For Career Transitioners and New Students
I'm completely new to design. Will this be the right choice for my next career?
We are glad you are interested in exploring design as your next career! It is a wonderful field with many opportunities, as you can read up on our Career Paths page. Job growth is optimistic and salary range is on the higher end compared to many other industries.
With that being said, you will have to actually learn and work hard in order to find out 2 things - do you like it and are you good at it. No one can tell you if this is for you, but yourself. Our job is to provide the right guidance with our industry expertise and a high-quality pool of instructors.
How long does it take to transition to design?
You can expect to complete our Certificate of Design in 6-8 months depending on the number of hours you commit to every week. We generally recommend at least 10-15 hours per week.
Unlike many "bootcamps", we do not encourage an accelerated program approach because design is a serious craft that cannot be learned in a few weeks. Rather than fast and furious, we'd rather make sure you learn it well and learn it right.
With our flexible financing options, we'd like to make your career transition as easy as possible with full support as fewer financial hurdles.
Do you have student success stories?
Yes we sure do! We regularly update our student work and success stories in our Student Outcomes page.
Will the knowledge you teach be applicable to different countries?
Yes, no matter where you are in the world, the language of design is universal. You might find yourself needing to learn a few local customs and practices that are particular to the region you live and work in, but the general principles of design is the same everywhere in the world in the digital space.
Do you offer job placement after your programs?
While we do not have a job guarantee or job placement due to the reasons we specified in the "Why don't you have a job guarantee like other design schools" below, we do place students to work with startups during the Portfolio School phase in their program to make sure they gain real world experience. This experience will make sure students are well-prepared for design interviews.
I don't know any design programs. Do you have any prerequisites for the courses?
We actually guide you through the latest design tools in easy-to-understand manners in our courses. This approach provides you with a dynamic learning rhythm that balances practice and theories. So no, you can come fresh without any prior knowledge of design or design programs.
Do I need to invest in any software programs? Do I have to use a Mac?
No, you do not have to invest anything upfront, because we are teaching digital visual design, you have the option of choosing to use programs such as Figma that provides a free online version.
We do recommend that you get a student discount for Adobe programs (you can simply enter that you are a student in the sign up process) because they are still industry standards and should be used by a professional designer at some point.
You don't have to use a Mac. Most design programs have a PC version as well (with the exception of Sketch).
Shouldn't I get a degree instead? Who would hire me without one?
We get the appeal of a degree. It is fantastic if you have the time and money for it, but the design field is unique that employers care more about your portfolio and what you can do than your degree. Would you rather have a stellar portfolio and strong personal brand with no debt than tens of thousands of dollars in debt? The smarter answer is apparent to us, who build creative businesses for a living, but we leave it up to you to decide.
The best part is, our curriculum is actually designed by current and former college professors who are tired of the outdated ways universities teach. They brought years of industry expertise and teaching experience to the course design so that students can get the best of both worlds - solid foundational knowledge of design and up-to-date, practical instructions that will help students stand out.
Why don't you have a job guarantee like other design schools?
As much as we want "guarantee" in life, there is no such thing. We are aware that many online design bootcamp programs "guarantee" their students jobs after graduation with certain prerequisites. We want you to know the truth behind such "guarantees". It is simply a marketing tactic to put you at ease of enrolling. While a great number of students enrolled in these programs do secure jobs after graduation, there are some who will pursue their creative paths differently.
We design our curriculum with a goal that is different from most other schools - we want you to learn solid foundations while being trained to not only be qualified job candidates but equipped with strong business skills so that you can pursue any creative career, including starting your own business. Simply put, we don't believe in fluff and marketing tactics that paint a rosy picture that isn't always realistic. We want to train you to reach your highest potential, but we want you to know the truth.
What are my career options after taking your courses or program?
We have a Career Paths page dedicated to explaining the most popular career options after our programs.
Can I get a refund if I’m not happy?
To reference our complete financing and refund/dropout policies, please refer to the Tuition page for all details.
School of Design Questions
I'm a complete beginner. Is this for me?
Yes! Our School of Design program (both the Visual Design track and UI/UX Design track) is designed for students without any prior design knowledge. Our admission interview is to make sure scheduling and career goal fit between yourself and our program. Come with zero knowledge and graduate 100% ready for design jobs.
I already have some knowledge in this area but want to improve. Will this course be right for me?
It depends on how much knowledge you already have in each topic. We recommend filling out our email form above to obtain the full syllabus and schedule a call with us if you want to get the full picture of the entire course. We make every effort to recommend the right level of courses to each student so that they get the most out of the learning experience.
How in depth do you go into each topic?
We design each individual course with multiple levels in mind. We start each course with introducing the foundation, which provides a much-needed refresher for even the seasoned designers if they have been away from theory for a while.
We then go into intermediate to advanced topics for deep dives, where multiple levels of designers might find them helpful.
Our goal is to make the course as approachable as possible while still getting into advanced topics for students who are ready to take the leap.
Why do you teach visual design in a UX course?
