WORCESTER, Mass.– June 22, 2009 – Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is on track to welcome the largest class in its 144-year history. Applications for the Class of 2013 were up 10 percent from a year ago. Overall, applications have nearly doubled during the past five years, while the diversity and academic quality of the applicant pool have also grown. Deposits for the new class are up 5 percent over last year, and the Class of 2013 is expected to come in at 930 students, WPI's largest entering class by a generous margin.
"These dramatic increases reflect a growing recognition on the part of prospective students that they need the kind of expertise that a WPI education delivers," said Kristin R. Tichenor, WPI's vice president for enrollment management. "In these times of economic uncertainty, a WPI education has never been more relevant. Students work in teams with faculty members, applying their knowledge to address real-world issues. The goal is to produce the creative problem solvers that the world so desperately needs now."
WPI's enrollment growth has been spurred in part by high-profile additions to its academic program, including the first undergraduate program in robotics engineering, a groundbreaking program in computer gaming, and a state-of-the-art research facility in life sciences and bioengineering.
More women and underrepresented minority students are taking advantage of WPI's strong offerings in science- and engineering-related fields. The number of women in the first year class climbed to a record level this year, representing a 14 percent increase over last year and a 78 percent increase over the past five years. WPI's underrepresented minority population has grown from 6.8 percent of the first year class to 14.8 percent over the same time period. These increases have been especially pronounced since the 2007 inception of WPI's SAT-optional admissions policy.
"WPI has always offered a strong return on investment in terms of excellent career opportunities and high starting salaries upon graduation," Tichenor said. "It is exciting to see that young women and minority students are beginning to realize the many options available to them here."
Against this backdrop of increasing enrollment and diversity, the quality of students choosing WPI has remained at historic highs: 358 members of the Class of 2013 had perfect 4.0 GPAs in high school, with an aggregated GPA of 3.8; 55 percent of the incoming class ranked in the top of their graduating class in high school, with record numbers of valedictorians and salutatorians.
"These young people come to WPI ready to conquer the world," Tichenor noted. "It's our job to harness their intelligence, their energy, and their optimism in ways that will lead to a brighter future for us all."