Should we submit SAT scores? Merit?

Would love to get your opinions. DD2 is applying to schools now. She has WPI high on her list. She had a 4.21 (weighted) GPA coming into senior year, and has mostly A’s so far this year. Her classes have been several APs each year with the remainder Honors. Her SAT scores - we only got one chance really with COVID - were decent. She had a 1310, with English 690, and and math lower at 620. Not that the school will care, but she never did any prep. In addition to this, as a freshman and sophomore she took an “accelerated” Honors math course that combined Alg/Geometry freshman year, and Geom/Alg2 as a sophomore. The idea of this program was to move her up a year to be in calculus as a senior. She hated these courses, the teacher was brutal, and they rushed. She did OK (B grades), but decided after sophomore year to drop down to ACP (Accelerated College Prep) math for her last 2 years. I understand WPI is an “engineering” school. She is on the art side, and wants to major in video game design and animation, has a strong art portfolio. She wants to be the art kid who gets some tech, not the engineer. She took AP Computer Science A and B in HS as well, and did fine, but not looking to be a coder or engineer. Want to do animation, modeling, etc.

My question for WPI, with her 4.2 (and will likely be 4.4 when she graduates) weighted GPA, should she submit the SAT scores, where it may show that math isn’t her strength? Will the “algorithm” they use assume a slightly higher math SAT score based on her GPA?

The last question is about merit. Zero chance she is going to WPI if no merit is given, as it’s a very expensive school (50K for tuition alone). My question was - any insight as to how much merit WPI tends to give, and at what level? Would a kid from an A+ high school who took all honors and AP classes with a 4.2-4.4 weighted GPA get merit? Or is that still in their bottom half? She would like need 20K in merit per year for us to be able to attend (unless more was given in financial aid, but we have a 32K EFC for each of the 2 kids going to college next year so not sure if there will be a penny given there)

This is from WPI about their current class:

Average GPA 3.92
Average class rank: Top 9%.
WPI is test-optional. Data only for students who submitted scores. SAT range (middle 50%): 1310–1480

I would not submit a 1310 which is on the low end of their range. I agree that the low math score could be a red flag.

You need to use UW GPA. There is so much variation between HS on how they weigh that it’s not a useful metric.

I can’t speak to the odds or amount of merit. Looks like from their website that $10K/year would be in the realm of possibility for merit alone. Have you run the NPC?

I’m going to assume her weighted 4.21 will play fairly well. It’s hard for me to imagine that the average WPI student had a perfect straight A’s through all of their high school years (usually that is reserved for kids going to UPenn, Princeton, Yale, etc). DD2 has a UW GPA of about 3.8 I believe, but since all of her classes were rigorous (AP, or Honors), the weight makes sense. Our school does not weight as strongly as some other schools, so I presume that will help her when they use their own internal calculator. If not, C’est la vie I suppose :slight_smile:

Forgot to say, I checked out the WPI NPC, but it’s useless (unless I am missing something). It only asked my family income, and then gave me a number. I didn’t enter anything around GPA, test scores, etc. So it knows I am a human, and that my family makes over 99K per year, and that’s it. And it said:

Estimated total grant aid
(Includes both merit and need based grant and scholarship aid from Federal, State, or Local Governments, or the Institution)

So they are anticipating 22K in grants/merit based on the above lack of info, and also, it says this calculator is 2017 data …

I would not submit the 1310. For all TO colleges, you need to ask yourself, does it add to her application.or detract from it? If it doesn’t help, don’t submit.

I do know that WPI really reaches out to female STEM students. They also have a great program in gaming. I think her GPA is high and her SATS are a bit low. So I guess I would not share SAT scores if I were the applicant. WPI gets a lot of kids who don’t get into the very top schools and I think they are generous in terms of merit. But I know only a handful of kids so that’s not real data. They have a great program in terms of hiring and practicality from what I have heard.

Do they ask for a portfolio or gaming apps? That would also help.

They mention on their IMGD (gaming and media major) website that they would rather see a portfolio or code than test scores, but in the common app it isn’t clear where this would actually go, so we emailed their admissions last night to see. She has a nice portfolio of illustrations and digital art. Her thing is characters and design, not so much coding a game. She did a potfolio review with RIT last week, and the department member told her on the phone it was excellent and she’s already accepted to the major (and she was formally sending that in to her admissions should she apply). Having said that, RIT also is very expensive before aid/merit, so we would have to see there.

