A Community Supporting One Another

Hear from first-generation students attending WPI!

Learn more about why they chose WPI, what they wish they knew, and advice they have for high school students.

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A Guide for First-Year College Students

Former First Lady Michelle Obama was a first-generation student herself, so she has intimate knowledge of what it takes to succeed in your first year in college.

Watch this YouTube video playlist where Michelle takes you through preparing for college. Learn how to pay for college, live on your own and balance your workload, find your community and mentors, and succeed in college.

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Resources at WPI

  • Insight Program: During New Student Orientation and through the first two terms at WPI, you will be part of a group of students and advisors dedicated to assisting with your transition to college, both personally and academically, and helping you make the most out of your first year at WPI.
  • The OASIS Cultural Center is a location for you to meet friends and study in a comfortable environment. Start building your community here.
  • The MASH Tutoring Center provides math and science help, learning from upperclass students who have been through the same material. You'll review material either from classmates taking the same course, or can schedule one-on-one tutoring sessions.
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Preview Connections August 2014

Programs at WPI

  • Connections Program: A weeklong pre-orientation designed to increase access to educational and professional development opportunities for underrepresented first-year students who identify as: students of color, first generation college students and/or a of the LGBTQIAP+ community. Connections introduces students to an extensive network of support services and campus resources to ensure that they have the skills and tools they need to succeed at WPI and beyond.
  • Innovations: A program designed to optimize access to campus resources and support for incoming students who identify as first generation college students. Students have the option to live in a first generation residential community and will provide mentorship, programming and advising to foster the student's personal, academic, and professional development at WPI
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First-Gen Students - Where Are They Now?

Antoine Crews

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Current Employer: Pratt & Whitney, Mechanical Engineer-Design.  I love that I use technical information learned in the classroom to create real-world products.

Why WPI? I chose WPI because of the projects that could elevate my professional career. During my tenor at WPI, I got the chance to travel and work with incredible professors. 

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Mona Yuan

Hometown: Milton, Massachusetts

Major: Industrial Engineering    Minor: Economics

Current Employer: Wellington Management, Technology Associate.

Why WPI? My decision to come to WPI was driven by three factors: the project-focused curriculum, the variety of opportunities to practice what is taught in the classroom, and the collaborative environment among faculty and students. One of my most memorable projects was working with the Dana Farber Cancer Research Institute to develop a simulation model to help improve patient flow and resource usage. This project allowed me to apply the simulation modeling knowledge that I was learning in a class to a real-world problem.

Kenuel Lopez-Rivera

Hometown: Central Falls, Rhode Island

Major: Civil Engineering

Current Employer: Turner Construction, Field Engineer. My company is currently working on the expansion to Terminal B at Logan Airport.

Why WPI? I chose WPI because I felt very comfortable when I came to the open house for admitted students. It felt like home. One of my favorite projects I completed was my Major Qualifying Project, or MQP.  I worked with a group to come up with alternative project management strategies for the renovation of the Boston Children’s Hospital in Brookline, Massachusetts. During my time working on the project, I got to work with professional engineers and project managers from Stantec, Suffolk Construction, and the Boston Children’s Hospital. Besides gaining great insight and experience in working with/for such successful companies, we also got to network with people in the industry, which was an invaluable benefit of the project.

WPI Delivers Value for First-Gen Students

2018 Honor Roll ShieldWorcester Polytechnic Institute has officially been recognized by ScholarMatch, a San Francisco nonprofit organization whose mission is to make higher education possible for low-income youth, as being one of the standout colleges in the U.S. that are providing excellent support for first-generation and low-income students. Each year, ScholarMatch analyzes 1,400 U.S. colleges and universities using public college data and information from the College Scorecard to determine which schools offer the most supportive environments for students whose families earn less than $50,000 per year.

Strive for College badgeWPI is engaged in a partnership with nonprofit Strive for College in a commitment to to enrolling, graduating, and strengthening college opportunities for low-income, first-generation college students. Strive and WPI promote college opportunities and work to lower the first-gen college dropout rate through an online mentoring program and college matching tools.

Strive recognizes WPI for its completion rates—exceeding the national averages for retention and graduation rate, plus for outcomes in which more than 25% of graduates from the bottom fifth of incomes as students have moved to the top fifth as adults.