As a Senior Admissions Producer, Kelly Killoran knows what it takes to excel in General Assembly’s immersive bootcamps. The 3-4 week-long application process is similar for software engineering, data science, and UX/UI design, with coding challenges respective to each. Don’t know where to start? Kelly takes us through the exact level of knowledge you need to know before you apply, and resources to propel you into your tech career. Find out what stands out in prospective students, from soft to hard skills, and how to get ahead in the admissions process.
Are there coding challenges in the applications for the Software Engineering, UX Design, or Data Science Immersives?
There is a technical challenge for all three of the immersives.
We ask you to walk us through your code, analysis, or design; to ensure you can explain what you've done, that you've practiced, and that you have a strong vocabulary. From there we ask a few technical questions.
Who will applicants be interviewed by during the process?
New applicants conduct the intake process with General Assembly's Admissions Team. The same Admissions Producer takes each applicant through each stage in the admissions process, including the interview. General Assembly's Admission Team is currently around 60 people, spanning across the US, Australia, Europe, and Singapore. The Admissions Team at General Assembly is committed to supporting prospective students to ensure that this is the best investment, timewise and financially. They assist with preparation, interviews, and course enrollment. It's also the onus of the students that they're doing the research and due diligence. If at any time you have questions, the Admissions Team is there for you.
If there are any discrepancies in the interview, if we have extra technical questions we can't answer, or if we feel like we need a second pair of eyes, we have the ability to pass on our notes to instructors to take a second look at, but during the interview process you'll definitely be with and receiving feedback from the Admissions Team.
How long does the admissions process take at General Assembly?
Generally, the applications for all three immersives take the same amount of time – generally 3-4 weeks. You’re assigned a project, then you have 3-5 days to work on the project. We schedule a 30-45 min meeting to review it together.
How selective is GA for these immersive classes? What’s the acceptance rate?
Our ultimate goal is to help you transition into a career path that makes sense for you. If that means that the first interview goes poorly, we will give you a second chance to continue studying and try again in a few weeks.
60-70% of applicants are successful the first time around in their interview process.
The Admissions Team is held accountable for folks graduating and getting jobs – the admissions process makes sure students are set up and excited to start.
What are the technical skills you need to get into a General Assembly immersive?
The immersives are fairly beginner-friendly, but through the admissions process we try to get students up to speed and build some foundations. Ultimately the folks who are great at building those foundations are able to hit the ground running and take on the challenge & intensity of the bootcamp more confidently.
What kinds of soft skills are you looking for in applicants?
We are looking for students who: are curious, resourceful, and have a growth mindset. They have questions, have tried to answer their inquiries themselves, and they've used different resources to find those answers. As well, being open to and asking for feedback is a good sign for us, as well as students who have a general excitement on the subject.
How can applicants show off those soft skills in the interview? What's the secret to showing someone that you're curious in the application process?
A few hot tips:
An applicant could display curiosity by expressing in our meetings, "I was curious about this problem, couldn't quite get to the answer, but this is the process I went through to try to solve it."
Thinking through and remembering in the interview which resources you used helps us understand that you have applied yourself and tried to teach yourself coding on your own.
How can someone fill the gap between feeling like a total beginner and getting to a place where they can shine in that type of interview?
Then, you can move onto other Free Coding Resources like General Assembly’s Intro Courses which are live streamed with an instructor. These are great for folks looking to get used to the remote format, explore content, prepare for the immersive, get their feet wet with HTML/CSS or Python or wondering what the heck UX is!
Attend a Free Fridays workshop. These workshops will be longer and more intense than Intro classes and helps people get their feet wet or upskill. It's also a good way to see different events or subject areas you might be interested in.
To a beginner, it's so important to have that initial conversation with someone on the Admissions Team because we want to help understand where you're at and how to set you up for next steps. We can help figure out where your gaps are, what resources would be the best fit for you, ultimately ensure that if you're going to put in hours self-studying that it's in the right subject area; that you are working to your goals, have plenty of time to create the roadmap for yourself based on the cohort dates you're looking for (when you want to start or when you want to graduate).
If you are someone with an intermediate understanding of software engineering, data science, or UX/UI, then you're probably ready to interview and advance through the process more quickly because you already have foundations set. Have the initial conversation and be ready and willing to go through the interview process, which is more explorative than scary.
Be confident that no matter the outcome, we are there for you every step of the way.
What outcomes can General Assembly applicants expect when they graduate?
Every student enters General Assembly with an individual goal. For example:
Does someone need to know exactly what they want out of their career during the admissions process or can they decide during the bootcamp?
We challenge students to start looking into careers that are out there by reading job descriptions, but it's not necessary that you have a set goal.
Through the course you'll have a career coach teaching you what roles exist, what other students have done, and how your resume compares to your dream role. Through the class they’ll teach you what that looks like.
Then, post-course, they help you as you're applying for different roles to help best position yourself.
Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students researching coding bootcamps. Her research has been cited in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and more. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube!
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