How ‘academic’ is the program? Are we ‘learning’ the whole time?

We are looking for intellectually curious and academically motivated students. For the most part, we focus on “applications” of knowledge rather than academic learning. This means a lot more project-based and experiential learning and a lot less lecturing than some students may be used to. It also means very full days to allow for field and group work. We try to create appropriate time in the daily calendar for rest, relaxation, and fun. It is difficult to find the balance because students often have a different sense and expectation of how much unstructured time is desirable. In practice, about 80% of past participants say that they found the pace of the program and balance between structured and unstructured time to be optimal. Of the 20% who felt otherwise, some would have preferred more “free time” while others would have preferred less. The same ratio (80/20) felt the program was appropriately “academic” and “intellectually challenging” with the dissenting 20% in “disagreement” over whether or not they would have preferred a more or less “academic” program.