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Frequently Asked Questions

Summer Program

About The Program

  • How is LaunchX’s summer entrepreneurship program different from other entrepreneurship programs?

    LaunchX is not a lesson in business plan writing or visiting several startup companies. It’s more than just an accelerator or an incubator. We don’t just tell you HOW to start a company; we show you the steps to identify a gap in the market and create a real-life business during the short duration of this summer program. We push you out of your comfort zone and set you up for startup success with a network of peers and mentors even after you leave the program. We have high expectations of our students who rise to the challenge to create something real and amazing.

  • Where will LaunchX Summer 2021 be held?

    This has been a rapidly changing situation around the world that we have continued to monitor closely, making note of potential implications on the summer program operations and student needs. After careful consideration, we made a decision to hold LaunchX Summer 2021 online. This decision is final.

    As we debated the best path forward for LaunchX 2021, we’ve reflected on what students came to expect of the LaunchX program and we are confident that we can meet those expectations in an online environment.

    There’s a lot of skepticism about online learning, and we understand! It’s hard to create a great program that has the same community-building and engagement of an in-person program. However, LaunchX was able to do it in the summer of 2020. LaunchX 2020 was an overwhelming success, bringing together close to 300 students from around the world and helping them start 60 companies.

    LaunchX has always been about

    1. Safety
    2. Learning
    3. Fun

    Safety: being on a university campus with a group of like-minded peers has provided a safe environment while you’ve pushed yourself outside your comfort zone to start real companies. Unfortunately, that sense of safety has changed in the past year, and it’s no longer safe to bring students from all over the world and have them in close proximity to each other on a university campus.

    Community: a community of top aspiring entrepreneurs from all over the world is what makes LaunchX special. Unfortunately, given the current travel restrictions, most international students won’t be able to attend the program if it’s held in person, in addition to the limitations of any community building events in person. An online environment can provide just as many, if not more opportunities for community building if done right. We love thinking about things like how to ensure there are similar spontaneous interactions online as there are in person.

    Learning: we understand that starting a company in an online environment adds another level of adversity. However, we are here to support you every step of the way and we have 60 companies started last summer proving that it’s possible if you have a team of like-minded peers who are working together towards a common goal. We’ve put a lot of thought into ensuring that the online environment is dynamic and engaging.

    Fun: given the current situation, if LaunchX were to be held in person, we would have to eliminate all of the community events to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. LaunchX is not just about starting a company but about networking and building lifelong connections with your peers. We have planned a variety of community building events that will be conducted online and allow you to take advantage of a like-minded network of innovative young minds and have fun with them along the way.

    Speakers: without geographic limitations of bringing speakers to a physical location, we’re able to source some amazing speakers and offer students flexibility in tailoring your elective sessions based on your interests.

    Demo Day: teams are able to prepare video pitches (check these out from summer 2020 on YouTube if you haven’t already!), and with the event being run online, we’re able to source a variety of great panelists including some investors who have been impressed by our teams, some even seeking contact after the event.

    If you’re a high school student who is ready to change the world, apply now! It takes all types of entrepreneurial change-makers to come together, so if you’re an innovator, maker, designer, dreamer, explorer, visionary, coder, marketer, or just want to start something real, we want you! Take the first step today and start your application to LaunchX.

  • What is the format of the summer program learning experience?

    Classroom activities, case study discussions, and mentor meetings will immerse you in the entrepreneurial process and push you to stretch the limits of what you thought was possible. Each day, you’ll learn from startup founders and industry experts who know first-hand what it takes to build a viable company. During the downtime of your scheduled class sessions, mentor meetings, and instructor check-ins, you’ll work with your cofounder team of 4-5 peers to put these lessons to work - applying your newfound knowledge and skills to take your company to the next level.

