Recent MakerSquare Reviews: Rating 4.41
Recent MakerSquare News
- Hack Reactor + MakerSquare Rebrand: Everything You Need to Know
- Student Spotlight: Ricardo D'Alessandro of MakerSquare
- August 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast
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- RC Johnson MakerSquare Review- 9/15/2014RC Johnson
- Rui Nakata MakerSquare Review- 9/15/2014Rui Nakata • Graduate
I'm a recent graduate of MakerSquare (just finished this past week) and spent the most fun 3 months of my life. It flew by! For future cohorts, I wrote a mini review about my time at MakerSquare: Why did you choose MakerSquare? I saw great reviews for MakerSquare online (via Facebook, Quora, Google) and its location in Austin was a huge plus considering its growth in the technology field. What was the environment at MakerSquare? The environment at MakerSquare was amazing! The people in my cohort were very motivated and friendly, the staff were very approachable, and it felt like I was a part of a family from the very first week. The founders really cared about what we thought about the program, so our feedback was addressed promptly. Because I felt so comfortable, I would get sad on the weekends when I couldn't be at MakerSquare. Working with instructors and staff The staff and instructors were the best part about MakerSquare! It's easy to see how much they care about the students and truly wish the best for them. I only had positive experiences with all of them. How did MakerSquare prepare you for your job search? MakerSquare did a decent job preparing us for our job search! Savrut and Jessica provided all of the information we needed in finding jobs. They were helpful during the entire process, and are available even after the course ends. They are limited to how much they can help, so you have to be proactive with your job search. To whom would recommend the program vs. who should not take MakerSquare, and why? I would not recommend this program to anyone looking to switch into software engineering for the money. You will have a tough time if you don't enjoy coding as a hobby. I would recommend this to anyone who is passionate about learning a variety of new technologies. It is not necessary to have an analytical/science background or heavy math background. As long as you enjoy coding, you will have a fulfilling experience. People from very diverse backgrounds came into my cohort and everyone became amazing coders!
- Sachin Ahuja MakerSquare Review- 9/15/2014Sachin Ahuja • Graduate
My expectations of MakerSquare: I didn’t know what to expect, my decision to come to MakerSquare happened very fast, so I was in Austin before I knew it. Why I chose MakerSquare: I chose MakerSquare because of their Austin location. I live in Corpus Christi, TX, so the short drive was convenient along with the cheaper rent in Austin. Environment - Immersive and fun! The bootcamp was very immersive meaning you are coding for most of the week. The combination of awesome students and staff made the experience fun instead of stressful. MakerSquare also made a conscious effort to create a positive environment by incorporating feedback during the course. People: Even though every student came from different backgrounds, everyone LOVED to code. That common interest kept every moment exciting. With the "work hard, play hard" mentality, the weekends made up for the difficult weeks. The MakerSquare staff were friendly and approachable. If they didn't know the answer to your question, they will definitely find someone who does or get back to you. The instructors were knowledgeable and you could see their passion and excitement to teach! Career Services: Not only do they have their own job board where you can apply to jobs they find for you, but they also give you resources on how to apply directly and through a recruiter. In addition, they give you organizational tools that you can use during your job search which are really helpful. Summary: You must like to code. You don’t have to be great, but if you’re the type of person that comes at a problem harder every time you fail, then you will do fine at MakerSquare. The immersive course is totally IMMERSIVE. Make sure you are prepared to work diligently and put in at least 40-50 hours a week.
- Silas Rioux MakerSquare Review- 9/15/2014Silas Rioux • Graduate
I was a student at MakerSquare and I am currently a backend developer at Bypass Mobile, a mobile point of sale start-up in Austin. Prior to MakerSquare, I was a SQL analyst at Deloitte. I had a great experience with MakerSquare and it is mostly a credit to the team, environment, and the skills I learned. Initially I had no idea what to expect. At the time, I realized that I was making a huge leap of faith putting my career on hold for three months and it made me more than a little nervous. After being introduced to the founders, however, I could tell how invested they were in my education. During the program they were always the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night, and were constantly finding more ways to make the course even better. In all honesty, the education that I received blew any expectations that I had out of the water.
