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What the LaunchX Admissions Committee Looks For

By LaunchX Admissions

October 22, 2019

Starting a company in four short weeks is no easy task; with this in mind, the LaunchX admissions committee has high expectations for students admitted to our entrepreneurship summer program.  While we certainly look for your entrepreneurial propensity and work ethic in a variety of ways during the application process, we are also looking for your authentic self – we want to best understand the person behind the application.  Read on to learn more specifics about what we look for in stellar applicants:

  • Entrepreneurial experience – having started a company is not necessary, so no need to worry if you are not already a startup founder or cofounder!  What the LaunchX team does look for, however, are the skills and mindset of an entrepreneur: your ability to work hard and push outside of your comfort zone, being resourceful and resilient while learning from challenges, and taking reasonable, creative risks.  We appreciate students who persevere and think nothing of intensely pouring themselves into an area of interest to them, especially when they take initiative to find or create new opportunities for themselves. This can come in many forms, since it takes all entrepreneurial types to come together to start a company.  What this means for each applicant, then, is to ensure that your activities (and innovator portfolio if including this optional section) show a theme of your interest and perseverance, highlighting the unique value of skills and mindset that you could bring to your team and the LaunchX community.
  • Outcomes – the LaunchX team is particularly impressed by students who do more than just participate in group or extracurricular activities.  We appreciate students who have been driven to do something in their school or community that creates real and impactful change for others.  How have you taken initiative and been action-oriented in your entrepreneurial pursuits? How have you created real results? Whether it is through revenue generated, people impacted, mockups or prototypes created, or downloads of your app, we love to see the metrics!  Ensure you focus on your impact and role, versus the impact of the full group that you were a part of.
  • Teamwork / Leadership – LaunchX is an intensive team-based program, so ideal candidates show that they are able to collaborate well in a team environment, particularly one that is constantly changing and where the answers are not always easy to discover.  Leadership skills, whether in the classroom or outside activities, are also important as communication, maintaining positivity and motivation, and utilizing feedback are integral to team success. We want to see that you understand how to work together in a group with other top students, would have a strong but not overpowering voice within a team, and would bring value to a team and the community at LaunchX while gaining from the program.

You may have noticed a couple of traditional metrics that we have NOT included here:

  • Grades – even though we ask for your high school transcript, this is one of the least important parts of the application review process.  Grades can show an aptitude for learning and challenging yourself with advanced courses, and LaunchX can be a demanding environment, but we care more about you showing yourself and your values through the activities and video sections.  We are more impressed by entrepreneurial activity than As and APs.
  • Awards – we care more about outcomes and metrics of your activities than the awards you might have achieved through your participation.   Increasing your club membership from 15 to 50 members as the president, then, means more to us than getting 1st in state at a competition.  The same holds true for activities related to entrepreneurship, so while we are still interested to know if you won a pitch competition, it holds little weight compared to having made real traction and impact with the idea.

Overall, we look for entrepreneurial high school students who are committed to pushing beyond what they think is possible in order to create and contribute something exceptional to their co-founder team and the entire LaunchX community.  So keep pursuing those quirky hobbies and we look forward to learning about them during next year’s application reviews!

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