How to Get Into WPI: Admissions Stats + Tips
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- How Hard Is It to Get Into WPI?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted WPI Students
- What is WPI Looking for?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into WPI
“At WPI you’ll use an education built around science, engineering, and the humanities to create solutions to problems faced by real people—both here at home and around the world,” Worcester Polytechnic Institute says.
One of the oldest engineering and technology universities in the United States, founded in 1865, WPI is located in Worcester, Massachusetts and is home to more than 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across its Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Business, and Global schools.
What does it take to get into this prestigious university?
How Hard Is It to Get Into WPI?
In the 2020–21 admission cycle, 11,269 students applied, and 6,654 were accepted, for an acceptance rate of 59%.
Although WPI is selective, your personal chances of admission vary according to the strength of your profile.
To better understand your chances at WPI, we recommend using our free admissions calculator. Not only will you see your odds of acceptance, but you’ll also get free tips on how to improve your profile.
Average Academic Profile of Accepted WPI Students
With 87.2% of the freshman class submitting GPA, the average was 3.85. Meanwhile, 56.5% of these students had a 4.0.
Fifty-six percent of enrolled students were in the top 10% of their high school class, while 87% were in the top 25%.
What Is WPI Looking For?
“We have high standards for applicants, but we also look for more than just outstanding academic performance—we want to see what makes you, you,” WPI says.
WPI is “not your average tech school.” Its goal is to prepare students to solve real-world problems. Before they matriculate, applicants should already have a foundation in critical-thinking skills. “If you’re a curious, driven problem solver interested in launching your future, WPI might just be the place for you,” the university states.
Characteristics of an ideal WPI student include:
- Creative and curious
- Enjoy working in teams to get things done
- Comfortable making their own decisions and setting their own course
- Love math and science, but feel just as passionate about other things too, like music, global studies, and the arts
- Feel pretty sure that they’ll be leaders, not followers
- Can’t wait to do things that will make the world better
- Value diversity and inclusion while embracing new things, people, cultures, and ideologies
- Are ready to immerse themselves in the WPI community
- See obstacles as opportunities, not stopping points
- Respect not only themselves, but their peers and the world around them
WPI welcomes students with diverse backgrounds. Additionally, the university recently went test-blind, meaning it will no longer consider standardized test scores as part of the admissions process.
How WPI Evaluates Applications
According to its 2020–2021 Common Data Set, WPI considers these factors “very important”:
- Rigor of secondary school record
- Academic GPA
These are “important”:
- Class rank
- Extracurricular activities
- Character/personal qualities
These are “considered”:
- Application Essay
- First generation
- Alumni/ae relation
- Geographical residence
- Racial/ethnic status
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
- Level of applicant’s interest
These are “not considered”:
- Standardized test scores
- State residency
- Religious affiliation/commitment
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into WPI
1. Achieve at least a 3.85 while taking the most challenging classes available
WPI wants students who not only have a high GPA but also take the most challenging curriculum available to them. If you load up on AP, IB, and/or honors classes, you’re demonstrating that you’re capable of handling WPI’s rigorous college curriculum.
Selective schools like WPI use the Academic Index to essentially weed out students who don’t meet their academic standards, so you should aim to have at least the average GPA for admitted students — 3.85.
If your GPA is lower, and you’re earlier on in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.
2. Cultivate strong extracurriculars that impact the community.
“We’re not your average tech school—we challenge students to solve real-world problems by taking the hypothetical and bringing it to life, meaning that you’ll start creating change from day one,” says WPI.
The university’s project-based curriculum is evidence of this mission. WPI seeks students who will grapple with global challenges. The best way to demonstrate your ability to do this is through extracurriculars.
Having several extracurriculars grouped around a specific area of interest is also known as a “spike” — a honed, dedicated passion. This shows your commitment. You should also aim to cultivate at least a couple impressive activities based on the 4 Tiers of Extracurriculars, with Tier 1 activities being the rarest and hardest to achieve, and Tier 4 being the most common. While you probably don’t need a Tier 1 (national-level) activity for WPI, having Tier 2 or 3 (regional- and school-level) activities will demonstrate your drive.
3. Write engaging essays
After you’ve cleared the academic thresholds for admission, your essays are one of the best ways to distinguish yourself. This is an opportunity to show your real voice and authentic personality. Get tips on how to write this year’s WPI essays.
4. Apply Early Action OR Early Decision
WPI is unique in that it offers both Early Action and Early Decision plans. In fact, it has four “early” plans in total: ED I and II and EA I and II.
While the statistics on the acceptance rates for each of these plans, it stands to reason that ED, which is binding, probably has the highest. You may also get a slight boost with an EA plan, although because you’re not committed to attending WPI if admitted, it probably doesn’t offer as much of an advantage as ED.
5. Secure strong teacher recommendations
WPI places high value on teacher recommendations. In order to secure strong letters, try to develop relationships with teachers early on in high school. This will help ensure that they can address your qualities as a student and a person.
6. Demonstrate prowess in the humanities and social sciences
Although WPI is best known for its STEM curriculum, the university seeks well-rounded students. “All WPI undergraduates get a chance to embrace their inner musician, thespian, poet, artist, linguist, or philosopher,” WPI states.
Not only should you demonstrate skills in math and science disciplines, but you should also show that you excel in other areas, too.
How to Apply to WPI
Early Decision I
Early Action I
Early Decision II
Early Action II
- Common Application
- Official transcripts sent from high school
- School counselor letter of recommendation
- Teacher letter of recommendation
Learn more about WPI