Worcester Polytechnic Institute Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Stephanie

I would tell myself that I know what I am doing and just trust my judgement. I was nervous that I made the wrong decision when I chose between my top two schools, but now I can see that this was the correct choice for me. Every one was so supportive and accepting. All of the staff and students truly want to see me succeed. It is a very vigorous course load and goes by so fast. I would tell myself how I can handle that and everything life throws at me. I would say just to enjoy yourself. College is already going by so fast, so just telling myself to stay and treasure each moment would be helpful. I would say just be yourself and that it is really easy to be yourself at WPI because every one has so much in common. My last piece of advice for myself is to try new things and meet people. I would just build up my confidence even more to make the most out of college. Already, I am making the most out of my experiences and loving every second.

Angela

Learn how to pick yourself up after you fall. You might not always do well on the first test, but as long a you can learn from it and do better you can say you've gained something.

Jonathan

I knew when I started applying to colleges, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) was my top choice and, sadly, I was waitlisted. I resolved that I was going to the local state college UVM; unfortunately they didnt have the major I wanted, Robotics. When I was accepted by WPI from their waitlist, I was ecstatic; however, it came with a $120000 price tag. After much indecision I finally decided on WPI when reminded of what Id said in my baccalaureate speech, “Only you are standing in the way of your own success.”So now Im here, two years later. Picking a college was biggest choice that Ive ever had to make and I made the right decision. I followed my passion. I pursued what I loved and didnt let anything stand in my way. My suggestion is, if you truly want something; dont let financial fear stand in your way. Lifes too short to spend it doing something you dont love. You will be successful and everything will work out in the end. I havent found many people who truly love the college they are at; I do though. Every day I say, “Im living the dream.” Its true, I am!

Courtney

I would tell myself not to rush through highschool. I was so eager to get out that I graduated a year early taking only the bare minimum. I was convinced college would be easier, not realizing I would still have to take math, english and all those other classes I thought I did not need in highschool. I would tell myself to talk to a counseler and set myself up to go to a 4 year university even if I wasnt sure thats what I wanted at the time. Now that I am going to a community college to get my RN degree I am taking all those classes I skipped, when I thought I was going to be a hair dresser.

Lauren

To go back and talk to my senior self would be a dream, but I’m not sure if I would listen. At 17, I was stubborn and bullheaded. I had got caught up in making money at a job I had that I didn’t think school was for me. I would tell myself that 7 years from now at the same job school is going to be to only escape. I would also inform myself that taking the time off from school was a good choice because now I’m to the point where I want to be at school and I’m not forced to be.

Jamillah

If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior I would stress how important it is to take college seriously if given the chance to attend. There are those who may not have a chance to attend, so for that, it is very imortant to take complete advantage of the opportunity. I would also state that in order to cross the threshold from a high school student to a college student one must posses a completely different attitude to accomlish what is needed of you. I would give the advice that it is crucial to have great time management skills and to always save time for your personal life. If not one could become stresses out about the pressures of college life. One must also be able to differentiate when it is a good time to have fun and when it is time to get serious and study. Having specific study times throughout the week is vital for one just entering into college. Lastly, I would tell myself not to take the college opportunity for granted.

Shea

Had I the opportunity to talk to my past self, I would give three pieces of advice. First, I should have listened to my parents and began sincerely applying for scholarships as soon as I finished college applications. My remaining time in high school and in the summer would have been less stressful had I done that much to help my parents. In addition, I would have reminded myself to continue applying when the college term began, considering all the down time between and after schoolwork. Second, I should have brought quarters for the laundry because the electronic card reader was and is still broken in the dorm’s laundry room. Third and most important, I would advise myself to start exploring the area outside and around campus early on. Had I taken the time to research the transportation options available, I might have spent less free time stuck on campus and more time hanging out with friends, finding new restaurants to eat at, and taking full advantage of what the surrounding city has to offer. Fortunately, I don’t need time travel to make sure I do these things. I am still a freshman; I have plenty of time.

