Prospective Students

If you have landed on this page, then you are likely an intrepid trailblazer, wanting to make the most of your education. You probably have found that you learn best by doing and believe that school should be more than memorization and test-taking. You want your work to have meaning, and you are ready to pioneer a life of impact.

Watson Institute protects your courage while giving you the tools, network, and mindset to craft the life and career you want. We encourage you to explore this page and reach out to us to learn more.

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Scholar Selection Criteria

We are looking for committed social change agents and leaders with a bias towards action. We look at the whole person, and evaluate each application using three main criteria:

The Person

  • Gritty Idealism: Watson Institute students are idealistic in the sense that they believe they can make the world a better place, but gritty in the sense that they aren’t afraid to start and bootstrap a solution in a resource limited environment.
  • Entrepreneurial Courage: Ideal candidates protect their courage by demonstrating they aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone with a bias towards action and prototyping. They also protect the courage of their fellow students through support and peer-to-peer mentorship.
  • Motivation: We look at applicants’ key influences and motivations behind the creation of their ventures and their interest in attending Watson, as well as their overall character. Competitive applicants are willing and able to dedicate themselves fully to this program as well as to their venture. They are communicative, open-minded and curious.

The Venture/Idea

  • Addressing the Root Cause: We evaluate the extent to which the idea the student is developing addresses the root cause of the problem they are choosing to solve. We make an assessment on how well have they articulated both their solution and the problem, rather than simply putting a band-aid on a problem.
  • Viability of Idea: We look at how likely it is that the applicant’s venture will succeed. Does the student have a solid idea and model to develop, advance, and eventually scale?

The Stage

Semester Accelerator

  • Life Stage: Students can apply to Watson’s semester program before (gap year), during, in lieu of, or shortly after their undergraduate studies. Applicants are typically 18-25 years old. 
  • Venture Stage, Early Prototyping: The students we select are early stage in the development of their ideas, but in most cases a strong applicant already has at least a prototype of their concept. This means that they are typically past idea stage.

Bachelor of Science in Social Entrepreneurship from Lynn University

  • Life Stage: Students can apply to Watson Institute at Lynn University’s Bachelor’s program out of high school, after a gap year, or transfer from another higher education institution.
  • Venture Stage: Like our Accelerator program, students in the early prototyping phase of their venture can apply to this program; however, students without a set venture but with a demonstrated drive to pursue a life of impact through social innovation can also apply to the program.

Admissions Process

Our admissions process is designed to be fun, draw out creativity, and focus only on the criteria that matter.

Step 1: Identify your mission

At Watson, we believe in majoring in your mission, and select for students who have a strong understanding of the world and themselves, and a drive to create lasting impact.

Step 2: Apply to Watson Institute

Complete your Watson Institute application and assessment online and we will contact you regarding next steps.


Step 3: Interview

We want to know about you and your idea for social change. What motivates you? Who has most influenced you? If you are a finalist, you’ll participate in an interview process to demonstrate your passion for change.

We then send admissions decisions to all selected candidates, and the candidates have a period of time to ask questions, talk to our current Scholars, and deliberate before confirming their spot at Watson Institute.

Are you Ready?

We’re calling all leaders, social entrepreneurs, innovators, dreamers and thought-leaders to pioneer their education.

Watson Accelerator
Bachelor's from Lynn University