The Admissions Cycle
The Admissions Plan for the year is divided into three phases:
- Prospect Development Plan
- Candidate Evaluation and Cultivation
- Accepted Candidate Conversion
Prospect Development Plan
Our Direct Mail effort involves attracting qualified prospective students by purchasing their names from the College Board "student search" of students taking the SAT exam. More than 70,000 names are typically purchased within desired score parameters. Individually addressed letters, mentioning each student's intended major along with a postal reply card are sent promptly upon receipt of these names and thus literature from WPI is among the earliest college mail received by high school juniors.
Around 18% of the students usually return their reply cards indicating an interest in WPI. In addition to those who responded to the student search, those inquiries contacted at high schools, college fairs and through contacting WPI directly are placed upon a track mailing system. They are then sent a number of admissions publications, including the viewbook with application.
On campus and off campus receptions sponsored by WPI have received much more emphasis in recent years. These events provide an excellent opportunity to bring students together and to explain our program in detail. Unlike a college fair or college night, where most if not all activity is devoted to having people fill out inquiry cards, these meetings provide for an hour or two of in depth presentation. Hotel information sessions will be held in both the fall and spring at area hotels and generally include alumni, current students and the showing of the latest Admissions video.
In the fall and winter, three on campus open houses are sponsored by the Admissions Office as well as such events as student overnights and special programs for female students and multi-cultural students. All of this activity takes place in addition to our normal schedule of campus tours and daily group information sessions.
Candidate Evaluation and Cultivation/Early Action (EA)
Applications begin to arrive at WPI in the fall but no significant numbers are received until our November 15 deadline approaches. Students have until February 1 to file an application for Regular admission to WPI.
WPI used to have a binding Early Decision plan which has since been replaced by our Early Action plan. EA students still apply early (by November 15 for Round 1 or by January 1 for Round 2) and will learn of their decision about five weeks later. However, they are not obligated to attend WPI if admitted. Regular decision applicants must file their applications by February 1 and are mailed decision letters (acceptance, denial or wait list) by the end of March. In an average year, WPI will accept approximately 67% of our applicants overall.
By the end of March, all candidates have been reviewed and notified of our admissions decisions. Financial aid packages are completed and mailed by early April to Regular admission students. Early Action students will receive an early financial aid package based upon the CSS PROFILE form and a final package upon filing of the FAFSA in the winter.
Accepted Candidate Cultivation
During the month of April, candidates for the highly selective colleges must make their final decisions. May 1 is the deadline by which the students must decide which college they will attend by sending a tuition deposit and is the date adhered to by virtually all U.S. colleges. Typically, a college must admit 2 3 times as many applicants as it desires in its freshman class because of multiple applications. WPI's most common competitors are generally MIT, RPI, Boston University, Northeastern, and UMASS.
In April, the Admissions office offers an open house for admitted students, as well as daily residence hall tours (M-F), and a busy Saturday visitation schedule.