The instructors were very invested in tailoring the instruction around the students, and making sure that we were all satisfied with our education and what we were getting out of the program. We were also given the opportunity to give extensive feedback during the course. The thing I found most surprising about MakerSquare was how incredibly smart and passionate all of the other students were. Everyone was devoted to getting as much knowledge and experience out of the course as they possibly could, and it really showed. The great thing about working at a small company, like Bypass Mobile and having a large amount of responsibility is that I have been able to use most, if not all of the technical skills that I learned at MakerSquare. While I still had a lot to learn in order to get up to speed at my new job, MakerSquare gave me a great foundation, and most importantly, taught me how to continue improving my software development skills on my own. Bypass Mobile is going great. I really enjoy interacting with the people I work with, and love going to work every day. I would recommend MakerSquare to anyone looking to break into a new and exciting career in software development or learn as much as you can about being a good software developer in order to improve your existing career.
While I look upon my experiences at MakerSquare to be one of the best decisions of my life, I definitely don’t think that it is a decision that is right for everyone. When you sign up for MakerSquare, you’re devoting the next ~3 months of your life to being an software developer/engineer and pushing yourself and your classmates to learning as much as they can. However, not everyone is going to be able to put their lives on hold for 3 months. Most individuals cannot juggle their current responsibilities and take this course at the same time; you have to go all in.
I'm writing this quick review to make sure you don't have to go through what I went through in LA, and that you're fully aware of what you're getting into.
Overall, based on my class turnout and the online reviews, a good portion of the students ultimately get pretty much what they were hoping for out of the program; a decent paying job. But my experience was not so.
The first 4-5 weeks were fine. We were learning the fundamentals of programming with decent material and ok instruction (the instructor was a recent hack reactor graduate ...6 months....who really was not knowledgable and couldn't teach worth a **^%). After about week 5, the material obviously got tougher, and we began more and more to watch recorded instruction videos from a Hack Ractor instructor in SF, probably because our instructor was inept, and couldn't really answer questions adequately when asked. I was completely lost and had no support and was just not advancing at all. And from week 6-12 you're working all alone with your classmates on a project. They'll tell you that that's part of the program.
At that point, I decided to talk to the management and put in my withdrawal from the course, and that's when they turned real ugly. All the staff who were so nice and loving all of a sudden turned into the evel empire...LOL. Long story short, all I wanted was a pro-rated refund, which they initially refused. they started strong-arming me and separating me from my classmates. In the end, they agreed to give me a pro-rated refund (after they nickeled and dimed down to the hour of when I came to them), only if I agreed to sign a non-disclosure form and keep everything hush. I couldn't even say bye to my classmates.
Anyway, you won't find a lot of negative reviews for MakerSquare because they work reall hard to manage it and strong-arm people.
Conclusion: MS LA is just a Hack Reactor wanna be, you'll end up with an inept instructor and watching online recorded videos from a HR instructor, which is absurd (for $17K).
I am really hoping standards and expectations, for what was previously MakerSquare Los Angeles, are improving under the new Hack Reactor brand. Even when I attended, MakerSquare implemented the Hack Reactor curriculum and functioned in the same way. I found my experience at MakerSquare in Los Angeles to be a mediocre experience at best, with a poorly implemented curriculum, untrained staff, a lack of oversite, and a huge waste of money.
When I arrived on-site with my cohort, MakerSquare was going through some staff turnover, which left inexperienced lecturers who had great intention, but lacked the experience to run the operation. The HR person was also new, and they just hired on the outcomes/career coach. Unfortunately, with an operation like MakerSquare, you don't have a way to insure stability of product, and whatever alteration to the curriculum the bootcamp wanted to try out at the given cohort was based on the feedback of the previous cohort. This was really frustrating since it would be nice to know exactly what you're paying for, and to know the people running the operation have appropriate experience.
The first half of the program is where you go through sprints learning JS fundamentals, Angular, Node, React, etc. Since everything is so condensed, if you're paired with a horrible partner, your learning is greatly diminished. For example, I was paired with a partner who had a chip on his shoulder and refused for our group to ask for help so we could "learn by figuring it out all on our own", so my learning for that sprint was hijacked. When you're paying a lot of money to be there ($16 - 17k), this is incredibly frustrating.
