Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) welcomed the Class of 2019 to campus Sunday, August 23. These 1,080 students have distinguished themselves by their academic achievement, their creativity, and their commitment to making the world a better place. The first day of classes for all students was Thursday, August 27.
WPI received 10,171 applications for admission to this class, the second-highest number in the university's history, representing a growth of 31 percent over the last five years.
The students who were selected from that highly competitive pool of applicants are extraordinarily accomplished: 536 graduated from high school with 4.0 GPAs and 63 had perfect scores on at least one section of the SAT or the ACT. There are also 76 students who were either valedictorians or salutatorians in their high schools, as well as 13 National Merit Scholars and 5 National Hispanic Scholars. Students come from 37 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, as well as 40 other countries. The class is among the most diverse in WPI history, with 366 young women and 151 underrepresented students of color. Nearly 20 percent of the incoming class are first-generation students—the first in their families to attend college.
"WPI has a proud tradition of attracting first generation students. Many of our most successful alumni were the first in their family to attend college," said Kristin R. Tichenor, senior vice president at WPI. "Given the great demand for graduates with expertise in science and engineering, students who want to make an impact on the world are eager to enroll at WPI. Not surprisingly, many in the Class of 2019 have already begun to make their mark."
Among the incoming students is one who created a robot capable of performing biopsies within an MRI machines, and one who started a program to create prosthetic hands and fingers for children and adults in third-world countries. Another student helped launch a start-up company that developed and produces a wrist device designed to keep the wearer awake (for example, to help travelers avoid jetlag). One student is a national-level pairs figure skater, and one is a member of a Grammy-winning singing group. Another, who was profiled last spring in Boston media, emigrated from Haiti in his early teens and became a National Honor Society Scholar and a Gates Millennium Scholar.
"This week we welcome more than a thousand truly remarkable individuals to the WPI community," said Tichenor, "knowing that they will enrich not just our campus but our world with the work they do."
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, they 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, including one from the Princeton Review, which listed WPI eighth for “Best Career Placement” in its recently published rankings.
Freshman Move-in Day was Sunday, Aug. 23, and new students participated in New Student Orientation programs through Wednesday, Aug. 26.