That time when the oldest is going to have to decide what he wants to do after high school. It’s exciting and intimidating all at once. I’m already having that “holy guacamole, I can’t believe my baby is going to be old enough to graduate in a few years” anxiety. I’m such a mom.
We’ve talked about college and he’s definitely agreeable to it, but he’s not sure what he wants to study yet. He’s always learned best through hands-on, get in the trenches and try things situations, so we’ve also been looking at other options like the Praxis Program. When they offered us a chance to learn more, we decided to take the opportunity to dig a little deeper and see if it might be a good fit for his life after high school. So far, it looks like a great contender.
What is the College Alternative Praxis Program?
If you’ve never heard of the Praxis Program, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I have a friend who’s a High School Guidance Counselor and even she didn’t know much about it. Basically, the Praxis Program is an intensive college alternative for those who may not want a traditional collegiate path.
I’ll be honest, we were a little confused about how it all worked when we first heard about it. Was there an application process? Was there tuition? Was the internship paid? So many questions. Thankfully, Praxis has a fantastic program guide that helps answer those questions for you, so that you can decide if it’s the right option for your child.
HOW THE PRAXIS PROGRAM WORKS
The nine-month program is broken down into three phases: Bootcamp, Apprenticeship, Job Offer. Don’t worry, it’s more of a professional development Bootcamp than a military one and the internship is with start-up companies that are on the cutting edge of entrepreneurship and innovation. When A discovered that there was a guaranteed job after the program was completed (and that the average starting salary is about $50,000), he was really interested in finding out more.
APPLICATION & COST
There is an application process, but students can apply to the program up to a year in advance and classes start every month, so there’s a lot of flexibility. The tuition is $12,000, but the internship is paid to the tune of $14,400. Yes, you read that correctly, you actually make $2,400 on the deal and get a full-time job offer at the end of the internship. There are payment plans available, so don’t panic if shelling out a $12,000 lump sum isn’t in your budget (it’s not in ours either!).
PHASE 1: BOOTCAMP
The Bootcamp portion of the program is very intensive and lasts for three months. Students learn how to build their personal brand, complete intensive educational models in everything from economics to history and culture, build websites, create a portfolio project, learn how to pitch ideas, learn how to improve their professional writing and communication skills, and start to develop habits that will lead to their success. 1-on-1 coaching sessions are a staple of the program and allow students to get the most out of their experience. Think of it as an intensive Bootcamp for future entrepreneurs and forward thinkers.
PHASE 2: APPRENTICESHIP
After the Bootcamp, participants begin their 6-month paid apprenticeship where they learn how to build, launch, and grow a business. They’re expected to apply the skills they’ve learned in the Bootcamp to their work at the company and add value. It’s not a sit-back and do the minimum kind of situation. They get to shadow the company founder, work closely with those who are in the trenches of the business, and become a key player in the success of the business itself. All of the companies where students apprentice are high growth startups and are located all over the country.
PHASE 3: JOB OFFER
So, what happens after the nine months? Participants are guaranteed a full-time job offer with the average salary being about $50,000. That’s a fabulous salary for anyone – let alone someone who hasn’t completed one college class. The best part (besides not being $100,000 in debt at the end of four years)? Students learn real-world skills and get valuable on-the-job training that their peers in college will be waiting years to get. And, if they want to go to college while they’re working full-time, they can. It’s the modern day equivalent of something like a blacksmith or masonry apprenticeship with learning that they can apply to any future job.
HOMESCHOOLERS AND PRAXIS
In addition to being open to participants from public and private high schools, the Praxis Program is also a great option for homeschoolers. In fact, they get a high number of homeschool applicants who end up doing amazing work with companies around the country. That’s terrific news for students like my A who are looking at different career and education options after high school.
A is still deciding what he wants to do after high school, but the more we read, the more we hear, and the more questions we get answered by the supportive and always-helpful Praxis staff, the more the Praxis Program looks like it’s going to be a fabulous option. You can begin the application process here and download a copy of their Program Guide to read more about it for yourself. As for us? We’ll be putting the Praxis Program at the top of A’s after high school options.