Diversity abundant for Class of 2013

After a record number of applications were submitted to the Institute this past year, the RPI Class of 2013 has shaped up to be a very diverse group of students.

Rensselaer received over 12,300 applications this year—a record-breaking number—noted Associate Director of Admissions Raymond Lutzky ’02. This is an approximately 9 percent increase from last year, and a 20 percent increase from two years ago.

Lutzky credits this constant increase of applications to both a dedicated group of alumni and the school’s growing name outside the Northeast. Over 2,000 students were contacted by alumni across the U.S.—an active group that provided applicants with more information about RPI. The alumni were able to contact double the number of students compared to the previous year. The construction of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center and the East Campus Athletic Village has turned heads for prospective students as well.

Lutzky also commented on the tours Rensselaer has been doing with other schools: “In our third year of travel, we visited places like Chicago, [Washington] D.C., and Raleigh [N.C.] with Caltech, Cornell, Columbia, and Princeton.” Auditoriums would be packed for these college interest sessions, illustrating the growing reputation of Rensselaer. This fall, the Institute plans on going further out—most notably, Texas—with the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and Vanderbilt University.

Aside from the increased applicant pool, areas outside the School of Engineering have been growing. Though approximately half of the students entering will be majoring in engineering, the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences has seen a significant boost in the first-year class. “More than 100 students will be entering HASS, the largest number RPI has seen,” said Lutzky. He also commented that the number of students majoring in economics has increased.

Incoming freshman Katelyn Goodwin commented, “I like RPI because even though it is mostly an engineering and science school, you are still able to explore different topics like music, sports, or pretty much anything you can think of.”

Another incoming student, Hui Anna Chen, added to that, saying, “In the academic side, RPI is not all about math, science, and technology. From the integration of the social science courses in the curriculum to the newly-constructed EMPAC, RPI offers countless opportunities to expand our scope in the liberal arts field.”

Despite the large number of students who applied, only 1,340 freshmen will be attending the school for the Fall 2009 semester. The ratio of men to women will still be the same, with the freshman class composed of 30 percent females. Due to the growing global interest of the school, there will be over 60 international students attending the Institute.

“This is really one of the brightest classes entering RPI in terms of tests and grades alone,” said Lutzky. A total of 87 freshmen received an 800 in either the math or verbal section of the SAT. Outside of standardized tests, 62 percent of the incoming class was in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

Outside of academics, Rensselaer is seen as a friendly, inviting place. “I know that I can find my niche in the RPI community, because there is something there for everyone that applies,” said Goodwin. “And to be honest, there isn’t one particular thing that I am excited for in the fall. I can’t wait to move in, meet new people, or even start my classes!”

Chen felt the same way. “I’m looking forward to the new possibilities RPI will present to me, whether they’re from an academic or social spectrum. I’m more excited than nervous to face the challenges the American college life will provide me.”

Overall, RPI and its incoming class are “more prestigious and stronger than ever,” remarked Lutzky.