The Experience Institute: reimagining the college experience around you

Sometimes college or grad school just isn’t for everyone, especially creatives who already think outside the preverbal classroom box.

What if you could, instead, combine a series of apprenticeships and experiences, learning from established companies, agencies and industry tastemakers out in the field—would you take that leap?

Founded by our friend Victor Saad, author of The Leap Year Project, Experience Institute (Ei) includes top companies, organizations and celebrated individuals like advertising guru Alex Bogusky in Boulder; award-winning digital agency Fifty & Fifity in San Diego; leading architecture firm NBBJ in Seattle; Chicago’s own thriving art and apparel community, Threadless; and Doejo of course!

Ei is looking to connect 10 students in its inaugural year in four main industries: Design, Business Development, Technology, and Social Innovation. So, think careers in graphic design, advertising, market research, non-profit management, product development, brand strategy/think tanks, computer programming and more. Beginning this fall, students of Ei will attend a series of 4-12 week paid apprenticeships, conferences, and workshops, all within a single year.

This first class is geared towards students seeking a college gap year, post-grad studies or individuals seeking a career shift. So long as you’ve shown initiative to start and create change.

“Our aim is to re-instill imagination into our education system and reshape how we think about learning.  I wanted to create a credible space for others to learn through hands on experience.” – Victor Saad at TEDxWindyCity

Ei is currently taking applications for its founding class. Applications are due mid-summer, with the first class launching in September. To submit an application or simply learn more about the program, visit