Sharon

If I could go back in time and talk to myself just prior to embarking on my first college experience, I would say this. Go with an open mind. While college is certainly about choosing a career path, it’s also about finding out what kind of a person you are and what matters most to you in life. It “takes a village” to figure this out and fortunately, college is just that. It is a microcosm that provides tremendous opportunities to interact with people in many different ways. This can be overwhelming at times. Reach out to your professors, teaching assistants, counselors, and administrators when you feel confused about things. They are there to help you. Be deliberate about making friends and keep in mind that shared experiences in college forge a strong and lasting bond. Look for kindred spirits whose values and outlook on life resonate with your own. My hope is that you learn not only how to be a successful student, but also how to be a good friend, a good person, and a valued member of the community. This is the time of your life. Make the most of it and have fun!

Caneshia

Fresh on the heels of graduation, there is a sense of optimism, as if life lies ahead waiting for someone to bring the change needed. Make no mistake; there shouldn't be false expectations of changing environment causing a changed individual. Opportunities waste without one willing to take a chance. So take a chance. Bring action to your thoughts. Bring movement to your ideas. Passive discontent is useless. Accustom to excellence, you must know that success you achieve so easily will come only through contrived struggles. You may come to question your abilities. Being a small fish in an ocean, there will always be someone smarter, stronger, or more articulate. You can only bring to the table your best. Being surrounded by these individuals, will help your best become better. Independence has been kryptonite to those undisciplined in its ways. The key to success is to moderate newfound freedoms. Don’t overindulge. I promise that instant gratification's rewards are worthless compared to those that come by time and effort. Most importantly, remember you're going to university to be productive. Find your niche. Take classes that don’t pertain to your major. Join an interesting club. Exploration is imperative.

Daria

While I have gotten so many things out of college, such as a sense of community, research experience, and the opportunity to learn from wonderful professors, I feel that one thing stands out above the rest. The major thing I've gotten out of attending WPI is seeing first-hand how undergraduate students can make a huge difference in society. Whereas many colleges tell students that they can't work on real-world problems until after graduation , WPI believes that its students have great and applicable ideas right now, and don't write them off as too young or inexperienced to make a tackle these problems. Attending WPI and knowing that my professors not only think that my ideas have merit, but expect me to develop and apply them in the world, has instilled me with a sense of worth and determination to solve problems that I didn't expect to gain until much later in my career. I believe that gaining this sense of confidence now has kick-started my enthusiasm about my future career, and made me that much more determined to change the world, and I credit WPI for giving me this drive.

Steven

There are a lot of activities that you can approach and do in the same time as you are studying, for example being part of some sport teams keep you busy and you have enough time to do your work, and at the same time you are doing some recreative things, and I think that is funny and healthy at the same time.

Jacquelyn

I have opened up as a person and have become a lot less shy. I've made a lot of great and true friends. I feel as if I have learned a large amount of material after only my first year at the school. Of course with most students, I have definitely learned to be more independent by living away from my parents. It has been very valuable to attend because I truly believe that I am shaping a wonderful future for myself by obtaining an awesome education at a prestigious school like Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I look forward to the years ahead where I will take adantage of their project based cirriculum to gain important experience.

Jeffrey

Describing the college transition isn't easy. In some ways, it feels like nothing has really changed. You've been getting more independent, and college is the next step. If I could meet myself before I went to college, I?d have a few things to tell myself. First, balance all of your time. The big one is school and play. Too much school drives you nuts, and too much play makes you lethargic and unmotivated. But balance your play as well. Don?t spend all your time in your dorm room. Hang out with others, work on side projects, that sort of thing. Second, stay true to who you are and what you believe. You?ll meet many different people with different ways of thinking. You can learn from others, but make sure to be yourself. Don?t feel that you have to change for others. College is a scary place at first. Out of your comfort zone, surrounded by people you don?t know, and finally out on your own. Take a deep breath, and take it one day at a time. Soon, you?ll be having the time of your life, making friends, and learning amazing things.