    How You’ll Learn:

    • Core Curriculum — These sessions guide you through the core entrepreneurial process. This is part of LaunchX’s leading methodology that has made it recognized by so many top universities and publications. Class sessions tend to be interactive—requiring you to engage during the sessions and apply the lessons directly to your business, with many integrating small group discussions, case studies, and simulations.
      • Elective Curriculum — This is where you customize your learning through selecting some of our awesome speakers you want to attend. You might want to tailor your schedule more based on hearing university instructors, or entrepreneurs, or based on the time of day they speak, or hear the ones that speak about technology or marketing. It’s up to you! This is where entrepreneurial accelerator meets startup conference meets college class electives. Have fun!
    • Mock Board Meetings — The ability to listen openly to feedback is one of the top traits of successful entrepreneurs. Each team receives a team of mentors who we call their Mock Board of Advisors, with whom you meet each week to receive individualized and honest feedback to help you improve your company. Keep an open-mind and don’t take constructive criticism personally.
    • Team Check-ins — The LaunchX staff schedules several team check-ins on both team dynamics and team progress, plus sets up office hours to allow for additional potential needs. We know that community and effective communication is important to high-performing startups.
    • Pitch Practice — The first rule for startup founders? Always be pitching. Whether you’re telling your family and friends about your company, writing an email to a potential customer, or presenting for investors, knowing how to tell a compelling story is paramount to your success. Over the course of five weeks, you’ll practice and get feedback on a variety of pitch styles.
  • What is the expected commitment during the program?

    The expected time commitment is full-time. Students cannot have other commitments during the timeframe of the program.

    This will not be fully 40 hours per week in front of the computer, but is expected to be at least 40 hours per week commitment. A portion of the time will be online sessions but you will also be expected to be doing market research, prototyping, etc. that will not require you to be in front of the computer.

  • Who will teach the classroom sessions?

    Classroom sessions will be taught by LaunchX staff, as well as by experienced entrepreneurs, business professionals, and university instructors.

    This includes both the core curriculum classes which go through the entrepreneurial process (1-3 sessions per day), plus elective sessions. In the elective sessions, you are able to tailor the entrepreneurial experience to make it your own, and choose sessions either specific to your industry interests, to build your specific skills, or hear more from startup founders.

    This is one of the exciting things about the LaunchX program - the opportunity to customize it to make it your own!

  • Will there be homework or graded assignments?

    There are not traditional grades, though teams are expected to be making consistent progress on their startups, and students must attend their core curriculum classes plus all elective classes to which they sign up. They are also expected to be actively present in all of their classes which includes having their videos on and engaging in discussions.

    LaunchX is about starting real companies, not about an academic experience, so we expect students to take responsibility for their own progress, meet daily with their teams, and commit fully to the process.

  • Will I get academic credit for going through the program?

    No—no credit is available through our program.

  • Is financial need support available?

    Yes, financial need based support is available.

    The LaunchX team wants the program to be accessible to students who are admitted. For this reason, admission is need-blind, meaning that it will never hurt your chances of getting in if you require financial assistance. Both domestic and international students can apply for financial need assistance if their family’s income for 2019 and 2020 was under $100,000. The amount of financial need is determined on a per-student basis and can’t be defined until we review all of the necessary financial paperwork that verifies the family’s income.

    To apply for financial support, indicate your interest in applying within the application form, including answering the additional questions. Admitted financial-need students will need to provide income statements (typically tax documents showing income of both parents) for the past two years, though additional information may be asked to understand the family financial status. Bank statements may not be used as a substitute to show income documentation.

    We also offer application fee waivers to students who provide evidence of need.

Program Logistics

About Your Company

  • How are co-founder teams formed?

    There are many components that are taken into consideration to increase the chances of team alignment and success, such as:

    • Amount of passion team members feel towards the opportunity / problem to be solved
    • Variety of experience and qualifications
    • Complementary skill sets
    • Balance of personalities
    • Geographic / time zone considerations (taken into account for the virtual program to allow easier coordination to meet outside of class sessions)

    We ask some targeted questions throughout the admissions process and once you’ve been admitted to help us better understand who you are and what types of people you’ll work with best. Questions about your experience and skills, personality, and the types of problems you’re interested in solving help us to determine who to team you with. You’ll find out who is on your team a couple weeks prior to the summer program.

    Because teaming is so important, our process for building co-founder teams is very iterative—we’re always asking ourselves “how can we form stronger teams?” and experimenting with new tactics.

  • Do I need to have a business idea I plan to pursue prior to apply?

    No. We’ll have a process to help you come up with ideas through some of the pre-work and first few days of the program, though we emphasize the value of solving a real problem over the specific idea. The process will guide you in keeping an open-mind as you search for opportunities that fit within your passions, skills, and current market trends. We’ll teach you how to critically assess these opportunities and adapt your chosen opportunity to improve viability and value. You may come in with an opportunity you have already started, though other students will have to want to pursue it in order for a team to move forward with it during the program.

