Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) (NY) Mariah Giardino

Transcript from PCACAC StriveScan Sept. 19, 2021

My name is Maria McLean Guardino. I’m Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Rochester Institute of Technology. Alrighty, so we are located in upstate New York, just outside the city of Rochester. I am the admissions counselor for all students in the Mid Atlantic region so I have DC Maryland and Virginia. 

So first I’ll just begin with an overview of RIT and all the academic opportunities that are available. Of course we have the word technology in our name, but hope to show you that we have a lot beyond that to offer. Our main campus is in Rochester, New York, and we are home to just about 17,000 students. If you include our international campuses overseas in Dubai, Kosovo Croatia and China, our total enrollment is actually closer to about 19,000. So that number is going to make us one of the largest private universities in the country. Students are coming to us from all 50 states including a good number from the Mid Atlantic, also about 90 countries represented at RIT, 1900 international students and currently about 3600 students of color. 

Something unique about us, we are home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), which is a school for deaf and hard of hearing students that’s federally funded, so there’s just about 1000 students there. You’ll frequently see people throughout campus communicating through American Sign Language, and then you’ll see interpreters and closed caption offered at our major events and in our classes. I want to point out even though I said we are larger school the average class size is 22, and the student faculty ratio is 13 to 1; also good to know that all of our classes will be taught by faculty. So graduate and teaching assistants are allowed to assist the professors, but they’re not going to be the ones teaching any new material.

We are actually home to nine academic colleges, including NT ID.

We offer close to 90 bachelor’s degree programs. We have a little bit of everything, certainly the programs that you would expect in the STEM disciplines from an Institute of Technology, most notably engineering, science, computing, game design, a variety of Health Sciences programs, and then engineering technology, but then we’ve got some surprise programs like art and design, photography, film and animation, and a variety of majors that you can find in our schools of business and liberal arts. So it’s a nice blend of STEM and non-STEM programs, really allowing our students to create interesting combinations of majors and minors, or even designing their own programs. 

We also have about 50 accelerated master’s degrees, where you can get an accelerated dual degree and just one extra year of graduate school.

I want to talk about opportunities for experiential learning. This is a really important part of our education style. Experiential learning can take several forms, such as undergraduate research, study abroad, or clinical experiences or internships, so RIT offers all of these opportunities but really what we’re best known for his our cooperative education program, or we call it Co-Op for short.

If you have not heard of Co-Op before you can just think of it like a form of internship; however, it will always be paid full-time and professional work experiences that are directly within your field of study. Right now we have one of the oldest and largest co-op programs in the world. So we have about 3400 employers that are partnered with us. And that’s in all 50 states and about 30 different countries. One important thing to know about co-op, you’re not going to be charged tuition by our it during your co op experiences. So you’re paid by your employer and then that money is yours to keep. A lot of great benefits of co-op, just keep in mind, they’re adding to your professional résumé while you’re still a student and getting that opportunity to network with professionals in your field. Co-op is required by about 80% of our academic programs.

I’ll touch on campus life briefly. There’s lots to do here including over 300 active clubs, 1300 student-run events each year, also Greek life which about 10% of our student body is part of. RIT has varsity sports at the Division III level with one exception: that’s ice hockey, which is Division I for both men’s and women’s teams. And then we have plenty of club, intramural and recreational sports available if you’re not necessarily interested in the varsity-level sports. So about a third of students participate in intramural activities. Additionally about 1000 students are participating in some sort of performing arts organization, whether that’s theater, improv or dance or one of our musical organizations.

I’ll touch on application review. So when we review applications as an admissions committee, it is a holistic process that includes the several factors you see here on this slide.

Really regardless of the major that you’re applying to at RIT the most important factor that we’re considering is your academic record overall, including several components: GPA, class rank if the school provides it, academic trending, meeting core course prerequisites and the rigor of coursework. The transcript is most important. We are test optional so it is entirely up to you if you would like to submit test scores; you will still receive full admission and scholarship consideration if you choose to submit test scores or not.

We also have one recommendation letter required, that is from the school counselor, and then we’ll look at other things like your essay, extracurricular activities, community service, leadership, honors and awards. Also any students in our School of Art and Design must submit a portfolio if you’re interested in a program in film animation or design.

We are welcoming you to campus so we’d love to host you for a campus tour with one of our current students. We will have virtual tours three days a week if you’d rather visit us virtually and connect with a current student. Interviews are not required for admission but we do offer optional admissions video conversations if you’d like to take us up on that. We will have a couple of days in October and November where we welcome families to visit in person for academic open houses and then those open houses are also offered virtually if you prefer that. 

RIT combines STEM and arts