Anthony

First, take a good hard look at yourself and figure out what you enjoy; then match it with a career. You're always building things or helping people with projects because it's fun. So, engineering has to be the perfect profession, check it out. Also, you can narrow down the college choices by deciding if you want to be able commute home or not. Second: visit the school several times, take your family or a friend. Remember to do a sneak attack and go when there not expecting you. Ask everyone you know and find a student who is attending the college. Go to class and eat lunch with him. Find out what he likes and hates about the school. On a similar note, since music is important, talk with someone who is familiar with the program and director. All of this will definitely make being on campus easier, more comfortable and less distracting. Lastly, realize that the kids in the dorm are there for different reasons. So, seek out people who have similar goals. Schedule study time, find a comfortable space in the library if necessary. Most importantly, find trustworthy students to study and work with on projects.

Andrew

The advice that I would give myself if I could go back and talk to my high school self about making the transition to college and college life would be to open up and make friends. The community here is rather close and easy to get to know. Open up to them. Get to know them and become their friends. Network with them, you never know when you may run into them again later in life.

James

If I could give myself, or anyone, advice as a high school senior, I would tell them to have confidence and enjoy themselves. I was nervous about keeping my grades up when I came to school because I did not have a lot of confidence in my abilities. I would tell myself not to worry about that and put my best effort into all of my work. As long as I study hard and continue to work, I will succeed academically. Also, I would tell myself to make sure that I always put my schoolwork first. Academics is the reason I choose to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute and needs to be my focus. Keeping that in mind, new students must also remember to enjoy their time in college. So many new experiences and opportunities are available to the students here. So I would tell myself to make the most out of time here by meeting new people and keeping an open mind. I tell myself that I have the ability to excel here and to remember to be thankful that I am attending a school that will allow me to excel in the rest of my life.

Jennifer

To my High School self: As your future college self, I am here to warn you about the challenges which you will encounter these next few months. Although senior year might feel like a nice, easy break to you, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the freedom which has been presented to you. What you use this time for will still have an influence on your college?s decision, as well as helping you adjust to the strenuous schedule you will experience once you are in college. College is not all fun in games; you must learn now to balance your activities with your academics, making you a well-rounded individual. Don't slack off as most of your friends might, as optional volunteer services can look good both now and in your future. Also, during my time in college, I am here to tell you that you must begin to adjust to approaching others for help, as you might not be the top student-- and that's ok! College is a true learning experience, and I want you to walk into it well-aware of the opportunities it presents you with. Good luck, and have fun!

Shaun

Before college even begins, you will want to make sure you have everything ready (supplies and whatnot) a bit earlier than the first day there. Organization is key in college life; which is why your desk should be kept somewhat neat when you have extra time to do so. You've been able to get through a number of classes without studying, and you probably could in college too, but I would highly suggest studying anyway. This'll help that difference between a 95 and a 100, if you remember small details in parts of recommended reading. That point difference could save your grade later on when you have trouble with harder material. If you feel stressed out about an assignment, let it go for 10 minutes. Go for a walk, or play some video games.; they're there for that reason. When you feel more relaxed, try the assignment again. If it's still giving you a hard time, find someone in the class or a related one and ask for help, you may be surprised to find that they're more than willing to be of help. Oh, and do your laundry a bit more often!

Nathan

If I was able to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior the most important advice I would give myself would be to apply for as many scholarships as possible. When I was in high school I continuously procrastinated on scholarships, with the mindset that I was almost done with high school and didn't want to do more work than I needed to. This was a big mistake, for now im halfway through my first year and already wondering where I'm going to come up with the money for the rest of the year, nevermind the rest of the next three years. I have already drained my bank account, even though I have financial aid and student loans. So the less money I can pay up front the more money I have to take out in loans, and the longer it's going to take to pay them off. I know quality education comes with a big price, and $45,000 a year is most certaintly a big price. So now on my winter vacation I'm stuck doing as many scholarships as possible, praying for some financial relief.

Kyle

If I were to go back in time and give my high school self advice about college life and making the transition, I would first and foremost tell him to make sure and be yourself. You dont have to try hard to make friends or pretend to be someone you are not. It may sound cliche but it is still very true. I would also tell him to quit being very lazy and get his priorities straight because college is much different than high school: you cannot coast through college like you did high school. College education is the real deal. It takes much time, effort, and persistance if you want to succeed and have a great and enjoyable career. The final piece of advice i would give him is just to relax, enjoy himself, and dont stress over things when times seem bad. If you love and enjoy the activities and the major you chose, you wont feel like you worked a day in 4 years.