    It’s important to remember that while it might be your original opportunity, you are now working with a well-equipped team of brilliant peers with whom you need to find a common vision of success—both for the summer and for the continued growth of the company. Ideas are a dime a dozen, with most having been thought of or even worked on before, so success comes down to execution. To execute well, you need all the skill sets of your team.

    If you do come to LaunchX with a business idea, keep an open mind and be willing to adapt in response to new market research and new ideas. Almost all ideas change from their origination to actual implementation, especially in successful companies, and your teammates will be well positioned to bring a fresh perspective. Humility and openness to feedback is key.

  • Will I pitch to venture capitalists to raise money for my company?

    No. The purpose of LaunchX is not to raise investment funding and you will not be doing this as part of the program. While LaunchX students are able to accomplish an incredible amount—launching viable companies in just a month’s time—no students have ever left the program with enough traction to start pitching to VC’s (venture capitalists). You’ll have a lot more work to do after you leave the program to be ready for investment.

    That said, you will learn how to pitch at LaunchX and will be prepared to pitch your startup to a variety of audiences. The program culminates with LaunchX Demo Day, during which event you will have a prepared video and do a live Q&A for a panel of mentors and receive critical feedback on your business that will help you take them it to the next level. It is possible that someone on your mentor panel may be an investor (note that there are several types of investors and not all of them are venture capitalists), but you should not expect this and you should certainly not seek investment from them at this early stage of your company.

  • Will LaunchX take any equity in my company?

    No. LaunchX does not take equity in companies started in our program.

Eligibility and Admissions

  • I was admitted to LaunchX but I’d prefer to participate next year. Can I defer my enrollment?

    No, unfortunately, we don’t offer an option to defer the enrollment.

  • What is included in the LaunchX summer program fee?

    The program fee is inclusive of the full five week program experience, discounted heavily from our in-person program, with more personalized features plus lengthened to increase startup success. The program fee covers course platform access, classroom activities, some prototyping costs for each team’s startup, several optional social activities, and the staff needed to deliver this program.

    If you have affordability concerns, please don't let this stop you from applying—we offer need-based financial support packages based on family income. More information is also provided on the program page.

    There is also an application fee for the summer program, which can be waived with proof of financial need.

  • When can I apply?

    The application is now available at apply.launchx.com

  • What grades and ages may apply?

    Students in current grades 9-12 (freshman through senior, or international equivalent) may apply. This means that you must be in grades 9-12 when you submit your application. This equates to going into grade 10-12 or graduating during the summer of the program. Exceptions will NOT be made for advanced middle school students taking high school level classes, nor for graduated students in a gap year. There are no age requirements outside of the grade requirement.

  • What application materials are needed?

    Note that we do not require or accept test scores or recommendation letters. There is an optional recommendation form, though it is not a written letter. Ensure you make note of this prior to asking a recommendor to fill it out.

    Sections of the application include:

    General Information— The first section of the application asks for basic personal information. We ask you to self-identify some demographic data. If you don’t see a fitting option, not a problem—there is space provided for an open-ended response. We also ask you to select if you will need financial assistance to attend the program. LaunchX is need blind. This means that your family’s financial status will not negatively impact your chances of acceptance in any way. This question will simply allow us to assess the potential for an application fee waiver, and will let us know to send you a financial need application if admitted.

    School Information & Transcripts— In this section, we ask you for information about your school and performance. Your grades and transcripts are the least important part of the application, and they have little impact on whether or not you’re accepted into the program, though they provide some insight on your academic rigor and learning propensity.

    Activities— Here, we want you to give us a sense for your passions, interests, and your ability to create real impact. We want to see that you are motivated and action-oriented in pursuing the things that matter to you. Show us that you are entrepreneurial—an ambitious and purpose-driven self-starter who rises to the challenge. Be brief! Include your role and explain the impact that you made, but please do not use this space for sentimental or philosophical reflection.

    Video— Ensure you address the prompt and stay within the time limit Get started on the video early!

    Portfolio— This is an optional section for applicants who may have created individual projects outside of traditional activities, or to share photos of some of the innovations that you may not have otherwise been able to share. They are typically longer-term individual projects in the fields of coding, making, or design.

  • Does my transcript need to be official?

