Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has been named one of the top 10 test-optional schools in the nation in a recent story in examiner.com, which developed its list from an expansive list of test-optional colleges prepared by FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.
Beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2008, the submission of standardized tests (SAT I, SAT II and ACT) became optional for admission to WPI. In doing so, WPI became the first nationally-ranked science and engineering university to drop admissions testing requirements.
WPI became a test-optional school in large part to attract students who might otherwise be hesitant to pursue college studies or careers in science and engineering.
"We have found that many talented young people second-guess themselves when it comes to pursuing science and engineering in college," said Kristin R. Tichenor, senior vice president at WPI. "They don’t realize what a wide range of opportunities are available to them and how important it is to incorporate different perspectives into the kind of creative problem-solving we do every day."
Having a test-optional admissions policy that places more emphasis on academic achievement overall and less on an individual score has encouraged more women and underrepresented minority students to apply and enroll at WPI, added Tichenor. "The net result is a stronger, more diverse student body and a stronger, more diverse group of graduates joining the work force," she said.
In place of standardized testing, students are encouraged to submit examples of academic work or extracurricular projects, such as research papers or portfolios. Allowing students to submit alternative materials often allows WPI leaders to have a better understanding of students' academic strengths.
"Being a test-optional university signals that WPI is more than just about test scores," said Kristin R. Tichenor, senior vice president at WPI. "It shows that WPI really cares about the whole person."