Every decision we make at Thinkful is guided by the question, what’s best for our students? For some people, taking our course might not be the right choice.
To make sure each student is on a path to succeed and not waste their time and money, the first month of the Web Development Bootcamp program is an admissions period. We review each student’s progress at the end of that month to assess whether they’re on track, considering factors like the student’s progress through the course material, their attendance to mentoring sessions, commit history, feedback from their first assessment interview, and feedback from their mentor. If the student was unable to dedicate enough time to make consistent progress we have a conversation with that student to discuss whether the course and this career are right for them.
We had this conversation with students five times in 2015; for context, 97 students successfully completed that first month. Four of those five students switched to lower intensity intro courses, and one decided to withdraw.
If we recommend a student start with a lower intensity course, students that would like to continue in the Web Development Bootcamp despite our recommendation to withdraw may continue for two-weeks and then re-evaluate. At the end of this probationary period the program manager will review the same factors and give the student their final determination.
In our jobs report, we include the admissions month as part of the total enrollment time (the 4.5 month average time to graduation includes the admissions month). Our graduation rate only includes students who are admitted (in line with other schools – both online and offline).
We choose not to run admissions before letting someone start because every rejected student is a person you’re denying the opportunity to change careers. We’re not interested in being gatekeepers, and we can’t predict with 100% certainty who will succeed before they start. But once we’ve seen your trajectory for a month, we know with much more certainty whether you’ll be able to succeed, and whether you’ll be able to do it without quitting your job and at a far lower cost than alternatives.
- Grae Drake, Head of Education at Thinkful