Here Every Step Of The Way
Advisors are mentors who walk the gap year journey with each student. Depending on the individual student and their needs, advisors help students strive to reach their personal goals to independence and self-exploration. They wear many different hats throughout their time with each student. For instance, they are an advocate, coach, accountability marker, cheerleader, teacher, life-long friend and much more. The overarching goal of advising is help students pursue goals, reflect on learning, and to learn to make the best decisions for the life students want for themselves.
The Advising Process
The advising relationship starts before students even begin the program. Advisors connect with students to get final insight into internship interests and to introduce themselves. First, they’ll set up internship interviews, answer any questions about the Adventure Challenge or the big transition to a new city and program and start the process of getting to know students. Once students arrive to Dynamy, they will meet informally with their advisors during Ropes Course and Adventure Challenge preparation. From here, they will continue to build a relationship that will continue throughout the year. Once students complete the Adventure Challenge and orientation, they meet formally with their advisors to discuss internship interview results. After this, they decide on a placement together. Subsequently, advisors start meeting students weekly for the rest of their time at Dynamy.
While advisors balance the role of mentor and accountability holder, they also strongly encourage students to get the most out of the experience. For instance, they push for students to actively participate in advising meetings by expressing their ideas, wants, needs and struggles. Advisors acknowledge the differences in every student, therefore allowing them to drive the advising sessions in whatever way makes the most sense. Some meetings are in the park taking a walk, while others might work on personality and career inventories. On the other hand, some meetings involve making a pros and cons lists about a big decision or just venting about a recent frustration. Overall, advisors are there to guide the conversation to learning and life applicability.
Advisors and students capture learning in individual portfolios, which are accessible to students at any time. Specifically, these portfolios are used during advising meetings. These portfolios are full of the tangible learning materials they have collected through their time at Dynamy, including:
Formalized Goal Sheets:
Students work with advisors to outline 1-3 student directed goals for growth. At this point, goals are discussed and reviewed in each advising session and progress is documented. The goals can changed, be modified and even completed during any point of the program, when this occurs new or different goals are developed.
Every week a student must turn in a timesheet with a sponsor’s signature from the week previous in order to receive their stipend check. Meanwhile, advisors keep track of hours worked and discusses this with students during each meeting to ensure they are on track to meeting optimal working hours.
Internship Agreement Meeting:
Every internship experience begins with a formal opening meeting called the Internship Agreement Meeting. Advisors, internship sponsors and students meet to discuss expectations, student and sponsor directed goals, as well as special projects. This document is two-fold, allowing for accountability for work being completed, and also for students to have a record of goals accomplished and tasks being done.
Each internship ends with a formal meeting. Here, students and sponsors complete forms that evaluate the progress of the student through their time at the internship. This is a great way for students to hear feedback about performance and get constructive advice to take with them to their next internship, job or life experience.
Formalized Staff and Student Check-In’s:
Once each semester (Fall and Spring), students will complete a self check-in about the four main components of the program: Internship, Advising, Residential Life, and Community Involvement. In addition, advisors complete a check in about the same four components in relation to the student. One advising session (or more if needed) is dedicated to reviewing and discussing these documents.
Both informal and formal reflections are a portion of the portfolio makeup. Informal reflections might be a pros/cons list about college choice, or a list of support needed to be successful at their internship. Formal reflections might be a sleep hygiene inventory, a personality or career cluster inventory, or a time management schedule.
The portfolios are presented to students during the Dynamy graduation ceremony.
Communication with Parents/Guardians
Advisors communicate with parents about once a month. These communications come in the form of email or phone call, depending on family preference. They are used to update families about progress, struggles or significant shining moments. However, parents are encouraged to reach out to advisors if they have concerns about their child. At the same time, parents are strongly encouraged to allow their child to create their independence in the way that makes sense for them.
While some students arrive with a college deferral in hand, the majority make their post-Dynamy plans while attending. This allows them to incorporate what they are learning about their passions into their future plan. Overall, Dynamy’s goal is to have all students graduate with a plan for what’s next to go along with the confidence and life skills they have gained.
Dynamy staff supports students in future planning in a couple of ways. First, through advising and the self-reflection gained with our portfolio system. In addition, this includes the use of Do What You Are survey. Here, staff mentors actively involve each student in thinking about and planning for what they will transition to next.
Secondly, Dynamy has a very experienced part-time college counselor on staff for students who want to explore and apply to higher education institutions. About 85% of students enroll in higher education immediately following their year or semester with Dynamy, so this is a popular option.
Finally, Dynamy introduces students to alumni and community leaders whose own paths to career may have been less traditional but nonetheless successful. These paths often include entering the workforce, where some students are offered employment by their internships each year. Also, some students participate in another semester with a travel or other structured learning program, or even apprenticing in a promising field (most often in the arts). Students have the opportunity to meet community leaders or alumni through Monday Programming or other special events.
Interns gain independence and freedom in apartment style living, while advisors and residential coordinators have their own apartments on the property.
Dynamy interns will be able to explore all of the opportunities Worcester has to offer, while participating in a variety of community services.
We partner with Clark University to offer interns up to 12 college credits. Full year students has the opportunity to take three college courses.
Read some of our frequently asked questions
Don’t worry! We hear this often. Many students coming into Dynamy are unsure of their internship path or even where they want to start. Dynamy has a trusted team of advisors that can help you navigate the process and find an internship that will be a good fit for you. Part of Internship Year is exploration and gaining a better understanding of your interest and passions.
Dynamy interns are 17-22 years old. Many students attend Dynamy right after graduating high school- others come after a few semesters of college. Whatever your recent path may be, you should apply if you feel ready! The most important factor for a successful Internship Year is the motivation to work with supportive advisors, like-minded peers and real world internships.
We understand transitions can be hard, especially trying to make plans for next steps. Dynamy advisers work with students throughout the year to discuss and assist with future planning. Additionally, Dynamy has a part-time college counselor on our team to help students navigate the college process from individual classes to colleges and universities.