Leap Semester is a 10-week work/study program that helps college students launch their career earlier while earning full credit towards their college degree.


Why Leap Semester?

Who is Leap Semester For?

You're in college. You want to gain experience outside of the classroom. You're thinking about an internship or study abroad, but you need something different. You learn by doing and want to make something meaningful, meet brilliant people, and gain timeless skills.


What will you Learn

You'll begin by meeting your classmates in Chicago for a rigorous week-long Meetup. Together, with a group of instructors who've worked alongside Stanford, Kellogg, and an array of companies, we will focus on curriculum around five core competencies:



Define your strengths and weaknesses, how you learn best, and what you need to perform at a high level. 


Learn how to identify key individuals in life and work, and how to invite them into the creation and building of a new idea.


Explore how storytelling can transform the way individuals & communities think, feel, and behave. You'll learn the principles and mindsets that will shape how you tell stories during your Leap and beyond.



We'll dive into the tools and systems that help organizations turn vision and goals into sustainable business models. 


Understand how to find solutions to the most complicated challenges using this creative process focused on developing empathy, prototyping quickly, and learning from failure.


Online Courses in Business:

The online courses, combined with the internship at a startup, are designed to provide students with a working framework for understanding Business Operations and its key activities: Business Planning, Finance, Marketing, Systems and Data, Leadership, and Venture Creation.

These courses harness leading tools, skills, and philosophies from business sages and cutting-edge thinkers and invite students to apply them immediately, creating valuable learning and a portfolio of experiences.

Each week, you'll engage in online discussions and coaching calls with an instructor who will provide you with feedback on your work and counsel related to your internship.

Upon successful completion of the program, students will have the opportunity to receive credit for the following courses:

  • Intro to Business Operations (3 credits)
  • Case Study in Entrepreneurship  (3 credits)
  • Intro to Marketing  (3 credits)
  • Business Writing  (3 credits)
  • Entrepreneurship Internship  (3 credits)
  • "Don't just study it – Experience It!"
    — April, 2014 Fellow
  • "I recommend this program to anyone looking for a hands-on, fast paced and rewarding experience.”
    — Erika Marmol, Tufts University
  • "Well worn paths will always be there, but I plan to keep designing my own."
    — Melanie, 2015 Fellow
  • "This gave me the framework to explore alongside masters of their craft while cultivating a purposeful skill set."
    — Olenka, 2015 Fellow
  • “This immensely rapid learning experience was something I never found in any course I took at college."
    — Giray Ozseker, Rice University
  • "I felt a sense of accomplishment as I worked alongside an incredible team driven to design a better world."
    — Toph, 2015 Fellow
  • "I came searching for direction and I found community."
    — Kali, 2016 Fellow
  • "Some of my favorite days? Exploring new sections of London after work with my friends."
    — Laura Walker, John Hopkins
  • "You should come if you are interested in possibilities."
    — Claire, 2016 Fellow
  • "I've built a network of people I can rely on."
    — Lance, 2015 Fellow
  • "This experience is 100% my catalyst on getting the full-time job offer I was seeking after college."
    — Mike Justus, Michigan - Ross
  • The skills that we are focusing on are skills that I feel like we will have forever. And they are super applicable!"
    — Joe, 2014 Fellow
  • "This launched me into my next step with more confidence and clarity."
    — Mūff, 2014 Fellow
  • "Set goals for yourself and own them.”
    — Maryama Diaw, Dartmouth College
  • "I know I'm ready for whatever is next."
    — Stephanie, 2015 Fellow
  • "I've learned to create my own opportunities – wherever I find myself."
    — Lance, 2015 Fellow
  • "You might never have these opportunities if you don't take a leap!"
    — Sami, 2016 Fellow


What will you Experience

Upon your acceptance into Leap Semester, Sage Corps will match you with pre-vetted high growth startups in select global cities. You will work full-time with a team based on your skill set and the startup’s needs.  You may focus your work on verticals such as: Marketing, Sales/Business Development, or Product Development.

Outside of your apprenticeship, you'll be immersed in the host city's entrepreneurial and business ecosystem. Sage Corps will help you attend networking events and round table discussions at venture capital funds, startup incubators and larger companies. All participants will have access to the Sage and Experience Institute Network–thought leaders and innovators who act as supporters throughout your Leap.


Cohort Timelines



At the end of your semester, you’ll meet back in Chicago to reflect on your semester, and present your experience and learnings to family, friends, and individuals from your community. EXPO is one-part TEDx talk and one-part thesis presentation wrapped up in one big, fun night.


