My S19 is planning to apply to both schools for CS with a concentration in Gaming. He is a true Magic Playing Geek, very smart kid, but does have some issues in regards to Executive Functioning. I understand that RPI is harder than RIT and also higher ranked, but based on what I have been reading here about the Career Center, low GPA’s(in the sense of the work being very hard), and the administration, in all honesty would going to RPI be that much better than attending RIT if he got into both? Taking $ out of the equation here but purely on environment for my son and career opportunities afterwards.
We live in Rochester and our son chose RPI over RIT. RIT has a large off-campus/working adult student body (some 19K or more total, many who take a long time to graduate – compares with about 7K total at RPI), more adjuncts, more part-time profs/instructors and students. I’d say it’s a great place to live in a city (Rochester metro area), work, and go to school at the same time. Wide variety of applied disciplines useful for the workforce. Probably easier to live in the Rochester area with everything it has to offer. RPI is smaller, very focused, does have a higher reputation in several Engineering and other majors and as a whole, and is more selective. It has highly ranked/regarded, relatively new programs in IT and Web Science, Gaming Design, Simulation, etc. RIT is very strong in Computer Science, and Industrial/other Design disciplines – I am not sure about the gaming/simulation etc. aspects at RIT. However, given CS is very strong at RIT and considering the Rochester metro environment and the the significantly lower cost – I might choose RIT for a Computer Science degree…? Sciences, Computer Science and Engineering, and particularly all Engineering are very strong at RPI however – if his focus was Engineering with any chance he’d change from CSE to ChemE, AeroE, MechE, NukeE…etc. I’d prefer RPI (still, have to disregard the cost difference in this case). I also think career opportunities and earning potential are significantly better at RPI as well – including better internships and co-ops before graduation, and recruiting before and after graduation. The alumni network, competitiveness and reputation have a lot to do with that. Still, it would have been a very easy decision for our son to go to RIT as well, it has a lot to offer – and he did receive a very generous financial package to go there if he’d chosen to.
I’m an RPI alum whose son is now a Game Design major at RIT.
When my son was a freshman in HS, I attended a fraternity function at RPI and brought the whole family along. After informally roaming around campus, RPI was my son’s #1 choice for a college. Three years later we did an official campus visit. It was the Worst. Tour. Ever. By far the worst of the 20 or so visits we took as a family. I had to keep apologizing to my son saying this wasn’t the school I remember. In a nutshell, the administration has stopped listening to student input and is doing whatever the h**l they want. To be fair, his best friend from HS had a different visit experience and has just completed his second year in the CS program at RPI.
In my opinion, the Rensselaer name is more widely recognized, but RIT is quickly catching up. RIT lags in overall school rankings, but for some individual majors it is higher ranked. For example, in 2016 Princeton Review had RIT’s undergraduate Game Design major ranked #2 in the entire country, second only to Southern Cal. And this fall they are opening up the MAGIC center, a state-of-the-art building for game design and animation.
One thing to note about RIT is that admittance is by major, and admittance to some majors is extremely selective. Last year the admittance rate to CS, MechE, Game Design, and Animation majors was in the single digits/low teens while the rate for the whole school was north of 50%. This hurts the overall ranking while surprising a lot of prospective CS majors which thought RIT would be a safe admit.
RIT requires a number of majors to complete one or more co-ops/internships in order to graduate. Many of the complaints are that RIT doesn’t do enough to help the students find co-op jobs, although there are job fairs and companies (like Google) coming to campus to find both full-time applicants and interns. RPI has an advantage here, particularly with companies in which Emperor Shirley sits on the company’s board of directors.
Make no mistake – I got a fine education while attending RPI. I had three job offers before I graduated. But I have no doubt that going to RIT was the absolute best choice for my son.
If you are concerned with ranking then RIT is #5 according to [Princeton Review](https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings?rankings=top-50-game-design-ugrad). RIT is great because of their renown co-op and internship encouragement. With regard to end result and ROI I’d say go with RPI. I’d guess that everyone will have a different result regarding Cost of Attendance but for us RPI came out about 20k cheaper than RIT. The salary record for graduating alumni from both is quite substantial with RPI being one of the [top earners](https://www.payscale.com/college-roi) at #36 and RIT at #175. The distance was another factor for us. One thing I’m very happy about is that the president is in control of the school making it a traditional university where the administration makes decisions unlike other schools like Evergreen or Yale where the students ideas take control and totally destroy a functioning institution. Some people like to reinvent the wheel, others prefer keeping a system that works well.
