Continuing an upward trend, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has received a record-setting 8,498 applications for the undergraduate Class of 2017, a 12 percent increase over last year's then-record total of 7,585. Applications have grown by 49 percent during the last five years alone.
Kristin R. Tichenor, senior vice president at WPI, attributed the application uptick to the value proposition that the university offers its students.
"The demand for a WPI degree has never been greater," said Tichenor. "Prospective students want to know that their college education will give them the skills and experience they will need to be successful in a fast-paced, global economy."
Tichenor said WPI prepares its students for the workforce. "WPI has a well-earned reputation for developing leaders and innovators. Our students learn how to leverage technology, how to work in teams, and how to be creative problem-solvers. It's no wonder our graduates make such a positive impact and do so well in terms of their lifetime earnings."
In fact, WPI graduates rank in the top 1 percent for starting median salaries among the nation's college graduates, according to the "2012-2013 PayScale College Salary Report" released last fall.
Within the pool of applicants, the university has seen a 17 percent increase in applications from young women, whose academic interests largely continue to be in the life sciences, biomedical engineering, and chemical engineering fields. At the same time, more women are seeking to pursue computer science and physics, two areas in which women have been historically underrepresented.
Academic interests for the entire pool of applicants show continuing interest in mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, and computer science, with significant gains in chemistry and physics.