Ascend is a project-based higher education program, which means that the core of what we do is focused on helping you to translate your academic and nonacademic studies into practical, actionable steps that equip you for life. We believe you’re called to greater things than most people settle for, that there are often better ways to learn those things than merely sitting in a classroom, and that your education should functionally equip you for a life of impact.
Well, all that sounds great…but what does it actually mean? What is project-based education?
Most colleges and universities are primarily academics-based. In a traditional college setting, the priority is to deliver the best academic experience possible. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — particularly if your goal is to enter a professional field where intense academic preparation is necessary. This is most often (though not exhaustively) the case in careers in places like the medical field, the legal field, or the engineering field.
However, a significant (and increasing) number of career fields require less rigorous academic preparation and far more rigorous skills preparation. In fact, there are significant skills that most colleges or universities seldom touch — but that are inherently critical for success in today’s professional world. And while academic simulations and book knowledge are great, there are times where stopping at the theoretical just won’t cut it.
Because of this, project-based education avoids the theoretical as much as possible. It substitutes simulations with real-world experience and grounds academic knowledge in practical application. Throughout Ascend, you’ll actively take the theories and ideas you’re learning in your academic classes and apply them in real life. You’ll do real projects, learning to turn ideas into reality, connecting with real professionals, and working with teams of people on some seriously ambitious ideas. You’ll work on real skills in the real world. And you’ll learn the tools, principles, and skills necessary to be exceptional in your generation.
Are you still going to take academic courses? Yes — absolutely! This is, after all, a college program. But the academic component of your college journey is no longer the end-all focus – your real-life application of that knowledge is. In project-based education, academics supplement and support the ultimate goal of college — to solidly prepare you for life.