Prior to the start of the Spring 2015 semester, Rensselaer released the academic calendar through the end of the Fall 2015 semester, which featured several deviations from the former calendar format. This semester, classes will end around a week later than in comparison with previous semesters, along with a push back in the commencement date. For the fall semester, classes will begin on August 31, one week later than the previously expected start date. However, this is still a week before Labor Day, which occurs on September 7, also later than usual.
The academic semester will retain a length of sixteen weeks; thus, the semester will end a week later than previous fall semesters, with final exams beginning on December 16, and winter recess beginning on December 23, in comparison to the last day of finals for Fall 2014 being December 16.
The dates for undergraduate student orientations or for the Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond program, which historically brings first-year students to campus a week prior to the start of classes in order to orient them to life at Rensselaer, remain the same as previous years. Student Orientation sessions 1 through 4 are scheduled for mid-July, while the fifth session and the NRB program still fall a week before classes begin.
Currently, the calendar appears to be missing events that are typically found on the academic calendar, including the month of November. Therefore, details and dates for the next Thanksgiving break are currently unknown. Furthermore, the calendar does not discuss course related deadlines, such as the latest date to add a course, the latest date to drop a course, or the latest date to elect to pass or fail a course.
In comparison with similar colleges, the new start date is slightly later than Rochester Institute of Technology, University at Albany, and Worchester Polytechnic Institute, which start their Fall 2015 semesters on August 24, 26, and 27, respectively. However, the start is over a week prior to the start of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s semester, which does not begin until September 9.
Some students are discontent with this calendar change, as it results in the semester concluding only three days before Christmas Eve. They believe that this will make traveling home for the holidays more difficult and costly for the students. Others are concerned about how the different start and end dates for summer vacation will impact internships and summer jobs. The motive behind the move is currently unknown, as the Institute has not yet issued a statement on the changes.
More dates will be added as the start of the semester approaches. The academic calendar can be found at http://www.rpi.edu/academics/calendar.