Want to Apply? Read this First (Part 2)
By Claire oxner
December 11, 2019
Hey future Launchies! Earlier this week, we posted a guide for how to submit your application, which we hope can be used to clarify questions you might have. If you haven’t yet, take a look at that post before you read this one, as it will cover the first half of your application.
This article is going to cover a few more parts of your application, specifically your activities, the optional innovator portfolio, optional photo submission, and your video. These sections are the ones in which you can best showcase your work ethic, initiative, experience, and the other important qualities which make you stand out.
1. Your Activities Involvement
The activities you dedicate your time to say a lot about you and where your passions lie. This is something very important for what we look for in an applicant. More than anything, we are looking for future Launchies with passion, interests that show unique perspective, as well as a potential to positively contribute to their team at LaunchX, and a focus on meaningful results. These qualities make up entrepreneurship, and we are looking for students with this type of mindset.
No matter what activities you’re involved in, as long as you show these characteristics, you will be a good fit for LaunchX. Our applicants have backgrounds in all sorts of different activities, so don’t worry if your activities seem different than those of other applicants. Each person has their own unique skill set to bring to their team, whether it’s traditional business knowledge, multimedia experience, or love for writing.
When looking at your activities, we emphasize quality over quantity. You can able to add up to five activities, plus a brief summary of each. If you have more activities than the five slots, only add in the ones that are most important to you and that you think most directly align with what we look for in our applicants. Focus on what’s most meaningful to you, so our readers get a sense of who you are and what value you’d bring to our community.
In filling this section out, your first step is selecting checkboxes for activities you have done in the past. If you’ve had past entrepreneurial experience of starting a company, you will be asked to provide metrics on this so that we can have the best understanding of what you’re working on. If you haven’t started a company (yet!), you can just select “none of the above” and continue working on your application. If you have started multiple companies, be sure to select both that you have started a company and that you have started multiple companies.
- Activity type: This is a simple drop-down menu and can be used to help us understand the essentials of what you’re working on
- Name of Activity: This part is pretty straightforward! Just put the name of your activity so that we can recognize it if you write about it in other parts of your application. Make sure to define the club type and category, as opposed to just referring to it by the name your school uses. Make sure application readers understand what it is, as you don’t want to be unfairly penalized!
- Role: This section has a drop down menu where you can select your role in the organization, be it as a member, president/captain, founder, or other leadership. If you are both the president/captain and the founder of your activity, select founder. This shows the entrepreneurial thinking that LaunchX is looking for! Also, select the highest level of role that you have had in the organization, and clarify any other changes in the description.
- Involvement: You’ll be asked to fill out the hours per week, weeks per year, and number of years you have dedicated to your activity. We understand that you might be dedicating a varied amount of time for a particular activity, so just do your best to be as accurate as possible within the bounds provided. We recognize some activities might be very high intensity for a short duration, or spread out throughout a full year, and this allows you to show that. Also, we love to see your dedication to the long-term success of a project, and we want to see that you’re putting in the necessary effort for success. Part of being an entrepreneur is persistence and dedication, and this section is your opportunity to show that to us!
- Description: Finally, you’ll be provided with 25 words to describe your contribution to your activity. Keep in mind that you want to focus on what you have done, not your personal reflection on it. You’ll have space in your video for that. Given that you have a word limit, you’ll want to keep what you’re writing as concise as possible. An example description could be something like this: led the organization of a 25 volunteers / 300 attendees fundraiser for Hurricane Maria relief, resulting in $8000 donations to UNICEF.
At the end of your activities section you’ll have three more short areas where you can cover a few more things that might not be fully explained in your activities section. Though note that these also have strict word limits!
- The first of these is a summary of your entrepreneurial experience, in which you can concisely describe how your activities show your entrepreneurial mindset. This can be useful especially if what you’re working on doesn’t necessarily fit the traditional idea of an entrepreneur. It also allows you to bring together and show the theme behind all of the things you have done so we get more of a sense of what type of entrepreneur you will be.
- Next, you can explain any more roles or accomplishments that haven’t been explained elsewhere in the application. There are only 20 words for this, so you can do this through a bullet point list. This can be a great place to list any pitch events, hackathons, or other one-off items you might have done.
- The last thing you can do is explain what you do for fun. In this section, tell us what you actually do for fun, not more resume items. We want to see the real you! This gives us a sense of the person behind the resume items.
