Q&A With UnCollege Founder Dale Stephens


Stephens: Things like create an internship in whatever field you want to pursue. Also things like traveling around the world and learning foreign languages, attending conferences, becoming a mentor…or taking college classes and learning how to write. They're skills that will allow students to function successfully in the real world where they will hopefully be learning these skills as well.

ABC News: So, what's the difference between an internship in your field of choice and the UnCollege experience?

Stephens: UnCollege is a holistic life philosophy about learning from life, not a singular experience. A singular experience, be an internship, a class, a trip, or a volunteer position, would all collectively constitute the UnCollege experience.

ABC News: How far along are you in the process of finishing the structure of the curriculum?

Stephens: I just published the UnCollege manifesto, 'Your Guide to Academic Deviance.' This report is about 30 pages long and contains some of the first part of the curriculum. I'm also in talks with an educational design studio in New York City, called DerringDoDesign, about collaborating to create an online platform to support UnCollege. I'm also writing a book proposal to get the curriculum published. Nothing is decided yet, but I have meetings in New York with some publishers and agents.

ABC News: How far along are you with the book deal?

Stephens: It's nothing that I can share quite yet, unfortunately. I can tell you that we are building a platform that will disrupt higher education, enabling people to live happy, productive lives without following a traditional path through college.

ABC News: But don't you think college is something people should at least try?

Stephens: For somebody who has followed the path of traditional education for all of their lives, I would advocate going out into the real world over pursuing a traditional college experience. I would hope that someone who has never been in a traditional learning environment would at least try taking a college class or two. I think that there are valuable things to learn.

ABC News: What does college have to offer then?

Stephens: I think the biggest value of college is the sense of community. While it's easiest to find that community within the university setting, what UnCollege does is help an individual create that academic community in the real world.

ABC News: Do you think there are some things in the classroom that you can't learn in the real world and can't re-create online?

Stephens: Yes. Things like how to operate in a classroom environment.

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