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Help explain ARCH a bit more to an admitted student

NewSR1NewSR1 Registered User Posts: 84 Junior Member
My daughter was accepted to RPI. I am learning and understand the ARCH that has been put in place, is basically mandatory. What I don't understand is who decides fall or spring semester to be off campus to do a co-op? Students or the school? Because if it is Spring, you are basically at college from Fall, Spring, Summer, Fall with very little break.

And is Winter break always 2 weeks? Is that so the summer can be longer for ARCH or has it always been that way? I am just not seeing a lot of time for global education or working to make some money for college, or just some time to destress, in this equation. Even the co-op comes pretty late in the Spring of Junior year to help pay for college. That sophomore year seems super stressful.

Lastly, how does tuition work for payments when you basically go 4 semesters in a row? Are you paying that much in a row too without a bit of a break? How about housing? I read somewhere that you have to pay for housing and meal plan for that summer? I was hoping my daughter would be off campus/off meal plan by sopohmore year to help keep the costs down. Doesn't seem like is possible now.

Really like the reputation of this school and the merit aid given. But very nervous about the extra costs and stress on the student with this ARCH in place.
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Replies to: Help explain ARCH a bit more to an admitted student

  • atxfatheratxfather Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member

    I believe the semester your are away is determined by your major. Each major has to structure their curriculum and required courses around the ARCH. To avoid having to offer every course both semesters, it makes sense that each major picks the semester you will be away so they only have to offer each major course once a year. A potential down side of this is for students with 2 majors or a minor. They could end up away the only semester that a required course for their other major/minor is offered.

    There is a reason that junior semester abroad programs are much more popular with liberal arts majors than with engineering and science majors. Engineering and sciences have required course sequences that you can't readily make up if you miss a prerequisite.

    There are multiple inequalities based upon the semester away. You noted that half the kids have the go for 4 straight semesters which is a lot without a break. However those kids benefit from a long spring+summer for finding better work opportunities. The kids that are away in the fall only have 3 semesters in a row but don't get that 8 month single span internship opportunity. That 8 month span is very attractive to employers.

    I don't know what they are doing around scheduling tuition payments. It wouldn't surprise if they are accelerating your payments and grabbing what would have been your fall payment at the beginning of the summer. If you are there in the fall then they probably grab another early payment. That's another inequality based upon semester.

    you can read the other replies around housing. That appears to be a another piece of this that either wasn't well thought out or is primarily a revenue enhancer. RPI is one of the only schools with a 2yr on-campus requirement. Most allow sophomores to move out if they choose to. At RPI only approved Greek houses are allowed as off campus for sophomore year. With ARCH they have basically moved that 2yr requirement to 5 semesters.
  • StudentsR1stStudentsR1st Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Since only roughly 1/3 of the campus is Greek and RPI has not yet decided if Greek Housing can be used for ARCH; RPI should just be open and honest.

    They should say - we have a program where students live on-campus for their first 5 semesters (this means paying room and board). The benefits outweigh the cost for the following reasons: (RPI Insert Here). The only exception is for students who join Greek Organizations - they can spend semester s 2 and 3 in Greek Housing.

    They should also say half of you will be on campus as follows: FR Fall, FR Spring, Summer Off, SO Fall, So Spring, So/Jr Summer (3 consecutive terms). Half of you will stay on campus for the Jr Fall term (4 consecutive terms on campus).

    This is ARCH combined with CLASS
  • NewSR1NewSR1 Registered User Posts: 84 Junior Member
    Wait, do sophomores get apartment type housing or are they forced to get a meal plan like freshman? I didn’t realized you were required on campus both years. Thanks for the heads up. Ugh, this seems pretty expensive.
  • StudentsR1stStudentsR1st Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Students in the first and sophomore year are required to live on campus in the Residential Commons with their class cluster. Sophomore students may elect to live in their affiliated Greek Chapter house if they are an active member and fulfill all other obligations as part of the good standing and by-laws of each Greek chapter house.

