I am not sure about what I will major in, maybe math, or engineering. So the problem is if I apply as a math major, is it possible to switch to engineering during the first or second semester?

This website is not for RPI questions in general, that is what the class Facebook group is for. But switching majors at RPI is in general pretty easy. You have to keep in mind the later you switch majors, the higher the chance you have to stay for an extra semester or two to catch up on the work you missed.


What happens at RPI when there is heavy snow fall? Are classes canceled? And how often does this happen? Thank you

Snow is a regular and expected thing up in Troy during the winters. It has been rare for class to be cancelled unless for anything severe enough for it to be dangerous for professors to travel to campus. They did cancel classes in February 2014. If something like that does happen though, you will be notified through RPIAlerts.

I was wondering if they have elevators in Crockett Hall? Also, do the doubles there have ACs? Last question, I know the teachers for my classes, but don’t know what books I need. Does each teacher have a different book, even for the same subject and are they needed in the first week? Thank you for the help.

No, Crockett Hall does not have elevators. You probably found this out today, but hopefully some of the fraternity brothers and other volunteers were able to help you get your things inside and upstairs.

You probably also learned that Crockett does not have air conditioning.

To find out the books that you need for your classes, go to bookstore.rpi.edu and click “BOOK INFO” at the top or go straight to: https://login.rpi.edu/cas/login?service=http://bookstore.rpi.edu/cas/index.php. If you search for your courses here, you will get book information specific to your professor and section. Before you buy through the campus bookstore, though, check out the APO book exchange on the third floor of the Student Union, and look at websites like half.com and amazon.com.

For an engineering major (possibly biomed, idk. maybe electrical. maybe computer science. basically i have no idea), do you have any idea how many H&SS credits you have to take? i got 4 credit hours for 1000 writing elective, 4 credit hours for 1000 STSH science and technology elective, and 4 credit hours for 1000 STSS science and technology elective from AP tests. i’m assuming there’s no point in re-taking these classes. i was wondering how many i’ll actually have to take throughout my time at rpi. and would your recommend re-taking calc, even if i got a 4 on the AP calc AB test and had a great teacher in high school for 3 semesters (two of AP calc AB and one of non-AP calc II)?

I really don’t want to get into specific questions regarding personal academics. I’m sure many of you have questions about what courses you should take. Fortunately, when you come to Student Orientation in the next few weeks, your SO Advisors will be available to help you with these kinds of questions. You will register for your fall semester with their guidance at Student Orientation.

As a general answer to your HASS credit question, look at the curricula of the programs you are considering. I’ve found BME (biomedical engineering) here. You can find others simply by googling “rpi biomedical engineering undergrad curriculum”. Each program should have it somewhere on their site.

It’s hard to advise students on whether or not to re-take courses for which they’ve received AP credit. Overall, it sounds like you know your stuff and would be bored in Calc I here. I would say to move on to Calc II for this coming fall semester.

1) Do teachers assign and go around checking homework? 2) Do most professors know a student by name? And just a few questions about campus: since I Wont be knowing where any of the buildings are on the first day of school, will the professor kill me if I’m late? How long does it take to get to the farthest building on campus?

College can be very different from high school; you are much more independent and being nervous is normal. They aren’t idiotic questions.

In college, students are still students, but your ‘teachers’ become professors. Professors do assign homework, but they aren’t going to walk around the classroom to check it. They will assign a due date and you will submit it at the beginning of class (in most cases). They’ll return it a week or so later – usually an older student called a teaching assistant (TA, for short) will do the grading.

Most professors know student by name, yes. Do most professors know all of their students by name? No way! It’s good to know your professors and have them know you, though. Go to office hours, sit in the front of the classroom, and ask engaging questions. If you want them to know your name, it’s easy to make it happen.

At your orientation, you will learn a great amount about campus. Given that you will know your schedule and courses as of student orientation (course registration is part of this), you will have time in the week that you move in to walk around campus and learn where your classes are each day. But no, the professor is not going to kill you if you’re late! They will be very understanding.

At the worst, you have 10 minutes between classes. Many students have a few hours. It’s easy to get between the DCC and West Hall (buildings at the extreme corners of where classes are held) in ten minutes.

Don’t worry – you’ll have plenty of time to settle in and do well here.

Does RPI have study rooms of some sort? I know some schools have privatized rooms for you to be by yourself and study with no distractions-if the library/your dorm is too noisy for you

Short answer: yes.

