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5 Surprising Things to Consider While Picking a Bootcamp

The decision to attend an accelerated learning program is huge. The curriculum you learn, the instructors who guide you, and the connections you make while in the program will become pivotal to your success and future career.

There are over 100 bootcamps in the United States. While you're determining which one to attend, you'll look at some obvious factors such as location, in-person versus remote, and curriculum type. But there are several factors you probably haven't considered which are just as important.

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#1: CLASSROOM SIZE & INSTRUCTOR STYLE

The average bootcamp classroom size ranges anywhere from 8 to 25 students. There are benefits to a small classroom like more hands-on time with the instructors and more face time with visiting companies and at matchmaking events. The pace of a bootcamp is often determined by the speed at which the students are able to learn - so if you're in a smaller cohort and you fall behind in your work, the instructor will more easily be able to tailor the lesson to keep you up to pace.

If you're in a larger cohort, however, you have more people to collaborate with and ask questions. You'll also have an increase in comradery, which will help you when it comes time to network and explore career opportunities in the future.

In the same way that everyone learns differently, instructors teach differently. Your success in a bootcamp will be a direct reflection of the impact that the instructor has on you. Make sure to sit in on a live lecture of class to get a feel for their educational style.

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#2: PARTNER RELATIONSHIPS

Bootcamps are widely advertised as having great student graduation and job placement rates - and many bootcamps have verified outcomes to support those claims. But it never hurts to dive deeper. What kind of employment opportunities are the students getting - and which schools have set up partnerships with specific companies to facilitate networking and job placement?

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#3: ALUMNI NETWORK & FEEL OF THE CAMPUS

Let's face it: Even though it's a useful tool, sometimes LinkedIn just doesn't cut it. If a bootcamp has set up a specific online alumni network, through a Facebook group, Meetup group or something similar, you'll have a better opportunity to directly connect with people.

Make sure you have time to visit the campus beforehand and determine if it's a good cultural fit for you. Sit down with the instructor, observe a class, and ask as many questions as possible!

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#4: CURRICULUM LIBRARY

It's never a bad idea to stay on top of your skills after you graduate. Does your bootcamp have a library of online resources that you can access after you complete the program? Even better: if you're looking at attending an in-person program, look for a school that gives you access to the instructors and coworking space after you graduate. That way, you can come in for resume prep, mock interviews, and other networking opportunities like events and seminars.

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#5: PROGRAM PREP

Bootcamps are fast. What kind of preparation does your bootcamp give you to ramp you up prior to attending the program? "Homework" might seem like a drag, but you'll be thankful for it once you get thrown into the accelerated program.

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