Staff Editorial

What the class of 2027 wants to know

By The Polytechnic Editorial Staff September 6, 2023

As the school semester starts and the Class of 2027 acclimates to life at RPI, they may find quite a few different things they are unsure of or wish they found about sooner. Here at The Polytechnic, we have compiled a list of advice for the incoming freshmen based on compiled feedback during Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond and our own experiences.

We start with some advice for academics:

  • Practice good time management. Making a schedule may help with this. College is stressful, and many students struggle to get their footing.
  • One of the best ways to prevent your classes from getting ahead of you is to look ahead of time at the syllabus. Most syllabi will show an approximate schedule which allows you to plan ahead as to when your exams, quizzes, and projects are.
  • If you find yourself with too many assignments and not enough time, prioritize. The assignments worth the greatest amount of points are probably the best ones to complete first.
  • Go to class! It may be tempting to skip if attendance isn’t mandatory, but that will lead to bad habits and ultimately, may lead to lower grades.

There are many useful resources around campus to help new students succeed:

  • All professors have office hours where you can ask questions and receive help on homework or other assignments.
  • Before major exams, some professors may hold review sessions where they go over important information that will be included in the exam.
  • Be aware of the difference between your professors and the course coordinators. Course coordinators handle administrative work.
  • Regularly check your RPI Email, Webex, LMS, or any other platform your professors may send out information on.
  • The Advising and Learning Assistance Center, or ALAC, holds extra tutoring hours for certain major classes. The tutoring will start on September 7 and the schedule is being posted September 5, found here.
  • RPI’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega has back exams in their office, found at Union Room 3420, or online found here. Back exams are versions tests given in previous semesters that can be a very useful study tool for certain classes.
  • In addition to these resources, we would highly recommend getting to know some fellow classmates and working together to study for exams.

There is other valuable non-academic information to know about Rensselaer that would be helpful to an incoming student:

  • The dining halls are open every single day unless stated otherwise; hours for each can be found here. Menus for each dining hall can be found on the app Everyday.
  • The washers in the dorm take approximately 30-45 minutes depending on the setting and the dryers take 60 minutes. Set timers to ensure you get your laundry as soon as it is finished. RPI also now partners with LaundryView to provide updates via email or text.
  • A Brita filter improves the taste of the water and is worth purchasing instead of drinking bottled water, which can be costly and bad for the environment.
  • If there is something damaged in your dorm, you can submit a work order request to FIXX here.

It is important to stay safe when traveling off of the campus as well:

  • The 87 bus is a good way to get to the local Walmart on Hoosick Street, and its schedule can be found here. The two most accessible stops on this bus route are at Troy High School on Burdett Avenue and the RPI Walk-Over Bridge on 15th Street. However, be aware that some buses are traveling downtown in the opposite direction of the Walmart. All CDTA buses are free as long as you swipe your RPI ID as you enter.
  • RPI also has a shuttle that travels across campus all the way from City Station Apartments downtown to the East Athletic Campus Village and stops at 10 pm.
  • In case of emergency, you can call Public Safety and get a SafeRide back from any location close by. The number to call for this is 518-276-6656. Please do not confuse this with the Public Safety number only used for emergencies, 518-276-6611.

It is also important to stay safe even when you are still on campus:

  • Be aware of the RA on duty in your building. If you are locked out, first contact your roommate(s) or RA to let you in. If neither are available to let you in, call the non-emergency number for Public Safety, 518-276-6656.
  • Stay on campus after dark, and always try to walk in groups.

Last but definitely not least, please take care of your mind and your body:

  • Do not rot in your room. Go to class, get a good amount of sleep (the FDA recommends 7-8 hours per night), eat well-rounded meals, and go outside and get some sunlight every once in a while.
  • We highly recommend keeping your room clean, changing your sheets and towels regularly, showering daily, and doing laundry weekly.
  • Keep open communication with your roommate(s). Even if you aren’t best friends, you still have to live together for the next 9 months.
  • If you are sick or injured, go to the Health Center in Academy Hall. It will greatly shorten the time you have to spend there if you make an appointment beforehand.
  • In case of emergency, call 911. Samaritan hospital is close by on Burdett Avenue.
  • Find your people! The Activities Fair is going to be held Saturday, September 9 from 9:30 to 11:30 am on '86 field. We highly recommend walking around and joining any club you think you might be even the slightest bit interested in. The Poly will have a table there so come visit!

There is much more to learn about RPI, but we hope that this will at least make the transition a little bit easier. Class of ’27, welcome to RPI!