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Honest Review of RPI After 5 Years

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Replies to: Honest Review of RPI After 5 Years

  • RPIchemEsonRPIchemEson 31 replies0 threads Junior Member
    ...and yet I gather they do come (employers) to the RPI career fairs? Or not so anymore? As connected and mobile as we are this millennium, it's hard to believe significant employers with national or global reach would be so insular as to ignore everybody outside of Boston, NY and DC...
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  • RPIchemEsonRPIchemEson 31 replies0 threads Junior Member
    FAFSA EFC is, or can be, ***way*** lower than what RPI expects families to pay! I expect that's why we complete both the FAFSA and the CSS. TCA this year is about $72K for everything, $25K out of that for the Medal leaves $47K, if you have all of that additional covered with other merit/need grants, you're doing great! But not, Medalists do not all get the same additional aid package/offer -- it's up to any additional merit/need grants they can do for you as well.
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  • RPIchemEsonRPIchemEson 31 replies0 threads Junior Member
    It's hard to make a case with just one anecdote (1 grad job seeker) -- so many factors why someone gets the job, or not. The thing about "low GPA" -- what's "low"? I think 3.0 and above is a reasonable expectation? While that would certainly have been "low" in High School. 3.0-3.5 range are required for various co-term and other selective programs -- and I had read somewhere some employers would seek 3.0 and above. Maybe some 2.0's and 2.5's but 3.0+ cumulative...? Also depends upon a.) employment demand and b.) supply of graduates in a given field, right?
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  • RPIchemEsonRPIchemEson 31 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I don't think though, that it's unreasonable to say there is some compensation for a bit lower grades from a more selective, competitive school. The recognize RPI (and other schools), and understand they're not all graduating with 4.0 averages.
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  • RPIchemEsonRPIchemEson 31 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I understand internships/co-ops are available anytime you can get one. Your "eligibilty" stops while you are out on one or the other. I'm thinking a Fall or Spring off-campus is a better opportunity for a longer co-op...? Some employers might have better opportunities there, vs. the shorter time off in the Summer....?
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  • RPIchemEsonRPIchemEson 31 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Outcomes seem like they should still be very good for NukeE, ChemE, ECSE, "average" for some others, and maybe a little more challenging for some in BME, CE, EE and some others. I expect that's true, relatively per major, anywhere.
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  • RPIchemEsonRPIchemEson 31 replies0 threads Junior Member
    "Spent 5 years at RPI getting my bachelors and masters in Biomedical Engineering (BME) through the co-terminal program and was heavily involved with athletics. I spent a summer doing research off-campus, 2 summers at internships in a large biotech company, 2 semesters doing on-campus research and currently have a job with a large medical device firm." I have to say this sounds like opportunities and results turned out pretty well for you, though?
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  • StudentsR1stStudentsR1st 131 replies8 threads Junior Member
    shuttlebus regarding BS BME placement rates. There are many reasons that the placement rates are so low and this is not exclusive to RPI. I believe the suggestion for ME or EE or possibly ChemE is a good one. I know of people with an Aerospace Engineering degree who were kicked out of the pool because the job asked for an Aeronautical Engineering degree. I think there was a two course difference. The broader disciplines provide more opportunities and would not preclude your son from pursuing a career in the biomedical field.
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  • randomdude532randomdude532 36 replies2 threads Junior Member
    bump for those considering the school for this year
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  • randomdude532randomdude532 36 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I would say the only disagreeing points in this review is regarding college to career transistions at RPI. So saying that you, "completely disagree with the sentiments expressed in this review", is inaccurate to say the least. I never made statements like "the student life sucks", and have an identical opinion regarding social life,dating, and Troy. You seem overly ambitious in trying to discredit my review, without apparently actually reading it? It makes me believe you aren't really a student taking an objective look at the school.

    Regarding college placement rates, these are statistics that can be found directly on school's websites, not some random crap that I am making up. Being less likely to attend graduate school as an RPI grad vs other medium-small sized equivalent engineering affecting it's poor placement rate is false (e.g. look at RIT/rose-hulman).

    Being a computer science major is, of course, amazing. It is the most highly sought after major at any college, so I'm sure you and your peers in CS had an excellent time finding internships and co-ops. Most engineering/science students (outside of CS) do not have as easy of time because almost all the recruiters that come to career fairs exclusively look for CS/IT majors. You will see the career opportunities through rose-tinted glasses.