This is one of the biggest difference between our program and most other programs teaching UI/UX. Our curriculum team consists of academically-trained designers who have worked many years in the UI/UX design industry. Through extensive experience in practical application and student instructions, we have found that building solid visual design foundation is critical in achieving success as UI/UX designers. We are not in the business of quickly churning out graduates with subpar foundational skills like one may experience elsewhere. We are here to teach you the real deal - visual design first then UX frameworks that you will apply in the portfolio building phase.
What is the different between buying a book on Amazon from taking this course?
Books are great! We will never say don't buy a book. However, design is a highly practical field. Reading books will give you the surface level understanding. You need more examples, interactive demonstrations, exercises and personalized feedback from expert designers to achieve the level that you need for your career. These other components can only be obtained from a well-designed educational program. Books are great supplements for your courses.
Can I learn the same thing from YouTube videos?
YouTube is a great platform. We say go watch as many YouTube videos as you'd like, but we have yet to find a complete series of courses that go in to so much details and depth as our course on YouTube. While YouTube can provide a surface level foundation for you, it isn't likely to help you get to the level you need for your career. We recommend scheduling a call with us if you are interested and ask questions to make your informed decisions.
Do we get to apply the knowledge into practical projects?
Absolutely! We believe in learning by doing. That's why we designed exercises for each unit with intention. Students are expected to complete every exercise and quizzes in order to complete the course. This is not a passive learning experience - it's active. We also wrap up each course with a portfolio-level project, so you can be sure to take away with you a polished piece from every course you finish. If you enroll in our School of Design certificate program with the 9 full course workload, you will have 9 portfolio projects at the time you graduate - a portfolio project number unmatched by any other programs.
Portfolio School Questions
If I go over the suggested time of the course due to my schedule, can I extend?
We require every student to sign an enrollment agreement which stipulates the suggested length of each course. We ask that students commit to the course period they agreed to when they enrolled. We do have flexibility that requires a separate written request from students if special circumstances arise that necessitates a course extension. We will evaluate each circumstance on a case-by-case basis. Our goal is to help students graduate as soon as possible so that they can reach their career goals in the shortest timeframe possible while remaining flexible enough to accommodate special circumstances.
What kind of portfolio should I expect to produce from this course?
You should expect to produce a visually-polished and completely customized portfolio website with 4 portfolio projects, including 1 real client project, that have been reviewed, critiqued and iterated during your assigned coaching sessions.
Unlike many other programs, we emphasized on individualized coaching for portfolios. We hold students to the highest standards in terms of their work, especially the visual quality, the case study presentation and the storytelling of their personal brand.
Expect to have a stunning portfolio that wows anyone who comes across it, but you have to work hard under our guidance to achieve that.
I don't have any design background. Can I enroll in Portfolio School?
We require that students either 1) already completed a design education program at another institution or by self-study, or 2) complete our School of Design certificate program first before enrolling in Portfolio School. You cannot produce the level of portfolio that we require for this program if you are starting from 0. Luckily, we have the exact design education program to help you meet the requirements of this program.
After a student applied to Portfolio School, we require them to complete a short design assessment to make sure they are fully-skilled in design foundation. If you did not pass the assessment, we will suggest you take our School of Design program, which is designed for students with 0 foundation or students whose design skills need improvements.
Which track should I take?
If you already have at least 3 finished portfolio projects, we recommend the Portfolio Express track where you spend 6+ weeks learning no code website building tools, working on your personal brand, designing your portfolio website, building it yourself and receiving rigorous feedback for iterations.
If you already have a solid design foundation but do not yet have any portfolio projects, or if you are unhappy about your current portfolio projects and want to work on new ones, we recommend the Portfolio Kickstart track, where you have an additional 6-7 weeks to work on new projects under our guidance. You will also receive the bonus opportunity to be paired up with a startup founder for an optional month-long startup project if you choose to.
What is the difference between School of Design and Portfolio School?
School of Design is our main design certificate program where we take students from 0 to 100 on learning how to be a great digital-first designer. We created a well-rounded curriculum that builds a solid foundation for students who do not yet have experience in design. The certificate program includes 9 courses with in-depth focus on topics that are most relevant to becoming a successful designer. We recommend students who have no design background to enroll in the full program and take all 9 courses, but if you already have some experience in design, you may choose to skip over some courses. We will help you determine your custom course package once you apply to enroll.
Each course in the School of Design program can be taken individually for students who would rather build their skillsets one topic at a time, but remember that you will pay more per course if you take courses individually rather than enrolling in the certificate program.
If you decide to enroll in our certificate program and receive a reduced workload recommendation from us, you will also receive a reduced tuition rate accordingly.
Portfolio School is for students who have either 1) completed School of Design or 2) completed another education program from another school or through self-study and now wish to create a uniquely outstanding portfolio to be competitive in their career search.
I completed a program from another school. Will I still benefit from Portfolio School?
For most students who completed another program from another school, you probably feel unfulfilled or unsatisfied with the outcome of your portfolio, if you are looking at this page. If that is how you feel, then yes, you will benefit from this program. In fact, a large number of our students are in the same shoes as you! We specialize in "filling in the gaps" and helping students work on parts of their portfolio that they are not confident about.
