Rochester Institute of Technology - A Current Student's Perspective

Hello,

I saw that the last time a large thread was made about my school was back in '04 or 05. I think it is high time for a bit of an update, so I will walk you through some of the things about RIT! Please ask me any questions you may have about the university. I will periodically check back.

A little background note about me-
I am finishing up my sophomore year studying Web & Mobile Computing within the Information Science and Technology department of the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. I am a girl (I mention this because of the concerns regarding the gender ratio that I will get into later). I will be writing code for an aerospace company in Colorado this summer for my first of two required internships. I scored a 1320 on the SAT, had a 3.6 HS GPA (but dual-enrolled in a university for chem, physics, CS, math, and English classes during high school and maintained a 4.0 in those) and was originally admitted for CS. I was also accepted into similar schools, such as RPI.

I will try and go through each of the sections mentioned in the previous post and write the updated version of it.

  1. Academics. RIT has 9 colleges, including the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID. I'll brush on this soon!)
  • College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST)
  • Saunders College of Business
  • Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS. My home.)
  • Kate Gleason College of Engineering
  • College of Health Sciences and Technology
  • College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS)
  • College of Liberal Arts (COLA)
  • College of Science
  • National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID)

The academics here at RIT are no joke. Yes, everyone here has a couple classes here and there that make us question why on earth we are required to take them (shout-out to ISTE 260 and NMDE 111), but they are few and far between. Most people I know here take their academics seriously, but this depends on the people you surround yourself with. The professors I and my peers have had for the most part care very much about their students. They know what they are doing with the material, and they want to help you understand it. Many of them are top-notch, and they expect work from their students. There are professors that I like so much I will stop by their office hours simply to talk to them because it is enjoyable to bounce ideas back and forth. I have genuinely enjoyed most of my classes, even the “weed out” courses.
As a freshman, I was even able to get involved in a paid research project with a couple of professors in the Software Engineering department that focused on accessibility in mobile applications. I simply expressed a passion to learn, and was brought on so that I could do so.

RIT’s co-op program is one of the best in the nation, and I have been very satisfied with the experience at the career fairs and employers recruiting on campus.

RIT is academically on an upward trajectory, which is really exciting to take part in. We are now ranked #97th by U.S. News for National Universities. For individual programs, though, we fair better. All of our design programs, most computing programs, and engineering programs are top-ranked. My major is in the top 10% in the nation, according to College Factual. Definitely check out their data for individual disciplines. Our new president, Dr. Munson, is also pushing to bring RIT to preeminence.

I won’t attempt to give my classes a letter grade like the last reviewer did from their visit, as a lot of factors tie into the learning experience. For specifically the rigor and quality of the professors, though, I would say we fair very well.

Also worthy of note, we are on semesters now, not quarters.

A note on the published acceptance rate-
Acceptance rates have become tied to how people perceive a school’s prestige. Keep in mind that RIT admits by program, and some programs have much higher acceptance rates than others. Animation, for example, has a <3% acceptance rate. There are 50 seats in that program. Liberal arts, on the other hand, has an easy standard for admission. Engineering and computing majors are tough, but not overly so. The published acceptance rate is the average across all programs.
Admittedly, I do think we accept too many people, but that is a longer conversation for another time.

  1. Campus

Ah, Brick City. The appearance of campus was a con for me when I was a prospective student- I wanted the lovely old academic halls found at familiar New England colleges. Because the Henrietta campus was built 50 years ago, we don’t have any of the original buildings from the Rochester location. Instead, we got ugly brutalist brick buildings. Yay!
All recent construction has been much improved, though, and the newer areas of campus are genuinely nice. The bricks become oddly endearing in a way.

Dorms - I don’t particularly have much to say about the dorms because I never had to live in them and only visit. I do know that we have had issues in recent years of not having enough space. They strike me as pretty standard college dorm living, though.

Food - Honestly, students complain and I don’t understand. We actually have a decent variety of food, especially compared to other colleges! My favorite part is when RIT brings in local food establishments on different days of the week. Butter chicken day is Thursday from the Indian restaurant. Best day of the week.

School Spirit - I actually have found the school spirit to be fine! Most people I know are happy they decided to attend here, and we do love our D1 hockey team!

  1. Problems Let's talk weather. It will affect you differently depending on where you are from. I am from Massachusetts and have honestly been underwhelmed by the winters here. The only awful part is the wind. Everyone. Hates. The. Wind. But we have tunnels connecting places, so that makes it better. If you are from somewhere warmer, it'll be a rough adjustment.

