How to Ace Your ALX Application

Top Tips from ALX Selection Lead, Aisha Jackson

Photo by Good Faces on Unsplash

As Selection Lead at ALX, what does your role entail, and what do you like most about it?

To put it simply, my role involves overlooking the day-to-day operations of the Admissions team. I develop the admissions strategy and guide the team to implement it. The thing I like the most about my work is being able to come up with a memorable experience for applicants and designing an application process that identifies the best learners for our community. Hearing success stories from individuals who found the application process worthwhile truly warms my heart.

Tell us about the ideal ALX candidate. What qualities, experiences, mindsets, and skills do you look out for?

We are looking for a learner who aligns with our CHAIR values, which are Courage, Humility, Adventure, Initiative, and Resilience. All these are values we uphold throughout the different phases a learner will go through, from application to graduation. You can showcase that you possess these values in your responses when filling out the different sections of the application and how you carry yourself.

A good example of embodying a value like resilience is persisting through the different sections of your application until you submit it. ALX is all about equipping learners with 21st century skills. The best mindset you could have is an open mindset which will help you maximise your experience. 

How can someone know which ALX programme they'd be best suited for?

You can determine if an ALX programme is the best fit for you based on your time commitment, career goals and interests. Some of our programmes require learners to commit at least 20 hrs per week and others require 70 hrs per week. Based on your other commitments, you could choose a programme that fits into your schedule. 

You could also choose a programme that aligns with your passion and career goals. If your end goal is to, say, go into the research industry, the Data Analytics course could be ideal for you. If you want to develop different technology solutions, you could explore Software Engineering.

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Finally, you could choose a programme that aligns with your passions and interests. All our different programmes could lead you to different paths. It’s up to you to carefully read what each programme offers and determine how it aligns with your passion.

We’ve recently developed a Programme Finder tool to help learners think through these considerations and find the best programme for them. 

Can you take us through a step-by-step description of the ALX admissions process?

To complete an application, an applicant selects the programme they are interested in on our website. They then proceed to set up an account on our application portal where they will complete their application. Here, an applicant will complete six sections: personal information, vulnerability and inclusion, assessments, essay questions, ALX challenge, and the financial aid section. Based on the programme a learner is interested in, it could take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete. When a learner submits all the sections, they get their decision 24 hrs after, with details on the next steps to secure their participation.

Throughout the application, we always offer support to learners to empower them to complete their application, through weekly office hours and our support centre. If an applicant does not complete their application, we store their data on our admissions portal, and they do not have to fill out their details entirely should they wish to apply again in the future.  

Have you found that people's perceptions of ALX change once they've enrolled in one of our programmes? If so, how?

Absolutely! Many learners apply to ALX with the preconceived notion that we’re solely focused on teaching them technical skills to secure jobs. Upon joining, they realise that their technical course is just one of the benefits they gain. Learners gain access to an invaluable community, mentorship, and soft skills training, among other advantages. This comprehensive support system helps them not only in their professional development but also in their personal growth.

ALX has a partnership with the MasterCard Foundation. How does this partnership benefit ALX learners?

Reeta Roy of the Mastercard Foundation at the ALX Kigali hub in Rwanda
Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation, at ALX Rwanda

Our partnership with Mastercard Foundation allows us to offer eligible candidates tuition sponsorship to pursue our highly-valued programmes at no cost. To be eligible, a learner has to meet our minimum eligibility requirements which are to be between 18-34 years and of African origin. For our paid programmes, if a learner is admitted on full tuition sponsorship, they will be required to pay the one-time, non-refundable administration fee to secure their enrollment. The administration fee helps ALX as we continue to grow our robust online and in-person infrastructure for learners.

In the event of unforeseen circumstances, what is the process for applicants who are unable to enrol in an ALX program after being accepted?

The admission team sends an email to learners to confirm their enrollment in the cohort they have been accepted into. If a learner is not able to join the programme at that time, they will have an option to defer their enrolment to the next cohort.

What are your top tips for succeeding in the ALX application? Are there any hacks?

My top three tips for submitting a successful application are:

    1. Be authentic and put your best foot forward. The application is the entry point into our ALX programmes and is a reflection of how you will experience the programme. Showing off effort in this initial step is paramount in setting you up for success in the programme. 


    1. Seek help. There are a number of ways you can get help when completing your application. You can connect with other applicants who are completing the application simultaneously, join our weekly office hours, explore the resources on our application page, or  reach out to our support team. All these channels have been set up to help you submit your application successfully. Please utilise them for a smoother application experience.


  1. Follow instructions. Before every section, we have highlighted instructions that are meant to help you complete the sections successfully. Please read these carefully and make sure you keep them in mind while completing your application. For example, if the essay section requires you to share your response in a minimum of 50 words, please do so.

Finally, why do you think anyone should apply to an ALX programme?

ALX programmes are not your conventional certifications that you complete online and forget about after a few months. Once you get accepted, you will get a multitude of invaluable benefits such as access to a community and continuous career support. Submitting your application is the first step in getting access to these perks.

Applications are open for our 2024 programmes. Apply to ALX now and unlock a world of possibilities!

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