The UM Dropout Whose Startup Wants to Get You Your Dream Job Without a College Degree

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This is a startup

Alternatives to higher education have been getting more and more coverage recently, and with good reason. The average college student who graduated in 2015 has roughly $35,000 in debt, the amount of learning students are actually gaining during their four years is dubious, and companies are increasingly looking for skills and experiences that the average person doesn’t acquire in the classroom.

Now, a former University of Michigan student wants you to drop out of college entirely and come try one of these alternatives. And he’s offering you a scholarship if you do.

Derek Magill is the Director of Digital Strategy and Marketing at Praxis, a one year personal and professional accelerator for young people who “want more than the standard menu of options offered to them during their youth.” A year and half ago, Magill dropped out of the University of Michigan and built a successful marketing company, which led him start working with Praxis.

Praxis offers participants the opportunity to get the job of their dreams now, without any formal credential, and to work as a paid team member at a startup around the country for a year, where they gain a skills and experiences that Magill says “by far exceed those that most people gain in entry level jobs.” In addition to getting what is essentially an apprenticeship in running a successful business, participants also receive a rigorous personal and professional mentorship from a Praxis adviser and network with successful entrepreneurs around the country.Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 4.23.30 AM

While Praxis takes gap year students and young people who have already graduated college, Magill says that “most participants don’t need to and don’t want to go back to school once they’ve completed the program.”

The program costs $12,000, far below the cost of even a semester’s tuition at the University of Michigan, and Magill is offering a $2,000 scholarship to anybody who gives him an answer to the question:  what goals have I been putting off because I thought I needed more schooling to do them?

Praxis seems pretty confident that they are the future of education. In a blog post written earlier this year, their Founder and CEO Isaac Morehouse wrote:

“Praxis is a recognition that, wherever you get your paycheck, you are your own firm.  The future does not belong to those who follow orders, but those who solve problems with creativity.  The future belongs to entrepreneurs, whether founders or builders within firms.  Entrepreneurial thinking and acting cannot be learned from study, but must be practiced.  Praxis exists to put those eager to learn it into environments right now – not tomorrow, not after more study and certification – where they can be around and become entrepreneurs.”

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Derek Magill is speaking on campus on November 7th at the Michigan Students for Liberty Conference (Details)

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About Derek Magill

Derek Magill is a (former) LSA student in the Classics Department. He dropped of the University of Michigan during his Sophomore year and is now the Director of Marketing at Praxis. Praxis is a 9 month startup apprenticeship program for people who want more than college.
  • Tim

    I wish this program was around when I was going to college. Would have saved me $50,000+ on tuition. It’s always better to get practical experience in the context of a real job…