Are you interested in pushing the boundaries of science and technology, designing video games, or innovating in the business world? If so, then Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute might be a good fit for you!
RPI is known worldwide for a focus on science, engineering, and technology, and is consistently ranked as one of the top fifty universities in America. Rensselaer’s campus boasts a business incubator, one of the most powerful university supercomputers, and an annual student video game showcase.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is also considered one of the top six universities in America in terms of median graduate income, meaning their alumni are rewarded not only with state-of-the-art facilities and rigorous academics but the tools they need to build a career straight out of college.
With a student population of 7,500 and only ten miles between campus and Albany, New York, you can count on a vibrant student life in addition to a solid education.
If their motto “Why not change the world?” resonates with you, RPI could be the place for you!
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at a Glance
|Rensselaer SAT average composite||1420|
|Rensselaer ACT average composite||30|
|Rensselaer Admissions Rate||43%|
|Rensselaer GPA average (admitted students)||3.87|
Some of those are pretty high numbers…but they are achievable!
Let’s take a deeper dive into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute admissions, and find out what you need to do to make yourself a competitive candidate for RPI! 🙂
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute SAT Scores
While the composite Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute SAT scores are in the above table, here’s a breakdown by section:
|Evidence-Based Reading and Writing||640-730|
Rensselaer doesn’t have a minimum SAT score required for admission, but the average composite SAT score of admitted students in 2017 was a 1420 out of 1600.
On the Writing test the middle 50% of students scored between a 640 and a 730, while in Math the middle 50% scored between a 680 and a 770. This means 25% of admitted students scored lower than a 640 in Writing or a 680 in Math, while another 25% scored about a 730 in Writing and a 770 in Math.
If you can get scores above the middle 50% of admitted students, you can be fairly confident about your chances–if the rest of your application stands up. If not, RPI is a selective school, so you should be prepared to support your scores with strong grades and diverse extracurriculars.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ACT Scores
The average ACT of students admitted in 2017 was a 30 out of 36.
The middle 50% of students, meaning those scoring between the 25% and 75% percentiles, got between a 28 and a 32. That means scoring below a 28 will put you at a disadvantage, but one quarter of students admitted that year scored lower than a 28 and still got in.
If you have a 32 or above, you can be confident about your chances: only 25% of admitted students had scores that high!
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute GPA Average
Students admitted to RPI in 2017 had an average GPA of 3.87–which means the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute admissions office expects you to be near the top of your class.
Two-thirds of admitted freshman had a GPA of 3.75 or higher, 21% had between a 3.50 and a 3.74, 8% had between a 3.25 and a 3.49, and only 4% had GPAs between a 2.00 and a 2.99.
Not sure how to calculate your GPA? You can figure it out with our GPA calculator!
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Acceptance Rate
Rensselaer’s acceptance rate is 43%. This year a record total of 20,377 high school students applied to RPI–representing a 5% over last year’s number of applicants.
Although a 43% acceptance rate is not too selective (about 2 out of every 5 applicants are admitted!) increasing numbers of applicants may drive RPI’s admissions to become more competitive in coming years.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Freshman Profile
So who is the typical Rensselaer freshman? Let’s take a look at the Class of 2022:
- International Students: 13.6% from 39 countries
- Students from U.S: 86.4%
- American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.1%
- Asian: 13.7%
- Black/African-American: 4.6%
- Hispanic/Latino: 10.4%
- Multi-race (not Hispanic/Latino): 7.8%
- White: 61.8%
- Unknown: 1.6%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Other Admissions Requirements and Info
Let’s dig a little deeper, and see what else you need to get into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, besides your GPA and test scores:
RPI has the following admissions recommendations:
- Four years of mathematics through pre-calculus (calculus recommended)
- Three years of science (including chemistry and lab-based physics)
- Four years of English
- Three years of social studies and/or history
Additionally, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute admissions committee will be looking for students who demonstrate leadership qualities and talents that will add to the RPI community!
Expert Advice on How to Get Into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
We talked to Ashley C. from the college prep organization Transizion, to get her expert advice on how to get into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute University.
Let’s see what she has to say!
If interested in one of the following programs, you should apply directly to that program:
- Electronic Arts
- Simulation Arts and Sciences
- One of the accelerated law or medical programs
There are also degree-specific guidelines. For instance, you will have an additional essay if you’re applying to:
- Accelerated Law and Medical
- Electronic Arts
- Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication
- Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences
You need to make sure you’re budgeting enough time to write these essays with a specific narrative in mind. In addition, Architecture, Music, and Electronic Arts applicants are required to submit a portfolio. Portfolios are “strongly encouraged” for applicants to Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences and Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication. (That means creating a portfolio will definitely boost your chances of admission!)
RPI focuses on tackling society’s “great global challenges.” If you’re creative, innovative, and have a passion for changing the world, highlight these qualities in your application. Think about how you want to use your hard skills to solve a problem using systems, technology, and other platforms related to your talents.” — Ashley C., Transizion
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute FAQ
Does Rensselaer accept transfer students?
Yes! Any student with 12 or more transferable college credits completed after high school is eligible to apply to RPI as a transfer student.
Transfer applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but there are final deadlines to apply to each semester:
- Fall: Apply by June 1
- Spring: Apply by November 1
- Summer (Architecture only): Apply by March 1
After your application is submitted, you may expect a decision in approximately 3-4 weeks!
Does Rensselaer accept the Common App?
Yes! Rensselaer accepts the Common App, the Coalition Application, or the Candidate’s Choice Application.
The RPI admissions office weighs all applications equally, so feel free to use whichever of these application platforms is the most convenient for you!
Can non-native English speakers apply to Rensselaer?
Yes! However, if English is not your first language, you will be required to submit your Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores as part of your RPI applications!
How to Get Into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
How to get into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute?
Let’s do a quick summary!
Here’s your “How To Get Into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute” Checklist…
- A 1500 or higher on your SAT (770 in Math and 730 in Evidence-Based Reading & Writing)
- A 32 or higher on your ACT
- A 3.87 or higher GPA
- An engaging application essay that conveys why specifically you’re interested in the major you’ve chosen
- A strong portfolio if you’re applying to Architecture, Music, Electronic Arts, Games and Simulation Arts, Sciences and Electronic Media, Arts, or Communication
- Compelling letters of recommendation from teachers and counsellors who know you personally
Check those boxes, and you’ll be all set for your new life in New York–just don’t forget a jacket! 🙂
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About Molly Kiefer
Molly completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She has been tutoring the SAT, GRE, and LSAT since 2014, and loves supporting her students as they work towards their academic goals. When she’s not tutoring or blogging, Molly takes long walks, makes art, and studies ethics. Molly currently lives in Northern California with her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.
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