    I work in industry now, and believe an RPI education is extremely strong and sets a great foundation to begin your career. I also strongly believe that many other equivalent schools offer much more for the cost of admission. Sadly, I still believe anything offered outside of the academics at this school is pathetic (e.g. career fairs, counselors, summer arch).
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  • joedoejoedoe 255 replies13 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2018
    @randomdude523 I'll admit, I didn't read much of what you wrote since I thought it was the same as the one that was posted on Reddit (just sent you the link, I think you'd agree their review is kind of stupid). I just read what you wrote and can get a little more behind what you wrote. I agree RPI can heavily improve its career services and the Arch is just a money grab. There's a lot of self seeking you need to do, but the companies are there at least at the career fair (unless you're a weird major, like hydrogeology, sustainability, or something).

    But yes, I am a current student and do see things a bit better since I'm in a very in demand major. I have found my advisor to be very supportive though and the career fair helped get me a co-op. I do understand what you're saying a bit more now.

    On the placement rate, I'm going to quote from a Reddit thread a while back on the placement rate:

    u/dankestcompsci - Thoughts on RPI's Placement Rate
    I thought this was a pretty interesting post, so I checked out some of those university's placement rates myself. It seems like CWRU, URochester, and RPI all have very similar employment placements for full-time offers from the undergrad programs, with RPI having the highest placement and average starting salary across that group. However, a lot less RPI students go to graduate school.

    On the other hand, the second group (below) seems to have lower rates of grad school and very high placement rates. However, their average starting salaries are less than at RPI and they're much smaller universities (with the exception of Purdue and RIT). Bottom line, I'd say that for universities that are of a similar size and ranking as us (CWRU and URochester) we just have a much lower grad school attendance rate. RPI students aren't actually less desirable than at those schools given our employment rates are higher.

    However, the bottom group is weird. WPI offers a lot less bachelor's degree programs than RPI, and, with the exception of a few, they're all in engineering or in-demand science fields. The same goes for Stevens, but with more humanities degrees relative to WPI, but still less than RPI. RPI has a lot of miscellaneous science and other majors that would potentially hurt its employment rate, which is the same for the other universities in Group #1. RIT also has a lot of majors in the health sciences and other fields where employment can be boosted from.

    Summed up, I don't think students at those universities are necessarily more or less desirable. The majors they offer, their location, and the size of the school also play a role. The top group, I'd say, is the best for judgement since they're all very similar in the number of majors they offer and across what fields.

    GROUP #1

    RPI: 55%, employed, 24% grad school

    CWRU: 53% employed, 37% grad school

    URochester: 51% employed, 40% grad school

    GROUP#2

    RIT: 78.3% employed, 14.3% grad school

    Stevens: 75% employed, 17% grad school

    WPI: 66% employed, 16% grad school

    Purdue: 65% employed, 20% grad school

    UW-Madison: Can't find generalized report for the university across all majors. I think it would be unfair to just compare the School of Engineering (obviously better metrics) versus the rest, which are normalized across many majors.
    edited December 2018
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  • reformedmanreformedman 417 replies28 threads Member
    It's quite a bit off-putting to see how people keep putting RIT and Steven's in comparison with RPI. Those schools aren't in the same category. Steven's basically only compares with RPI with it's CompSci major but their engineering is not on par with any of the high-caliber engineering schools like RPI. RIT is not a peer school with RPI but more importantly, is not on par by any measure with high caliber engineering schools. There are multivariate influences when comparing schools that you are not considering.

    You can't compare for example, 'employment rates' of Cooper Union with Waterloo by merely looking at the numbers, there are factors that influence those numbers. Both are technical schools but most people go to Cooper Union for Architecture and Architecture has one of the highest unemployment rates currently, while most people go to Waterloo for CompSci which is one of the highest employment rates.

    There are still even more factors regarding the comparison with these two schools that I won't go into, but you guys are both missing a number of fine details when you regurgitate the above numbers that you are quoting. First and foremost you should really be making proper comparisons instead of just picking technical schools because you 'think' they bear some valid correlation. I'd rather not get too involved in this discussion as I find it bating, but I did want to drop that note for you guys to consider as you continue this debate.
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  • reformedmanreformedman 417 replies28 threads Member
    edited December 2018
    I would like to provide a comparison of two peer schools. Both MIT and RPI are listed as having each other as peer schools. I wiill provide THIS LINK and go down to HIRING STATISTICS, go to 2017 and please look at page 10 for RPI.

