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Worcester Polytechnic Institute

At a Glance

Worcester, Massachusetts

Undergraduate Students: 5,000

Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1

Acceptance Rate: 59%

Six Year Graduation Rate: 89%

Freshman Retention Rate: 95%

Notable Majors: robotics engineering, mechanical engineering, electric engineering, biomedical engineering, aerospace engineering, life sciences

The Feel

  • Campus sits up on a hill in the city of Wocester, the second largest city in New England. Worcester is an hour from Boston and provides easy access to the beach or outdoor opportunities like skiing.

  • WPI’s curriculum highly prioritizes projects, both group and individual. There are 3 required projects and one optional project in order to graduate. Each project fulfills a specific category: world problems, the humanities, an off campus experience, and a senior capstone project.

  • The general education course requirements allow for “depth and breadth.” Students have the freedom to go deep in certain areas besides their major but can go broad in other areas.

  • Their academic calendar is divided into 4 terms with 3 classes in each term. There are 7-10 day breaks between terms A and B as well as C and D with a long winter break between B and C.

  • Over half the student population lives on campus. Freshmen are guaranteed housing, with all manners of arrangements available, including suites, hall styles, single gender or co-ed.

Standout Points

  • WPI’s take on grades is a bit more generous! They hold a “non-punitive” grading system, which includes A’s, B’s and C’s (with no + or -). If a student falls below a C, they can drop the course and earn a NR - no record. No students earn D’s or F’s. This frees up the student to learn and accomplish the goals of the course without the punitive consequences looming over them.

  • Students who attend WPI will learn how to work together, in project based experiences, to best prepare them for the real world.

  • There is a fitness requirement to graduate, and they offer multiple creative options to earn this through courses or club sports, including underwater hockey!

  • WPI holds a spot among the top 15 schools in the nation for average starting salary of its graduates, rendering a strong return on investment.

Fun Fact

  • Research teams at WPI have directly impacted the health and safety of firefighters everywhere through technology they developed, which monitors the location of the firefighter, their vital signs and the likelihood of a “flashover” in any given room, which is an explosion of combustible materials.

Bottom Line Fit: For the STEM or business student who is willing to embrace project based learning and who prefers a more open general curriculum, especially for a tech school.

Learn more about WPI!

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