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FROM A participant'S POINT OF VIEW

Over last summer, I participated in the Till week-long Summer Institute. It opened my eyes to the many aspects of this kind of learning and its usefulness in nearly every profession.
In a recent AACU study, less than two in five employers view college students as well prepared, and fewer than three in ten think that recent college graduates are proficient in applying knowledge in real-world scenarios. Employers want experience, and that’s what Till provides. Till turns homework into clients, classmates into team members, and teachers into mentors. Students are put on the front-lines and are presented with real and current problems as they learn how to work in a team environment, think critically, and communicate effectively.
While working with a real client, I learned how to identify a problem, conduct interviews, analyze data, collaborate with a team, formulate a rational solution, and ultimately present the idea. After only a week, I felt more equipped to take on the real-world challenges that I’m faced with as an intern, restaurant employee, community leader, and student. I’ve found that I learn much better working in the field than reading a book or listening to a lecture. 
Design exists in nearly every industry and is a critical part of any business or organization. Every business must design a product or user-experience in order to reach its intended market. Social-enterprises must design strategic solutions to social problems. Design is rooted in critical thinking and communications, making it just as important to the retail worker who is dealing with a difficult customer to the salesman who is formulating his sales pitch. The skills I learned from Till will be applicable in nearly every environment.
Till provides students with a vast network of creatives and entrepreneurs. The variety of professionals, visionaries, and influencers surrounding the program is truly something special. As an intern and student advisor, I’ve witnessed the character and expertise of Till’s staff, advisory team, and supporters. They are masters of their craft and are dedicated to educating and empowering the next generation. From a relational standpoint, Till is an excellent way to get a foot in the real world because its founder, advisors, and teachers are all working professionals, and there is no gap between education and practice.
I’ve experienced many different models of education. I’ve attended both a private and public school, and I’m currently finishing high school as a homeschooler. My parents have always been committed to placing me in environments most suitable to my growth, and it has enabled me to become a confident leader, communicator, and problem solver. I’ve had the opportunity to travel, gain experience in the workforce, manage financial responsibilities, serve my community, develop relationships with influencers, and identify my passions. I believe that my real-world experience, adaptability, and willingness to learn made me an excellent candidate for Till, and I’m incredibly excited to have been a part of it!

Chase Dunbar

 

From a Parent's Point of View

While watching my son's final presentation of his design challenge, I kept saying to myself- Yes! Yes, this is awesome! THIS is real-life education. The personal and professional skills, and relationships he gained through this program are invaluable. Not only did I see his confidence grow though his experience, but he now has practical tools that will help him be better equipped for the future.

Sara Dunbar