    From: http://catalog.rpi.edu/content.php?catoid=18&navoid=433#student_living_learning

    All Second Year students are required to live and dine on campus. The exception is those with an approved Greek Commons Application.

    From: https://www.rpi.edu/dept/res-life/forms/UpperclassmenRoom-BoardRates2018-19.pdf
  • NewSR1NewSR1 Registered User Posts: 84 Junior Member
    Thank you. And didn't I read somewhere that RPI is trying to get rid of Greek?
  • atxfatheratxfather Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    there's a whole thread on the Greek life situation at RPI. It's probably fair to say that the administration would be happy to see the whole (or at least a significant portion) Greek system die. Whether they are actively trying to get rid of it is a little more debatable. There was a huge task force and new set of rules and restructuring of the system. At the moment it looks like the bulk of the Greek system will survive at least for now. There would a housing problem if the system died overnight as they would have to take the Sophomores that would move into Greek houses back under the current 5 semesters on-campus policy. They would also have a lot of unhappy alumni with Greek ties that they count on for donations.
  • StudentsR1stStudentsR1st Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Not to mention increased cost for those students allowed to live in Greek Housing
  • RPIparent77RPIparent77 Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    The ARCH program basically makes the student live on campus for 3 years!!! Reason.... the summer is mandatory they live in dorm style housing that is dictated not chosen. They do not get to pick their housing it is the school that decides what building will be used. Then that leaves either Fall or spring that the student elects which they will be at school and which they will be away. They have to make this choice way before they have a clue where or what they will be off doing. So, they are stuck on campus for the semester they chose to be at school because finding off campus housing for 1 semester is nearly impossible!! How do I know this, we are unfortunate it be the guinea pig and my child is about to start the summer semester. The housing costs are enormous!! I would advise that you look at other school options. With the job placement ratings I am not feeling we made the best choice.
  • RPIparent77RPIparent77 Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    another note - they are adding fees such as "arch activity fee" and the housing is full cost (if not inflated). The housing is true freshman dorm/hallway bathroom. Not very appropriate for juniors! In fact I am paying the same cost for the summer semester as I did for a on campus 1 bedroom apt last semester. Also, the meal plan is a must because they will not have a kitchen. The only thing I see about ARCH is a way to generate income during the summer months. My child is being told that dining options will be limited, and staff low. The registration of classes was difficult, and the overall feeling of this program is very negative. Again, there is not an option but to pay so the degree can be completed..
  • annamomannamom Registered User Posts: 1,449 Senior Member
    @RPIparent77 when did the student need to let the school know what they plan to do during the away semester?
  • RPIparent77RPIparent77 Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    It was the Fall semester 2018. The kids were clueless as to how big a decision that would be. If they chose the Fall 2019 to be away they are most likely not going to find a co-op opportunity. Most are 5-6 month jobs. Many did chose Fall because they are exhausted from studying thinking it would be logical - nope....but the school never explained anything to them. Thankful I had the past education knowledge myself knowing how company budgets and co-ops work to help my child make that choice. Not that their is anything lined up yet and from my understanding from other parents Rpi doesn't help much either. Promise , I have not spoke to anyone including the off campus housing rental owners that are happy about this program. Its very selfish of RPI.
  • RPIparent77RPIparent77 Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    edited April 4
    Quick add....a few students that we know tried to change there semester away decision and it was either denied or took a screaming parent to make happen.
  • annamomannamom Registered User Posts: 1,449 Senior Member
    edited April 4
    @RPIparent77 thank you. I did not realize they have to make the decision in the Fall. It is too early. I am also worry, but my kid is a freshman and we are wait and see.
  • RPIparent77RPIparent77 Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    I am being told that with justified cause and reason they can get out of the ARCH....so start thinking now (haha)
  • annamomannamom Registered User Posts: 1,449 Senior Member
    @RPIparent77 do you know of anyone, besides athletes and ROTC, who have successfully obtained an exception (or waiver) ?
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