Regarding the senior phase of the program: There are some people who get a ton of learning and knowledge, and there are some who get little-to-none. The senior phase is the portion of the program where you build three projects with teams of engineers. In each group, there is usually one or two hot shots (perhaps simply because they were able to build in the frameworks of their choice) and the other members of the group are left in the dust trying to catch up with the framework they didn't focus on as a junior. Well, the staff doesn't really care about insuring everyone in the group is actually building.
Honestly, I see a lot of extension programs (UCLA Extension, UC Berkeley Extension, UCSD Extension, etc.) offering bootcamp-equivalent educational experiences that I think would offer much more value, stability, and oversite, simply because there's an institutional assurance of product, and staff/educators with appropriate expertise. Did I learn a lot in this program? Yes I did. I do not want to diminish the fact that you do learn a lot here. However, there are so many flaws with the design of this program that I feel that my time could have been better spent getting a couple certificates from a local community college or UC extension program.
There are a lot of things left out of the positive reviews here. Mostly because most kids don't want to commit career sucide by publically admitting that there was not really much value added by MKS and that it is an organization that appears to operate without standards or credibility.
That's not to say that people don't learn at MKS. Most do. But thats mostly because they are highly motivated, intelligent people putting in 80+ hours a week. They largely succeed in spite of MKS, not because of it. Here are some of the many things I would have liked to know before attending MKS, and which, aside from a handful of recent reviews on here, are not reflected in the information available to prospective students.
Makersquare provides you with a crowded, noisy, and busy co-working space in which your main educational resources will be a series of video lectures (half of which are low quality and pedagoically poor) and the guidance of a handful of teaching assistants, who, just a few weeks ago were in the same position you were. This is, with little exagerration, almost the entirety of what you are paying for.
This is not really communicated externally, but sit and think about it- you're paying $17k to have someone with 10 weeks of experience 'teach' you. Depending on who the TA who is on call, half the time I didn't even bother to ask for help because I knew the TA knew as little about the problem as I did. I say 'teach' because MKS emphasizes above all else 'self-suffieincy' i.e. google the answer yourself. This is supposedly to help you become an independent learner but is mostly used as an excuse to largely not have anyone on-site with any relevant technical knowledge. You end up with a half-baked base of knowledge cobbled together through trial-and-error hacking, trawling Stack Overflow, and otherwise doing stuff you could be doing from your own home, without MKS.
I say this not to demean the TA's, because they're doing their best. Its just ludicrous to have them as essentially the sole educational resource available. In my experience, a good number of the TA's chose to continue as TA's after MKS precisely becasue they felt a lack of confidence in their technical skills and wanted to spend a few more months post MKS improving. This isn't to say anthing against the TA's, who do the best they can, and, in my experience, are highly motivated, caring, and dedicated professionals. Its just an absurd situation that is succesful only in allowing MKS to staff itself at the lowest cost possible. Its an amazing business model when you can get kids to pay $17k, add no value, and then hire them back for a pittance to teach the next generation. But that's exactly what they do.
The first 5 weeks for me were extremely trying and consisted of sprints, which were presented in rapid-fire fashion without any real time for reflection or learning.
The sprints seek to bring you up to speed by layering on multiple concepts on top of each other in a way that is unhelpful and confusing. Hey, today we're going to learn about databases! But we're going to do it within the context of using an MVC framework you've never used, and oh, what the hell, let's throw in an ORM-layer on top! Nothing makes it easier to learn than half a dozen layers of abstraction! Don't worry if you don't get it, because tomorrow we'll be moving on to something completely different.
Most of the TA's I spoke to admitted the sprints were poor and that they had been planning to rework them for ages, but last I'd heard nothing has changed. This isn't really surprising since senior management seems checked out of the actual educational product and is focused on growing the business by adding new programs to sell, charging employers more to access students, and otherwise seemingly attempting to extract as much value as they can from students.
For the second half of the program, you are placed in a group to work on a project that will be the sum-total of value received for your 10 weeks and $17k. If things work out and you get a good group, you might have a nice project to speak to employers about. If you're placed in a dysfunctional group, you'll be on your own and MKS will not do anything to help you.
There is one person on the Austin instructional staff who cares. His name is Gilbert. You will be fighting for his attention with everyone else in your class. The other 'experienced' engineer is a guy who is checked out of his job and will be absent from the curriculum if he can even bother to show up. If you're wondering, hey, how might this actually be done in a production setting? What is the best practice for this type of problem? Save your questions for if/when you get a job, becasue outside of Gilbert, essentially no one here has a clue.