Jenna

In high school, I never had trouble with classes. I would go to class, do the work that was required, and would do fairly well and that was that. I was never really challenged and therefore my motivation to actually do work outside of class was practically non-existant. What got work done was the fact that I knew it would benefit me in the end and that teachers and family were working hard to make sure I had a good education. Thanks to those people, I got into a fantastic school, , but now here I am in my sophomore year, in the middle of my chemical engineering courses, wishing I had learned how to manage my time so I wouldn't be pulling all nighters. At a school this intense, the work load is not taken lightly, despite taking only 3 courses each term; the amount is not impossible to complete in a logical amount of time, but one needs sit down and work without distraction. Each minute used to procrastinate is taken out of your sleep schedule, not your free time for later. Time is not an hourglass, one cannot turn it over to have more time.

Andrew

The most sincere advice I can offer to both parents and students about finding the right school is to look deep into what it means to be a student at the given institution. There are three aspects to consider when choosing between schools. Tangibly there is the academics and the social life, but you also must rely on a "gut feeling" you get when you tour and explore campus. I strongly suggeset trusting your inner sense and first impression of a college, and always remember transferring is never out of your options if you decide later that you are not comfortable. Always trust yourself and choose what is truly the best decision for you.

Tiffany

I know that I spent hours upon hours upon hours deciding where I was headed for college. I asked all my friends, all my teachers, my family and still had trouble reaching a decision. I didn't decide until 3 days before the deadline. What I realized was that making the decision was my own, no one could help me - granted they all gave me advice. I get to choose the final word. It's important to realize that you shouldn't go somewhere because of your friends, your mother [like I almost did] or any othe r reason than one you have for yourself. Ultimately, it's where you will be spending the next four years of your life, not your friends, not your family, you. It's where you will meet friends that you will still keep in touch with after college, where you will fall in love, where you will experience things you will never experience elsewhere. It's your time to be independent and learn. Learn. That is the only thing you should remember to do. Not just learn information, but learn about others, learn about skills, and most importantly, learn about yourself.

Thomas

My advice about finding the right college is to find a place where it seems like you will fit in. Make sure to visit the college campus before deciding to go there! Most important is to meet the people on campus and see what they are like while you visit. When you're on campus, ask yourself: "Can I see myself walking around campus here?" It's sort of a hard question to answer, but if you meet the people around there and see what they are like you'll probably be able to see if you fit in there.

Stephen

I would tell the kids to choose what they want and not what they think their parents want. Think about size and major mostly when selecting a school.

Lisa

As for finding the right college, research schools that have the major you're interested in. Looking at them online gives you the general feel and you'll automatically know which ones you're interested in or not. Visit the ones you think you might like. After visiting them you will definitely know which one is for you. Do not pick a school based on friends or a boyfriend. You will make your best friends at college. Making the most of your college experience is important. Do study hard and focus on your schoolwork; make sure it is your first priority. Do not, however, forget about the social life. Get out there and meet people. Join clubs and groups on campus. Leave your dorm room door open and meet the people on your floor. These are the people that you will see all the time, and they are the people you will be friends with throughout the rest of your college experience. Focus, but have fun.

Samantha

Visit the college. When I was looking at colleges last year, my mom brought up the idea of visiting WPI. I was completely against the idea- what could this school possibly have to offer me when I hate snow and grew up in the very built-up suburbs of New York City? Why would I want to go to a school in seemingly the middle-of-nowhere, Massachusetts? I ended up visiting BU and BC and absolutely hating both. On the way home, my family and I stopped at WPI and as soon as I stepped onto the campus, I fell in love with it. I knew this was the school I wanted to attend as soon as the tour guide mentioned something about a nuclear reactor. That was when I truly realized that I was a science-geek at heart and that I wanted to go to a school where everyone else would be more than willing to accept that.

