Worcester Polytechnic Institute
America’s third-oldest technical school, WPI has about 3800 undergraduates and a beautiful campus in Worcester, Mass. Hundred year old vine-covered buildings are interspersed with more modern, LEED-certified structures. About 60% of the students have a major in the STEM areas, and about 20% are pure math students. Most students are working towards a Bachelor of Science degree, and WPI offers many opportunities for a 5-year Master’s Degree.
WPI’s unique academic structure has students taking courses within a 7-week quarter system, generally three courses at a time. Most classes meet five days per week. There is no core curriculum, but students take courses within different disciplines to complete distribution requirements.
Campus tradition has the entire freshman class walk together across Earl Bridge following orientation; the next time the entire class will walk across the bridge together is at graduation (the bridge is the photo in the header of this page).
WPI is known for its project requirement – students are required to complete two large-scale group projects in their junior and senior years. Most projects are inter-disciplinary research projects, and can be worth up to three classes. 60% of students go off-campus to complete their senior project, and over 50% go abroad as part of the project.
WPI is strong in the natural sciences, gaming, small business and engineering, but also has course offerings in music and theatre. Students looking for a hands-on, collaborative education focused on studying how to approach and solve problems will be right at home at WPI.
Admissions stats: Middle 50% SAT scores are not reported because WPI is test-optional but the average GPA of admitted students is 3.8 (unweighted).
I’ve visited WPI twice now – it’s a very pretty campus in a nice part of Worcester (which, by the way, has tons of very interesting ethnic restaurants that students explore!).