FAQ

General

WHAT KINDS OF PEOPLE ATTEND THE EXOSPHERE ACADEMY?

Exosphere attracts people at all stages of life. We have worked with 16-year old high school students who wanted to learn new skills during their summers, university students, as well as those who skipped traditional higher education altogether. Many of our alumni have been people in their 30s looking for a fresh start in a different field, and we’ve also worked with many people in their 50s and even 60s who realized it’s never too late to start another exciting chapter in their life’s journey.

Exosphere is for people who see and want more from life and are ready to abandon the traditional script.

HOW LONG HAS EXOSPHERE BEEN IN EXISTENCE?

Skinner Layne founded Exosphere in 2012 and the first program took place in 2013. Since then, Exosphere has conducted 9 residential programs and more than 40 high-impact workshops in cities all over the world, serving more than 2,000 people in total.

Learn more on the About page.

I AM A BEGINNER WITH ZERO EXPERIENCE OR KNOWLEDGE IN THE SUBJECT MATTER. ARE YOUR COURSES STILL FOR ME?

Yes, Exosphere offers a variety of options for beginners to top-level professionals in their fields. Because all of our programs are hands-on and project-based, you can take advantage of our world-class facilitators’ knowledge and experience no matter where you are in life. Apply now and setup a consultation with one of our staff members to begin customizing your experience.

HOW DO I SECURE MY PLACE IN THE NEXT PROGRAM?

We have created a dead simple application process. Click ”Apply Now” and answer a few basic questions. It will only take a few minutes.

You will then receive an email within 24 hours from us to interview you about your prospective attendance at our next program.

We will help you determine if Exosphere can help you at this stage of your journey, considering your goals, ambitions, and what you want to learn.

Once accepted, you will then pay your initial deposit and agree on a payment plan. After payment, we invest in you and your future immediately–starting with building your customized learning plan and helping arrange logistics.

HOW MANY HOURS AM I EXPECTED TO COMMIT EACH WEEK?

The formal component of the program consists of 30 hours of sessions per week, including core curriculum sessions, morning discussion, and domain-specific instruction in your chosen emphasis (AI, Blockchain, Biohacking, or Brand & Tech Advocacy), and supervised project work with your Fellow. Saturday is an open day for reflection, studying, and catching up on work. On Sundays we encourage you to unplug from electronics and rest.

CAN I ATTEND THE PROGRAM REMOTELY?

We are in the process of building an exciting new online platform for people who simply cannot attend our programs in residence, but currently all of our programs are in-residence. We have found that living and working together yields greater benefits and provides more opportunities to develop better projects and deeper relationships, and we hope you can join us in person. If you can’t, stay tuned as we begin rolling out new ways to participate!

WILL THERE BE HOMEWORK?

The Exosphere learning experience is different from the traditional classroom. What you put in will determine what you get back. The more focused time you invest in reading, learning about your chosen focus, and working on your project, the more you will accomplish during the program. It’s all up to you.

WHAT KIND OF JOB OR CAREER CAN I EXPECT TO LAND AFTER EXOSPHERE?

Since the range of subjects and experience levels of our students varies significantly, there is no simple answer to this. However, some of our previous students have been able to get jobs as full-stack developers at software startups, copywriters at creative marketing agencies, and many have started their own business or joined up with a co-founder for a new venture.

While building a better future, your options are only limited to your own imagination and the value you can create.

For a couple prominent examples, check out Book in a Box, co-founded by alumni Zach Obront and his partner Tucker Max, and Fort Galt, which was founded by a group of alumni while at the program in 2014.

CAN I SWITCH COURSES AFTER THE START OF THE PROGRAM?

The first week of the program is all about getting oriented. It includes information sessions on each of the streams so that everybody can get a general understanding what everybody else will be working on. If at the end of week 1 you feel more at home in a stream different from your initial choice, you will be able to switch after conferring with your Curator. If you decide to switch after week 1 has passed, the Curators will make a case-by-case evaluation and decide.

Because of the limited time available, we recommend switching as early as possible. Also, cross-stream collaboration is not only allowed but encouraged!

CAN I GET IN CONTACT WITH ALUMNI?

Of course! If you would like to speak to any alumni about their experiences, just ask and we’ll be happy to introduce you.

WILL I HAVE ACCESS TO EXOSPHERE'S ADVISOR NETWORK?

If you convince us that you’ll make good use of their time, we will be happy to introduce you to even the most prominent members of the Exosphere network.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO RECEIVE UNIVERSITY CREDIT FOR ATTENDING AN EXOSPHERE PROGRAM?

Exosphere is currently developing a pilot program for university credit with New York University that we hope to expand further in 2019. If you are an NYU student and would like to learn more about the credit program with Exosphere, please contact our admission staff for more information.

WHAT OUTCOMES CAN I EXPECT FROM THE PROGRAM?

As with any form of learning you get out what you put in, and you should expect to take responsibility for your outcomes.