Gender ratio. I don’t actually view this as a huge problem, but people seem worried about it. It’s not terrible for the school overall (I believe we are like 60/40-ish? Maybe better than that now). Most girls are not in Gleason or Golisano (engineering and computing), but if you are concerned about your son being able to date then I would say his first problem is not the ratio. If he is a decent, non-creepy human being who socializes, he’ll probably be OK.
I have found the number of girls in my major to be a little annoying, but not something to be super caught up on. It is better than 2005, certainly. We normally have no less than 4 in a class. WiC (Women in Computing) also exists now. They do an awesome job supporting the girls in Golisano.

NTID students are stuck in dorms for three years if they want to keep their scholarships. This is ridiculous. Everyone else can move out after freshman year.

Parking. If you are a commuter and don’t have a reserved pass, parking can be tough.

  1. Social Life Join clubs. We have oodles of them. Diversity is rather good, in my opinion. Greek life is very friendly and not super stereotypical! Leave your door open freshman year. Don't be that shut in guy that nobody gets to know. RIT students are generally super friendly and willing to talk. I will occasionally sit with random people I don't know for lunch, just because. We have people of all sorts, seriously. NTID offers a really unique experience too! Coming here for school has been the first time that I have had deaf students in my classes, and I am learning a few signs and have friends in NTID.

Rochester as a city is becoming a neat little place. There are some super great spots to go to if you have a car. Just be willing to go out exploring. I can definitely recommend some places. :slight_smile:

Overall I am happy with my decision to attend here. I realize RIT has its flaws, but I am proud to be a part of this school. I am growing here.

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Thanks for such an informative review! DS is looking at CS programs. What made you choose RIT? I think it sounds like somewhere DS might enjoy and has been on and off his list. He’s looking at specific criteria but fit is also important.

Thank you very helpful information, my son has shortlisted Valparaiso and RIT, he is looking to Major in Mechanical Engineering, he is currently, still trying to make up his mind between these two Uni. Important, we are from India, but he has lived most of his life outside India, currently based in Beirut, Lebanon and studying at the American Community School of Beirut. Any advice, would be helpful?

@drewsmom17
A few factors were at play for me.
1.) Financial Aid. RIT was incredibly generous towards me with financial aid, and I actually may be looking at graduating debt free because of my internships. (Paying for school myself, not my parents.)
2.) The computing programs here are focused. We all still get a solid base coding skill set, but the programs become more tailored to what you want. A lot of people initially come in as CS, but then realize they’d prefer software engineering or web and mobile computing. For me, I was interested in UI/UX and accessibility. RIT has some great resources to help me with that and is top ranked for it.
3.) It wasn’t overwhelmingly huge. RIT is a big campus, yes, but I see familiar faces every day.
4.) I liked the atmosphere of the campus. Everyone seemed like they were happy and genuinely interested in what they were doing. Mid-semester tends to get everyone a little down with their classes, but I haven’t experienced that yet this semester for some reason. If you can, come out for ImagineRIT on April 28th! That’ll be cooler than any tour you could take. (Heck, I’ll take you guys on a private tour!) Imagine RIT is the day of the year that the campus welcomes the public to demonstrate all of our research and projects we’ve been working on.

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@Albertpune
Your son will not be alone! We have a large population of international students from a lot of places! Each semester we have students visiting from our Dubrovnik, Croatia campus and students from all over Asia. My anthropology class currently has 3 people who have been abroad a lot growing up. We also have special interest housing (SIH) which are dorms that people who enjoy the same things can live together in. International House is one of them. There are other SIH’s too, so check them out! They may help bring community around your son right from the start.

The MechE friends I know seem to really like their program! And tinkering with things— they are always tinkering with things. :slight_smile:

@Frobot Thank you for this comprehensive description and for the discussion about the e-vehicles on another post. Will be out for accepted students day this weekend–on a crazy tour of RPI, WPI, and RIT over 4 days.

@Polar2000 All are good schools with different personalities. I’d show you around outside of the “everything is perfect here” tour that all schools give, but I’m going back to MA (right near WPI, ironically) for Easter at my home church with family. I’m happy to answer any questions your son has that I can!

Hi! I’m an international student starting college this fall and RIT is one of my of my top choices right now. I was accepted as an electrical engineering major - sustainable energy option but lately thinking about going into computer science. Can you share abt the job opportunities for these majors at RIT? Are the CS classes hard? And also, do you think I can finish in 4 yrs if I go into CS?

Do you utilize the support services program for students with disabilities? Can you give an update on that program?

@suthit28 Hi there!