    No. A scanned copy of your unofficial transcript will be sufficient. We will not accept a mailed copy, so please use the application to submit only. It must be in English, cover all years of high school education and include an explanation of the school’s grading system. We do not accept middle school transcripts as substitutes for students early in high school. We also do NOT accept updated transcripts past the deadline of the application round to which you apply. This means that if you really want to have your current semester grades as part of your application, you need to apply regular round. Sorry, you can’t apply early round and email us your transcript later.

    Your transcript can be picked up from your school’s registrar or your counselor, or if your school uses an online grade reporting system such as Naviance, you may upload the transcript you find on there.

    Ensure that the transcript covers all years of high school that you have attended so far. If you attended more than one school during high school, please combine the transcripts into one file to upload.

    If your school does not provide a grade point average (GPA), you can calculate yours using the calculator provided in our application.

  • What is the advantage of applying early?

    Early admissions candidates are able to find out their admissions status in advance of the regular admissions candidates. Also, applying early allows you to be compared against a smaller pool of candidates with a typically higher yield of acceptance. We do not accept application materials past your application round deadline, though, so consider your timing carefully. This is particularly relevant for freshman applicants, since you will likely not have received your first high school transcript by the early application deadline, limiting our ability to assess your academic propensity. We encourage freshman applicants to apply in the regular round, as we do not accept middle school transcripts.

  • What are the selection criteria?

    The admissions committee looks for candidates who show initiative, action-orientation, coachability, and a fit with our values. We look for students who show to us that they have what it takes to become successful entrepreneurs. There are no minimum grade or activity involvement requirements.

    Great applicants have a proven track-record in working successfully with teams to create exceptional impact. It isn’t about coming up with ideas—it’s about the work you put in to see them through.

    Entrepreneurial—You take initiative to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Impact-Oriented—You don’t just care about what you do, you care about creating real results. Committed—You pour yourself intensely into your passions and you persevere. A Team-Player—You’re able to collaborate dynamically and put team goals before yourself.

  • How are applications reviewed?

    The review of applications is not based on the timing of your submission (with the exception of reviewing early applicants and regular applicants during their respective groups. The admissions committee may also be reviewing from locations besides Massachusetts, so please do not read into any YouTube analytics for any signals. Every application gets at least two reviews.

  • Are there any things that will hurt my chances of admittance?

    Once you are admitted into our program, you become a part of our community and brand, so we expect you to conduct yourself in a way that represents our community and brand in a positive light. If we learn about misconducts or misrepresentations that we feel do not represent our community, your candidacy will be removed.

    Additionally, we ask that you please exercise patience in waiting for an admissions decision. Respecting this request allows us to focus on reviewing applications to ensure we can get decisions out as quickly as possible for everyone.

  • How will I find out if I am admitted?

    Admission decisions will be emailed to applicants by the date listed on the program page using the email address used to register the application. Please ensure this is the email you would like to be used for contact. A select number of students will be placed on a wait list.

  • Should I email LaunchX if I have not yet received an admissions decision?

    Please refer to the program page for the dates that decisions will be released. We ask that you please exercise patience in waiting for an admissions decision. Respecting this request allows us to focus on reviewing applications to ensure we can get decisions out as quickly as possible for everyone.

  • Is there an application fee?

    Yes. The application fee is $50 for the early round and $65 for the regular round.

    The fee which can be waived with proof of financial need.

  • Are scholarships/ financial support available?

    Yes, financial need based support is available.

    The LaunchX team wants the program to be accessible to students who are admitted. For this reason, admission is need-blind, meaning that it will never hurt your chances of getting in if you require financial assistance. Both domestic and international students can apply for financial need assistance if their family’s income for 2019 and 2020 was under $100,000. The amount of financial need is determined on a per-student basis and can’t be defined until we review all of the necessary financial paperwork that verifies the family’s income.

    To apply for financial support, indicate your interest in applying within the application form, including answering the additional questions. Admitted financial-need students will need to provide income statements (typically tax documents showing income of both parents) for the past two years, though additional information may be asked to understand the family financial status. Bank statements may not be used as a substitute to show income documentation.

    We also offer application fee waivers to students who provide evidence of need.

Get In Touch

  • How can I speak to a member of the LaunchX team?

    The best way to connect with a member of the LaunchX team is by emailing us: info@launchx.com.

  • How can I connect with LaunchX on social media?

    Follow us on social media—

    Facebook: /launchxed

    Twitter: @launchx

    Instagram: @launchxed

    YouTube: /launchx

    LinkedIn: /launchxed