College graduates may be well-versed in the intricacies of their majors, but the everyday aspects of life such as signing leases, making credit card payments and even ordering wine may prove to be as daunting as earning a degree.
That is where Jesse and Nicole Vickey come in.
The couple owns Cap and Compass, a company that teaches graduating seniors how to navigate the world outside the classroom.
Jesse and “guide,” Andy Ferguson, travel to college campuses providing seminars on the finer points of decoding a W-4 form and figuring out the correct usage of all those forks and spoons during a business dinner.
“I graduated from college in 1997. After a few months in the working world I was amazed at all of the little things I had to learn for the first time,” said Jesse. “I had to pick an HMO, set up a 401K and buy a mutual fund. Few recent graduates know how to do this. No one ever explains the ‘practical skills’ needed for life after college.”
With that in mind, Jesse and Nicole founded the company in 1999. Jesse handles the company’s day-to-day business and Nicole runs the marketing side.
The company is broken up into three parts: seminars, a book and the starter kits. Ferguson and Jesse travel to various schools and conferences, delivering 45-minute sessions in a light, entertaining way with plenty of slides, interactive role-play and candy rewards.
“We’ve found that the majority of the topics we discuss are new to most college students. We get tons of thoughtful questions every time we present at a college or conference,” said Ferguson. “Investment decisions, taxes, dinner etiquette, and health insurance are just a few of the things students need to know about, but haven’t been taught.”
Cap and Compass released a book, “Life After School. Explained,” which covers the topics discussed during the seminars.
A few examples include: advice on signing a lease, information on special tax deductions and even a tutorial on purchasing engagement rings.
The book was written by the three heads of the company and information was compiled from a collaborative effort, which consisted of input from investment advisors, restaurant owners, accountants, insurance salesman and other professionals.
The starter kits are not yet available but will be designed as a gift to provide graduates with an easier transition when moving to a large city.
Next year, Cap and Compass plans to expand their seminars to the West Coast and have their book stocked in school bookstores across the country. They also hope to offer the seminars as part of new hire orientation programs.
“Most colleges offer orientation programs for their freshman, but few offer ‘disorientation’ programs for their outgoing seniors,” said Jesse. “College should prepare you for life outside of college. There probably will never be a professor of Real World Science, but I hope more schools will get interested in providing seniors with these essential resources.”
Jennifer West can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org