Commonly Asked Questions at College Fairs
What kind of financial aid do you offer?
WPI costs $37,440 for tuition and fees for the 2009–2010 year. Within the financial need of students as determined by the College Scholarship Service, WPI will offer competitive financial aid packages consisting of scholarship, grants, loans and campus jobs. Well qualified candidates, who are applying to WPI and other highly competitive colleges, will not be making their final decisions because of lack of financial aid. Tuition, room, board and assorted fees for a student who is living on campus is $80,800. Students must fill out both the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE forms to be considered for need-based aid. In fact, approximately 73% of the Class of 2009 received aid based on financial need. Last year, WPI funded grants and scholarships in excess of $20 million.
Do you offer merit scholarships?
Yes, hundreds of merit scholarships a year are given out based on class rank, SAT scores, and activities. Each of these awards is renewable for all four years provided the student makes satisfactory academic progress. Also, as of last year, every single student who is a valedictorian or a salutatorian will receive a merit scholarship, regardless of their SAT or ACT scores.
What exactly are the requirements for admission?
To be admitted, students must have completed pre-calculus mathematics and two laboratory sciences (most commonly, biology, chemistry, or physics) in high school. If students have completed calculus, that's even better, but technically, only pre-calculus is needed. We look for students who have A and B averages in Honors and AP courses (if their high school offers APs.) If not, the student should have completed the most challenging courses their high school offers. While we often see higher grades in math and science cources, applicants must still have solid grades in all of their subjects. We do require year-end high school transcripts so students must not give in to "senioritis" as they can have an offer of admission rescinded (rare, but it happens.)
Beginning with the 2007–2008 academic year, the Admissions Office has instituted a brand-new SAT optional requirement. Students may opt to NOT submit standardized test but if they choose not to, they must submit something in place of the tests that will demonstrate to Admissions the candidate's suitability for our academic program. This option is called the "WPI Flex Path" and these alternative submissions might include descriptions of science projects, research papers, robotics or other mechanical design concepts, portfolio or other significant work undertaken in school or outside of school that the applicant believes best represents their academic potential.
We also require a guidance counselor recommendation, a recommendation from a math or science teacher, and an essay (topic is up to the student). Students can apply either online or on paper but still must pay the $60 fee. And in answer to a very common question, we do not have a foreign language requirement at WPI. Regarding the inevitable admissions interview question....
Do you require an admissions interview?
Interviews, while not used as a factor in deciding whether or not to admit a student, are still encouraged as they give the student their best opportunity to expand upon what their qualifications may look like on paper. We also have the best opportunity to educate the student and the parents about what makes WPI unique. It's our feeling that the personal attention can make all of the difference. Both trained student interns and members of the Admissions staff conduct interviews upon request on-campus on weekdays and will also conduct "interview days" in select areas around
What is your EE (or any other department) program like?
Answer: Excellent. WPI is one of the most selective colleges, has a strong endowment, and has state of the art equipment and fine faculty. The department is well recognized by both graduate schools to which our students are admitted and by industry. However as an alum, you are not expected to necessarily know much about courses you never took. You can always refer a parent or student to our undergraduate course catalog (available on–line.) We also set up appointments with individual faculty members for students who have specific questions and faculty have proven responsive to individual meeting with students. Of course, attending one of our Open Houses throughout the year is the best way to learn directly from faculty and students about a particular major.
Will any of my classes be taught by a grad student? We are happy to report that the answer to this one is "no". WPI has a faculty-student ratio of 13:1 and while graduate students are instrumental in assisting with labs and exam-review sessions, they do not take responsibility for lecturing students here or grading mid-term or final exams. This is the advantage of WPI's small size where the vast majority of classes have fewer than thirty students.