Honestly I would be very surprised (and disappointed) if they didn’t accept her, but my main concern is that from snooping around a bit it doesn’t sound like merit is large there. She is also looking at Michigan State (also an A+ ranked school, with a great video game department), and as an example, they are 20K or more cheaper, and also give out a guaranteed 15K per year based on her GPA and 1310 SAT score.

@HankCT - WPI has been making a concerted effort to bring more women on board. My daughter is a sophomore, and she received a renewable presidential scholarship of $27K with a SAT score of 1450 (she only took the test once), number 5 in her graduating class. 4.47 WGPA; varsity sport captain; science honor society president; college research lab intern. As other posters have said, you probably should not report your daughter’s scores; however, it’s been a crazy year and not many students can even boast having scores.

My daughter is also a sophomore at WPI now. Her SATs were low-to-mid 1300s and she sent them. She had non-AP calc in HS with a balance of honors/AP classes and an unweighted GPA closer to 3.5 and her Presidential merit award (not including the global scholarship that everyone gets) is $25,500 per year. In contrast I know of a female applicant the year before with a 35ACT (36 math), All A’s, All AP classes and she was offered $33k presidential scholarship. Males with similar stats were (according to discussions here) offered about 20% less, and females in the HS class 2019 were getting slightly (~5%) less merit than the class of 2018 women with similar stats. So my takeaway has been that WPI has offered more money to females, however that maybe coming more into balance as WPI is developing a reputation as a good school for women in STEM so they don’t need to lure them with high merit awards. I would really be surprised if your daughter is not accepted with or without providing the scores. Normally I would expect a merit award in excess of $20k, but I wonder how the pandemic is impacting WPI’s ability to maintain those awards.

Anecdotally our experiences have been similar with merit. Girls seem to be getting in the mid 20k on average while boys less. My son had better stats on paper but got less merit than my daughter (she’s a freshman and he’s a senior). I’m an alumni from the 80s and I am so impressed with how the school has evolved. Its come in to its own not only with the plan but really a great place for women. I was telling my daughter I would have loved to go to the school as it is today. I see what WPI is doing with merit as seeding STEM with more diversity. I feel if young men see a large number of young women in their classes then when they enter the workforce (hopefully) this will begin to reduce the attitudes which have prevailed for much too long.

I wanted my daughter to apply here, her calculus teacher talked her out of it (that where he went to college). She want to get 8 to actuary science. She’s only taken honors and AP classes, only has one B+ (freshman English), did great in AP stats, AB and BC calculus, and is taking AP CS even though she knew nothing about it. What is it about WPI that appeals to women these days (I know they are trying to get more women to apply). My friend’s son goes there, and says based on my daughter’s track times, she would be a walk on (but she doesn’t seem to want to play sports in college, she was captain of the varsity track and soccer teams in HS.

She still has time if she wants to apply for EA2 (no application fee).

I can’t answer for others but having a woman president of the college helps and I think there is about 40% women now which makes it so one doesn’t stand out as one of few (the way you did in the early 80s heh!).

Good luck to your daughter!

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Thank you, I’m going to ask her to apply.

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You’re welcome! I don’t know when her calculus teacher graduated but the school has really grown from when I was there. There are a lot of support systems in place and particularly for the projects. They have a project center now thankfully. My son wasn’t able to go to London for his IQP because of covid which was a shame but such is life, the school provided support for alternative projects. I’ve been really impressed with how things have evolved.

Good luck to her whatever she decides!

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Thank you, she is applying. I’m pretty sure he graduated over 15 years ago. It’s about 3 hours away.

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You bet! I’m a Worcester native but the kids are California natives. My daughter’s first choice was UCLA but she didn’t get it so after she grieved we talked about her choices. I strongly suggested WPI for a host of academic opportunities and also because her brother was there and we have family in the surrounding area so it wasn’t as huge of an adjustment as it could have been. Another selling point for her was you can change your major without applying to different departments.

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My daughter is on the XCTF team - let me know if I can answer any questions. Coach Chabot is great and my understanding is that they have a very strong class of recruits coming in - at least on the women’s distance squad.