Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has welcomed the Class of 2018 to campus. Composed of just over 1,050 students, these students have distinguished themselves by their academic achievement, their creativity, and their commitment to making the world a better place. First day of classes for all students begins today.
WPI received a record 10,233 applications for admission to this class, representing a 19 percent increase over last year and a 54 percent jump over the last five years.
The students who were selected from that highly competitive pool of applicants are extraordinarily accomplished: 78 had perfect scores on at least one section of the SAT or the ACT and 499 graduated with 4.0 GPAs. There are also 92 students who were either valedictorians or salutatorians in their high schools, and 15 National Merit Scholars.
"WPI is the kind of place where faculty and students work together across disciplinary boundaries to solve real-world problems, which is a huge attraction," said Kristin R. Tichenor, senior vice president at WPI. "The Class of 2018 is an incredibly talented group of individuals who are eager to make a positive impact."
Among the incoming students is one with two patents pending, a helicopter pilot, a top-ranked table tennis champ of Vietnam, and a member of the team that took first place at the NASA Johnson Space Center Innovation Summit. Another student – a mathematics major – has the distinction of knowing 1,000 digits of Pi, the mathematical constant that calculates the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.
"This dynamic group of young people will contribute greatly to the exciting work already under way with our current students and faculty," added Tichenor. "We’re thrilled to have them join the WPI community."
Regarding academic interests of incoming students, there is strong interest in mechanical engineering, computer science, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, aerospace and robotics engineering, and the life sciences.
The biggest gains over last year in terms of incoming student interest were in chemical engineering, biochemistry, computer science, aerospace and biomedical engineering.
WPI's project-based curriculum combines theory and practice. Under the university's experiential approach to education, students work in teams to address some the world's most pressing problems. As a result, students can more deeply appreciate how advances in science, technology, and the arts and humanities can benefit society, and it helps create innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, and future leaders.
"WPI's distinctive approach to undergraduate education and its strong return on investment have earned the university national recognition in numerous rankings and surveys," said Tichenor. "I have every confidence that the Class of 2018 will help us take WPI to even greater heights."
Freshman Move-in Day was Sunday, Aug. 24, and new students participated in New Student Orientation programs from Sunday through Wednesday, Aug. 27.