One of Wentworth’s distinguishing characteristics is its dedication to experiential learning. For generations, Wentworth has purposely focused on an educational model that emphasizes hands-on learning, helping students make stronger contributions in the classroom and excel in the workplace. This model contributes to the Institute’s high quality education, which is increasingly being recognized for excellence, including a recent #12 ranking by U.S. News & World Report in the “Regional Colleges-North” division (five spots up from the last year), based on the opinions of our peers. We were also named a “Best in the Northeast College” by the Princeton Review for the sixth straight year, reflecting the high level of satisfaction of our students with their educational experience.
It’s that same push for practical experience that drives Wentworth’s Accelerate program. This new innovation and entrepreneurship challenge allows our students to develop enterprising ideas and get valuable advice about how to turn those ideas into products and businesses. The very best ideas are funded, giving teams the opportunity to turn their ideas into a real prototype and take it to market.
All of the students involved got a taste of what life is like as an entrepreneur. They had to work under tight timeframes to formulate their ideas, which were then judged by leading industry professionals. Just as critically, each team had to include students from at least two different majors, replicating the collaboration that often takes place in today’s modern workplace, where engineers, technologists, designers, and developers collaborate to complete projects. It also reinforces Wentworth’s desire to provide opportunities for interdisciplinary, project-based learning.
For the first time, students were asked to go beyond the question of could they build it and ask should they build it. They explored the desirability, viability, and feasibility of their idea. This helped build a strong understanding of market needs they will be able to apply in the business world.
Along with our co-op program and our experiential learning model, Accelerate will help give our students an edge when they graduate. The experience of starting your own business, working with peers and veterans in your field, and understanding the market forces at work in your industry offer an invaluable taste of the business world. Again, it is the model that Wentworth has followed for more than 100 years: We give students the opportunity to succeed in the real world by making the real world part of the Wentworth experience.