It seems that there are no actual admission standards, that the 'hiring standards' they claim to uphold are in fact highly flexible (no one I spoke to had ever heard of anyone failing), and in my experience, the school will always act in its own interests before its students. Since they hire the teaching staff from the former cohorts, I know more about this place than I care to. Management has leaned on TA's to accept kids who don't meeet basic technical standards in order to drive revenue. When people fail technically, MKS apparently carves them out of the employment statistics by having you sign a release. When people fail the hiring assesment, they're apparently given a special pass and allowed to graduate like everyone else. This doesn't do anyone any good except MKS.
I mention their apparent focus on managing metrics because I took a week off after the program (it was the week of Christmas, FYI) rather than start my job hunt. The main concern of MKS' careers team was to get me to sign a release so they could scratch me out of their hiring metrics, which demand that you adhere precisely to their instructions. This is, in a sense, helpful in the very narrow sense that it insures that you have comparable data (i.e. everyone started looking for a job on the same day), but to my knowledge they do this with anyone they view as a potential problem case. I would by very very suspicious of their reported metrics and I suspect that they are highly manipulated. It seems to be that anyone that represents a potential problem case is removed from the data. If MKS actually believed in transparency I would encourage them to report additional metrics that allow us to see how many people they carve out, what their outcomes are like, etc. That will likely only happen with regulation because many of the practices I encountered suggests that MKS prioritizes itself over its students at almost every step of the way.
As far as I can tell, the only tangible value from MKS comes from the project you deliever. Ours was challenged because we had a highly disruptive group member who experienced almost daily breakdowns and proved to be impossible to work with productively. Despite MKS feeling wary enough about this person to prevent them from using the school's career resources and disavowing any relationship with them (although these are largely worthless in any case), they gave us no assistance in dealing with this person. This speaks to their apparent philosophy - if they're protected, the students' outcomes don't matter.
Makersquare's management and educational philosophy is that if you repeat something over and over again, you actually start to believe its true.
These pressures to focus on revenue over educational quality are probably worse than ever following the Hack Reactor acquisition. Despite this supposedly being MKS's main campus, I saw the CEO onsite once in 3+ months, although the co-founder did drop by once to hit on a few of the women in the program and offer some bogus motivational speech about how much he cares about you. For me, seeing how apparently tuned out of the core business management was was a reminder that I had just wasted $17k paying for the startup equivalent of Devry University, wrapped in a trendy and self-serving aura of BS.
The career resources they emphasize consist of having a former pick-up artist coach and professional wrestler teach you how to negotiate through sleazy hard-ball tactics in 2-3 seminars in your last week (spoiler alert: these amount to 'negging' employers and refusing to ever name a price first). This is the extent of your career prep, and his opinions are presented as the be-all end all reality. I talked to more than one executive around town who told me that he was well aware of these tactics, found them distasteful, and had a negative opinion of MKS because of the kind of high-confidence, low-talent grads this place cranks out. I have removed MKS from my resumes and professional references because I feel it raises as many questions as it answers for employers.
Oh, also, they now charge employers a $15k placement fee for accessing MKS students through the largely non-existant job placement they offer. This was a new policy for my cohort. This wasn't communicated to us even though, to my mind, this makes previous hiring metrics irrelevant. Obviously there is a much higher burden to hiring kids when you are charging a recruitment fee on par with what an experiecned hire woudl command. Again, I only found this out from industry contacts. In either case, the job board they tout is a phantom. EVERY SINGLE JOB I APPLIED TO from the MKS board I was informed by the MKS careers team that the employer wasn't actually hiring.
The degree of incompetence and laziness at MKS relative to the amount of value they extract from students seems to be so extreme that it borders on unethical. I very much get the sense that management views this as a short-term play and is focused on maximizing their return before tech hiring slows down and it becomes impossible to hide how little value they add.
One last, infuriating example:
Literally the week of graduation they sent out an e-mail trying to sell us, for another $2.5k or something, an introductory course to algorithims and data structrues. Even though that was supposed to be the first couple weeks of MKS. It was one of the biggest middle fingers they could have possibly given me, and just reinforces the sense that this place is a start-up equivalent of a Devry University.
- Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate • Campus: Austin
I graduated from MakerSquare and enjoyed the program. I am an employed engineer, but when I signed up part of it was the promise of future support including perpetual access to the application. Less than six months after graduation they switched to a JS curriculum and would not open up to alumni. Pretty much all support for us disappeared after that. Then Hack Reactor bought them up and we were all basically forgotten. MakerSquare wouldn't have existed had the first generation not taken the huge risk of enrolling in a completely unproven new industry. I can't comment on the curriculum or experience anymore because the place I went doesn't exist anymore and it seems like the company wants to forget the very people who helped build it into what it is today.
- Horrible- 8/18/2016Anonymous • Graduate • Course: MakerPrep • Campus: New York City
Despite paying for in person education, the instruction from MakerSquare is primarily delivered through their online portal and the quality of their exercises is not as good as Free Code Camp or other online education platforms. The only benefit from the MakerSquare program is having a deadline, and because of that I recommend setting your own deadlines or doing any of the other less expensive programs.Their statistics for graduate performance are heavily skewed through data manipulation, and not a single one of the instructors I encountered had actually working in the industry.The people who are successful here would be successful anywhere they went, so they should take a cheaper option.
- Helpful Launchpad- 7/28/2016Anonymous • Student • Campus: Austin
With all the free and low cost training resources available online these days, enrolling in a bootcamp like MakerSquare is not required to learn how to code, but the program certainly can expedite your learning. If you read through the other reviews you probably can find arguments about how the program is a waste of time --- if you're convinced by such arguments then you certainly shouldn't waste your time because your mindset plays a big factor in how much value you can glean from MakerSquare (or really any other bootcamp). At the end of the day, most of these programs have only been around for a few years- they don't carry the institutional weight of a degree program, so yes, they can feel like a startup at times. Isn't that the type of environment most grads will end up in? Tolerance for ambiguity is probably the most valuable trait you can hone in a program like this - when you're on the job and there is no clear map, no clear Stack Exchange article or other resource to offer an easy answer to your problem, you'll have to lean on whatever resourcefulness you've learned in less than perfect environments where your success mainly depends on your own drive, not on the hand holding you feel you are entitled to because you dropped a few thousand on it. No one will hand you anything for free once you list MakerSquare on your resume, but an immersive experience like this just might get you into the industry faster than if you only had to rely on whatever hours of free online training you could squeeze into an already overloaded 9to5 schedule.
As for the program, here is what they actually offer in terms of value:
- It’s kind of a cult- when you spend basically every waking second of your life (except Sundays) with the same people in the same room for 3 months, of course you’re likely to come out on the other side having drunk the Kool-aid.
- You’ll probably get a job - but who knows how long that will last because it is possible to finish a bootcamp without actually learning anything, and I think companies are going to start figuring that out
- I’m not positive about this, but I believe that the people who had great experiences are being reached out to and asked to leave reviews.
And here’s the problems:
- They will teach you how to make an excellent resume. It gets crowdsourced by your classmates and it has buzzwords for days. I actually went to an interview where the person interviewing me said something along the lines of: “Did Makersquare teach you how to manipulate your resume, too?” Bottom line - everyone had a lot of things on their resume that maybe they only even saw one time.
- An okay (albeit confusing) curriculum. But, no one will help you with any questions you have regarding it, so hopefully you have smart classmates.
- Someone to complain to on a weekly basis who can’t/won't actually change anything, at least not while you’re there.
- A workspace, even though it’s not a great one. Tables, chairs, whiteboards, and some desktop computers. For at least half of the program you use your own laptop, and good luck using the shared workspace (couches, tables, etc) with the amount of students they are cramming in there.
- Free beer, cold brew, and snacks? Seriously, maybe this is why people loved it so much?
By the way, I also took the Maker Prep course. I won’t go into detail, as I feel I’ve made my point already, but I will say that if I had paid $750 for this course (it comes out of the bootcamp tuition if you get in) I would have been very, very, very disappointed.To sum it up, my advice to anyone considering a bootcamp is this:If you can’t teach yourself how to code, their is literally no way you will succeed at a bootcamp. So you might as well save yourself the $18,000, take six months off of work, buy yourself all the beer, cold brew, and snacks you want and work your way through free code camp. Build some apps on your own, join local meetups, etc. The only reason I would say do the bootcamp is if you can’t find the motivation to teach yourself, in which case, maybe the fact that you paid $18,000 to be stuck in a room for three months with a bunch of people as clueless as you are will get you motivated enough to learn just enough to trick someone into thinking you know enough to hire you. Good luck.
