What You Need to Know About MIT Launch

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a horse statue outside the building

What You Need to Know About MIT Launch

When it comes to finding a great summer program that can help a high school student expand and improve their college admissions, there are few that are better than MIT Launch, otherwise known as LaunchX.

MIT Launch is a four-week entrepreneurship program that is available for high school students that are aimed at teaching those students the entrepreneurship mindset, skillset, and spirit that is needed to create real companies that enjoy great success and change the world.

What to expect at MIT Launch

At MIT Launch or LaunchX, students will be asked to go through a rigorous list of coursework, work with peers and mentors, and use a huge multitude of tools at their disposal at MIT to better understand what it truly takes to be successful in the real world.

The prime characteristics that MIT Launch advocates when it comes to excelling now and in the future include resourcefulness, adaptability, and the willingness to innovate.

The program also spreads the ancient credo known as mens et manus – Latin for mind and hand – and those in charge strive to pass that credo on to all who are lucky enough to take part in MIT Launch.

If you are wondering how MIT Launch is different from other entrepreneurship summer programs around the world, looking a bit closer makes the differences – and MIT Launch’s superiority – very clear.

LaunchX is not a lesson in a business plan that has students meeting with a couple of startups or major companies. And it’s much more than just an incubator for some of the world’s most promising young minds. Instead of teaching youngsters how to create a company, MIT Launch has the goal of pushing students far out of their comfort zone in order to set them up for a life of success.

This not only begins with mentalities and lessons that will go with students wherever they go but also begins with the creation of a valuable and engaged network of similarly thinking individuals who will one day be together at the forefront of business and innovation.

unidentified student using laptop

What is the format of the learning experience?

If you are accepted to MIT Launch, you will spend each day participating in workshops, lectures, simulations, and panel discussions that are aimed at giving students the knowledge, skill, and mindset to take a company to the next level. When students are not in a class, they will be asked to team with four to five or their peers to put these new skills into action.

When it comes to learning, there are many different formats in which students will engage and enjoy:

  • Classes and workshops: You will learn from the people who have done it before and have enjoyed great success. Whether you are getting started with a new product idea or focused on how you will brand your company, the MIT Launch instructors will offer their profound expertise so that you can learn as much as possible. Class sessions tend to be highly interactive, requiring every student to be actively engaged during the sessions so that they can apply the lessons they learn to their business.
  • Founder talks: Entrepreneurs have to be resilient and have the spirit necessary to overcome both internal and external roadblocks. In order to learn just how many roadblocks some of the world’s most successful men and women had to overcome to find success, founders will come and share their insights into what it takes. They will answer questions about topics that are related to both life and business.
  • Mock board meetings: One of the most important skills that any successful entrepreneur must have is an ability to listen and be open to feedback and criticism. These are traits that many of the world’s top businessmen and women share. In your weekly mock board meetings with staff and guest mentors, you will receive honest and individualized feedback that is aimed to help you improve your company. These meetings are not only meant to introduce you to how real board meetings work, but they are also geared towards helping students establish a stronger foundation for the company going forward.
  • Team check-ins: Studies show that the main reason why so many startups fail is because of conflicts that exist within the team. That’s why team check-ins have become some an important part of the MIT Launch curriculum. Team check-ins with the MIT Launch staff are used to ensure that every team involved is utilizing strong forms of communication and strategies that enhance collaboration so that every company can be as high performing as possible.
  • Pitch practice: The very first rule for the best startup founders is that they have to always be pitching. This means that you know how to sell your business and your product to whoever is willing to listen. Over the six-week program, every student involved will get ample opportunities to pitch their business. They will also get the feedback they need to make sure that their pitch – and their business model – is as strong as possible.a group of students talking each other in the library

What is expected of every student at MIT Launch or LaunchX?

When it comes to the amount of time and energy that students are expected to commit while at MIT Launch, the time commitment is essentially that of a full-time job, or 40 hours per week.

These 40 hours will not be spent in fronts of the commercials like many other summer jobs or internships. Instead, a large portion of your weekly time allotment will be spent practicing in doing market research, prototyping, and more.

How to apply to MIT Launch?

If you are curious about how you can apply to MIT Launch, there is a very clear and simple way to apply. You will need to gather a fair amount of information, as well as paint a picture as to why you are deserving of such an exciting opportunity. Below, we will go over everything you can expect to find on the MIT Launch application.

