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How Make School Has Adapted in a Time of Crisis

Our mission remains unchanged

We know these are uncertain times. Colleges across the country have been required to adapt extremely quickly to current circumstances. Make School has risen to this challenge and has successfully shifted all classes online while maintaining our synchronous, personal teaching approach. But while we may have changed our methods to deliver education, our guiding principles remain untouched. They are:

Project-based education
Strong focus on outcomes
Personal teaching approach
Tight-knit community
Student-first mission

The safety of our students and staff has always been our number one priority. We closed our campus one full week before San Francisco announced its shelter-in-place order. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and take action as necessary.

While there is still much uncertainty around when we’ll be able to fully re-open, we are committed to and planning for all scenarios. And above all, we are making our plans with a student-first approach. This means that even in the event we are allowed to partially re-open this fall, we plan on maintaining an onsite-optional program and operating with a hybrid onsite + online learning approach.

Given the chance that we may have to continue our online learning program through the fall, we know many of our prospective students will have questions about what an online learning experience looks like at Make School. Our online offering is designed to provide the full Make School experience - a project-based, industry-relevant CS curriculum taught in small classes to an inclusive community of students.

Make School staff having fun with remote meetings

Course Information

Make School has modeled our Applied Computer Science Bachelor's on best practices from actual technology companies. Students use Google Calendar for meetings, Slack for class and school wide communication, Github for all code submissions and reviews, and have daily stand ups like most engineering teams. They are expected to message their instructors if they are going to miss a meeting like any engineer in industry would have to message their manager.

Modeling our practices after industry practices made it easier for us to transition online - like most workplaces have.

The online program at Make School remains full-time and live, with small class sizes that allow for lots of collaboration and engaged learning. We’ve worked hard to ensure that our remote students have the same access to coaching, student services, mental health counseling, and more.

Structure

Courses are delivered synchronously online during the same time periods they would have been delivered onsite. Classes are recorded so students can return to the material at a later date.

Format

Courses continue to emphasize active and project-based learning. Our courses include small group and pair breakout sessions, solo work time, group and one-on-one office hours with instructors, supported by a mix of live and pre-recorded lectures that are shorter than found at traditional colleges.

Assessments

Because of the project-based nature of the program, our courses more often require students to build applications, webpages, APIs, etc. We primarily use performance rubrics, instead of written exams, to assess these student projects. For those classes that do require exams, Make School instructors have been assigning written content/essays instead.

Student Community & Experience

At a time when physically distancing ourselves from each other is recommended for staying healthy, it’s more important than ever to find new ways to stay connected. At Make School, we believe that community interaction is a vital part of learning and we are continuing to put a strong focus on our online/virtual communities to prevent any feelings of isolation. Here are a few ways we are supporting our community:

Huddles

Every morning, students join online to connect with their small group and do fun, insightful activities together.

CoWork Support

CoWork is Make School’s newest initiative to give students the time and space to get work done! Whether that means collaborating in a breakout room with peers, or getting some 1:1 help from a TA/peer mentor or staff, CoWork is open to all students.

Spirit Week

Make School is hosting a virtual spirit week from April 13-16 to help boost spirits. Each day will involve new, fun ways to dress up and get silly with each other from a distance!

Make School of Codecraft and Makery Competition

Students will be self-selecting into “houses” and participating in a number of inter-house challenges to foster intimacy, fun, joy, and engagement.

Career Support & Outcomes

While every industry has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, tentative early indicators show that the tech industry will be the most resilient to the upcoming financial crisis. While we are aware of hiring freezes for both jobs and internships at this time, we have also continued to see strong job placement since the pandemic has hit. A few of the placements we have recently had have been at companies that include Apple, Pandora, Seagate, Zendesk, and Western Digital.

We continue to provide as much career support to students as possible. This includes providing students with mock technical interviews with our instructors - 3 times a year, we pause classes and help students get practice interviewing. We recently conducted our first mock interviews virtually, which will prepare students for the interviews they’ll be experiencing in these current times.

Make School Connect Week

Make School Connect Week provides students with a way to virtually connect with engineers from the tech industry.

Events include:

  • Women in Engineering - Panelists from Evolv and Microsoft Genomics
  • Working at a Startup - Panelists from Livly, Maven, ScaleAI
  • What it's like to be a PM - Panelists from Spotify and Microsoft
  • Intro to Make School Connect - Make School Connect is a freshly minted speed mentorship group of 30+ software engineers from industry that are available for informational interviews specifically with Make School students
Students during Make School Connect Week

For more information on how Make School is adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to check out the recording from the recent info session on our response, conducted by cofounder Jeremy Rossmann and lead instructor Dan Morse.

Admissions & Enrollment Updates

As we prepare to welcome a new class to Make School, we are conscious of the fact that a lot has changed and the prospect of enrollment can feel daunting. We want to assure all prospective students that Make School has already put changes and policy in place to make the process easier. The changes we have implemented are below.

Domestic Admissions

Make School is a test-optional college - we have never placed importance on the SAT/ACT. You do not have to submit SAT/ACT scores to apply. This is more important now than ever in light of the tests that have had to be canceled as a result of the current crisis.

Domestic students may now use UNOFFICIAL transcripts to receive an admission decision so long as the grades, class titles, student name, and institution name are clearly visible.

International Admissions

International Students may now use the Duolingo Proficiency Exam for $49.00. The minimum score we will accept as meeting our requirement is 105. The score was arrived at by correlating both our TOEFL passing score and IELTS passing score with the Duolingo scores.

Enrollment

We have implemented extensions for deadlines to submit final, official transcripts and extensions for submitting Medical Forms. Tentatively all transcripts are due October 01, 2020 and medical forms are due August 01, 2020. We also have a plan in place to push those deadlines further if necessary.

We will also be offering deposit waivers and reductions to students and families who have been negatively affected by COVID-19. Prospective students must email apply@makeschool.com with the subject line, "Deposit Waiver/Reduction - COVID-19" to inform us of their change in financial circumstances.

What Happens This Fall?

The fact remains that a lot is unknowable right now with regards to what scenario we will face this fall. In the best possible scenario, we will be able to open campus again and welcome new students in person. We miss being able to see and interact with the Make School community face-to-face and can’t wait for the opportunity to do so again.

What we do know is that Make School is ready to be operational this fall. We believe it is likely that we’ll be able to resume some onsite operations. In the event that this is true, we plan on operating in an onsite-optional capacity and will leave the choice up to each individual student whether they feel comfortable moving to San Francisco for onsite classes this fall.

To support an onsite-optional program, we have already begun iterating further on the online curriculum and processes we have created. We will be even better prepared to provide online learning, alongside onsite learning, in the fall. If necessary, orientation will take place online. Once the government dictates that all colleges need to re-open fully, we will resume our onsite-only operations*.

Whatever circumstances we face this fall, we want to assure prospective students that Make School is committed to welcoming the incoming class and setting every student up for success - whether that means doing so in person or doing so online.

*We expect onsite-only operations to resume in 2021, though if the government removes the remote-delivery mandates currently in place earlier than 2021, we may have to comply with federal regulations.

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