Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) reports that it has received more than 6,650 applications for the Class of 2014, a new record and a 6 percent increase over last year's record-setting total. Overall, applications for undergraduate enrollment at WPI have doubled since 2005.
"Prospective students recognize the value of the WPI education," said Kristin R. Tichenor, vice president for enrollment management at WPI. "There continues to be great demand for individuals with expertise in science and engineering. The young people who graduate from WPI will play a critical role in shaping our nation's economic future. As a result, a WPI education has never been more relevant.
"Our students learn to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to some of the world's most important problems out of the classroom. This distinctive approach to education prepares critical thinkers and creative problem solvers with the skills, knowledge, and leadership abilities that employers value. It's not surprising that our graduates enjoy some of the highest starting salaries in the nation and excellent career opportunities."
In addition to the overall record, this year's application pool showed growing interest among women and underrepresented minority students in WPI's strong offerings in science- and engineering-related fields. The number of women applying for fall 2010 enrollment was up 13 percent increase over 2009; applications from women have grown 140 percent over the past five years. Applications from underrepresented minorities increased 4.9 percent over last year and by 170 percent over the past five years. For international student applications, numbers are up 5.4 percent over last year and have grown by 164 percent over the past five years.
"The increase in applications from female and underrepresented minority students can be attributed, in part, to the university's longstanding investment in outreach programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for K-12 students," said Edward J. Connor, WPI's director of admissions. "In addition, WPI's decision in 2007 to become the first technological university in the nation to make submitting SAT scores optional demonstrated our commitment to evaluating students on the basis of their overall academic strengths."
Connor attributes the overall jump in applications to a number of factors, including growing interest in several new and distinctive interdisciplinary degree programs, including Interactive Media & Game Development, Robotics Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and a Bachelor of Arts program in Environmental Science. He also noted that the growth in applications mirrors a jump in attendance at on- and off-campus admissions events targeted to prospective students and a significant expansion in outreach to high school students and their parents by the Office of Admissions.
"The numbers strongly suggest that the record increase in applications to WPI is based upon solid interest in all that this university has to offer," Connor said.