UX Academy is an intensive, rigorous program—requiring at least 40 hours of coursework each week on the full time track, and 20 hours part time.

We want students to succeed, not struggle—and that’s why we enforce strict admission criteria for the program. The application process has the added benefit of clarifying in your own mind exactly what you’re looking for and why.

This, in turn, means that being accepted onto the program is already a huge vote of confidence, not only in your technical potential as a designer, but also in the passion and commitment you’ve demonstrated in your application.

We’ve received over 700 applications to UX Academy in the past year, and in this article we’re sharing with you the 5 qualities that set apart successful applications.

Budget about 10 to 15 minutes to complete your application, and make sure you're in a quiet area with a device that allows you to record and save video.

1. Tell us why you want to be a designer.

Before you apply, make sure you know exactly why you want to be a UX designer. We want to know what about UX design motivates you, why you want to learn with Designlab, and how you plan to use the skills you learn in UX Academy after graduation. Make sure you fully understand your own motivations for taking UX Academy before applying.

We also require all students to submit a video as part of their application, so make sure you complete your UX Academy in a quiet place with a device you can record video on. A video helps us to get to know you, and understand where you’re coming from. It also demonstrates your communication skills, which will be an important factor in your success on the course.

UX Academy is highly interactive, and we want to see how you express yourself and communicate your thoughts. In the video, we'd like you to answer the question, "What does UX design mean to you?" in 1 minute or less. If you're nervous about this, try practicing in the mirror first. You can even time yourself to make sure you're staying within the limit. You don’t need to be the world’s greatest orator! What we’re looking for is enthusiasm, and a willingness to speak up and get involved.

2. Display a grounding in design fundamentals.

Because of the pace of UX Academy, it’s crucial that you have a grounding in the basics of design. We require all incoming students to first complete Design 101, a month-long course that provides a foundational understanding of key visual design skills. As part of your application to UX Academy, you will need to submit a link to your final project from Design 101, which will be evaluated by our admissions panel. In some cases, we might ask you to complete another month-long course in UI Design before beginning UX Academy. As an added benefit, taking these month-long courses will give you a feel for the Designlab platform. You could also get extra practice by working on personal projects or pro bono work for friends or local charities or community groups. Someone always wants newsletters, flyers, or posters designed!

If you've already worked in a different area of design – like web or graphic design – you can submit an existing portfolio of work in place of a Design 101 final project. For more information on satisfying the prerequisite requirements, check out this article from our Help Center.

3. Demonstrate passion.

At Designlab, our mission is to enable creators to do the work they love. We need to hear about what’s brought you to this point: why a career in design excites you, what it is that drives you to pursue creative work, and how you’re going to use that passion to excel in the course.

You could tell us about the kind of work you’d be doing in your dream job, and why you have an interest in serving users through design. We are looking for answers that demonstrate passion, display commitment, convey your ideas concisely, and demonstrate a clear understanding of UX Academy. 

4. Indicate commitment.

Whether you opt for the full time or part time track, UX Academy is intensive and demanding. We look for evidence not only that you’ve understood the scale of the coursework (at least 480 hours), but also that you’ve given serious thought to how you will manage your time while in the program.

5. Show proficiency in English.

We require all UX Academy students to be proficient in English. As we've mentioned, UX Academy is a highly communicative experience – it includes at least 32 1-on-1 video conference sessions with your expert mentors, as well as weekly group design critiques with other students in the program where you’ll develop your skills in giving and receiving critical feedback. Because of this, we ask that all incoming students have a minimum CEFR level of C1 or greater. You can take a look at this article for more information on determining your proficiency level.

Ready to apply?

Here’s a recap of our 5 tips for a successful UX Academy application:

1. Tell us why you want to be a designer.
2. Display a grounding in design fundamentals.
3. Demonstrate passion.
4. Indicate commitment.
5. Show proficiency in English.

Do you think you’ve got what it takes to succeed? Head to the UX Academy homepage for more information!

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Madi Waggoner

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