First of all, the library has rooms that you can get for studying both individually and as a group.

In addition, most residence halls also have lounges or rooms that students use to study and do homework.

Beyond this, there are places all over campus to study. While the McNeil Room can get loud, it is very popular. There are cafés all over, empty classrooms you can get, and student study lounges in almost every academic building on campus.

Finding quiet places to study shouldn’t be a problem.

Right now im under undeclared engineering, is it possible that when I go to the student orientation and choose courses, I can declare that I want to be chemical engineering right away? or do I have to take the ‘undeclared engineering’ courses for the first year/semester?

When you register for courses during SO, you will not have an immediate opportunity to declare your major. However, you can take care of this very early on in your first semester, if you choose. You’ll have to fill out a form with your academic advisor and submit it.

HOWEVER, I want to clarify that there are not ‘undeclared engineering’ courses. All first year engineering students are taking most of the same courses anyway. A student who has declared ChemE will likely take the same courses as an undeclared student who is considering ChemE. (I say likely because the courses you take are up to you.) I hope this makes sense.

How many credits do we have to have, and on average how many classes per week? Im a lil worried about the workload in RPI. :( Do you suggest people to waive their AP credits?

The number of credits required for graduation depends on your degree program (your major). For Civil Engineers, this is 128 credits, which I believe is pretty standard. Simple math for 8 semesters gives you 16 credits per semester, which is the norm here at RPI. 16 credits is most commonly achieved with four 4-credit courses.

At most schools, a credit (or credit-hour) is directly the number of hours of class per week. At RPI, this can sometimes vary, but we’ll say that it’s the same for now. So, a 16-credit semester would leave you with 16 hours of class in that week. Think of your high school courses… about 40 hours of school a week, probably. So, you spend a lot less time in class. If you manage your time outside of class wisely, you should have plenty of time to be social. See how I made that bold and italic? It’s very important.

If you are confident with your abilities in that AP class, I would recommend that you accept the credit. For instance, if you take BC Calculus and get a 5 on the AP exam with a AB sub score of 5, you’re probably safe to waive out of at least Calc I at RPI. If you take AP Physics B and get a 4 on the exam, you may still want to take Physics I, even though you could get automatic credit at RPI if you wanted. Some people decide to waive receiving credit to reinforce the material. In short, if you had a good AP teacher and know the material well, I would recommend that you accept the credit.

How much room you should typically expect in classes (ie. desk space). When I toured I remember visiting an auditorium, maybe a science lecture hall, where the desks were tiny and confined to the area around the seat. Are most classes going to offer you more room? Does it depend on your major? My question stems from the fact I need to make the decision to either keep or sell my 15″ laptop in the next month or so and am wondering whether I will be able to use it to take notes or whether it will dominate my work space.

It depends on the classroom. Most of the lecture halls use the tablet arm (where the little desk folds up from the side of the seat). In other cases, you’ll be in a classroom, where you will have a rather large table with ample space for a computer and a notebook. I think most students would agree that you will always have space for either a computer or a notebook on your desk, sometimes both.

I think that you should base your decision more on whether or not your current computer is powerful enough for RPI standards. Unless you’re planning on having two laptops (which isn’t exactly rare), you should make sure that the 15” laptop has the power you need. Take a look at the specs for the laptop that students joining the program in Fall 2010 received: http://www.rpi.edu/laptops/laptops10/specs10.html.

Don’t worry about it fitting on the desk. My class has 15.4” displays and it fits well.

I’m not sure what I want to major in, and that might be a problem at RPI. I know I want to major in the sciences, just not sure what yet. Suppose I go in to RPI with an engineer major, when is too late to switch my major–meaning I’d have to stay longer to complete my major? Do I know what I want my major to be, right from first semester frosh year? Or will I be taking general ed requirements first before even getting to select the courses I need for my major?

In your first semesters, it’s relatively easy to switch between majors and even schools. By taking courses like Calculus I, Chemistry I, General Psychology, and maybe an introduction course to a potential major, you leave yourself with options. You will have an academic adviser and there will be programs to help you make this decision. Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to study, you will get a feel for that in your first few semesters!

I was selected as an athlete to RPI and honestly saying Im not that smart to last in RPI, in all honesty. I dont have the same academic stats as some other people who are going have. Will academics be really killer?

