U.S. News & World Report's 2011 "America's Best Colleges" praised Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) for having "a strong focus on student success," recognizing WPI's "stellar examples" of "enriched offerings," including its internship, senior capstone, and study abroad programs. The publication also named WPI to its "Great Schools, Great Prices" list. These rankings are the latest in a series of positive evaluations by the national media.
"Increasingly, WPI is receiving national recognition for its many strengths, and these new rankings by U.S. News & World Report are certainly a welcome addition," said WPI President Dennis Berkey. "We work hard to make the educational experience at WPI meaningful and valuable for our students and their future employers. To have our hard work recognized so widely is tremendously gratifying."
In the U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" publication, the feature "A Strong Focus on Student Success" spotlights schools that provide "outstanding programs aimed at enriching the [student] experience." Within that category, WPI won kudos in the "Senior Capstone Project" category for its senior-year Major Qualifying Project (MQP), through which students gain real-world experience in their major field of study; the "Study Abroad" category, for WPI's Global Projects Program, through which WPI students develop an understanding of other cultures at 26 Project Centers located all over the world; and "Internships," which concurs with a recent ranking by The Princeton Review that placed WPI 20th among national colleges and universities for career services.
WPI also maintained its 2010 ranking of 45 on the "Great Schools, Great Prices" list; U.S. News & World Report says this list reflects the notion that "the higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal." Also this year, WPI's ranking on the list of "Best National Universities" rose four places, from 68 to 64 (out of 260) from last year, with some of the gain being attributable to improvements in first-year student retention rate (93 percent), graduation rate (80 percent), and student body quality (55 percent of WPI's first-year students were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class). In addition, the magazine continues to list WPI's engineering program as one of the best in the nation. The university's ranking on the "Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs" list (in the category of "engineering schools whose highest degree is a doctorate") rose from 64 to 56.
The U.S. News & World Report accolades come on top of a summer filled with national attention for the quality of WPI's education. In July, WPI was ranked 15th in the nation among colleges and universities that offer the highest return on investment, according to PayScale. A more recent report by PayScale, which recognized the top schools that produce the best-paid graduates, ranked WPI 7th in the nation for highest starting median salary and 9th in the nation for highest mid-career median pay among engineering schools. In The Princeton Review's "2011 Best Colleges" rankings, WPI is cited as one of the best colleges in the Northeast, and the university's Career Development Center ranked 20th among national colleges and universities. Earlier this year, The Princeton Review also named WPI one of nation's "Greenest Schools," while last year BusinessWeek named WPI's part-time MBA program No. 1 in the nation.