College: Rochester Institute of Technology
Location: Rochester, NY
Type of Institution: Private university
Size: 15,000 undergraduates
Admissions Advice: RIT reads applications by major with a lot of variation in requirements and eligibility standards. Students should thoroughly research their top major(s) to ensure they meet the requirements before applying.
Most popular majors: Computer Science, Engineering, Film & Animation, Photography
Words to describe students I met: slightly nerdy, career-oriented, focused, casual dressers, unique
Unique academic aspects: RIT’s campus houses National Technical Institute of the Deaf, enrolling around 1,000 deaf students. This is a federally-funded option with a separate admissions process, though RIT students are able to take American Sign Language (ASL) classes or even serve as interpreters for those deaf students enrolling in RIT classes.
I was also incredibly impressed with the brand new MAGIC building on campus, which is the Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction, and Creativity. This state-of-the-art building houses majors across these disciplines but also serves as a center for collaboration, entrepreneurship, and production. They also allow access to outside companies (producers, filmmakers, businesses) – it is becoming a hub of creative activity in the region.
Unique social/cultural aspects: RIT has one of the best Formula SAE clubs in the country. Students spend the entire year designing, building, and then racing a car in competitions across the United States and even abroad. This is a great opportunity for Mechanical Engineers in particular, though students from other majors are welcome to join.
RIT also offers a number of Division III athletics programs, one of the larger DIII universities out there. For student-athletes who want to continue at the DIII level but don’t want to attend a small college, RIT could be a great match! Ice hockey, however, is serious business here and competes in Division I.
Colleges that seem similar: Champlain College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Northeastern University, Purdue University
Concerns about this college: Gender diversity continues to be a struggle for RIT. They currently have a university-wide goal of enrolling 40% female students. Though the imbalance isn’t as dramatic as it is at peer institutions or other technical universities, it was definitely something I noticed on campus and particularly when visiting the Computer Science and Engineering programs.
Overall impressions: I enjoyed my visit to Rochester Institute of Technology, a school which has been popular with my students for years due to their strengths in high-demand fields and focus on career preparation through their robust co-op program. The physical campus included a mix of different building styles and, though it wasn’t the most beautiful around, I was actually pleasantly surprised (and again especially impressed with the MAGIC building). RIT is a great match for students who know what they want to study and have career goals in mind, but who don’t want to attend a large and impersonal public university.