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Why do Fullstack and other top coding bootcamps have such hard admissions?

Fullstack oct 21 2015 8302i

When trying to evaluate coding bootcamps, admissions is one of the best things to look at (other good things include: projects built by students, hiring outcomes, and student reviews).

There are two general classes of coding schools: those with selective admissions processes, and those with more open policies—Fullstack falls into the former. In our view, admissions is a main driver of success for students and the school as a whole.

We have 2 primary goals in the admissions process:

  1. Evaluate if a candidate is technically ready to succeed in the program - Both where the curriculum starts, and at the pace it moves.

  2. Evaluate if a candidate will be able to achieve their stated goal for attending - Often that's getting a job as a software developer.

Technically Ready

The immersive curriculum at Fullstack starts at a more intermediate point than many other programs, and moves quickly. New, complex topics are introduced almost daily, and class meets 6 days a week. Because of that challenging structure, we want to make sure every student is prepared to succeed academically before joining the program. So the technical portion of admissions tests for knowledge of the fundamentals of programming and also attempts to see if you can apply new concepts when first encountering them.

Achieving Your Goals

Attending a coding bootcamp is a large investment of your time, effort, and money, so it's important to think carefully about what you aim to get out of it. For most people, the desired outcome is to build a career in software development. At Fullstack, we want to be confident that you'll be able to achieve that goal when offering admission into the school. When we accept a student, we're also accepting your tuition, and essentially promising you that you'll be able to get a job afterwards.

If we're not reasonably confident that you can achieve that job outcome, then we can't make that employment promise in good faith. In fact, we believe it would be unethical to accept someone (and their tuition) in that scenario, akin selling coding bootcamp snake oil. Technical skills are an important factor in a developer job search, which is why we focus on that in admissions process, but it's not the only thing. Successfully completing a Fullstack immersive course and navigating the job search afterwards takes more than just good coding. It involves a lot of hard work, diligence, and performing well in interactions with fellows students and in job interviews.

If a school has a thorough admissions process, that means they’re trying to ensure you’ll be prepared for their curriculum and get a good outcome from the program. If a school’s admissions process is very light-weight, I’d proceed with caution, as that can speak to the level of the curriculum (among other things) and makes it harder for a program to get all students to the highly employable stage.