One of the concerns that prospective Make School students frequently raise is whether they will be sacrificing "the college experience" by attending Make School. Sure, you'll get a focused education with no up-front tuition and you'll be surrounded by great instructors and bright students, but outside of the classroom, what is the student experience like?
Megan Dias is the Student Experience Lead at Make School (yep, we have someone dedicated full-time to your experience), and she helps ensure that the benefits of attending Make School don't begin and end in the classroom.
Megan says, "Our students spend two years on campus with us building projects and gaining cutting edge skills, but they're also making lasting friendships, connecting with mentors, getting inside looks at tech companies they want to work for, and getting all the benefits of living in San Francisco -- the tech capital of the world. It's truly a full college experience."
(Megan Dias, The Student Experience Lead at Make School)
Here are a few of the ways that Make School promotes a vibrant and student-driven campus life...
Dorm Life, Student Council, and Fungineering!
Our students live in dorms just a few minutes from Make School. You'll be grouped with one or two roommates, and you'll have a student Resident Assistant (RA) who helps ensure that everyone is happy, safe, and getting the emotional support that they need. In addition to amenities like common areas for studying and hanging out, the dorms also host monthly BBQs. Make School's dorms are the epitome of college life, but if any student prefers to set up their own housing arrangement, they're free to do so.
Every student has the opportunity to participate in Student Council -- a self-elected group of students who act as the liaison to the staff and instructors at Make School -- and we actively encourage students to get involved, creating a holistic college experience that works for them.
Megan notes, "A few things the Student Council did this year included organizing a trip to Six Flags, putting together a Pi Day celebration, and creating an 'end of the year' video for the students and staff. They also put on a 'Makesgiving' celebration for all the students and staff during the week of Thanksgiving and created a wall of thank you notes. It's always awesome to see our students actively involving themselves, enhancing their leadership skills, and promoting a sense of community at Make School."
As a student, you'll also have opportunities to get involved as a Student Ambassador, welcoming and giving tours to prospective students. Or you can be a Fungineer -- one of the students who plans monthly events for everyone, such as movie nights, game nights, and dinners. Smaller student groups also meet regularly for discussion, community building, and fun. Current student groups include Women in Tech, Hackathon, Video Games, and a Running/Hiking group. Megan points out, "Student groups vary every year, because we encourage each cohort to find their own shared interests and unique characteristics."
And of course, plenty of students self-organize activities like Taco Tuesdays, hangouts at Dolores Park, walks across the Golden Gate Bridge, and all sorts of other events with the new friends they make at Make School.
Coaching, Mentoring, and Preparing for What's Ahead
Make School is set up like a startup office, complete with open work spaces, conference rooms, a ping pong table, a kitchen, and bean bag chairs -- all the fixtures of a San Francisco tech company. A significant chunk of scheduled class time at Make School is focused on career-building -- you'll regularly practice interview skills, public speaking, presentation skills, and much more. But outside of required class objectives, students also have many opportunities to connect with people who can help them move their career forward.
Megan says, "We're consistently reaching out to the companies that we partner with to make new mentors available to the students. And if students want to connect with someone at a particular company, we do whatever we can to make that happen. If the student shows the initiative, we're always ready to help."
The staff and instructors also go out of their way to be available to students with regular office hours and one-on-one coaching sessions. In fact, each student is assigned to a coach for the entire school year. Students meet with their coach individually every week to discuss goals, challenges, successes, and new ideas.
In addition, quarterly field trips to the offices of major tech companies are a fixture of the Make School experience. In the past, our students have visited the offices of Yelp, Facebook, Tesla, Lever, and GitHub, among others.
(Telsa Factory Visit, 2018)
San Francisco - In the Heart of It
Make School students have the awesome benefit of living in the tech capital of the world. Getting around is simple with BART, Uber, Lyft, bikes, and walkable streets. Whether you want to spend a day in Golden Gate Park, have coffee with a tech executive that you admire, or attend one of countless tech meetups on every topic you can imagine, it's all at your fingertips in San Francisco. To learn more about Make School's student life, check out our Campus Life page, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.