    Here is MIT's LINK on page 4.

    RPI explains where they got 55% considering all the side factors. MIT does the same with their 53.5% considering all the side factors.
    edited December 2018
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  • Engineer80Engineer80 452 replies0 threads Member
    edited December 2018
    @reformedman - Stevens (not "Steven's") is every bit in the same category as RPI. On what measurable or quantitative basis (besides being a graduate of RPI's is a "high caliber" program) do you claim its engineering is not? Are RPI graduates running the engineering world as a cohort? No they aren't, nor are those of any other particular school. I am a retiree from what was the world's leading research and development lab in the telecommunications and electronics industry and now with one of the largest aerospace manufacturers in the world. We had and have many RPI, Stevens, MIT, Cornell, Penn, Harvard, Cooper Union, and (insert name of any other esteemed school here) graduates. As a group there is no significant difference in the innovation or quality of work done by any of our cohorts of graduates of any particular school. All have done high quality work and are highly competent engineers. The ones that do not aren't here very long, and, in my experience as both an engineering manager and a line engineer I have worked with ineffective graduates and effective ones from a wide variety of schools. The person, not the school, is the key. The brand or imprimitur of the school has little bearing on the quality of work of the individual person. Its employment and outcomes rates as the other commenter posted here considerably outstrip RPI's, so, with respect to the perceived value of the graduates in the marketplace, that speaks for itself. RIT is not in the same category as either RPI or Stevens. It has no research doctoral program for example. Both RPI and Stevens are two of the oldest and most established technological research universities in the United States. - Cheers, Michael S., Ph.D., P.E.
    edited December 2018
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  • reformedmanreformedman 417 replies28 threads Member
    On what measurable or quantitative basis (besides being a graduate of RPI's is a "high caliber" program) do you claim its engineering is not?

    I realize most people like to immediately jump away from rankings whenever it's mentioned but since you are asking precisely for a quantifiable rubric for measuring the quality of the engineering schools of each RPI and Stevens, the only one available to anyone is rankings. So since you asked for it it is very easy for you to find that information yourself. For engineering most ranking sites will place Stevens in the 70s-80s for Engineering. RPI falls in the 30s-40s for engineering.

    Like I said, Stevens is great for certain subjects and I would never turn down an engineering degree from Stevens if it was more convenient or affordable but I stand by my assertion that it is not in the same level with RPI. It's a fine school and there's no doubt they sometimes get jobs that get paid more as well as sometimes less, but as far as the methodologies used by these ranking sites, they reveal something that they are more qualified to judge than you or I can assume.

    Regarding Stevens' peers you can look at page 14 so see what they claim as peers but more importantly see which schools claim Stevens as their peer.
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  • Engineer80Engineer80 452 replies0 threads Member
    edited December 2018
    @reformedman - The commercial magazine rankings mean nothing. USNWR and all the other promulgators of these lists are not in the business of providing objective guidance or counseling to prospective college students. They are in the business of selling magazines and advertising, and their rankings are merely marketing tools that contribute to that end.

    If you expect those of us who really know how those rankings are derived (largely subjective opinion of college administrators) to take them seriously with a straight face I simply laugh. I have hired and managed engineers from practically every well known school in America. I have worked with effective and ineffective engineers from that wide gamut of schools. RPI engineers are no better as a cohort than those from Stevens or the state university for example. If you argue that they are of a higher level or capability than those if Stevens well you simply have an exceedingly thin body of evidence to support that opinion. Show me an actual quantitative assessment that RPI graduates are more effective as engineers than those of Stevens or any other school. I have yet to see one.

    If I have a person reporting to me who is not doing an effective job, the fact that he graduated from the "superior" curriculum of RPI (or anywhere else) is of no consequence. The gating item is that he or she isn't doing the job. I have seen graduates of MIT, RPI, and Princeton get mediocre performance reviews and not advance in the organization, and graduates of Rutgers and SUNY for example become middle and upper managers because they were highly effective performers (and vice-versa).

