Launch Internship Program
Launch FAQ
Here are the answers to the most common questions we hear.
Still have questions? Email us at launch@hackcville.com.
Applying to Launch
What is the timeline for the application process and receiving acceptance?
From start to finish, the Launch application process takes about 1 month if you move through all three stages. Our application process has three steps: a written application, a skills challenge, and an interview. You will be notified after each stage as to whether or not you'll be continuing in the application process.

If you make it to the interview stage, you should hear back within about a week of interviewing regarding your acceptance status. From there, you'll sign up for an orientation to learn more about the program, ask questions, and meet other accepted students. If you want to accept a spot in the program, we'll let you know what the next steps are regarding onboarding and training.
Can I apply to more than one track?
Yes, you can apply to up to two Launch tracks – just indicate which track(s) you're interested in on your application. If you move on to the second step of the application process, we'll send you the Skills Challenges for both tracks you're interested in. You would need to complete both of the Skills Challenges if you still want to be considered for two tracks. At that point you are also welcome to only continue applying to one track and complete just one of the challenges.
Can I apply if I'm not an undergraduate student?
The short answer is yes, but we typically can only accept recent college graduates who have been out of college for no more than about 2-3 years. We've found that our program makes the most sense for and is most beneficial to undergraduate students or fairly recent college graduates.
Can I apply if I'm not a UVA student?
Yes, students from other universities are welcome to apply. However, many of our company partners work with the Launch program specifically to connect with UVA students, so the pool of internship opportunities would likely be smaller for non-UVA students.
Can I apply if I'm an international student or if I'm not a US citizen?
International students, students on green cards, and DACA students are welcome to apply. (We cannot accept undocumented immigrants, unfortunately, due to IRS requirements.) However, many of our company partners prefer to hire interns that are US citizens. Because of this, we want to be up-front that any non-citizens accepted to the Launch program will likely have fewer internship opportunities to consider than other students.

If you have questions or are unsure if you should apply, please email launch@hackcville.com before applying to the program.
Suggested Skills & Prerequisities
Do I need any skills coming into the program?
There are no skills required to apply. However, coming in with some experience (suggestions below) can be helpful. If you don't have the suggested experience for your track but you're up for a bit more of a challenge, you are still more than welcome to apply.
What are the suggested skills for each of the tracks?
For the Data Science track, a basic knowledge of statistics and/or some experience with Python is helpful but not required. Taking HackCville's Node, Node Lite, or Node Pro skills course is also helpful but not required to apply.

For the Digital Marketing track, taking HackCville's Convert skills course is helpful but not required to apply. Strong writing skills and a good eye for design can also be helpful. Some experience with general business knowledge (like Comm 1800 or a similar course) is also helpful but not required.

For the Software Engineering track, taking at least one intro CS class (CS 1110, 1111, or 1112) or another intro to programming course in high school, online, or through another organization is very helpful. Personal programming experience with online tutorials or personal projects is helpful as well. Taking HackCville's Source, Node, Node Lite, or Node Pro skills course is also helpful but not required to apply (all of these courses cover programming fundamentals).

For the UX Design track, some design experience and a good eye for design is helpful but not required. Taking HackCville's Wireframe or Vector skills course is helpful but not required to apply. Taking an intro psychology class, intro art/design class, and/or intro to engineering course (specifically ENGR 1624) can also be helpful but is not required.

These suggestions are NOT requirements to apply, but these are a few ways you can explore and get familiar with the subjects covered in each track before the program begins.
Launch Scheduling & Logistics
Do I have to be available for the whole program?
Yes, you must be available for all 3 weeks of summer training (May 24 – June 11), full-time, and all 9 weeks of the internship period (June 14 – August 13), full-time. You will also need to be able to commit to about 20 total hours of pre-summer training (called "Countdown") over the course of the school year.
Can I take a vacation during Launch?
No, we cannot permit vacations or planned time off from May 24th through August 13th, Monday-Friday. Your weekends are, of course, free — but you otherwise need to be available for and able to commit to the entire duration of the Launch program.
Can I work a part-time job during Launch?
You can as long as it does not interfere with training hours (Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:30pm) or your internship hours (typically 9:00am-5:00pm). However, we generally do not recommend trying to work another job on top of Launch.
Is training online?
As of now, Launch training will take place online. Though we wish we could plan to run training in person for summer 2021, we are expecting and planning to run training entirely online due to the expected continued complications of COVID-19. Our first priority is to make sure staff and students are teaching and learning safely. We ran Launch 2020 summer training fully online, and it was our highest rated summer training to date. Our instructors understand what makes online learning great and they get the things that make it not-so-awesome, and they teach the way they'd want to be taught in an online setting.
Will internships be remote?
We expect that many (but not all) internships for summer 2021 will take place remotely. It depends quite a bit on how the next ~8 months unfold in regard to COVID-19.

