The best thing of WPI is the project experience we gain at the same time as taking classes. WPI's motto is theory and practice and for almost all the classes (major or non-major), WPI pushes students into team work and projects. It will be a good school for people who don't have any project or teamwork experience in high school (like me==!). Teamwork is very much valued in work and I feel the project experience from WPI has benefited me a lot for my internship and work later. One thing I'd like to change is to strengthen the humanity and arts teaching in WPI. Known as an engineering school, many literature classes (not English but eg rhetoric) are required from school to use materials with technology. For students who want to be an engineering as well as someone who loves literature and art, WPI will let people down somehow on the latter. To reword myself a little bit, it does offer many HUA, literature, art classes as well as Chinese, Spanish, German (not French), it's just not strong in those areas. WPI is small. It takes people 30-40 min to walk around the whole campus. School is building a new gym right now and will be put in use in 2012 which is brilliant. We have an old gym and a Harrington auditorium that could be used for sports. Expectation: people (especially in New England) will say: Oh, yeah, I know WPI. That's a good engineering school. Pretty intense right? (=> WPI has a lot of work and not like some school that can graduate easily) I spent most of the time in library, Campus center and gym. No idea of college town. School admin's good. Hard to say. They are spending money to build more dorms and hardcore facility on campus now which is good. Many places have been renovated this year and past year which led many alums couldn't recognize their old campus. The school also invested a lot into Bio research center. They built 1-2 buildings for research recently. Hope school of business can get more buildings too!! haha Controversy: WPI is not a school that has a lot of politics or extreme activities going on. People use their free time with friends and sports. I never see a really extreme/ dangerous event (we have activities for straight people, gay or les but it's not weird and uncomfortable) going on in campus since i came here. Not much school pride. Students will say I like WPI so much but now I'd proud of WPI and its spirit. I feel WPI hasn't been that much influenced people mentally. Students complain about DEKA's food. Haha. We hope we can get better food.
If you really want to be a good engineer, then you'll love it. You'll have access to million dollar equipment even in freshman year. Labs are 24/7 accessible. Also the academic system is made in a way that you help each other more than you try to win against each other. I wish TA's knew better English. School size is perfect for undergraduate. You are not lost between many people, or you are not bored because there are less people. Most of the time adults ask me if I was going to WPI, and generally they start smiling. Many of them ask a funny but motivating question about me attenting WPI. In short, what people think is mostly very positive. As a double majoring student, I spend many times at the labs, but I always try to balance it with social activities on campus. WPI is definitely not a city school. It is very isolated and it has a very nice and quite campus. However there are many universities closeby that you can go by taking the free shuttle, and Boston is always an hour away from campus. Administration is I think is doing a very good job. They have been expanding the school alot recently. Lots of new career options, new labs, new buildings, better professors, everything for better and innovative future. I am not familiar with any significant controversies on campus. Most people love their school, love the "gompei", love being a tech, love not being a MIT student. However, don't expect crazy amounts of school spirit going on. The secret society, "skull". Male students complaint about the ratio and quality of female students. However people say that its improving every year.
While WPI is not perfect, it is pretty darn close in my opinion. I love the small school atmosphere, where the professors know your name, even in the big lecture hall on campus. WPI runs on the quarter system, which is different than most colleges. We have four seven-week quarters and during each you take three classes. While each quarter is intense, it also has some high points. For example, if you do not like a certain class or professor, it is over in the blink of an eye. Another unique aspect of WPI is the projects a student must complete to graduate. In their junior year, each student must complete their Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP). This project is an interdisciplinary project where students examine problems where science and technology meet societal issues. Students must also complete their Major Qualifying Project (MQP) in their senior year. The MQP is a project in your major field. These projects are a great opportunity for students to gain experience solving real world problems. Project centers are located all over the world and many students have the opportunity to complete one of there projects abroad! One of the best things about WPI is that it is a tight-knit community with a huge amount of school pride. Everywhere you go there are people there willing to help. Every professor, student and staff member is extremely supportive and friendly. WPI provides students with an excellent education and experiences.
