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Worcester Polytechnic Institute goes Test Blind

WPI proudly announced the decision to go test-blind, becoming one of the first STEM-focused institutions in the USA to not consider the SAT or ACT in the admissions process. Andrew Palumbo, Assistant VP for Enrollment, shares his thoughts below.

"Shortly after WPI announced the evolution of our admissions process beyond the use of SAT and ACT scores, I received lots of outreach from college counseling and admissions peers. Most of the calls and emails were congratulatory, but I did have a few people ask ‘Why not just remain test-optional?’ It’s a valid question and I want to share my response with you all: There are three primary reasons we have eliminated consideration of the SAT and ACT from all admissions and aid decisions:

  • We don’t need test scores to make good admissions decisions.

  • We know that tests have problematic correlations with family income, race and ethnicity, and gender.

  • We know that students are successful at WPI whether or not they submit test scores; since adopting a test-optional policy in 2007, there has been no statistically significant difference in terms of the retention and graduation rate of a test-score submitter and a non-submitter.

If we were to redesign the college admissions process from scratch, we would never include – even as an option – a problematic test score that is easily gamed and reinforces power and privilege in an already unfair landscape. WPI’s decision to eliminate the use of the SAT and ACT is the product of doing what our university has done since our founding over 150 years ago: following the data and our values.”

Things to keep in mind about WPI

  • WPI is a Common Application school and we offer Early Action, Early Decision, and Regular Decision plans.

  • We read applications qualitatively first – we want to get to know students personally before we look to the numbers. We’re looking for reflection of our values in our applicant pool: achievement, innovation, inclusion, collaboration, respect, and community.

  • We consider all items submitted in the application process and encourage students to visit the How To Apply page for more details.

  • WPI is committed to a barrier-free application process and in addition to being test-blind, it is also free to apply.

  • We’re more than engineering! WPI has strong programs in computer science, life and physical science, math, and business.

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