2. Your Optional Innovator Portfolio
Your innovator portfolio gives you an opportunity to showcase projects you might have developed that do not fit the traditional list of activities. There will usually not be overlap between what you have shared in the activities section and your portfolio, except where there is a largely visual element that you were not able to depict in the activities section.
In this section, we want to see the projects you’ve done which showcase the unique skills you have that would allow you to be a great contributor to a team and cohort at LaunchX. We want to see pictures of the projects themselves, as well as understanding your individual role. Ideally, these should be things you have done mostly individually or in a small group. Projects with a large amount of people should be put in the activities section.
Here is what you’ll be able to submit in your innovation portfolio:
- You’ll first be given a section to check off boxes for whatever you personally work on in your innovative projects. This includes everything from animations to CAD assemblies.
- Pictures: For this, submit pictures of the project itself. This is not somewhere to put in images of you at a hackathon or another event, and should only be showing pictures of a project you have directly worked on. Examples of this can include the following
- A screenshot of an app you’ve published
- A science fair project you spent a lot of time on
- A prototype or innovation you developed
- Flyers or logos you designed
- A website that you created
- A photo of the backend code associated with the app / website
- Description: Underneath the photos, there’s a space for a description clarifying how these images display your entrepreneurial propensity and what your specific role was (especially if the project was team based). If it is a website, include a link.
3. Your Optional Photo Submission
One more opportunity for you to show the admissions team your creativity is in your optional photo submission. With this, you will have the space to upload a photo and give it a 280 character headline to explain why you’d be a good fit for LaunchX and why your photo is relevant. You have freedom as to what to upload here, but make sure that it is not redundant with the video section or the portfolio section. Think of this as an opportunity to display an element of your personality or character that you have not been able to share elsewhere: if you have shown a lot of engineering and making capabilities elsewhere, perhaps use this to show that you have some risk appetite. Or if you have shown a lot of initiative with solo projects, you might show yourself in the midst of some great collaborate work. Or you might create something entirely original that displays your unique creative spirit that we have not been able to see elsewhere.
4. Your Video
Out of every task in the LaunchX application, your video is probably the most important one. As an aspiring young entrepreneur, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of pitching. At LaunchX, you’ll have to be able to pitch your company to people who have never heard of it. In the application, we want to see you pitch yourself to people who have never heard of you. You are only going to have 30 to 60 seconds in your video, no more and no less. Make the most of your time and pick the information that you think is most important.
Feel free to take a look at other past LaunchX application videos, but please keep in mind that the prompt has changed from past years. Additionally, you now have 60 seconds instead of 90 seconds, so keep this in mind when you’re making your video! This year’s prompt is:
- What will be your impact?
- Why are you the one to do it?
With this prompt, we want to give you the creative freedom to express what makes you stand out from other applicants, but make sure you are addressing the prompt! What we mean by this prompt is: what kind of impact do you want to have on your customers and the world through entrepreneurship? Don’t just say in your video that you want to have an impact, or that you want to change the world or innovate. Tell us what kind of impact you want to have, in what field, or on what types of customers. We want to know what your entrepreneurial purpose will be.
If you want to take a look at some past admits’ videos, here’s a playlist you can check out. Additionally, feel free to just search up “LaunchX Application” on YouTube, keeping in mind the prompt changes from year to year.
Since this video is your pitch, we really want to see who you are and what you care the most about. Show the person behind the application. Community is a huge part of LaunchX, and we want students who are ready to make a powerful impact on the world. Here are a few things in particular we’ll look for:
- Self-awareness: Show why what you’re doing matters
- Personability: The best candidates have a mixture of confidence and humility
- Passion: We’re excited when you are!
As a final note, don’t worry if you don’t have much experience in editing videos. There are plenty of free resources online you can use, and our focus will primarily be on what you’re saying in the video, not any editing imperfections we see.
5. Entrepreneurial Pledge
You’re almost ready to submit your LaunchX application! This should be the last thing you submit, and in fact, it won’t even show up until you’ve submitted the application fee. Once you do it, you’ll be asked to sign and turn in your application. We go over a few expectations we have for our young entrepreneurs, specifically in your continued collaboration, growth, and perseverance.
And that’s everything you need to know about applying to LaunchX! If you haven’t already checked out the first part of our guide to applying, take a look at it here. We look forward to seeing you this summer!