Many of our students have built dynamic research projects, startup MVPs, completed artistic projects, and nearly all have undergone incredible personal transformations.

Exosphere will provide you a supportive environment to reach your goals, but it is you who must decide what your goals are and put in the work to reach them.

AM I TOO OLD?

Not at all! We have had many students in their 50s and 60s attend Exosphere and we welcome anybody who is eager to learn and grow.

WHAT IS THE APPLICATION AND ADMISSION PROCESS LIKE?

The first step is to decide that you want to attend, submit your written application, and then wait to be contacted by a member of our admissions staff. The process thereafter is as follows:

  • Written application is processed by our admissions staff.
  • You are notified if your application will proceed to the first interview or not.
  • The first interview is with one of the program Curators, who will make a recommendation based on whether they think you are a good fit for the program and Exosphere’s unique learning environment and process.
  • If you are recommended by the Curator, you will then be interviewed by one of the Fellows for your chosen stream (AI, Blockchain, Biohacking, Advocacy).
  • If you are recommended by the Fellow, your application will be considered officially accepted and you will have 10 business days to pay a $500 deposit to secure your place in the program.
  • Applicants who are not accepted through this process may be notified that they have been placed on a waiting list in the event that students who have been accepted are not able to attend. Wait-listed applicants will be notified as soon as a vacancy has become available and the vacancy will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis from amongst the applicants on the waiting list.

Students who apply for financial assistance to attend will in most cases be placed on the waiting list, with final admissions decisions and financial assistance awards going out six weeks before the particular program commences. The reason for this is that we have a limited amount of scholarship support available and want to ensure that it goes to the most qualified applicants.

DOES EXOSPHERE OFFER ANY DEGREES OR OTHER CREDENTIALS?

Currently we offer our students a Certificate in their chosen area of technology upon the presentation of their project at the final Demo Day of each program. Students who elect not to participate in Demo Day are not eligible to receive the Certificate.

ARE THERE ANY LOCAL EXOSPHERE CHAPTERS OR EVENTS IF I CAN'T MAKE IT TO THIS PROGRAM?

Exosphere travels all over the world with workshops and other events, so follow our social media channels to stay up to date with our plans to come to your city.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ONLINE COURSES AVAILABLE?

Presently we only offer our programs and courses live and in person.

WHAT DO I PACK?

The standard things–socks, underwear, shirts, shoes, deodorant, laptop, etc. All of our locations in 2018 are near to a variety of outdoor activities (which we strongly recommend taking advantage of on the weekends), so it’s a good idea to throw in some clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting a little bit dirty.

DO YOU PROVIDE HOUSING?

Due to the variety of student backgrounds (e.g. age, culture, etc) and the complexity of meeting everybody’s individualized needs, we no longer provide housing for our programs.

WHERE CAN I FIND AFFORDABLE HOUSING?

We suggest beginning with searches on popular rental sites like AirBnB and Booking.com. If you continue to have problems securing housing, our admissions team will be able to provide some assistance after completion of payment. Due to the volume of applicants, we are unable to provide logistical assistance to anybody other than confirmed participants.

WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDED DATES OF ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE? - HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I ARRIVE BEFORE THE PROGRAM?

It’s entirely up to you, but we suggest arriving at least one or two full days in advance of the start date of the program. Because our programs have been designed through more than five years of trial and error with hundreds of alumni, we strongly discourage participants arriving late or departing a few days early.

CAN YOU CONNECT ME WITH ROOMATES TO BRING THE COST OF HOUSING DOWN?

We will be happy to connect you to other Exosphere participants looking to share housing once you are admitted.

Pricing

HOW MUCH IS TUITION FOR THE 2018 PROGRAM ?

The tuition is€2,950 EUR.

DO YOU OFFER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ?
The Exosphere Foundation allocates donations and charitable giving from supporters around the world into merit scholarships to help cover the tuition costs for remarkable or unique individuals. For those interested, there will be an additional interview to qualify for assistance.

