I hear they get a ton of applicants. Is it difficult to get selected to participate in one of these programs or will they let anyone in? If the former, what advice do you have for improving my odds of being selected?
So I only have first-hand experience with Remote Year but I have a ton of friends in their admissions department and a fairly clear understanding of their recruiting process and who they take. I know they don’t just take anyone. There are a series of gating filters that you basically have to pass before getting accepted:
- Have a job that’s remote-compatible: if you’re a bus driver or a welder it’s just not going to work. You don’t have to currently be remote for your employer but you need to either be in a role which can conceivably done remotely or be in process of starting your own remote-based business. They’re pretty strict now on the job requirement FYI whereas previously when I went through the screening process they were a bit more lax. We had a few people in our group who never had a job the whole year and were living off savings. I don’t believe they allow that now.
- Have the financial capacity to pay for the program: Remote Year when I did it cost $27,000 for the full year ($5k up front deposit + $2k/mo – last month is part of your deposit). Obviously if you don’t have the financial capability to pay for the program it’s not going to work. It assumes you can afford it.
- Not have any dependents that would preclude you from going: RY doesn’t currently allow travel with children so if you have young kids it’s not going to work. That may change someday. I know there has been talk of programs for families but they don’t exist today.
- Not be an axe murderer: or felon. There is a screening process where you’ll talk with two different interviewers.RY accepts applicants from any country but you have to be a sane person and in good standing with your citizenship to do the program.
In terms of tips for getting approved I’d say these things (again this is specific to Remote Year since that’s the program I know – I can’t comment on other programs but perhaps participants of Wifi Tribe, Hackers’ Paradise, Roam and others can comment here):
- Just be yourself and speak candidly about why you want to do the program. Their admissions staff is super cool and their job is to make it possible for anyone is wants to join (and is qualified) to do it.
- Do your homework and read up on the program from what’s publicly available on their site. BONUS: read blog posts from people who have done Remote Year for even deeper understanding and primary source material. Show that you know what you’re getting into. Having sat next to admissions team daily for over 3mos you’d be surprised the number of calls I hear where the would-be participant thinks Remote Year is giving them a job. Don’t be that person.
- Have a list of good questions for the call. This shows you’ve researched the opportunity, thought through things and have genuine interest.
Last thing worth mentioning: Remote Year now offers a referral program which enables you to get $300 off your deposit if you mention who referred you. Use the “refer me” link in the footer to claim this $300 discount (disclaimer: I get $300 too in that situation which helps pay for hosting this site. Every little bit helps so take advantage of that if you’re intending to do RY).