Diego

Every college is different, I would advise to chose a school with a good balance of academic reputation, as well as being known for extracurricular activities. In the end college is about the time you spend there and what you get out of it, therefor visiting the campus and talking to active students is a key part of chosing the right school. Also look at what alumin are doing with their lives, make sure they have made a living with what they have done in that particular college, because you are paying for a future, so you better know what you are going to get out of it.

John

Take the price of a college into account last. It may make mom and dad squirm, but the school you are happiest at will always, in the end, be the best choice. Scholarships and financial aid of all shapes and sizes can be found but who would complete the applications just to stay at a school that doesn't meet their needs? College will be expensive, so make sure you're paying for something you want. Going to college is the teenage equivalent of climbing out of the crib. It's time you started working to shape your future so get into gear the moment you arrive. Meet new people, join clubs, participate in campus events, and, most importantly, get your degree (That's why you're there, right?). Every step you take is now a strand you weave into the quilt of your life and there's no turning back. College campuses churn with opportunity so carpe diem!, seize the day and grasp every opportunity you find. The world awaits. All you have to do, is take it.

Lisa

Try to have an idea of what you want to major in while you're applying, even if you aren't sure, you should have some idea of what you're good at. Make sure you don't go to a tech school, for example, unless you're absolutely sure you want to do something with math, science, or engineering. If you aren't sure, it's better to go to a school that has a wider selection of majors, to avoid needing to transfer later. Don't go to a school you don't feel right at when you visit. Don't go to a big university if you feel more comfortable at a smaller school. As for making the most of the college experience, I would suggest not partying on weeknights and concentrating on schoolwork. Don't let your social life get in the way of something more important that you or your parents are paying a lot of money for.

Joshua

Finding the right college that fits you is often accomplished by visiting them. Only once I visted my top choice did I realize that it was not a fit for me. Once in college the best way to make the most of your time is to get involved; join clubs, talk to professors, meet new people, get involved in research, and find what you enjoy doing.

David

Definitely visit the schools and determine what size school you are looking for. Most students flourish in one type of setting, whether it be a large school or smaller school in a city or in a rural area. Also be aware of the total costs of schools as some aren't accurate when describing how much it costs for housing and such. With today's financial crisis it is wise to apply to many schools that are typical of accepting those with similar grades and scores as you. Despite the initial application costs, there is a probably chance some schools will give you scholarships which are influential in your decision. While it may seem tough taking into account so many factors when deciding a school, I found it ultimately comes down to where you feel comfortable and the costs of education. Good luck!

Lindsey

In order to find the right college, you need to visit campus and talk with students who attend the school, and not neccessarily the person giving you your tour because they are trained to say positive things about the schol. Sit down with someone in the dining hall and ask them about the school. Once you arrive, don't be afraid to get too overwhelmed the first year. Jump into new activities and get to know people right off the bat, instead of holding out to see what your work load will be. It will help you feel more at home and comfortable with the school and the students. And if you do get overwhelmed, you will have a support network already formed. Also, don't be afraid to approach professors for help. They are most likely eager to help you learn and are willing to push you to do your best and to succeed.

Sabrina

Do whatever works best for you. Do not let other people, or even your parents tell you make you go somewhere that is not right for you. Choose a school that will halp you achieve your goals and one where you feel at home. WPI feels like home to me, and I cannot imagine life anywhere else. Four years is a long time to spend in a place where you are unhappy, or working towards a goal that is not your own.

Rebecca

The happiest folks picked their college on gut instincts, and, more importantly, they took charge of their education upon arrival. Take tours, stay overnight, sit in on classes and at the campus center, and see what it's really like there. Please, just don't pick on the name of the school or the pricetag alone. Think about the value you'll get out of it--lab and project based classes, coops, study abroad programs. This is how you learn the real-life marketable skills that you'll need as soon as you get out--working on a team, surviving out of your element, producing your own work with the guidance of professors. It's what makes you stand out at an interview and get the job you want. This is your chance to pick your new home, new friends, and new life, so go with your gut instinct. It doesn't lie. Once you've packed up the XL twin sheets and moved in, jump in head first. It's your chance to start fresh, so join some clubs, try an intramural sport, volunteer. College happens outside the classroom, and its up to you to make it happen.

