Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) officially welcomed the Class of 2014 on Sunday, August 22, 2010. This year's entering class of nearly 900 students features 311 women, comprising a record-breaking 34 percent of the total class.
WPI's Class of 2014 is highly accomplished, with the quality of students choosing the university reaching historic highs: 63 percent of the incoming students ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes in high school; 381 members had perfect 4.0 GPAs in high school; 54 were valedictorians; and 34 were salutatorians. Their aggregated GPA was 3.8, and they bring a record high SAT average of 1294 (combined verbal and math). The class represents 34 states and 33 foreign countries, which is a significant increase in geographic diversity over years' past.
The number of women enrolling in WPI as first-year students has increased 83 percent over the past five years; today there are 1110 women on campus, comprising 30 percent of the student population. In addition to attracting more women to the university, WPI's underrepresented minority population has more than doubled over the past five years – from 47 students in 2005, to 96 this year (a 104 percent increase). These increases have been especially pronounced since the 2007 inception of WPI's test-optional admissions policy.
WPI's project-based curriculum combines theory and practice. The university's multi-dimensional approach to education has students working in teams to address some the world's most pressing problems – in all corners of the globe. This approach fosters an appreciation for how advances in science, technology, the arts and humanities can benefit society, and it helps create innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, and most important, leaders. This distinctive approach to education, and its value to industry, has been consistently lauded by numerous prestigious, national surveys and rankings.
"WPI is highly regarded for offering students a strong return on investment, having outstanding and innovative academic programs, and for helping our students and alumni earn high salaries," said WPI Dean of Admissions Edward Connor. "Growing national recognition confirms what students and parents find so attractive about WPI: Students need the kind of expertise that a WPI education delivers. The goal at WPI is to produce the creative thinkers and problem solvers that the world so desperately needs now; this goal is especially pronounced now, during the economic downturn."
Aside from high-profile academic programs like robotics engineering, computer gaming, and having access to a new undergraduate research facility in life sciences and bioengineering, the Class of 2014 will also witness the construction of the university's state-of-the-art Sports and Recreation Center, now underway near Harrington Auditorium. Opening in fall 2012, the 145,000-square-foot facility will feature fitness space, a four-court gymnasium, a competition-length swimming pool, a three-lane elevated jogging track, racquetball and squash courts, rowing tanks, and workout studios. The center will also provide space for large-scale events, such as admissions open houses, career fairs, national academic conference, and alumni events. As well, there will be dedicated space for WPI's robotics program and events.