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A Comprehensive Guide to the KP Launch High School Internship

Imagine, as a high schooler, the chance to work alongside professionals in your chosen field, gaining hands-on experience and forging connections with mentors and peers before even stepping foot on a college campus. Such an opportunity can be a game-changer, and one internship program that is quite popular amongst high schoolers is the KP Launch Internship.

When evaluating applicants with internship experience on their resume, admission officers look for more than just listing out roles and responsibilities. They seek applicants who can articulate how these experiences have shaped their passions, ambitions, and contributed to their personal growth, providing insight into their potential as future college students.

In this deep-dive article, we will explore the KP Launch Internship, uncover its intricacies, and evaluate whether it truly lives up to the hype.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente, often referred to as KP, is an organization with a rich history of excellence in healthcare. Their mission extends beyond providing medical services; they are dedicated to fostering talent and nurturing the healthcare professionals of tomorrow.

What is the KP Launch Internship?

The KP Launch Internship is a program that offers students an introduction to the world of professional work and career development in the field of healthcare and is particularly designed for students from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in healthcare careers.

Administered by Kaiser Permanente, one of the leading healthcare organizations in the United States, KP Launch has a select and undisclosed number of spots for promising high schoolers who wish to gain some real-world experience, and transferable skills for their college careers, as well as a solid addition to their resume.

Key Program Details

Before delving deeper, let's address some key details that a prospective applicant may want to know:

  • Location: The KP Launch Internship takes place in the KP Oakland offices, as well as medical offices across Northern California.

  • Timeline (generally the same annually – but double check!):

    • Application Open/Closed Date: November 20, 2023 – January 2, 2024

    • Application Review: January 2024 – February 2024

    • Interviews/Selections: February 2024 – March 1, 2024

    • Selection Notification:

      • For Selected Interns: By March 15*, 2024

      • For Non-selected Applicants: By May 1, 2024

    • Complete Employment On-boarding: By May 31, 2024

    • Program Start/End:

      • College Interns: June 10 – August 2, 2024

      • High School Interns: June 17 – August 2, 2024

  • Cohort: Each KP Launch cohort comprises a cohort of exceptional high school students from diverse backgrounds and interests, ensuring a dynamic and enriching learning environment.

  • Eligibility: The internship is open to all high school students who live in the Northern California area. Be ages 16 – 19 by June 1st, 2024. Applicants must be 16 years of age by June 1st, 2024. Priority is given to juniors and senior-level students. Be a current high school student and or graduating senior of the Class of 2024. You should be available to work full-time during the seven-week summer program, Monday – Friday, between the hours of 8 am – 5 pm (hours may differ depending on the department).

  • Key Responsibilities: While participating in KP Launch, interns engage in real hands-on work. These responsibilities often include entry-level work in all varieties of fields in healthcare.

Is It Prestigious?

One of the most common questions that prospective applicants ponder is whether the KP Launch Internship lives up to its prestige. Yes, the KP Launch is prestigious. Let's delve into factors that contribute to its prestige:

What is the acceptance rate of the KP Launch High School Internship?

The acceptance rate into KP Launch is not easily available. However, press releases from their recent cohort suggest that the cohort size is around 40-50 students across both high school and college applicants. This would suggest a low acceptance rate, often rivaling or even surpassing that of some Ivy League universities. This low acceptance rate speaks volumes about the program's selectivity, as only the brightest and most motivated high school students will make the cut. Securing a spot in KP Launch is a significant achievement in itself.


While some internships or immersive programs require students to pay for participation, KP Launch typically offers its interns payment in the form of minimum wage. This aspect not only reflects the program's commitment to equity but also adds to its financial appeal for students who want to earn income in the process of gaining new skills and relevant career experiences that would appeal to colleges. Fully funded internships that provide a stipend are viewed more favorably by admissions officers as opposed to paid internship programs that require students to pay a certain amount to work or learn under the guidance of industry experts.

A Comprehensive Range of Career Paths

KP Launch offers a diverse array of career paths that high school students can explore. Here are some of the options available within the program:

  • Accounting: Members of the accounting team support corporate projects and provide insights into areas such as financial reporting, tax planning and preparation, and audit management. This team also includes audit professionals who collaborate with financial and operational groups across the organization to analyze budgets and streamline procedures.

  • Finance: Supporting critical business functions such as financial services, national Medicare finance, strategic planning, auditing, and corporate finance, KP's finance professionals develop strategies that enable the organization to meet its financial goals.

  • Actuarial: Applying probability and statistics to practical insurance problems, the actuarial team performs a variety of duties, including calculating the cost of premiums and policy values, preparing statistical studies, and forecasting financial results.

  • Consulting Services and Project/Program Management (Non-IT): Interns can become problem solvers and project managers, learning to analyze complex issues and drive organizational change.

