentionally-designed, human-centered approach to college applications. Our match making process is significantly different from most colleges' admissions process. It is different on purpose.
For some, applying to college is seen as an important rite of passage. Towards the end of high school most conversations revolve around plans for “after” and there is a lot of advice on how to master the college application process. Rarely does the conversation revolve around what is the best next steps a young adult should take based on what they want to accomplish in their life. Rarely is there an invitation to reflect on whether or not someone “should” apply and attend college.
At Wayfinding Academy, we believe we are humans to be cultivated, not objects to be sorted. This begins with how we designed our process to identify students that we think would be a great fit for our college, what we call our match making process.
Here is a simplified overview of how it works as explained by our former and greatly missed Director of Creative Solutions, Jedd Chang, who helped design it:
Students will never be seen as numbers:
The first step of our match making process is that one of our crew members has a one-on-one conversation with anyone who is interested in applying to join us for our 2-year program. The goal of this conversation is to mutually determine whether there is a good match. Sometimes what the student wants to do would be best achieved through pursuing a path other than Wayfinding’s 2-year program and we talk that through together. Once we mutually determine there is a good potential match, the student is provided login credentials to access our unique, custom-built online application.
Getting to know students from their own voice:
We want students to help us get to know them better in the most authentic and human way possible. While they can provide transcripts and test scores if they want to, students don't need to provide paper credentials to prove their worth or to compete against someone else. Again what we are looking for is a good match. One of the unique features of our application is the ability for students to respond to a question how they prefer, including a written response, audio, video, or through an creative piece. We want students to feel empowered to communicate in the way they feel is the most authentic representation of themselves.
An application process that benefits students:
We recognize that not all students who apply will come to Wayfinding. Our core values and mission compels us to try and serve students from the initial moment they connect with us. We strive to add value in all interactions with prospective students and designed our application to help determine your best next step even it ends up not being Wayfinding Academy’s 2-year program. In our application, every question was designed to encourage reflection about their lives thus far and we challenge applicants to think about issues and topics they may have not encountered before. Plus we invite them to question the world and its expectations and pose big questions to us. Throughout the entire application we always offer the “why” behind each section and question so they can better understand us and how each element aligned with our values and mission.
Here are two snapshots from our online application.
No test. No grades. No numbers.
Even before a student applies, we want them to understand that we see them as human beings, not numbers.
We want applicants to know we are already seen them as worthy. We just want to get to know them better, from their own voice, and want them decide for themselves whether or not we can help them in their journey.
We want students to apply because they intentionally want to be a part of this movement to revolutionize higher education and turn it frontwards.
We’re looking for students who want to live their lives on purpose.
Does this sound like your kind of application? Apply to become a student today. We're currently building cohort two and reviewing applications on a rolling basis.