Payment

WHAT DOES THE TUITION FEE COVER?
The tuition fee covers your participation in the program and goes to pay the faculty and facilitation staff, visiting faculty, access to the venue and laboratories, and everything connected with the program itself. It does not cover food, travel, entertainment, or accommodation.
CAN I PAY IN INSTALLMENTS?
We offer installment plans of 2, 3, and 5 installments, but the tuition fee must be paid in full prior to the commencement of the program. Installment plans are automated for credit card transactions only. If you want to make a payment by other means, you will be responsible for ensuring that your installments are made by the due date. A three-day grace period will be granted for missed installments. Otherwise, we may give your spot to somebody on the waiting list.
HOW DO I MAKE A PAYMENT?
We accept major credit cards, SWIFT/ACH transfers, PayPal, and a basket of cryptocurrencies. For PayPal and certain cryptocurrencies, additional transaction fees may apply.
CAN I PAY IN CRYPTOCURRENCY?
We accept Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and ZCash. If you wish to pay with another cryptocurrency, please contact the Office of the Bursar to make alternative payment arrangements. bursar@exosphereacademy.org
WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY?
If you cancel more than thirty (30) days prior to the program, we will refund 50% of what you have paid, excluding the 10% non-refundable deposit that must be paid to secure your space in the program.
IS THERE FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE?
We do provide an extremely limited number of need-based and merit-based financial aid through a separate application and interview process. Please visit our Scholarships page for more details and a link to the application.
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHO GETS FINANCIAL AID?
We examine a variety of factors, including: outstanding individual achievement, unusual technical ability, potential contribution to the Exosphere community, and personal hardship (racial, economic, cultural challenges, etc) to ensure a balanced cohort with extraordinary people of every background.
WHEN OR HOW WILL I KNOW IF I HAVE RECEIVED A FINANCIAL AID PACKAGE?
We will make financial aid decisions six (6) weeks prior to the start date of each program.

Logistics

WHAT IS THE LANGUAGE OF THE PROGRAM ?
The program will be delivered in English. Exosphere programs have a history of international diversity (from every continent and 47 unique countries represented) and the currently the most-spoken 2nd Language in the world is English.
WHAT KIND OF INTERNET CONNECTION WILL I HAVE ?
The internet connection at the office/co-working space is fibre, so you’ll have no trouble working from there.

Personal

HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I BUDGET FOR THE 6 WEEKS ?
The program’s tuition covers the program content, instruction from world-class teachers & mentors, and workspace throughout the program. For personal expenses we recommend around US$450 for food and about US$600 for housing.

This number varies according to what lifestyle you want to have during the 6 weeks. Because of the dynamics of the program and living with other participants generates a strong sense of community, participants usually share a lot of meals together, visit local markets, and save money. Having meals with other people is also a big part of the engagement and relationship building that is important at Exosphere.

DO I NEED TO QUIT MY JOB AND/OR STUDIES TO ATTEND ?
That depends on your plans for after the program and the options available to you in your current situation. This is an immersive, full-time program, so you will at least have to be available for the 30 instructional hours per week.

If you have any doubts, feel free to reach out to us to talk about it – info@exosphe.re

HAVE A QUESTION YOU DON'T SEE ON THIS LIST ?
Skinner Layne, Exosphere’s founder, would be happy to help you further. Send him an email at skinner@exosphe.re

Program

WHEN WILL I KNOW IF I GOT INTO THE PROGRAM?
Applicants who do not need financial aid in order to attend will be notified within one week of completing the interview process. If for any reason you do not receive a response from our admissions team within that timeframe, please send us an email. admissions@exosphereacademy.org
IS THIS A CODING BOOTCAMP?
No. Exosphere’s programs are not designed like bootcamps. Our curricula centers around project development and peer-driven learning. Our Fellows and Curators are there as your learning guides. Core to our pedagogical philosophy is the belief that true learning only happens when the learner is driving based on their own curiosity and goals. If you’re expecting a traditional classroom setting based on lectures, where somebody will be spoon-feeding you the answers to your questions, then please save your time and energy and DO NOT APPLY.
HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM A CODING BOOTCAMP?
You will be expected to define a project, usually in collaboration with other participants in the program (we discourage, but do not prohibit, solo projects) and use the project as the catalyst for your learning throughout the program. There will be tutorials and guided practice opportunities, as well as exercises in your chosen area of interest, but we want you actively doing, not passively listening.
WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE A PROJECT BEFORE I GO?
Don’t worry. Most of our participants arrive without a concrete project in mind. Part of the process of the first week is to help you identify your interests in a new and expanded context and to hone in on the kinds of problems you’re interested in solving.
IS THERE AN INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY AT THE END OF THE PROGRAM?
Exosphere maintains active partnerships with angel investors and venture capitalists worldwide and we often make strategic introductions for our most promising participants. However, if you are planning to attend Exosphere because you think it will get your startup funded, please do not waste your time energy by applying.
WHAT IS DEMO DAY?
Demo Day is the final presentation of projects. Whether you are trying to build a technology product, a startup, or an artistic project, we encourage all of our participants to audition to present at Demo Day. Only those participants who meet the criteria for presentation on Demo Day will be eligible to receive their Certificate for the program.
WHAT IF I WANT TO DO ALL OF THE STREAMS?
We would love to see you at all of our programs, then! The team at Exosphere is also curious about everything, so we understand. But our experience has also shown us that focusing on a single body of knowledge for a period of time is much more conducive to learning than trying to spread out too much. This in fact is one of our main criticisms of traditional academia. So we make it easier for you to attend multiple programs. Once you’ve attended your first program, subsequent tuition fees will be discounted by 50% (not available for financial aid recipients).
EXOSPHERE

Exosphere is a learning and problem-solving community helping people create more meaningful lives for themselves and working to improve the world around them.

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