@sdl0625 We visited both schools and my son is applying to both as well (early decision to RPI). However, RIT is not comparable to RPI in terms of academics and reputation. It is a personal decision and it is hard to answer which school would be a better fit for your son as everyone has different opinions and goals. RIT is definitely a lot easier to get in to and it is cheaper.
@reformedman Would you mind sharing the approximate merit aid your child received from RPI? My son applied early decision, but cost is a concern for us. Also, did you appeal your financial aid offer? Thanks so much!
Thank you very much jrm815. Your assessment is very helpful! We toured both RPI and RIT (& others) on a spring NE tour trip and she ended up crossing RPI off the list. The tour was good, but I think some of the infrastructure appeared outdated. She is interested in Game Design. We had a regular tour plus a game design tour, so she was able to see some of the facilities and meet a young woman who was in the program, so I think, set her up for actually envisioning herself there. She likes the idea that RIT is rated so high for Game Design. But I didn’t realize that the admittance numbers were that low for the program. I thought she would be a shoo-in given that she’s female and is well above their average ACT scores.
@CAWSLP my son ended up doing ED for RIT for game design and got in. I think the numbers are a bit higher than what was said. Im sure your daughter will get in.
Hiring manager in IT here, frequently interview CS grads over many years. Also a native NYer, very familiar with northeastern colleges.
When the time came for my kids, I steered my STEM focused son towards RPI and away from RIT.
There is no doubt RIT has more of a career oriented trade school rep. RPI has the rigorous academic reputation today as it did many years ago. So also applied to WPI and Stevens, along with GT and Johns Hopkins. In the end, we thought same about Stevens, like RIT, that while a practical choice, in terms of majors and coops, the qualty of classmates would be better at RPI, GT or Hopkins. We were surprised by WPI, seemed pretty good. You learn so much from your peers, we felt that more important than a coop program. And now RPI is emphasizing coop so they will have the best of both worlds as that gains traction.
No doubt there are many successful graduates of RIT and Stevens, but all else being same (cost), I would choose RPI again. Son is almost done and he had great peers, interviews at all the top tech firms, RPI has offered him so much.
Hi Curious to know how your son is liking RIT now that I expect he has been there one year ? My boys have got into Digipen BSCS-GD as well - so wondering which one is a better choice.
@metalMom this poster’s son graduates high school this spring/summer. He was accepted ED and found out this most recent December, but he won’t start at RIT until August.
We just got gone with accepted students day at RIT and I really liked the Department head for GDD. Also I have been reading here about RPI and the new Arch program, and comparing it to RIT’s established Co-op program, RIT wins heads down . RPI is “ranked” higher overall, but for my son, RIT is a perfect fit. We shall see come fall what happens.
Congratulations to your son and family. If the driver of the decision is ARCH, I suggest taking another look. ARCH is certainly is having an uneven start at RPI with acceptance and logistics. With that said, if you examine the concerns with a critical eye you will see less fact and more fiction, especially when compared to other more developed programs.
@Spark2018 Can you elaborate what are facts and what are fictions?
BTW, do you know where we can find published data on the results of the pilot ARCH ?