  • Facilities Services and Materials Management: KP's facilities teams ensure that physical spaces are efficient and well-maintained. Interns can explore careers in facilities services and materials management, understanding how healthcare facilities operate on a day-to-day basis.

  • Human Resources: Human resources professionals are essential in recruiting, developing, and retaining talent. Interns can explore careers in HR and learn about the people's side of healthcare.

  • Legal: Healthcare law and legal affairs play a crucial role in the organization. Interns can explore careers in healthcare law and learn how legal professionals support the organization.

  • Sales and Marketing: Explore careers in sales and marketing, where you can help promote the organization's services and connect with the community.

Pros and Cons of the KP Launch Program

With such a diverse range of career options and the program's prestige, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons before applying. Let's break down some of the key advantages and potential drawbacks of the KP Launch Internship:


1. You will Get the Chance to Build an Extensive Network

One of the standout advantages of the KP Launch program is the opportunity to build an extensive network. Interns interact with professionals, mentors, organizations, and fellow students, such as lab directors, administrators, and executives who are among the best and brightest in their respective fields. This network can be invaluable when seeking future opportunities in college and beyond.

Interns often collaborate with seasoned healthcare professionals, providing them with insights and connections that can serve as a great option while looking for letters of recommendation before applying to college. Networking events and workshops facilitate meaningful interactions and mentorship.

2. You Will Gain Real-World Experience

KP Launch offers hands-on experience in a diverse range of career paths. This exposure enables students to gain a deep understanding of their chosen field, making them more informed and competitive applicants for college admissions.

You will be working alongside finance experts to analyze budgets and financial reports or assisting in healthcare quality assurance initiatives. These experiences can set you apart when applying to colleges with related programs.

3. You Will Gain a Prestigious Addition to Your College Applications

The KP Launch Internship is prestigious in its own right. Mentioning this program on a college application can significantly enhance your profile. Admissions committees recognize the selectivity and rigor of the program, which can work in your favor.

In college application essays, you can mention your experience as a KP launch intern and demonstrate new skills you gained in business, collaboration, and leadership.

4. You Will Receive Financial Incentives

Unlike many high school internships that require students to pay for the privilege of participating, KP Launch typically offers a stipend or financial incentives. This financial support makes the program accessible to a wider range of students and reduces the financial burden on participants and their families.

The stipend provided by KP Launch not only helps cover personal expenses during the program but can also be used to fund a passion project or pay for your tuition!


1. You Will Be In A Competitive Process

The very selectivity that makes the program prestigious is also its primary drawback. With a low acceptance rate, gaining admission to KP Launch is a challenging feat. Many highly qualified students may not secure a spot, which can be disheartening.

Every year, hundreds of exceptional students apply for KP Launch, but only a fraction are accepted. While it is unclear how many students are accepted, the competitive nature of the program means that rejection is a possibility, even for well-qualified applicants.

2. You Will Have to Complete a Rigorous Application Process

The application process for KP Launch is rigorous and demanding. It includes submitting a comprehensive application, writing a personal statement, and undergoing interviews. This process can be time-consuming and stressful.

Applicants must meticulously complete their online applications, paying attention to details, and ensuring their personal statements reflect their passion and commitment. The interviews can be nerve-wracking, as they are often conducted by program managers and coordinators whose expectations come from experience in the healthcare industry.

3. You Will Be In A Limited Cohort Size

While a small cohort size can create a more intimate and personalized learning experience, it also means that only a limited number of students can benefit from the program each year. This exclusivity can be a downside for students who are not admitted.

The limited cohort size of 40-50 students across all fields ensures that each intern receives individualized attention and support from mentors and supervisors. However, it means you may be isolated without other students your age, and the low number of spots means that deserving students may not get the chance to participate even after completing the long application process.

4. You Must Live in A Specific Location to Participate

The program's location in Northern California, while advantageous for those in proximity, can be a limitation for students who live far away from the designated area. This could potentially exclude talented students who are unable to relocate for the duration of the program.

High school students residing outside the program's designated service area may face challenges in terms of transportation and accommodation if they wish to participate.

Is KP Launch Worth the Hype?

Now that we've explored the program's facets, including its career options, prestige, and pros and cons, the question remains: Is the KP Launch Internship truly worth the hype? The answer is not a simple yes or no, as it depends on individual goals, circumstances, and aspirations.

While the KP Launch Internship undoubtedly offers a transformative experience for high school students, its worthiness depends on your objectives and what you hope to achieve. If you're seeking to gain valuable insights into a specific career path, build a powerful network, and bolster your college applications with a prestigious experience, then KP Launch may be an excellent fit. However, if the competitive nature, rigorous application process, or location-specific limitations pose challenges, you may want to explore alternative internship opportunities that align better with your circumstances.

In the end, what makes the KP Launch Internship truly worth considering is not just its prestige, but the knowledge, experience, and connections it can offer to motivated and ambitious high school students.

If you’re looking for the opportunity to do in-depth research, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image Source: KP Launch logo



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