Your academics will not be easy, but you won’t be alone. Many students, athletes and non-athletes, struggle to get a hold of their course work at RPI. With determination, they get through it and become better students. I would encourage you to utilize the campus resources available for help outside of class. The best thing you can do is maintain your focus on school. Athletics are fun, but keep in mind that you are coming here for the education.

How helpful are RPI students. Suppose you don’t get material, is it easy to ask a classmate for some assistance? Reason why I’m asking is bc. I come from a super exclusive high school and nobody is willing to help anyone else for selfish reasons. So I’m wondering if classmates will help you with your studies if you need help.

I’ll say that you have an unfortunately selfish high school class! At RPI, you will have tons of resources for help with class work. We have campus resources like drop-in tutoring, your Learning Assistant (LA) in your residence hall, the Advising and Learning Assistance Center (ALAC), and much more. Professors are required to hold regular office hours (usually at least 4 hours a week) where you can go in to ask questions and visit. Take advantage of these!

Your classmates will also be very helpful. Upperclassmen can offer tutoring or provide you with back work, back tests, and sample problems. I would advise that you use these as a study tool – don’t just copy your homework! I’m certain that your peers will be able to help you when you need it, too. Make friends in your classes and set up a time to meet in the Library, Union, or any of our dozens of study locations to go over homework or prepare for an exam. The people who live near you will also likely have many of the same classes and you can look to them for assistance.

RPI students are very helpful to one another, for the most part – we’re studying to work in the real world. That means doing group projects and working as a team!

1) What’s the party scene like at RPI? I heard there are frat parties most weekends. 2) Are you friends with any sorority girls? If so, how do they like being in a sorority at RPI? 3) How easy is it to switch your major and still get all your credits in four years? I kind of want to study engineering, but I also kind of wanted to do computer science and cognitive science. I was wondering if I could try both at first to see which I’d like better.

1) Party scene at RPI: Yes, there are parties at the fraternities almost every weekend. Many students choose to make partying an every weekend thing, some choose to never “go out”. It can be a good way to relax and meet people, but you should be responsible about your decisions.

2) Sorority girls: Yes, I’m friends with quite a few sorority girls. I think almost all of them are very happy with their decision to “go greek”. Joining a sorority (or fraternity) is a great way to meet a strong network of friends. You will be provided with opportunities to grow in many ways. These groups will support your academics, social, extracurricular and athletic adventures. Look forward to rush weeks at the beginning of your fall semester!

3) Switching majors: It sounds kind of like you want to study three different majors, which might be a challenge to do throughout. But, don’t be discouraged. You will definitely have time to test the different waters without too harsh of repercussions. Consider taking Introduction to Engineering Analysis (IEA – our “statics” course), General Psychology, and Comp Sci I in your first semester. SO advisors will be available to help you register for your courses when you come for orientation. As for switching majors later and still graduating on time: it’s possible, but it takes some coordination. AP credits and summer school make it easier, but you’ll have plenty of time to make these decisions!

Is it hard to walk from class to class? How many classes do you have in a week?

I’m not sure what you really mean by the first question.

Is figuring out where your classes are a challenge? Not after the first week – you’ll learn your way around campus quickly. Most people, even seniors, still print their schedule to see what buildings and classrooms they’re in for the first week.

Is it hard to navigate the foot traffic? Is it congested? No, not at all. Some people ride bikes, roller blade, long board, or skate board around campus.

Is getting between classes in as little as 10 minutes hard? Nope. You just pack up your backpack in one class and head towards your other. You can probably be from one side of academic campus to the other in less than 10 minutes, and you probably won’t have to do that.

I’m taking 19 credit hours and I have 21 hours of class a week. I have 3 classes on each of Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. 2-3 classes a day is pretty average.

How competitive are RPI students?

Academically: From my experiences, college is not at all like high school in terms of competition. I don’t know what background you come from, but in my high school students were very focused on their class rank. At RPI, I feel confident saying that almost no one cares about rank.

In college, most students aren’t trying to get the best grade in the class on an exam. I would say that people try to get higher than the exam average. RPI students tend to work harder when things weigh more towards their semester grade (… makes sense, right?).

Athletically: We have some very good sports teams. We have 23 varsity teams (all division III, except M’s and W’s hockey), some junior varsity teams, and many, many intramural sports. I personally have played intramural ice hockey and soccer. Our Division I Men’s Hockey Team just got seeded in the NCAA tournament, so we’ll be playing in Green Bay this weekend!