The sad truth of the education system in the United States (and worldwide) is that it does not teach our young people the practical skills they need to succeed later on in life. While understanding core math and writing skills is helpful in virtually any career, the traditional education system often cannot teach other equally important skills — such as critical thinking or problem-solving skills — due to its cookie-cutter model.
Ivy Xu developed Prequel to respond to the education system’s shortcomings and help teach more young people essential “21st-century skills.” These skills — such as business strategies, ideation, hypothesis testing, research, and pitching ideas — might be taught in traditional schools in their theoretical form, but how these concepts are applied in the real world is very different from how they are taught in the classroom.
Prequel’s programs are taught by the industry’s leading innovators
Prequel’s passion-led boot camps are led by some of the world’s leading experts, making them extremely effective at teaching youth the necessary concepts that traditional education doesn’t. Led by instructors who have real-life work experience at some of the most recognizable and prestigious companies in their respective fields, from Google to Meta and Goldman Sachs, Prequel students get the opportunity to gain these skills and knowledge from people who apply it in their careers every day.
For many students, working with these successful individuals as mentors and role models gives them the inspiration they need to make a real difference in the world. Middle and high school students, for instance, frequently have many great ideas, but don’t always have the necessary skills to bring them to life. “Our goal is to empower students with the knowledge they need to realize their dreams successfully,” Xu explains.
What Prequel offers to students
The real-world experience of Prequel’s instructors ensures that they go beyond textbooks and abstract theories, exploring these topics in ways that are genuinely useful to students in real life. Several alums of Prequel programs have used their time in the programs to develop and launch their businesses or ideas, and leveraged their connections with their instructors and mentors to secure valuable positions at important companies.
One aspect of Prequel’s programs that should not be discounted is the opportunity to network with other ambitious students from around the world. Prequel is open to students in grades 8-12 worldwide, making the boot camps a breeding ground for the most exciting up-and-coming talent from countries across the globe. Working with international peers allows students to form connections with one another and creates a much-needed form of healthy competition that encourages them to go above and beyond.
Prequel began with the BETA Camp program, which focuses on inspiring future entrepreneurs, CEOs, and innovators by teaching them what it takes to lead a startup successfully. Although BETA Camp is Prequel’s signature offering, the company has since expanded the programs they offer to cover a much more diverse range of industries. Students can participate in camps focusing on investing and content creation, with camps on climate activism, coding, product design, and more on the way.
Why Prequel is advantageous for ambitious students
Although many of these skills would eventually be taught to students in college or upon entering the workforce, Prequel accelerates when students are introduced to these skills and concepts. By being exposed to these ideas while they are still in middle or high school, and by some of the foremost experts in the field, students will have a foot in the door to get into more prestigious universities and land higher-paying jobs.
However, the defining characteristic of Prequel’s programs is that they are taught in a way to which students are receptive. Gifted students have been shown to struggle in traditional classroom settings at times because they are not adequately challenged or engaged with the material. In comparison, Prequel’s instructors teach the material in a way that will constantly keep students involved and invested.
Students need to learn more than what they are taught in school. “The most ambitious students are likely already searching for ways to enrich their education and prepare them for their future,” explains Xu. “At Prequel, we connect ambitious students with those at the forefront of innovation to teach them things they wouldn’t learn in school. These are critical skills, and learning them early will prepare them for long-term success.”