- It’s unorganized. Very much a start up culture. Things change last minute, and when the one instructor they have is sick you don’t get a live lesson.
- There’s no diversity. It’s basically all rich, white males, and a very small handful of rich, white girls.
- On that note, I honestly believe the way the admissions work is horrendous. A fellow does the interview, and others have mentioned, their credentials are slim to none. I was led to believe I was some kind of genius for being let in, when in reality it was probably just luck of the draw, not enough tuition coming in for that specific cohort, and/or the fact that I’m a woman and they realize the problem they have with diversity.
- There’s very little actual instruction. I can count on one hand the amount of lectures we had that were actually related to coding.
- Speaking of which, there’s a ton of time waste. Meetings every week to talk about what we all hate about the program so they can eventually change it, redundant lectures, lectures entirely dedicated to giving instructions, etc.
- People can get through to the end of the program and have learned absolutely nothing. So if you think that just “graduating” means you nailed it, you’re way wrong.
- During sprints, if your partner knows more than you do, good luck learning anything or getting a chance to even type. People are so full of themselves that they are competitive about everything. Not to mention, THEY AREN’T INSTRUCTORS. It’s the blind leading the blind here.
- There is hardly any feedback at any point. You take tests every week and never ever hear back about how you did. There was someone in my cohort that was told a few weeks before the end that she did badly on her hiring assessment and that if she didn’t learn everything in a week she’d get kicked out. That was after she’d continually asked for additional assistance for the first few months and had everyone tell her she was doing fine and to relax and stop having imposter syndrome.
- The reason people who ask for help don’t receive it, I’m assuming, is because there’s only ONE instructor and he’s busy making and fixing all the flaws in their materials. The only other help comes from the fellows, who are just as clueless as you- their only credentials being that they “graduated” from the program a few weeks earlier.
- The hiring board they talked up the entire time we were in the program was worthless. It had maybe 25 positions on it, and once you wasted time applying to the few that you were eligible to apply for you’d get an email saying the company actually wasn’t hiring anymore.
I'll start by saying that I got exactly what I came to MakerSquare for. I have an awesome job. I got that job quickly and easily after finishing. I felt qualified starting it.
In my six months at MakerSquare (3 as a student, 3 as a fellow) not everyone had as easy of a time and there were a handful of things I didn't like. This isn't meant to be a negative review. I learned a lot, got a great job, and met a ton of wonderful, intelligent people. But I do want to highlight a couple points that no one seems to be talking about on here.
The Instruction Team...
There are only two actual instructors. Most of your one on one time is happening with fellows, who are recent graduates of the program. Depending on the fellow and the question, sometimes they are really helpful and sometimes they're more lost than you. Also only one of the two actual instructors does any instructing for some reason.
The Junior Phase...
The first half on the program (the junior phase) consists of pair programming your way through various 2-day sprints (basically mini-projects). You receive a code base and then have to write/fix code to accomplish various goals. The curriculum can be sloppy and poorly thought out. There are more than a few moments where things are needlessly confusing. You usually get there eventually, but in a rather graceless manner. There also doesn't seem to be too much energy going into tightening these. When I have seen changes, they would change a sprint completely and in a way that was not necessarily positive.
The Senior Phase...
There is no curriculum. You'll just be working in groups doing larger projects. Totally self directed. On one hand, this is a great way to improve yourself as a coder. On the other hand, you're basically just paying for an excuse to get up every morning and go code all day.
Outcomes & Online Reviews...
They definitely put a lot of energy into curating a certain image of themselves, which is understandable. But there are a few questionable practices here. One is that the outcomes numbers you see only refer to students who decide to pursue full time developer jobs. If a student had a bad experience with MakerSquare and afterwards decided to just go back to their old career, they wouldn't be counted in the stats. If a student wanted a full time dev job but were having trouble finding it and decided to take an internship or part time position instead, they wouldn't be counted in the stats.
Also, every student receives an email after graduation asking them to please leave a review online, but only if they think it deserved 5/5 stars.