I feel for college students these days. A degree is all but necessary to lock in decent wages over the course of a lifetime, but the cost of that degree is eating into the opportunities it affords. It’s a huge gamble to go without, but a diploma is fast becoming a ticket to debtors’ servitude for those who stick out four years.
While politicians dither to relieve students of financial burdens, we need entrepreneurial innovation, big time.
We need to rethink learning not just in terms of the type of classes offered or the format of classes – not only as to how we should integrate technology into the process – but at the fundamental level of how students relate to their education.
Entering this picture is VersedU, a startup focused on “reinvigorating higher education.” Still in beta, details remain somewhat vague, but the premise is to develop supplemental classes that connect classroom learning with outside experience.
Equipped to use education in real world
New experiential courses through VersedU will combine mentoring, incorporating new tech skills, study, and practical experience. The belief is that these supplements will make study more relevant for students. An added dose of self-direction and autonomy hope to further prove antidotes to academic burnout.
We could talk a lot about whether or not intellectual development and career positioning are no longer sufficient motivation for today’s students. I sympathize with them. It’s a tough slog to bust tail for a degree whose worth seems to diminish by the year.
Restoring the value of a degree should be everyone’s concern – the health of our economy will depend on supporting a young, vibrant workforce. Bridging the gap between academia and life experience is an excellent place to start.
VersedU’s approach is encouraging. As the website states, “We are the only solution out of current offerings that is not trying to restructure or take on higher education; we work with the existing higher education market, by supplementing its structure.”
The threat, regardless if it’s perceived or real, to upend the university experience has already stunted innovation. Trying to work in tandem is an excellent way cut through resistance and find joint solutions.
As VersedU tweaks the class model and works out the kinks, the startup plans to offer 2 week pilot courses. The startup is founded by Joe Belsterling, a student of finance and government at the college of William and Mary.
Visit versedu.co for more details on partnering with the program or reserving a space in the pilot classes.
Which startup is going to be the next big thing?
Investors, bloggers, job seekers, and inspiring entrepreneurs everywhere are dying to know. Hundreds of startups enter private beta each month, and that’s far too many for any one person to keep up with. Fret not! Each week, I share one of the hottest new startups in this column, Best In Beta.
Do you have a startup in beta you’d like me to cover?
Tell me about it in the comments below.