General Info

When you start your application, you are going to have to be willing to share some information with the admissions professionals at MIT Launch. That information is as follows:

  • Personal URL or LinkedIn: Of course, you are not required to have either a personal URL or a LinkedIn account to apply. With that being said, it is likely that admissions will take a look at these if offered to get an even better idea of an applicant.
  • Financial need: The admissions process at MIT Launch is need-blind, which means that a family’s financial status will not impact anyone’s application negatively. Questions related to need are only used to assess the potential for an application fee waiver.
  • Your address: Please take extra care to make sure that information is correct so that MIT Launch can send you welcome material if you are accepted.
  • What other opportunities you may be applying to: Those at MIT Launch want to know how else you might spend your summer if you do not end up attending MIT Launch. What you plan to do outside of the school classroom helps those at MIT Launch better understand whether or not you’re the right fit for the program.
  • Which programs would you like to apply: This is an incredibly important question to ask. Keep in mind that if there are any programs that you are not interested in, you should leave them off your list entirely. Even if you rank some programs low on your list, you will be expected to attend if you are accepted.
  • Why have you chosen to apply to the locations that you did: This falls in line with the question that precedes it. MIT Launch wants to make sure that there is a great match between the program locations and the students that are attending.Two college students are walking in campus and talking.

Necessary transcripts and school information

There is specific information that you will be expected to provide in regard to your performance in high school. Those are as follows:

  • Grades and coursework: While your admission will not be solely based on your grades or what classes you have taken, there are aspects of your school performance that MIT Launch wants to know.
  • Teacher reference: You should offer the basic information about one of the teachers at your high school who knows you and your work best. Those in charge of admissions at MIT Launch may reach out to teachers, and they may not, but it is required that you give them what they need to do so if they want to.
  • GPA: It is important to not leave this information blank. If your school does not offer a GPA, you can calculate yours within the MIT Launch application.
  • Class rank: This is not something to overthink and stress out about. Class rank is calculated differently at each school and those at MIT Launch know it. This ranking simply gives those in charge of admissions a little bit more context into how you stand up to the rest of your classmates.
  • Classes with each grade: Make sure to include how many classes you take in a full semester and what letter grade you received in each class.
  • Upload your transcript: Make sure that you give the people at MIT Launch a copy of your high school transcript. This can easily be requested and picked up at your school’s registrar. Remember, the transcript does not need to be official and you do not need to have your school send an official copy. In fact, they only accept digital submissions that come with the rest of your digital application.the A grade written on paper

Short answer questions

Another very important aspect of every application to MIT Launch is the short answer questions that every applicant must include so that they can assess your “entrepreneurial baseline.” What does this really mean? Essentially, the good people at MIT Launch have been able to identify some key questions that give them a good idea of what kind of entrepreneur a given applicant is. They believe that through answers to the short essay questions, they can accurately identify a students’ motivations as well as their expectations for what they will get out of LaunchX.

One very important message that MIT Launch itself offers its potential applicants is that applicants should not, under any circumstances, try to game their answers. What that means is that MIT Launch does not want any applicant to answer a certain question the way that they think the admissions officers at MIT Launch want it to be answered. There are no wrong or right ways to answer these questions and there are tons of different kinds of successful entrepreneurs. The most important thing when it comes to your answers is honesty and thoughtfulness. Show that you are self-aware, open-minded, and willing to learn new and exciting lessons about entrepreneurship.

Ultimately, the more honest you are, the better MIT Launch will be able to determine whether or not the program is right for you.

Here are a few of the questions that you can expect to face in your application

  • What is the main driver for wanting to be an entrepreneur? Just remember to be honest about your personal reason, whatever it may be. They want to know what your personal motivation is so that they can understand what direction you are likely heading in. If you are admitted, this answer will help ensure that you end up with the right teammates who either mirror or otherwise compliment your motivations.
  • What is your entrepreneurial type? To prepare for finding your very best team at MIT Launch, they want to know what specific skill sets you will bring to a team. Depending on what bill you fit, you will be faced with specific roles and expectations.
  • What is the primary reason for applying to our summer program? This is a simple one. Your reasons for applying are personal and will surely motivate you in your startup journey. They want to know what gets you excited about entrepreneurship and why you want to continue your education to pursue the future of your dreams.
  • Questions about teams and learning preferences: Other questions will deal with what kinds of people you work well with and how you learn best so that your team and your learning experience can be tailored to your personal preferences as best as possible.

Remember, none of the questions you will face will be trick questions or will be purposefully difficult. Instead of trying to make yourself seem as intelligent or impressive as possible, try to use this time to let those who will read these applications in on who you are, what you are passionate about, and what really makes you tick.


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