Inside Rensselaer
* Freshman Applications Surge Past 12,000 for First Time in History
Rensselaer Medalists and their families visited campus last fall.
Freshman Applications Surge Past 12,000 for First Time in History
More than 12,000 high school students have filed applications to attend Rensselaer, according to numbers released Jan. 23 by Rensselaer Admissions. Applications are still being counted, but the current record total represents a growth of more than 117 percent since 2005, when the Institute received just over 5,500 applications.

“Prospective students and their parents clearly recognize the outstanding education Rensselaer has to offer,” said James Nondorf, vice president for enrollment and dean of undergraduate and graduate admissions. “This year’s applicant pool reflects true diversity in all its forms — cultural, intellectual, gender, and geographic. Students and their parents truly appreciate the major investments in campus facilities, the strong involvement from outstanding faculty, and our commitment to caring for students even in the midst of the nation’s turbulent economic times.”

Applications for early decision exceeded 1,300 — an all-time high — up more than 800 percent from just three years ago. The Admissions Office also received more than 95,000 inquiries from prospective seniors, compared to 80,000 the previous year.

Rensselaer is taking a leadership position in addressing what President Shirley Ann Jackson has dubbed the “Quiet Crisis” — the threat to the capacity of the United States to innovate due to the looming shortage in the nation’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce. The 2009 applicant pool represents a continued expansion of the national and international profile of the student body, as well as a significant increase in applications from women and underrepresented minorities. Of particular interest are these increases realized over the past four years:
  • Applications from underrepresented minorities have increased by 328 percent.
  • Applications from female students have increased by 177 percent.
  • Applications from international students have increased by 294 percent.
  • Applications from students outside of the Northeast have increased by 260 percent.

Rensselaer also has seen significant growth in the number of prospective students who are interested in new areas of the expanding curriculum, beyond the Institute’s tradition of strong applicant growth in engineering:

  • Applications to the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences have increased by 420 percent.
  • Applications to the School of Architecture have increased by 116 percent.
  • Applications to the School of Science have increased by 96 percent.
  • Applications to the Lally School of Management & Technology have increased by 79 percent.

The academic quality of applicants also continues to rise. The average SAT score of the applicants is up almost 12 points from the previous year, with more than 65 percent of the students coming from the top 10 percent of their high school classes. Applicants continue to demonstrate extracurricular achievement and leadership, ranging from sports captains and class presidents, to entrepreneurs, Eagle Scouts, and world-class violinists.

To ensure that Rensselaer continues to remain accessible to academically talented students from the full range of family financial circumstances, the Institute recently made available an additional $5 million in financial aid. These resources will be used to meet the increased need of students who may have experienced financial hardship in the economic downturn. The funds are in addition to the more than $80 million the university currently spends in scholarship aid, which is provided to more than 90 percent of Rensselaer students.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 2, February 13, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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