  1. What are job opportunities like? RIT has one of the strongest co-op programs in the nation. For computing students, we are required to do two co-ops. I have had my first one lined up for this summer for a couple months at an aerospace company in Colorado. Super excited about it because it is in UI/UX, which is what I’m interested in. I also interviewed with Google (deferred), and was offered an interview with Facebook but declined to do it until next fall or spring. (Facebook is at present my dream company because of their work in accessibility, and if you interview and fail you cannot interview again for another year.) My former roommate from India now works full time for Deloitte in Boston. We have two career fairs each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. It’s a really stressful but great networking opportunity! I’ve even interviewed with companies the following day. Now, I will say this— international students can sometimes have a hard time because of employers not being willing to sponsor visas and such. Even still, most everyone I know ends up with a co-op! By graduation, 95% of us computing students have a job.
  2. Yes, CS is hard.
  3. No. CS is a five year program because of the required co-ops. However, you don’t pay any money to RIT while on co-op, and you can make some good money!

@jym626 Hi! I personally do not utilize it, though I do have anxiety and occulocutaneous albinism which affects my eyesight. I’ve thought about going to them before but never end up going. My professors are incredibly understanding towards these issues (though some more than others) so it hasn’t felt necessary. They always make sure that the code is big enough on the projector screen for me to see, allow me to wear noise canceling headphones (not playing anything) during exams, and multiple professors have opened their doors to me to stop in and talk when I need to.

I guess I would also say that it depends on the disability. For example, because there is a large population of dead students here on campus because of NTID, hearing issues are very well supported. Give them a call and chat with them! That’s probably the best way to gauge what they are like!

Dead students???

@jym626 I meant deaf! Wrote that after 2AM after submitting a software engineering assignment. Didn’t catch the autocorrect lol. We are all very much alive. (Though maybe not feeling like it as we head into finals!)

Thanks for posting. My daughter will be a freshman in Sept and majoring in Graphic Design.

Regarding “dead students” - Well, they do have a great number of students during the “Humans vs. Zombies” times on campus! Bring a Nerf gun!

My daughter is in the graphic design program, and is learning a lot. It has been a great experience for her!

RIT has a great reputation, and she is heading into her second summer working in a design department - last year it was a co-op and this year a paid internship, where the head designer attended RIT. This is a “heads up”’ - co-op earnings do not count against financial aid, while other earnings do count against financial aid. A paid internship can be petitioned to be considered a co-op - there are some minor hoops to go through for this to happen. Last summer my daughter did this so that her summer internship was considered a co-op. It must be paid; must be a certain length of time; must have a final evaluation filled out.

@MazeArtCrew Was her paid internship after freshman year or in between summer and freshman? Very interesting option and information, thanks for sharing! Is there are reason it is a paid internship versus co op, different benefit for the employer or ?

@MazeArtCrew Happy to find a recent post of someone doing GD at RIT. My D is a senior and a got a very positive feel with her portfolio on the NPD so she has applied to RIT for GD major. Not her top choice of schools (her dear heart is in the NYC) but our dear pocket probably wont be able to afford any of that! I am looking into how the cost besides tuition is less if its not the city.
What kind of scholarships do they offer? She has a SAT of 1300, & a 4.05 weighted GPA. Not great I know. Do they have anything besides merit scholarship? They asked her not to submit a portfolio as it was already reviewed at NPD and she was given a go ahead to apply.
How does RIT compare to Pratt, MICA, PARSONS etc in regards to contact with good companies and artists they work with and eventually jobs when they graduate? I keep reading that the schools in the city are way ahead in the and RIT being in the suburbs might not have as much an opportunity.
How does the coop or the the internship work? is it during school or something they take up during summer?

@SomaRathore I’m so sorry it has taken me so long to respond! You have a lot of questions, and I will try to answer some.

1.) RIT has amazing connections in computing and design fields! RIT is ranked in the top 20 nationally for design schools. My major’s job placement rate right out of college is 96%. That is honestly completely untrue about schools in the city being better off for connections. That may be true for like a business major, but not computing. All of the big companies come to us to recruit. Art majors get their own day (Creative Industry Day) for a career fair just for them.

2.) Living expenses are WAY cheaper up here in upstate. Not even close. I’m from MA, and it is cheaper to live here than back there.

3.) Internships and co-ops are required for some majors, not for others. The length will vary from major to major. In mine, we can do either summer internships or semester length co-ops. I interned at an aerospace company last summer, but next summer and fall I will be doing a double block co-op with a start up in Boston. Even if they aren’t required for the major, they are great experience and help reduce living expenses for the next school year.

4.) Scholarships. I had a 1320 or 1330 on the SAT. I received a $9,000 merit scholarship, but they were super generous with need based aid. Now in my junior year I have a 3.98 GPA, so I’m trying to apply to outside scholarships too.

How is the game design program? Do you know anyone who attends?