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Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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WPI is a great university for students interested

Jul 24 2014Physics
WPI is a great university for students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields who want an intensive, project based undergraduate experience designed to prepare you to tackle real world challenges. Nearly all students at WPI are being trained as scientists, engineers, or mathematicians; therefore, though there are many wonderful humanities & arts and social science courses, the primary focus of the university seems to be creating future STEM leaders.

WPI utilizes a 4-term system, rather than the traditional 2-semester system found at many universities. As a result, the academics are extremely fast paced, with students taking 3 (or sometimes 4) courses every 7 weeks for a minimum of 12 courses a year. Though the classes only last 7 weeks, you often still cover the amount of material typically incorporated into a semester long version of the course at other universities. The 4-term system gives students the opportunities to do significant project work, with many students taking 1 term during their junior and/or senior years to do intensive project/research work - in many cases overseas. Additionally, WPI is a relatively small, tight-knit community. Though you may not know every student on campus, you will definitely recognize many of the faces you pass on your way to classes, extracurriculars, etc. In addition, if you are a bit of a geek/nerd you will find the university atmosphere to be very welcoming. For example, during a popular event known as 'geek week' there are activities such as Rubik's cube competitions and Big Bang Theory trivia night which are extremely well liked among the student population. Additionally, many students are involved in athletics and Greek life.

1st Year Female -- Class 2017
Useful Schoolwork: A, Surrounding City: C+

WPI is a place of opportunity

Sep 23 2014Biology
WPI is a place of opportunity. You will read many reviews on here that speak negatively of the social life, how "easy" it was and how they're lowering their SAT requirements to admit more women. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, my opinion is that you should take those reviews with a grain of salt, most of them are written by freshmen who haven't fully experienced all that WPI has to offer. WPI is made for dreamers, for those who want to change the world, and be well-equipped to do so.

To address these common themes of negativity, I will say the following: There is an amazing community of people at WPI, ask any given student in the CC, octawedge, lab, or res hall, and they will tell you that the community is why they love WPI. If WPI seems "easy," congratulations, you're smart! As someone who went through this personally, if it's too easy, you need to challenge yourself more... take a higher level class. And in regards to "lowering SAT scores to get more women who don't know whats going on"... this is simply false. The SAT score range is just as impressive as ever, and we admit high caliber students. The increase in the number of women in attendance comes from the promotion of women in STEM careers, and the higher acceptance rate of women versus men is because WPI is a "self-selecting" school... you don't apply unless you're passionate about STEM. And let's be honest, lots of women wouldn't sacrifice the hunky men at other colleges for engineering unless they were passionate. These women want to be here, and have abilities to thrive at WPI. College is an important decision, don't base your decision on an angry review from an anonymous person on the internet. Go on a campus visit, talk to random students on the Quad, form your own opinion... but I'm pretty sure you'll love WPI as much as I did.

Alumna Female -- Class 2000
Starting Job: Research Associate Preparedness: A+ Reputation: A+


Jul 03 2014Civil Engineering
WPI is a great place to have flexibility to pursue what you want in learning especially with a focus on science and technology. The IQP or the junior year project is a great way to work in an interdisciplinary team on a social issue abroad. Many students are able to travel abroad and work on a real world problem. I worked for an NGO in Africa. The Faculty are very accessible and they have office hours to get help. They are approachable and as a faculty they pride themselves to be reachable for the undergraduate students. Even though they are hard at work with research, they understand that WPI is about the students and their learning. The WPI plan is a unique education system that is different and innovative for STEM education. The project work really helped me in the long run in preparing me for the professional career.

Social Life:
People complain about the social life at WPI but the school is not your regular state school. The students that get admitted are intelligent and they are primarily focused on science and engineering. Still, many students are involved in clubs and organizations with over 200 clubs. I was very active in many clubs which allowed me to get a well rounded experience. It is a small school and if you are active on campus, the faculty, staff and peers get to really know you. Its a tight small-knit community.

Greek Life: A third of campus join Greek Life. It is worth exploring because it is not your typical Greek System that you see in Animal House. Many students who join Greek Life actually do well in academics and have a great social life. People think its all about drinking but in fact, what made Greek Life for me was a support system while in school and access to alumni in my Fraternity. It has actually helped me in my professional career. Worcester: Worcester is not Boston. People always think the grass is always greener on the other side. Still, Worcester is a pretty fun city. It has great restaurants in Shrewsbury St and bars/clubs in Green Street. There have been a lot of development within the city. It is a college town with so many students in in the city from various colleges but it is definitely not Boston. So people who say the city sucks probably has not explored anything beyond the limits of WPI and Park Avenue.

4th Year Male -- Class 2008
Collaboration/Competitive: A+, Surrounding City: B+
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