This MIT Dropout Was Sick Of High Tuition So He Created His Own College
Jeremy Rossmann was frustrated by the rising costs of college tuition, especially at his alma mater of MIT, where undergraduate tuition and living expenses for nine months is $44,720. So instead of just whining about it, Jeremy did something about it. He created his own college.
Jeremy dropped out of MIT and re-imagined college. And after years of rethinking the whole college system he actually created the first anti-college. With co-founder Ashu Desai, they started The Make School, a college replacement program for founders and developers.
We founded Make School to empower students to build and ship products. Creating a product that improves the lives of others is a thrilling and fulfilling experience that opens the door to a successful career in tech. We’re building the college experience we wished existed, one where our students love coming to school every day and are passionate about their work.
We’re creating an education relevant to today’s industry where students gradually transition into the professional world. We believe in learning by doing, at Make School studying takes a back seat to creating. We believe the app is the new resume, a portfolio of products is more powerful than any credential. We believe coding is the world’s first superpower, our students help make the world a better place.
The institution has an option to not pay any tuition upfront. This appeals to the millions of college students who are drowning in student loans. This debt-free model charges students only once they find employment after graduation. So if The Make School does not provide you with a career, then not only do you suffer, but so do they. This inspires the school to ensure that you succeed.
There is no tests. Instead of tests, there’s project-based work. “Our core philosophy is if you teach the same thing two years in a row, it’s got to be wrong because computer science as a field and software engineering as a discipline is moving so fast,” said Rossmann.
In September 2015, The Make School started their inaugural academic year with nearly 30 full-time students. The initial student body was a mix of high school graduates and those who left traditional colleges to experience this alternative learning structure. They all live together in dorm-like housing in San Francisco, California. Being in San Francisco allows the students access to top tech companies in Silicon Valley.
Besides the programming classes, there are also valuable everyday life classes that include nutrition, health, writing and exercise. “And then some more general life skills, communication, empathy, understanding the history of tech and then a big segment on ethics,” Rossmann said. “‘So Uber, what do we think? Airbnb, where do we stand? Is it okay to start a company in that way? Is it beneficial for society? Are the laws out of date? How does this all work behind the scenes?'”
Not everyone has accepted this alternative to traditional college with open arms. Rossmann addresses their concerns, “When LinkedIn and Lyft and these companies with tens of millions of dollars of funding are all committing contractually to coming and recruit here, and they don’t come to the school where your child is studying, that means something.”
Is this anti-college the future of college?