WPI is very well academically, athletically, and socially. It is a small school but big enough. When I tell people I go to WPI they react in awe. They say " WOW! you must be really smart" or "What's that?" and when I tell them I get the first reaction. My first year at WPI, I spent most of my time in my dorm and in the campus center. I love socializing. WPI is pretty strict but laid back at the same time. They really want people to do well in classes. There are so many outreach resources and if you use them you should be able to do well in classes. There is a lot of school pride. Homecoming is a very big thing for us. The Greek system and Community service are very popular. Since WPI is such a small school you meet so many people. I've only been there for a year and I know so many people I can't even count. Many of these people are not even from my year. Many are upperclassmen which is very convenient with getting help with school work and meeting more people.
WPI is a good size for someone who wants the chance to work of real-world problems in a smaller environment. It's not so large that you are just another number, and it's not so small that there is nothing going on. The projects program allows students to go abroad to one of the many WPI-sponsored project centers around the world to work on a real-life problem with a group of students. With project centers in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and Africa there is something for everyone. There are so many opportunities here. WPI is located in Worcester, MA. The city itself is okay. There are things to do, but it's not stellar. However, Boston is only a short train ride away (about an hour and a half). In Boston there are so many things to do - pro sports, clubs, concerts - and it's an easy day trip on the weekend or a day off.
WPI is a small school, but not too small; there are typically about 4,000 undergraduates. While WPI has very poor name recognition with the public (I'm sure you'll have to tell friends and family what W.P.I. stands for, then they still have never have heard of it), WPI has excellent name recognition as well as an excellent reputation in science and engineering industries. In other words, the people who matter (the ones who hire college grads) DO know about WPI, and they hold it in very high esteem (some even prefer to hire WPI grads than MIT grads). Worcester, MA is not really a college town, despite the fact that there are over TEN colleges in the city. Honestly, there's really not much to do in Worcester itself for fun, but both Providence and Boston are under an hour away and are accessible by bus and train.
The school is small, but that's why I like it. Coming from a very small town, being in Worcester is a little scary, but the campus is beautiful and our escort service is great. There's quite a bit of school pride, especially at basketball games and during homecoming, and there's a ton of greek life. But even if you aren't in a fraternity or sorority, you can still go to the parties and hang out with everyone. They really don't exclude you. The only thing that's kind of difficult, is that like, the terms are so short that you really have to stay on top of all of your school work above everything else. If you mess up at all, it could mean complete failure in that class for the term, so it's really important to do all your work, and get help if you need it.
The project system is one of the best things I can think of in my school. It allows people not to study abroad, but rather the opportunity to grow and develop professionally and as a person as you work with outside organizations to really get something accomplished. Not to mention the fact that there are so many place abroad to choose from when considering the location you want to go to. The city of Worcester is very college orientated, with a dozen colleges, which is great. I do however wish that there was a greater sense of pride and community on campus both geared towards our own community and that of the city of Worcester. It seems often that we are only focusing on our studies and not our community.
The school is a little too small for my taste but that is steadily changing because as of my class year each class of freshman is getting bigger and bigger. They are slowly making the school larger. As soon as you tell someone that you are a WPI student the reaction is 99 times out of a 100 going to be a "WOW." And its no surprise cause this school isnt easy (some classes are though its not too bad). We study hard and we party hard (some of us). Thats a good thing about the school too- whether you like to party or its totally not your thing you can always find a clique of people you can connect with. Hands down the best thing about WPI is greek life- it is the life of the school pretty much.
During the weekday, it can be tough to find things to do off-campus as a freshman, especially when you don't have a car. However, on the weekend theres shuttles that take you to Blackstone shopping center (which has a movie theater), and theres always the train that can take you to Boston. The ratio of guys to girls is a bit sad (3 guys to every girl or so), but of the girls that are there, they usually fit in with the guy crowd pretty well. If you ever want to meet a ton of girls, just take the train to Wellesley or even to Boston University if you want. Theres always some kind of party going on somewhere.