Episode 011

Sitting Down With The Co-Founder Of V School – A Disruptive And Pragmatic Approach To Education

The biggest disruptors of the education space are all about breaking down barriers.

Think about it: What might stop certain students from getting the education they need to succeed? Maybe they can’t afford the tuition and expenses of traditional institutions. Maybe four years isn’t enough time to master the most relevant skills for their desired industry. One Utah-based vocational school decided to see what would happen if you eliminate both barriers. They knew, however, that they would only achieve their goals if they also focused on the primary objective of virtually every education marketer: making sure their schools accept the right students.

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • Why income sharing is finally gaining traction
  • How coding boot camps guarantee relevant skill sets
  • How all vocational schools can ensure high graduation rates

This week, I spoke to Mo Reeder, the co-founder and COO of V School. Previously known as “Coding Campus,” V School is Utah’s first vocational school for coding and design. Like most other coding boot camps, V School places tremendous emphasis on post-graduate success, which is ensured through three main strategies. First, on-campus students are given free housing, transportation, and laptops. This significantly decreases the cost of attending. Second, students don’t graduate until they have secured a full-time job in their field. And lastly, students can elect to pay their tuition through the income-sharing agreement. That means you literally don’t pay a dime until you reach a certain annual salary threshold.

Why V School Students Are Much More Likely To Succeed

Income sharing revolves around the heightened likelihood of students obtaining well-paying jobs after graduation. This is only feasible if students learn the right skills for their industry, and hone these skills to the point of mastery. But how does the school know what these skills are? V School stays up to date about relevant skill sets through partnerships with tech giants like Google and Amazon. When these companies raise their hiring standards, V School updates its courses to meet new skill requirements.

And since V School students don’t have a time limit on their education (i.e. 4 years), they can spend as much time as they need to learn important skills. Many coding and design professionals would likely agree that 4 years is not always enough time to feel truly confident in your specialty. Traditional institutions also usually don’t offer courses as up to date as coding boot camps. This is why companies like Apple, Google, and IMB no longer require 4-year degrees for employment.

How To Prevent The Wrong People From Applying

The average V School student earns approximately $65,000 a year in their first job after graduation. Mo believes that traditional institutions would see similar post-graduation success if they had higher graduation rates. V School’s graduation rate is an amazing 90%, which Mo attributes to their 15% acceptance rate. Students do not succeed at vocational schools unless they are absolutely sure that this is the right career path for them. If a prospective student isn’t sure if coding or design is their calling, V School’s lengthy application process will guide them to a conclusion.

V School applicants must complete 40 hours of pre-course work and take a 2-hour assessment test geared towards problem-solving. Only those who truly love coding or design will have the motivation to conquer this process. After passing the test, the applicant is interviewed by V School’s Director of Education, who personally signs off on the acceptance of every single student.

Prospective Students Can Even Take Courses For Free

As for marketing strategies, V School has had tremendous success drawing attention through Instagram stories. V School also offers free coding courses, where prospective students can soak up hours and hours of meaningful content. The free courses aren’t a surprise, as V School intends to offer even more free programs in the near future, like food services.

Income-sharing and free housing have allowed V School to amass an incredibly diverse student population. When asked about his proudest achievements, Mo recalled a trip to Lebanon a few years ago, where V School staff taught coding to 150 Syrian refugees. The trip did not turn a profit but the staff didn’t mind, since they love teaching coding just as much as their ideal student loves learning it.

Income Sharing Is More Practical Than Risky

Income sharing seems a lot less “risky” when you realize how much effort these schools put towards post-graduate success. V School students are as prepared as possible for the workforce, which maximizes their opportunities for well-paying jobs.

Education marketers must understand that for today’s students, the question of “Which school offers the best education?” has essentially been replaced by “Which school offers the best tools to start my career?”

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