Amanda

I don't think there's one right school for every person. Your kid will probably be happy at a number of schools, and it will come down to which ones are going to sccept and which one of those gives you the most money. All I can say about getting the most out of college is, don't be afraid. Be who you are and do what you want and don't let anybody put you down. It also helps to get good grades so that you can get a good job.

Alvaro

My advice would be to look for the school that pleases your mind first: where can I be pushed to my academic limits? Once schools have been found with that profile, then narrow your choice down by how you would see yourself walking out of class with your backpack on. Finally, keep in mind the weekend activities.

John

There is one piece of advice that I would submit to them as more valuable than any other. That is to find a school tailored to their own individual goals and interests. This is the only way to truly take advantage of the massive commitment that college academics require, and to excel in your field of interest. The easiest way to make the most of your time at school is to be involved in as many aspects of it as possible. Naturally academic considerations should come first, but you must not be afraid to try new things in other areas of interest, nor to take advantage of the programs that your school offers from social, political, and environmental prospective.

Adrian

Don't just take the tours, try to be more involved with all the other options for prospective students.

Jordan

The student needs to decide what (s)he wants to do as a career, and then figure out how college fits into that picture. If a college degree is required, make a list of schools with a good program for that degree. Based on what you can and would like to do, choose the appropriate school (take cost of tuition vs. predicted salary into account). While in college, make sure to stay ahead of the game academically, because being on top of classes will create free time for socialization. Get involved in any activities you are very interested in, but make sure you don't try to do too much. Time management is the most important part of life at college, and the main reason to be at college is to pass classes and get a degree. Therefore, managing schoolwork is a critical component of success at college, particularly in the first year. Managing money is another key to college success. Going to a school that has cheaper tuition and housing can reduce debts and monetary struggles. Scholarships can help, but are often revoked if the student doesn't perform well enough in classes. Managing classwork and money is important!

Adam

Visit colleges and make sure you like the campus, test the food, and sit in on classes. Also, look into whether the classes are mostly lectures, or labs. Check out clubs and organizations, and facilities like the gym and pool.

Matthew

When deciding which college to attend ignore everything except the reasons for why you want to attend.

Katherine

Look for a school that is the right size for you. Will you be a name or a number to professors? Once you decide on the size, look for location. If being close to home is important, go for it. Finally, look into the extra curriculars offered. Even if you aren't sure what clubs you might want to join, look for a variety. And always keep in mind majors.

Jon

Take the time to find the right college. Each college has unique parts of it. Look at the college as an individual, not as a ranking in a magazine. Magazine rankings are not designed to truly protray the unique qualities of schools, such as how motivated their students are, the true faculty-student interactions, etc.

Jacob

visit the college and attend orientation meetings

Nichole

If you know a career field you are interested in, find the school with the best program for that field. If you are uncertain, start off at a state school and get a feel for what you want to do. Once you decide find the best school and never sell yourself short. You can do whatever you want to if you put your mind to it. Money doesn't matter. If you succeed in school and work hard you will get a good job upon graduation and be able to pay back money that you couldn't pay up front.

Alexander

I would say to be sure that the student is going to a school in which he or she is comfortable. It's as important to be socially involved in something as it is to be academically involved in your school. There has to be a group or club, or anyplace at all where the student can meet new people and make friends. That is not to say, of course, that academics are irrelevent. Make sure that the teaching staff at your school really cares about getting their material across, instead of just going through the motions. Also, I see it as very important for a college to have prospective internships and career opportunities for their students. A student should be in a school that can put them in a position to experience potential careers, and thus allow them to make important decisions about thier futures. Once enrolled in a school, I can only suggest to work hard, and not to pass up any opportunities to try something new. Colleges are places where many different people are brought together, which is why they are a perfect place to expand one's boundaries. Good Luck

Meghan

Good luck!

Lillian

Take your time. Get started early. Visit lots of schools. Go with your gut feeling.

Dan

Start looking early, visit most of the colleges, ask lots of questions, and go where you feel the most comfortable.

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