@annamom Please rollback on my comments across many of the RPI threads, as I hit on many. I looked at yours and think you have some posts dead on. I love the ‘silver platter’ comment. My son will soon be raising sophomore and maybe when he is closer to ARCH I will have a different view. If I do, I will certainly fess up. Many of the negative comments could equally apply to other similar programs, like at NorthEastern … housing, timing, availability, guidance, etc. I know via a close friend currently attending it is no silver platter (but certainly light years ahead of RPI). In part the difference is years of execution and it being the norm. I have not seen the published data. I don’t doubt that some/many may not be thrilled with ARCH, but the ‘uproar on campus’ is not accurate, at least those my son is in contact with. When we were deciding the idea of giving up a summer family vacation was certainly an issue. Realistically those opportunities diminish as they get older. Yes, the cost for the summer comes sooner than planned, but it is not in addition to what we expected. Beyond the specific issues, it sort of blows my mind that the students at RPI are a pretty smart group, mostly studying engineer and the sciences. The core skill set is problem solving. Where am I going to live, and how do I find a coop/internship/job seem easier than the homeworks in CS Data Structures. Some choice and flexibility with ARCH would be better, but so would a lot of things in life. Some position ARCH as a grand conspiracy by SJ as a power play and money grab. I don’t see that as the motivation.
@Spark2018 I really would appreciate if you can let us know what are facts and what are fictions so that we can tell where there are “less facts than fiction”. I do not know whether “uproar on campus” is accurate or an exaggeration from a frustrated parent.
In my opinion, if there were less facts, I believe it is because RPI, for whatever reason withholding the facts.
An example from my interaction with the career center. During the family weekend, I attended a session with CCPD. One parent asked given the higher number of students looking for internships, did RPI bring in more employers (not his exact words)? Instead of directly answering the question, the woman from CCPD responded that she would not worry about whether there was an increase in employers looking for RPI students for internship, but more on whether the students were utilizing all of CCPD’s resources. ( I was guilty in not pushing for the same answer as I was so shocked on her “blaming the students” approach).
After the Spring job fair, I assumed you have heard that students were complaining that many of the companies coming for the job fair were not aware of the Summer Arch, i.e. students would be looking for Fall/Spring internships.
I have my opinion on why CCPD did not directly answer the question.
You brought up Northeastern, I have no direct experience with Northeastern except listened to their presentation during college visit last year. My recollection was that they were very open with what they had accomplished and how they helped. But as you mentioned housing etc. I called Northeastern admission. The person answered the phone told me there was no specific requirement for taking a full course load in the summer. If you knew something more or that the above was incorrect, please share so that we can distinguish between facts and fiction.
BTW, here is some stat from Northeastern.
RPI ran 2 years of Summer Arch pilot program. Where is the data?
I am not suggesting people not to look into RPI but do your due diligence, ask the hard questions (someone posted some suggestions) and ask for facts.
My kid loves the school very much, but then she does not pay with her money and has not thought about getting a job yet.
BTW, my kid is a freshman. I would hope that Summer Arch is successful and kids are able to find what they want to do during their “away” semester. Even so, I am concerned with the requirement of taking a full course load during summer which is shorter.
@annamom, NEU does not require to do full summer load, but instead the students need to take 2-3 half summers if the they want to graduate in 4 years. NEU also requires students to stay 2 first years on campus. My concern with RPI not so much studying during summer, but that they do not do a good job finding co-ops for students.
@Ultramarine777 There is no argument that if a student “misses” a semester and ** if ** the student wants to graduate in 4 years, the student will have to somehow make up the course work. The problem with Summer Arch is that the student is ** required ** to take a ** full ** load in summer after sophomore (with a few exceptions) and (as of now) stay on campus during the summer. This applies to students who have some transferred credits such as AP courses and could have graduated in 3 1/2 and won’t mind staying for 4 years for an internship if available.
RPI has “always required” students live on campus for the first two years, it is not the issue here. The summer arch makes it 2 1/2 . I am also concerned with their ability in helping the students, obviously we are not expecting them to hand the students a job, but to bring in more employers will help. I guess we will find out more after 2019-2020 school year.
@Ultramarine777 You got me thinking (along the line of making up the credits)… When many people talked about summer arch, they associated it with co-op/internships, but as I understand it, it is not a co-op program, It is a summer at RPI and a semester away. https://info.rpi.edu/the-arch If anyone were to look into the semester away “opportunities”, they include “study at another US institution” or “study abroad” . Is those cases, why would someone needs to take a full course load in the summer? I assume in some cases, some courses may not transfer, but a **full ** course load in the summer for everyone who “chooses” the “study at another US institution” or “study abroad” ?
Obviously, the semester away program can be used as co-op/internship if a student can find it within the timeframe.