Program Costs

Tuition for Leap Semester is $10,500. Upon acceptance, a $1,000 payment is required to secure your place in the cohort. The cost of the program includes:

  • Pre-Course focused on Ei's framework to design your learning

  • One-on-one support with Sage Corps to pair you with a 10-week Experience/Apprenticeship

  • Intensive In-Person Meetup in Chicago around Five Interdisciplinary Competencies

  • 15 Business & Entrepreneurship Credits

  • Online Business Course throughout the semester

  • Weekly Coaching to offer support throughout your courses and experience

  • Ongoing co-working space in Chicago throughout your experience

  • Final EXPO event to capture and share your Leap Semester with peers and future employers


Our team can also help you secure housing in the city of your apprenticeship site. 


For full information re: tuition and fees, please see our Consumer Information Disclosure here.


Why attend Leap Semester?


You'll gain practical skills and knowledge that will help you in your career and life.


You'll establish valuable relationships with industry leaders and peers.


You'll develop the creative confidence and process to solve problems in any environment.


You'll embark on an experience that will shape the way you view the world, define how you can make it a better place, and provide the credibility to launch you in the next step of your career. And, you'll do so as a builder of a new type of educational model.  

Can I receive college credit for completing this experience?

Yes. Columbia College Chicago awards 15 credits for the successful completion of the Leap Semester. The following course designations for the Leap Semester will appear on transcripts with student grades:

  • Introduction to Marketing
  • Business Writing
  • Business Operations
  • Entrepreneurship Case Study
  • Internship: Business Operations.

Are the internships pre-determined by Leap Semester or the students?

When you apply, you’ll let us know your interests and the skills you can provide a startup company, and then , you'll work with the Sage Corps team to determine where you might fit. We do our very best to make sure you are paired with a great team. More importantly, we will teach the skills and provide the community to make any experience rich and meaningful.

Is there any type of financial aid available for the Leap Semester program?

Through our agreement with Columbia College Chicago, students who are receiving financial aid should be able to apply that aid to participation in Leap Semester. Students from other colleges will need to ask your financial aid office to create a simple Consortium Agreement with Columbia so that your financial aid can be applied.

What is Experience Institute?

Founded in 2013, Experience Institute consists of educators, designers and business leaders working to make experience a credible form of education. We hail from traditional institutions, innovative companies, and far off places. We’ve combined our knowledge and experiences to build a 12-month program for grad-level students that teaches interdisciplinary curriculum while building bridges to meaningful experiences and apprenticeships. Along the way, we became friends with the amazing team behind Sage Corps and are working to create Leap Semester as a similar, transformative offering for college students.

What is Sage Corps?

Sage Corps is a global entrepreneurship program that sends top college students and young professionals abroad to work with tech startups. Built by a team with extensive global experience, we offer a unique opportunity for students to do impactful work alongside rockstar entrepreneurs. Whether you decide to work in Chicago, Buenos Aires, or Sydney, we'll ensure that you dive head first into a new culture. Together with our programming team, you'll work to find an experience that matches your learning goals during your Leap Semester.

Leap Semester Team

Victor Saad Founder Experience Institute

Victor Saad
Experience Institute

Matt Meltzer Founder Sage Corps

Matt Meltzer
Sage Corps

Rachel Bernstein Director, Programs Sage Corps

Rachel Bernstein
Director, Programs
Sage Corps

Aaron Wilson-Ahlstrom Director,  Programs Experience Institute

Aaron Wilson-Ahlstrom
Director,  Programs
Experience Institute

Rebecca Kahn-Witman Programming Manager Sage Corps

Rebecca Kahn-Witman
Programming Manager
Sage Corps

Anne Curtis Director, Institutional Relations Sage Corps

Anne Curtis
Director, Institutional Relations
Sage Corps

Cara Narkun Director of Marketing, Sage Corps

Cara Narkun
Director of Marketing, Sage Corps



Seamus Harte Storytelling Stanford d.School

Seamus Harte
Stanford d.School

Jeff Gowdy Business Operations Founder and CEO of Gowdy Consulting

Jeff Gowdy
Business Operations
Founder and CEO of Gowdy Consulting

Adrian Reif Business Operations Founder of YumButter

Adrian Reif
Business Operations
Founder of YumButter

Lena Selzer Design Thinking Civila Detroit

Lena Selzer
Design Thinking
Civila Detroit

Kevin Von Qualen Visual Documentation DeepTheForest.com

Kevin Von Qualen
Visual Documentation