What type of support do I have after I completed Portfolio School?
We do not abandon our students after they graduate! We are always open to hearing your career journey after you completed the program. You can always purchase additional coaching sessions a la carte if you need more support after the program. We would also invite those students who want to share their stories with prospective students back for events, workshops and even as our podcast guests! So don't be a stranger.
Can I get a refund if I am unhappy with the program or cannot continue?
To reference our complete financing and refund/dropout policies, please refer to the Tuition page for all details.
How long will I have to wait to hear back from my application?
For merit-based scholarship applications, you will hear back within 14 business days after submitting your application.
If you do not hear back within 2 weeks, please feel free to follow up with us.
What do you look for in scholarship applications?
For merit-based scholarships, you will be assessed based on the quality of your submitted creative challenge.
Can I earn additional scholarships if I produce great work during the course?
We currently do not have additional scholarships for students who are already enrolled.
Can I still apply for a scholarship if I already enrolled?
We only accept scholarship applications before enrollment at this time.
Can I still qualify for the scholarship if I am applying for deferred tuition agreement or monthly payment plan?
If you are financing your education through deferred tuition agreement, you will not qualify for a scholarship due to the risk we will take on for this type of financing.
If you plan to make monthly payments, you will be qualified to apply for scholarships.
Which programs are eligible for financing?
Can I split payments for individual courses?
No, individual courses only offer the one-time payment option due to their lower costs.
Who are your financing providers?
We partner with Meritize, a trusted provider for deferred tuition agreement for students in the US. For UK residents, we have partnered with Knoma, a provider of 12-month split payment plan with 0 interest.
If live outside of the US or UK, or you'd like to simply make even monthly payments, you have the option of choosing our in-house Monthly Payment plan financing method. Your method of payment will be charged a recurring monthly payment (see monthly payment column in the financing table for your program on this page). If your payment fails for any given month, your enrollment may be terminated. You will be given a 5 day grace period to resubmit your payment after our courtesy notice to avoid enrollment disruption.
What is deferred tuition agreement and how do I sign up?
Deferred Tuition Agreement is a form of tuition financing that allows students to attend educational programs without upfront payment. The agreement is that once a student secures employment or hits a predefined grace period after graduation (60 days in our case), they will start making the agreed-upon monthly payment until the maximum payment cap is reached.
Our deferred tuition agreement plan is designed to maximize benefits to students without the exploitative nature of similar plans from other schools. You will not be paying more than the maximum payment cap, nor will your payment amount be based on a percentage of your salary. Your interest rate is determined by a number of factors established by our loan provider and the exact terms will be provided to you if your application is approved.
This financing option is currently only available to students in the U.S.
How does monthly payment plan work?
Monthly payment plans work like subscriptions that have an expiration date. You are splitting the total amount of tuition evenly over a number of months. Auto payment setup is required and failure of payment methods in any given month will result in termination of enrollment after 5 days of grace period has passed. This financing option is available to students worldwide.
Compared to deferred tuition agreement, students will be paying less with this option in total but will be paying more in total compared to upfront one-time payment.
What is the difference between deferred tuition agreement and monthly payment plan?
Students on deferred tuition plans make a down payment on their tuition. No other payment is required until they graduate with a job and that the job hits the minimum salary floor or once they hit the predefined grace period (in our case, it is 60 days after graduation).
Students on a monthly payment plan immediately starts making even-split monthly payment as soon as they enroll.
What type of financial information do I need to disclose for deferred tuition agreement?
We partnered with trusted financial providers to provide deferred tuition agreement solution to our students. They will reach out to you regarding all the financial documents you need to provide.
Do you conduct credit check for monthly payment plans?
Due to the fact that monthly payment plan is available to students worldwide, we do not conduct credit check as each country has its own system. However, as it works like a subscription plan with an expiration date, if payment is not submitted on any given month, enrollment will be terminated after a 5-days grace period.
Is my financial privacy protected?
What if I fail to make a monthly payment for either the Deferred Tuition Agreement or Monthly Payment Plan?
If you fail to make a monthly payment for the Deferred Tuition Agreement, you will need to refer to the terms listed on the contract when you apply with our financing provider. They will list the options in the contract - make sure you read through them carefully and arrange a call with them in case anything is confusing. We do not get involved in the collection process directly.
If you fail to make a monthly payment for the monthly payment plan financing, you will be given a courtesy notice. After 5 days of grace period, your enrollment will be terminated until your payment is provided to us again.
Why am I being charged "extra" taxes?
We are obligated to collect sales tax the same way all businesses do. If you are located within the U.S., your tax rate will be automatically calculated based on the address you input to our system during enrollment.
If you are located outside the U.S., whether and how much you pay taxes is based on your country's law. Our system automatically calculates based on legal information.
Is there someone I can speak to if I'm not sure which financing option is right for me?
For sure, we are always happy to answer questions! Simply reach out to us to set up a discussion.