In mid-April I visited Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), a private university located in upstate New York. RIT sports a modern, brick-clad campus and its research and laboratory facilities are first-rate. My perspective on RIT has benefited from having several of my former students choose it. Just recently (during a great follow-up visit with them at a diner near the campus) they disclosed that RIT has been a good mix of challenging academics and preparation for their future careers. After seeing the combination of "geek chic" and vibrant energy on the campus, I am happy to recommend it to my college counselees who are looking for a thriving community that offers lots of practical experience.
Rochester Institute of Technology At A Glance
||About 13,500 undergraduates (approximately 67% men/ 33% women). There are an additional 2,500 or so graduate students.
|Programs of Study:
||Over 95 majors, 82 minors and 42 "immersions" (three-course concentrations). Bachelor (B.S. or B.F.A.), Master and Doctorate degree programs in many fields, including accelerated B.S./M.S. and 4 + 1 M.B.A. options.|
||NCAA Division III (except men's and women's ice hockey, which is Division I); 26 varsity teams (13 women's, 13 men's); over a dozen club sports and numerous intramurals.
||Over 300 clubs and organizations on campus. Downtown Rochester is not far away, and it has several nice museums as well as parks along the Erie Canal. They also have campuses in Bosnia, Croatia and Dubai.|
|Costs & Aid:
||Tuition, room & board and fees total just about $47,300 (tuition is around $35,000); note that total costs for deaf and hard of hearing students is closer to $26,000. Parents need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).|
||The Early Decision deadline is December 1. Other admission is rolling, with a priority deadline of February 1.|
||SAT or ACT. Mid 50% of the old scale SAT are 1630-1950 (CR+M+ W) and 26-31 for the ACT. Note that for some programs the mid 50% of scores is much higher. The overall acceptance rate is around 57%|
|In the center of campus is this infinity sculpture.|
|More academic buildings|
My tour guide did not emphasize campus security the way that many tours do, and I didn't see lots of emergency call boxes, but the campus seemed to be very well equipped with light posts for nighttime walks around the campus. Later, when I mentioned this to one of the members of the admissions office I was told that there are actually 90 "blue boxes" around the campus. But most notably, RIT has found a new, modern, high-tech solution to the issue of student safety. RIT students have designed a smartphone app which students can activate and will send Public Safety officers right to their location, even if they move. Pretty cool!
|The pool in the Gordon Field House|
|Images of Ritchie (get it?) the Tiger are all over the campus|
|I still can't believe this was made on a printer!|
|"What happens when the left brain and right brain collide"|
mechanical engineering, but he has also begun developing mobile apps (winning second place in "Tiger Tank", a take-off of tv's Shark Tank). The president of RIT gave my student a $30,000 grant to develop the program and RIT will be the first customer. RIT does everything they can to encourage students to make a contribution to their field. Every May they host "Imagine RIT", which draws over 35,000 visitors to campus to see the creative output of RIT students. It sounds like a great event, and when I visited (about three weeks prior) there was already lots of excitement about it. According to RIT's President Bill Destler (who is quite popular with my students--they call him "Banjo Bill" for his large collection of the musical instruments), "Imagine RIT demonstrates what can be accomplished when the left brain and right brain collide". In a lot of ways, that is a great description of RIT itself.
|A student at the WE@RIT booth in the engineering building|
Keeping in mind RIT's approach of practical educational experiences and fostering creativity, the university offers over 95 majors in the following colleges and schools:
- College of Applied Science and Technology
- School of Engineering Technology
- School of International Hospitality and Service Innovation
- Saunders College of Business
- B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
- Kate Gleason College of Engineering
- College of Health Sciences and Technology
- College of Imaging Arts and Sciences
- School for American Crafts
- School of Art
- School of Design
- School of Film and Animation
- School of Media Sciences
- School of Photographic Arts and Sciences
- College of Liberal Arts
- College of Science
- National Technical Institute for the Deaf
RIT is also one of a small number of institutions that requires (in most cases) a co-operative or internship experience for all students. A co-op is an opportunity for students to leave the groves of academe and get real work experience (and get paid for it) during their college years. This is a great chance for students to learn more about their chosen fields while also getting exposure to prospective employers and building their resumes. One of my former students did a co-op with Cisco and was offered a job with a year and a half left in his undergraduate career; how wonderful it must be to know that a great job awaits him when he finishes his studies! According to RIT, nearly 95% of their graduating students are employed or in grad school within six months of commencement, and of those employed, over 50% work for one of their co-op employers. If you are interested in RIT (or in co-operative education) you should request their brochure. It lists the requirements for co-ops for each major, and the average earnings per semester for students. This is a fantastic advantage for RIT graduates and appeals to students who can't wait for that real world experience.
Rochester Institute of Technology is a very interesting place, and one thing that I really liked was the culture of appreciation and gratitude that they exude. I visited in April because one of my former students was going to receive recognition as an RIT Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar. This is an award given to the top 1% of students in every major; actually being in the top 1% is just the beginning, because the award is only granted following the vote of faculty. The award ceremony took place in the fieldhouse with faculty and administrators parading in full academic regalia preceded by a bagpiper. As each student was brought to the stage to receive their medal from President Destler, the university Provost read a long list of compliments about them written by their professors. When that was done, students were able to shake hands and/or hug their professors. It was a warm, moving ceremony that celebrated the students' personalities and their accomplishments, and the descriptions of each student in the program were impressive indeed. I have no doubt that the best of the best at RIT are truly among the top students in the world.
|I will always cherish this certificate|
|This statue is a mash-up of art, engineering and humanities|