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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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RPI is a wreck.AverageAerospace Engineering
RPI is a wreck. It is one of the most difficult schools in the country and the work they throw at you proves it. The administration is only focused on money and serving President Shirley Jackson.

To the guys looking for a social life, join a fraternity ASAP. It was the only reason I stayed at RPI, and even know I feel like I should have transferred out. The girls at RPI are fine enough but get super picky when they are only 30% of the student population.Trust me, there are better schools out there that are equally prestigious and require less work from you, while giving you a better more rounded social life. STAY AWAY FROM RPI.

4th Year Male -- Class 2018
Perceived Campus Safety: A-, Campus Aesthetics: D+
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I utterly hated my time at RPI.Quite BrightAerospace Engineering
I utterly hated my time at RPI. The professors are generally condescending assholes who have no respect for their students. I'd also say about half of them have trouble speaking English properly. Out of my 4 years at RPI I only found one professor for a technical class that I genuinely liked. However, I feel like this is somewhat standard among engineering universities.

The administration doubles down on not giving a shit about the students, having no regard for student opinions or rights. Rensselaer used to be known for having one of the last remaining student run unions in the country. Recently the school repealed this, having the school take control over the union. Several, extremely peaceful protests took place involving no violence whatsoever. However, RPI is looking to discipline the students participating both through the school and legally.

Another noteworthy point is the fact that the school is in a substantial amount of debt. Despite this we have the highest paid college president in the country, Shirley Ann Jackson. The president is almost unanimously hated by the student population and disapproved of by many alumni. Her greed matches the overall greed of the school. This school does not care about the students, only their money.

As for the students there, most are your stereotypical nerds who sit in their room all day. It is the norm. If you wouldnt describe yourself as nerdy, the student population is going to annoy you. You can find more normal people however through fraternities and sports teams. The fraternities are pretty tame compared to most state/liberal arts schools and there you can find people who arent socially awkward.

As for stuff to do, there isnt much. Troy is a shitty city. The only "normal" thing to do on campus are frat parties, which get old after your freshman/sophomore year. There are a few good restaurants downtown but they are a decent walk from campus. If you want to do anything more than that your going to need a car. Albany has a few concerts, but it isnt the most popular city for big artists to go to. Occasionally you'll find someone you like though.

And this is the biggest problem with RPI. The school sucks and is demanding, which is typical of all high level engineering schools. But unlike other schools there is nothing to do outside of school. A school like MIT is probably also very demanding, but at least your near Boston. Now I realize MIT is a lot harder to get into, but the point remains. RPI is a miserable place. With that said I have to say that it is worth mentioning a few things. I had a GPA of a 3.8 my freshman year and it dropped down to a 3.6 when I graduated. I graduated with a 70,000 / year job immediately out of college and I was able to obtain 2 summer internships paying around 25/hr. This school is definitely known throughout engineering, at least in the northeast. I do think that these opportunities we at least, in part, because of the name. I would only recommend this school if it is by far the best school you got accepted in. 4 years in a school you hate could be worth for better jobs for the rest of your life. But I would try very hard to get into a better school. I personally would have looked at schools across the country rather than just the northeast.

4th Year Male -- Class 2017
Perceived Campus Safety: A-, Individual Value: F
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The administration at RPI is what makes itNuclear Engineering
The administration at RPI is what makes it awful. I had extremely bad experiences interacting with the Dean of Students as well as Shirley Ann herself and without going into personal details I can say they absolutely do not care about their students. They are overconfident about their image in the engineering world and without a very generous scholarship I cannot see why anyone would pay the ridiculous amount for tuition. I had a full scholarship and still regret going there.

Folks I work with over the age of 50 think RPI is a great school. Folks under 50 either don't know it or don't think highly of it compared to the schools most of my peers went to (MIT, Purdue, Michigan, Penn State, Georgia Tech, or even NC State).

I've been asked to recruit and interview candidates at career fairs for my very large international technology company and I can tell you that having a degree from RPI really means nothing to anyone outside of upstate NY. We keep lists of schools and departments we are looking for emerging talent from and RPI is definitely not on the list. At first it made me sad, but I went on to get my Masters from Penn State and it really was a far more positive experience.

The classes at RPI were hard, but not impossible. I found that many of the professors had zero experience outside of academia, which really limits their ability to teach you applications you will actually use in your career. Comparatively, at Penn State the academics were far superior and the administrative far more supportive. I only had one issue at Penn State, where a graduation requirement changed when I was half way through the program and the staff at PSU resolved the issue within days and seem to maintain a culture of helping students instead of ignoring or silencing them like they do at RPI.From now on I tell people I went to Penn State :-)

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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