Remote vs. in-person work is determined by each company, depending on their preferences and ability to have employees work in-person. This looks a little different for each company! We will ask each company what their plan (or tentative plan) is and include this information in each internship profile. This is also a great question to ask during an interview - "If I were hired for this role, can you tell me a bit more about what I should expect regarding working remotely or in-person this summer?"). Keep in mind that each company may still be figuring out what is or isn't possible for summer 2021 and may not have a finalized decision yet.
Does HackCville provide housing over the summer?
No, HackCville does not provide housing over the summer. While we expect many internships to be remote for summer 2021, some companies may prefer their intern(s) to come work in person. This will be noted clearly for any internship opportunity where the company would prefer in-person work so you can make an informed decision. In those cases, interns should not apply for an in-person position if they are not willing or able to relocate to that company's city for the duration of the internship period.
Are there any social events during Launch?
During a normal, non-COVID year, yes. We love running social events for Launch students and in normal times we'll host events like catered dinners, hikes, Fourth of July cookouts, track-only social events, or even just popsicles on a hot day after training.

This year, we're not expecting that we'll be able to run social events in person. Our team will be working to figure out how best to facilitate remote/online/distanced social events that would be fun and safe for program participants and staff.
Payment & Tuition
How much is tuition for the program?
Tuition for the Launch program is $3,400. You can read more about tuition & what it includes here.
How much will I get paid for the summer?
Most Launch interns will be paid $18-22/hour full-time for 9 weeks for their internship. The pay rate for each opportunity is detailed on each Launch internship profile so you can make an informed decision before applying for a given role.

After taxes and paying back tuition, Launch students typically earn $2,000+. We can't determine exactly how much a student will earn because it depends on which company a student confirms an internship with, that company's pay rate, the student's personal tax situation, etc. We encourage you to read our Payment and Tuition page for details.
When do I get paid?
This depends on the company you confirm an internship with! Our company partners have different pay schedules (weekly, biweekly, monthly). So how often you get paid just depends on the company you intern with, but you'd start getting paid according to the company's pay schedule after you start interning in mid-June.
Do I get my deposit back?
Deposits are only returned to students who do not confirm an internship through our program or who choose to leave the program. Otherwise, students who accept an offer from one of our company partners and commit to continuing in the Launch program will have their deposit applied towards their tuition.
Company Matching
How does the internship matching process work?
As company partners come on board with us, you'll familiarize yourself with available opportunities through our in-depth internship profiles. We'll be adding an example here soon. We create these in collaboration with each company to share information about the company itself, the internship details & requirements, and a bit about the person or team you'd be working with.

Internship opportunities are shared starting in the spring semester. From roughly February-April there are a handful of new opportunities (usually between 2-6 per skill track) available each week, depending on the track you're in. When new opportunities go live, you'll have about 3 days to review them and submit a short form to let the Launch team know which ones you'd be interested in interviewing for.

From there, we send each company the list of students who want to interview for their position. They review those student profiles & resumes (you'll work on these items during Countdown!) and then the company decides who they'd like to interview for their position(s). After interviews, the company will make the final call on who they want to select, and the Launch team will confirm & finalize the match between both parties.

If you are not selected by a company after an interview, our team will let you know. You'll then get the chance to review the next round of internship opportunities, submit preferences on those, and continue interviewing for opportunities.
Can I interview with multiple Launch partner companies at the same time?
The short answer is yes! You are welcome to submit interest in multiple companies at the same time. We'll send your student profile & resume out to any companies you're genuinely interested in, but it is ultimately up to each company to decide who they'd like to interview.

This means that yes, there's a chance you could be selected to interview with multiple companies at the same time - it just depends on what each company is looking for and who they choose to interview. This also means there's a chance that you could receive more than one internship offer at the same time. Should that happen, you'll have about a week to make a decision on which offer you'd like to accept. The Launch team is happy to try to help you navigate this scenario should it come up for you.
If I receive an offer from a Launch company, do I have to take it?
The short answer is no, but we expect a pretty serious reason as to why not. We expect students to do some thorough research on any opportunities they want to be considered for, so students should not be interviewing with companies they don't ultimately see themselves interning with.

Students should also not interview with companies that they know they can't accept a position with (due to the company's location, desire for an in-person intern, the pay rate, etc.). These factors should be considered before a student submits interest in interviewing with a given company.

If a student receives and denies multiple internship offers from our company partners, we'll schedule a meeting with the student to discuss their continuation in the program.
Am I guaranteed to get an internship through this program?
No, there is not a 100% guarantee you'll get an internship through the Launch program. This means you're free to look for internships elsewhere while concurrently considering Launch internship opportunities, if you'd like.

The likelihood of securing an internship through Launch depends on a few factors, including how many companies a student submits interest in, how well an individual student prepares for a given interview, and of course, what each company is looking for. Each company makes the final decision on who they would like to confirm as their intern.