    Claiming schools as peers is the same subjective opinion. It means as little as the commercial rankings you cite as gospel. They are not based upon objective data. In some respects Stevens' curriculum is more effective than RPI and most other schools because from the founding of the university Stevens emphasized developing interdisciplinary engineers who are well versed in all of the current engineering disciplines not just the specialty in which they major. That ability is well known in industry and among graduate schools, hence the premium in salary that they command. Incidentally, at a cost of attendance of more than $72,000 annually, RPI doesn't strike me as a particularly good value. Sure, most engineering graduates command a respectable starting salary, but how long will it take you to pay off $200k+ in student loans? At one time, the president of RPI made 1.2 million dollars a year - the highest paid private college president in the United States. That is one reason for that COA.

    Those of us who actually hire and manage engineers and as such responsible for their productivity know that the school makes very little difference once they have been on the job for a certain amount of time. None of the organizations in which I worked put a premium on graduates from any particular school. The proof of the pudding is how effective they are on the job, not puffery about how RPI or any other school's engineers are in a higher class or caliber than another.
    edited December 2018
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  • randomdude532randomdude532 36 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I definitely agree with @Engineer80's thoughts. I will not be the first one to admit that, while RPI has a lot of extremely brilliant students, they also have their fair share of incredibly incompetent ones as well. One's ability to graduate from a prestigious school or get solid grades isn't highly indicative of how someone performs in the real world.

    I try to stress things like college placement rates, access to opportunities, career center, summer arch and counseling because for $72k/year you would expect these things to be great...but they aren't. I speak for the engineering program specifically at RPI (not IT or comp sci), their administration and access to opportunities does not stand up to many other school's resources. The amount of engineers at the school that land a jobs/internships through the career center or career fair is maybe 10%. Your education doesn't matter in your career if you can't even start one, I speak for many of my peers on this.
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  • joedoejoedoe 255 replies13 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2018
    @randomdude532 I think that's also why it's important to apply and see how much it costs. A lot of people go to RPI and pay nothing or very little, while a lot of people pay 40k a year, etc. Parental income and how you do in high school also factors in to how much RPI actually costs.

    For example, if your family makes around 50k a year and you go to RPI, on average you'll pay 20k a year to attend (includes all costs - room, board, books, etc.). That is cheaper than going to a state school and dorming. This is before any loans come in and that includes dorming, so if you take out a loan for your first year and then move off campus, you'll only need 10k a year to go to RPI. You can take half of that out in loans and work summers to pay the rest and you'll come out in really good shape (only like 30k in loans and 5k a year payment from your summer work). If your parents contribute anything, it's even less.

    If your parents make over 100k a year, the premium is over 40k a year to go to RPI.... which is a lot of money. The cost to go to RPI spikes a lot when your parents make over 80k a year, but below that it's decently affordable (albiet, with loans). I know I'm personally paying less than going to a state school in NY, but I know that's not everyone's circumstance.

    Also if you're African American and in engineering at RPI, there's the Garnet D. Baltimore Scholarship which literally covers everything for school (I think also room and board). Women also typically get more money than men if they apply to RPI and get in. Most people I know that are going to RPI for free are women.

    So yeah, summed up I think people should apply and make a consideration based on cost and see what happens. If RPI gives you a good deal, I think it's a good place to be even if some things can be improved.

    Check out the college navigator for those statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=rensselaer+polytechnic+institute&s=all&id=194824#netprc
    edited December 2018
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  • joedoejoedoe 255 replies13 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2018
    On that note, be super critical of every school you get into and treat the college processing as "shopping." Where will you get the best product for the least amount of money to maximize your return? It's not always black and white since other things like research, activities, location, reputation, etc. come in to play, but please don't go somewhere where you'll graduate in a field making not a lot of money with a lot of debt. If you can avoid it and go to a cheaper school, it's probably a good bet cause you're buying connections more than education with elite private schools. Granted, loans are usually unavoidable so don't be afraid of loans as much as excessive loans.

    I know someone that came to RPI as a bio major and left with a 30k starting salary and had to live in Boston with over 100k in loans for an undergraduate degree. HORRIBLE IDEA, you leave college and all you can afford is living in a closet and eating rice and beans. Check starting salaries for your major before taking out the loans. If you're going to make money and expect to be employed, make the investment (CS/IT/most engineering fields). Otherwise, really consider if that fancy education is worth it, even if it's at MIT, etc.
    edited December 2018
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