Our approach to learning at HackCville

Why learning through projects can help you make potential employers drool and start anything you want to

HackCville’s programs are all built around projects.

If you’re learning web design in one of our skills courses, you might make a website for a local non-profit or small business.

If you’re learning about entrepreneurship in Hustle, you might end up designing and selling your own t-shirts.

Some of our members now run our Startup Trips, where they learn about sales, marketing, and operations by running a $20,000+ trip to San Francisco.

We know that working on real-world projects helps you learn more, more quickly. And we know you’ll probably make new friends and have a lot more fun learning this way, too. Beyond that, our project-based learning approach at HackCville is designed to:

  1. give you the ability to make your own way (fund yourself),
  2. make yourself phenomenally attractive to employers, and
  3. gain the confidence and ability to start whatever you want.

Here’s a bit more about each.

Over spring break the Startup Trips Team brought over 30 students to San Francisco. The trip was a $20,000 mini-business, all run by HackCvillers!

(1) Fund Yourself.

You learn lots of marketable skills at HackCville. We hope that by joining our programs, excelling in them, and furthering your learning you can get paid to do work while you’re in school. (Not that you have to, but you can!)

Making your own money will allow you to pay your bills, pay your loans, and have enough food to eat. Paying for your own things is not only empowering but also gives you the freedom to choose a career based on what YOU want. You won’t have to worry about what other people want for you or financial constraints.

(2) Make Potential Employers Drool.

Getting a job, if you choose to go that route, is getting harder. Companies want to hire people that can just DO STUFF, not talk about it. They want skilled people that have a history of execution, sometimes regardless of someone’s GPA. We try to build that into our programs, especially through our HC Projects (like our Startup Trips and The Pioneer itself) and Launch summer program.

If you’re able to demonstrate awesomeness in making something (which can be really, really hard) people will take note. The experience you can gain through our courses, Hustle, Trips, Pioneer, or your own projects is invaluable. Having that under your belt will make you stand out. It’s a chance to show others how much you can do.

Our Elliewood Fellows built on their experience working on projects and are now starting their own projects after graduation.

(3) Start Whatever You Want.

If you can fund yourself and you have skills to actually make things, you can start something. Our programs and projects teach you how to think entrepreneurially, to test ideas in a low-risk way, to sell your ideas, and prove to yourself and others that your concepts are worth pursuing.

The world doesn’t need more corporate drones — the world needs people that actually can solve problems in ethical, intelligent, holistic ways. Your UVA education combined with our programs and community can help you make your dream a reality if you want to try it. Even if you don’t want to start something now, you’ll have the confidence to do it someday.

So, if you’re able to make your own money, are attractive to employers, and know how to put ideas into action, the world is your oyster. Leaving college with that mental state enables you to actually do good in the world – whether it be at a company or your own venture. That’s why we teach through projects, and that’s what we’re hoping for at HackCville – to create ethically-minded doers, out there solving problems worth solving for people that need it.

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About The Pioneer + HackCville

The Pioneer is the publication of HackCville. All of our producers are either current students or graduates of HackCville’s media education programs.

Our producers develop skills in modern media production through publishing stories about creative, civic, and entrepreneurial innovators in the University of Virginia and greater Charlottesville community. Learn more →

HackCville develops the skills, networks, and entrepreneurial ability of talented U.Va. students. We accelerate our students’ ideas, projects, and startups through our experiential programs and tight-knit community. More about us →

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