There will be many internship opportunities available with various companies throughout the spring semester. We encourage students to be open-minded to the opportunities while still being thoughtful about where they submit interest. We strongly encourage doing some solid research on any company you get an interview with and prepping & practicing before an interview. We have tips on this which are covered in Countdown training.
How many companies should I expect to interview with before I'm matched?
Most students interview with an average of 3-4 of our company partners before they're matched — that's totally normal for our program and far lower than the average amount of internships we've heard that students apply for outside of the Launch program.
When will I know what company I'm matched with?
Matching is a rolling process — not everybody gets matched with an internship at once! Internship opportunities are shared throughout the spring semester as companies continue to come on board with the Launch program.

There are three total application rounds — two in the fall and one in the spring. The earlier you apply, the earlier you'll get to start reviewing internship opportunities.
What happens if I find an internship outside of the program?
If you receive an internship offer outside of the program and want to take it, that's totally fine so long as you have not already confirmed an internship with one of our company partners.

Students who are not yet matched with one of our internships are welcome to accept an outside offer, leave the program, and receive their deposit back.

Students who have accepted an offer from one of our company partners should understand that is a serious commitment. If a student were to accept an outside offer or drop out of the program after confirming an internship from a Launch company partner, they would be subject to withdrawal fees for breaking their contract and withdrawing from the program.
What internship locations are available? About how many students end up in each one?
Our main internship locations are Charlottesville, Richmond, Washington, D.C., the NOVA area, and New York. That is not an exclusive list though – we have also placed past interns in cities like Boston, MA, Norfolk, VA, Denver, CO, Silver Spring, MD, and Austin, TX. We have even placed one student at a company in Medellin, Colombia! There may be other cities available for Launch 2021 that are not currently listed here.

To give you an idea of the breakdown, in our Launch 2019 class, 65% of students interned in Charlottesville, 15% in DC or the NOVA area, 8% in NYC, 5% in Richmond, and 7% were in another location (like Austin, Denver, Boston, etc.). In 2021, we expect the percentages for non-Charlottesville cities to grow, but also for Charlottesville to remain where the majority of internships offered. We also expect many internships to be available for remote work or to even require remote work, though some companies may plan to have their interns work in-person. Remote vs. in-person work is decided by each company.
Why can't I see a list of all of the internships available?
The matching process runs throughout the spring semester, and internship opportunities are shared as company partners continue to come onboard with us. Every 1-2 weeks more internship opportunities will be shared with you and you can submit interest in those on a rolling basis. Because of this, there will not be a comprehensive list of internships to "pick from".
Launch Training
What does the commitment look like during the school year?
Once you've been accepted to Launch, you'll start doing some soft skills training with us in the first portion of Countdown training (in either the fall or spring semester, depending on when you apply) to prepare for our company matching process. This will be about 8-10 hours of training total, as well as some tasks to do outside of training (working on your resume, practicing interview questions, etc.). This training is required in order to take part in company matching.

Then, during the spring semester, you'll complete part two of Countdown training to begin learning the technical skills you'll need for summer training and your internship. The technical portion of Countdown training will involve about 15 hours of training in total, though some students may need to work a bit more outside of set training sessions depending on their skill levels coming into the program.
What are the hours for summer training?
Summer training is full-time, from 8:30am-5:30pm (from May 24 – June 11). There is a one hour break for lunch as well as a few shorter breaks throughout the day.

We know these are long days, but this is part of how we pack so much learning into such a short amount of time. Most students feel adjusted to the training hours after the first week, and almost everyone says that the rigor of the training portion of the program sets them up for success during the internship portion.

Only students who confirm an internship with a Launch company partner will participate in summer training.
What does a typical day of summer training look like?
Launch training is a mix of instructor-led lessons, hands-on group work, individual projects, and a weekly one-on-one check-in with your instructor. Launch training is meant to push you and challenge you — you will learn and make more in 3 weeks than you have in any college class.

In the working world, you might not know everything you need to know when you start a project. We've designed our training to prepare you for that. Our general rule of thumb in training is to train you on 60-80% of what you need to know, and then you're given hands-on projects that will lead you to learn and discover the rest on your own or through collaboration with peers. We've found that this learning style sets students up to be more autonomous and successful at their internships and in future endeavors.
What types of projects will I work on in training?
We make projects feel as close as possible to "doing the real thing" – so some projects will be set up as though you've been hired by a client to do the work. In general, Launch is lighter on lectures and heavier on learning by doing.

We will have examples of student projects from training available here soon.
Who will my instructors be?
Launch instructors are recent graduates or upperclassmen who have previously completed the Launch program at the top of their class. They also have demonstrated excellence in their topic area, thrived in past internships and jobs, held leadership and teaching roles at HackCville, and have gone through vetting and teacher training by our full time staff.

Launch TAs are typically undergraduates who have previously completed Launch and/or have led one of HackCville's semester courses. Both TAs and instructors train with HackCville during the school year and get teaching experience leading one of our other courses or programs.