Our Smooth Start Capstone AMA with a software engineer alumni

Reflections on Launch School’s 3rd Smooth Start Cohort

Launch School
Published in
5 min readNov 6, 2023

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Hey everyone this is Karis 👋, Coordinator of the Smooth Start Program. As we wrap up our last week of Smooth Start, I feel much gratitude for what we’ve accomplished this cohort. It’s been an amazing journey since we launched this program earlier this year, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on Smooth Start’s success and growth.

For those of you who might be new or unfamiliar with Smooth Start:

  • It’s a 4-week program that welcomes aspiring software engineers to Launch School’s Core Curriculum, Community, and Software Engineering.
  • It’s completely free to join and all are welcome to participate.

Our most recent cohort has been the third time we have run Smooth Start, and over the last four weeks:

  • We brought together a group of 120+ participants, guided by 11 dedicated student Leads.
  • Our team of Leads not only shared their knowledge but also imparted valuable study techniques and non-technical advice, making the journey into Launch School’s curriculum as smooth as possible.
  • Some Leads even volunteered to hold Smooth Start sessions at Gather Town — Launch School’s very own flat-verse! Using avatars, students were able to hang out with other peers and partake in Smooth Start sessions.
  • To wrap up Smooth Start on a high note, our Leads hosted a special “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session with Launch School’s alumni Software Engineers. During this session, Students were able to tap into the wealth of knowledge of their Capstone alumni. They discussed their own personal journeys through Launch School, and imparted advice and personal experiences about Capstone, the job hunting process and what it’s like to work as a Software Engineer.
Our Smooth Start Capstone AMA with a software engineer alumni

Before we bring this cohort to a close, I’d like to firstly extend a huge thank you to our Leads for their dedication in helping new students learn more about Launch School’s curriculum, community and the numerous facilities and learning resources that are available to them.

I also want to express my gratitude to our alumni who generously volunteered their time to inspire a new generation of Launch School students.

And lastly, I wanted to thank all the students who participated in Smooth Start. Your enthusiasm, friendliness and dedication to showing up each week are what make Launch School’s community so special. We’re excited for you to continue on this journey and the transformation it may bring you along the way. Even though Smooth Start is finished, your Launch School journey is just beginning — Thank you for being a part of our community.

As we all know, student feedback is important to us. So I’d like to leave you with some of the wonderful feedback we’ve already received from our third cohort:

“Smooth Start Prep Cohort was incredible. I truly enjoyed it and got a lot of useful and helpful information out of it. I feel less nervous now about succeeding in Core Curriculum and more a part of a community.”

“I enjoyed seeing all people at the same level as me and talking to a TA who’s been in the prep course process. I also enjoyed asking questions and listening a LS alumni who’s actually in the industry and working. This was overall a quite a good experience.”

“It was a lot of little things that helped the most. Someone mentioned using the spot sessions to practice coding, so I made an effort to try it and it was a whole lot more useful than expected. On offhand comment about over-prepping for assessments got me to finally take the first one. Using slack and other resources, even in a limited fashion, is leading me to use it more for things outside of the Smooth Start. Again, lots of subtle things that weren’t in the agenda aside from putting us in a room and sharing some experiences. Knowing where people have come from and how they are doing has helped focus my expectations and reduce a fair amount of anxiety about doing the assessments perfectly.”

“I enjoyed finding friends/study buddies, learning from the live sessions, especially the AMA with the Capstone graduate, and knowing how to make use of the resources that my SS leader gave us.”

“Launch School attracts aspiring software engineers from such diverse backgrounds and from all around the world! Very exciting!”

“Very informative about available resources and the AMA gave a lot of great insights. Thank you!”

“It was a less overwhelming and gradual introduction to the massive Launch School community.”

“I think it was very nice seeing familiar faces and names each week. Sometimes I’d notice people from my cohort sign up for SPOT sessions and TA Study sessions, and this has motivated me to do the same. I’ll be joining my first SPOT session and TA study session today, so I’m hoping it goes well.”

“I think this Smooth Start program is super valuable in letting students feel like they’re not alone! It was really great to get an idea that everyone else has similar struggles/questions and it created a group of students that I felt comfortable reaching out to.”

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Launch School
Launch School

The slow path for studious beginners to a career in software development.