Flex Path Information
Standardized Testing Policy
Beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2008, the submission of standardized tests (SAT I, SAT II and ACT) is optional for admission to WPI. Students who choose not to submit standardized test scores are required to submit alternative materials via the Flex Path option (see below for details) that they believe will better reflect their potential for academic success at WPI.
Here are some frequently asked questions about this policy:
Why is WPI adopting a test-optional admissions policy?
Standardized test scores are not the best predictor of student success at WPI. Our distinctive academic program calls upon students to develop and demonstrate creative problem-solving skills in both research and project work experiences. Student success typically is based on a strong academic foundation (rigorous course program and strong grade performance) coupled with a high level of motivation and initiative. We believe it is important that our admissions process clearly reflects these points of emphasis. We also believe students should be given the opportunity to submit an alternative measure of their academic potential. The decision to adopt a test-optional policy allows us to more clearly communicate what we value and what we know to be important for the success of our students.
How will this new policy change the way you evaluate candidates for admission?
A student's academic record has always been the most important part of the WPI admissions process. We are looking for strong grade performance in a rigorous course program. That continues to be the case, regardless of whether students choose to submit their test scores or provide alternative materials for review.
We find that students typically attach too much importance to the role that standardized test scores play in the admissions process. Our policy more accurately reflects the extent to which student motivation and initiative are important predictors of academic success. This is especially true at WPI, where students are expected to develop innovative approaches to pressing, real world issues.
What should students submit in place of standardized testing?
Students are encouraged to submit examples of academic work or extracurricular projects that reflect a high level of organization, motivation, creativity and problem-solving ability. Examples include written descriptions of science projects, research papers, robotics or other mechanical design concepts, portfolios, or any other significant work undertaken independently or in school that the applicant believes is an appropriate reflection of his or her academic potential.
Does this mean WPI is becoming more selective or less selective?
WPI has in fact become increasingly selective over the last five years. Allowing students to submit alternative materials, in many cases, allows us to have a better understanding of students' academic strengths. With a test-optional admissions policy, we will continue to enroll a highly talented and motivated student body.
Can I submit my standardized test scores in addition to alternative materials?
Yes. For years, applicants to WPI have sent us examples of their academic work in addition to their transcript, recommendations and test scores. We welcome these additional materials from applicants.
Will any segment of the applicant pool still be required to submit test scores?
International students must demonstrate proof of English language proficiency by submitting results of the TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB, or GCSE examinations whether or not they choose to submit materials in lieu of the SAT or ACT. Also, home-schooled students are asked to submit the SAT or ACT in order to provide a standardized measure of academic achievement.