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New Program Announced: Inaugural Gap Semester Cohort. Learn More!

About us

We envision a world where people take ownership
of their education.


We envision a world where people take ownership 
of their education.

Empowerment through education and experience.

The core principle of UnCollege is that people should be empowered to take control of their own choices for learning. Research shows that almost everyone can benefit from taking concentrated time to focus on their learning, discover their talents, and develop professional acumen. The experience-based program we’ve created teaches young adults the practical skills they miss in most conventional classroom settings through a blended approach of self- directed learning, accountability training, mentorship, and deliberate practice. This method, called Supported Self-Directed Learning, equips participants with the essential cognitive skills, confidence, and professional aptitudes they can utilize in all future endeavors.

Our Mission

UnCollege helps young people pursue their interests proactively through learning relevant skills and gaining real world experience.

Our Program

UnCollege is a program that deliberately teaches the soft skills learned in college and develops them during a nine-month gap year for students preparing for the next step in life. It's a three-phase program: international service learning, skill building workshops in SF, and an internship anywhere in the world. All of this is woven together by a dedicated coach and mentor(s) that the fellow works with throughout the program to identify and set personal and professional goals. The result is expedited growth on both levels.

Our Story

A Mission to Make Education Better.

UnCollege and Our Founder

The story of UnCollege and its Gap Year Program begins with its founder Dale J. Stephens. Dale was unschooled – an education movement that promotes self-directed learning – from sixth through the twelfth grade and enrolled at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas following “high school.” At Hendrix, Stephens came to the conclusion that he needed time to decide what he wanted to pursue professionally and that his college experience was not adequately teaching him the 21st century skills he knew he would need to succeed in the professional world. Dale responded in January of 2011 by creating a hub for a powerful international experiential learning community – UnCollege.org.

In an effort to help young adults in an even more hands on manner, Dale and the UnCollege staff launched its first Gap Year Program in the Fall of 2013. Since then, young adults from 15 different countries have participated in the program. Upon graduating the program, UnCollege Fellows have gone on to start their own companies, receive university scholarships, join startups, and help non-profits around the globe. 

Our Team

Learn more about the people that drive our program

UnCollege Advisors

Contributing to our progress

Jake Schwartz

Jake Schwartz is Co-Founder and CEO of General Assembly

Danielle Strle

Based out of New York, Danielle is the Director of Product at Tumblr

Daniel Pianko

Daniel Pianko is a founding Managing Director of University Ventures

Ted Dintersmith

Ted has more than 19 years of experience in early-stage venture investing, focusing on software and information services.

Lisa Nalbone

Lisa is an educator, life-long learner, and experienced community organizer. She is an influencer in the self-directed learning space.

Michael Staton

Michael is a partner at Learn Capital, keeping his eye on ed tech and advisor to New Schools Venture Fund.

Alex Ellison

Alex owns Dunce, LLC, a college planning and helps students with their post gap year journey.

David Wanek

David is an investment partner at Western Technology Investment, a position he has held since 2000.

Graham Forman

Graham Foreman is the Managing Director and founder of Edvocate Capital. He is a widespread advisor in the ed tech space.

Our Supporters

It takes a village to change education.

Get in touch

At the end of 2017, UnCollege rebranded to Year On. This new chapter in our program reflects many of the core elements that made UnCollege successful and we’ll continue to focus on providing our fellows with tools for strong personal development.  Click below to learn more about our new programs and start your application for our 2018 cohort today!
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