Getting to Candidate's Weekend

Hi all, pretty new to this site!

I’m applying to Olin to be in the class of 2022. I’ve had my eye on Olin for a while now, and just wanted some opinions about whether or not I could be a potential candidate; if I can get to CW, I’m confident that I could be accepted.
Here’s my stats:
GPA: 3.35 uw
New SAT: 650 reading 620 math
AP classes: Physics, Calc AB, US History, Biology
Lots of teamwork and leadership positions in my extracurriculars, but nothing super fancy: Drum Major for my school’s band, 2 Year project leader in Engineering Design courses, Vice President of Tri-M honor society, founded and direct my school’s string quartet, SAMSUNG Solve For Tomorrow competition finalist, in quite a few music ensembles (jazz band, orchestra, etc.), part time work

I think I’ve got a good essay, and I’m putting some good time into my supplemental essays.

If anybody needs more information, I’m always happy to tell!

Thanks! :slight_smile:

You’re definitely going to be battling some of those numbers (with the Math SAT seeming to be very problematic). Are you taking any SAT subject tests? Can you ace them? In any case, Olin looks at every application and your interest (and understanding) of the school will help, but it still may not be a good match for you. Olin is clearly at the forefront of project-based engineering education, but they aren’t the only school doing it. You may want to check out others. WPI comes immediately to mind.

I agree with HeloDada. Will you be taking the SATs again, or any math/science subject tests? As I understand it, Olin has a holistic approach to applications. What do you have that makes you stand out? Be memorable? Also, sometimes their selection after CW has factors that you wouldn’t think to consider. Nothing is a sure bet with Olin. Its certainly worth the effort, but have options you love on your list as well. I know students who were unweighted 4.0/2300, with 800s on Math II and Physics SAT subject tests who were waitlisted there. They waitlist personable valedictorians too. You never know who you’re up against or what they are looking for.

Check out the Olin 2021 class profile @ . It looks tight, but not impossible.

Find the latest WPI applicant data by selecting the " student Fact Books" at and select 2017 from the drop down menu for a class profile. This may still look like a reach, but not as far. To learn about this project based program check out the program explanation @

Your musical skills add a lot here. Your GPA can hurt you but it depends a lot on the overall strength of your secondary school.

Cal Poly has a hands on approach but is also very selective. A good direction to look might be in cooperative education programs. These are not project programs per se, but a carefully selected COOP experience can increase your real world experience.

Northeastern University almost invented COOP, but is also very competitive for admission. Rochester Institute of Technology has a well established co-op program and is less competitive for admission than Northeastern. Kettering University in Flint Michigan founded by General Motors to educate their own engineers and all students are involved in COOP education. Check out Kettering @

COOP adds a year to your studies, but also cuts your costs. :bz

With all due respect, I disagree with @retiredfarmer. Co-op programs are really nothing like project-based learning. We have had co-op students at my firm and while it is a great way for a company to find potential recruits, I think a student is better served by spending time at their educational institution – working with their peers and allowing the faculty to mentor them. You only have so much time at school, you’ll have a lifetime of work. If you want to get out into the marketplace during your undergraduate years, get a summer internship. Olin does have something akin to a co-op with their SCOPE program. Olin does it right, they bring the companies to the school (and faculty members are involved as well). This makes much more sense to me – let the students take advantage of their time at school…at school.

@HeloDada I did not mean to equate COOP to project education. Olin and WPI are truly project based based programs. I was hard pressed to come up with a true project education program which may not be as competitive to gain admission. In fact, when WPI designed their program about 1970, they had taken a look at COOP and were concerned that corporations participating in the COOP programs often did not always have the best educational goals in mind for the student. The COOP schools had little or no control over the nature of the COOP work.

WPI actually has more experience in the integration of classroom and project activity than any other institution in the US of which I am aware. It is a very involved process and the process works best when they are designed to accommodate each other. Some of the input into the WPI design came out of the University of Oxford in Oxford England. Project thinking is introduced in the first year at WPI.

However, COOP education does have the POTENTIAL to broaden a student’s education beyond the classroom experience.

About 1979 I was presenting the new WPI project based program to a number of WPI Alumni in upstate New York. One was the manager of an IBM plant who had a complaint for me. His plant had hired three new graduates and all three were gone by the end of the year. By IBM’s measurements, this was a failure so I asked him what the problems were. Were they not properly prepared? Did they mess the year up? The manager answered that the new hires were not happy because they had graduated with the expectation that they would now be working on projects. It turned out that the IBM system was designed with the expectation that new graduates would need two years of in house training before they would be ready to handle projects. I asked what had happened to the recent graduates. He answered that they had all left on their own accord and gone to work for smaller companies which would let them enter right into project work.

When asked if this development was the fault of the project based education, he answered that their system was set up on the assumption that all new hires needed project training as it would be a new experience for them. IBM lost three good employees.

WPI operates over 40 project centers around the world. You may be interested in this study @

Can you help @enggiineer ? :bz

@retiredfarmer - Great post! I had already mentioned WPI as a much closer match for @enggiineer – but there are other options. Below are some older threads on CC that may be informative. It is also worth mentioning that a big part of Olin’s mission to evangelize/share/spread their educational philosophy. Educators from other institutions are a mainstay on the Olin campus (google the “Olin collaboratory” for more information). @enggiineer could look at collaboratory participants and check out their institutions.

And don’t give up on Olin. They have a wholistic admission policy. If you think you can cut it there, then figure out how to explain that to them! They definitely appreciate persistence.

@retiredfarmer Thank you for that great insight! I have heard similar stories from Olin grads who were the ones to leave the companies because they were unhappy in the ‘box’ that traditional corporate engineering jobs put them in for the start of their career. Every single one I’ve talked to has eventually found a home they love that lets them challenge themselves. It seems that the corporate world needs to catch up to these colleges.