At Rensselaer, Freshman Applications Jump 100 Percent in Three Years

January 17, 2008

At Rensselaer, Freshman Applications Jump 100 Percent in Three Years

Applications increase another 10 percent from 2007 to new record level

Troy, N.Y. — More than 11,000 high school students have filed applications to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, according to numbers released today by Rensselaer Admissions. The record number of applications for 2008 is up 10 percent from the previous year, and it is more than double the number received just three years ago in 2005.

“We could not be more pleased to see such a broad spectrum of talented applicants from across the country and around the world,” said James G. Nondorf, vice president for enrollment and dean of undergraduate and graduate admissions. “Over the past several years, we have seen an expansion of the national and international profile of the student body, as well as a significant increase in applications from women, underrepresented minorities, and those who are interested in new areas of Rensselaer’s expanding curriculum.”

As of Jan. 17, Rensselaer Admissions had received 11,200 total applications. This record number is a more than 10 percent increase over the previous year and represents a growth of 100 percent since 2005, when the Institute received just over 5,500 applications. 

Other figures of interest over the past three years are below.

  • Applications from female students have increased by more than 300 percent.
  • Applications from underrepresented minorities have increased by more than 650 percent.
  • Applications from international students have increased by more than 1,100 percent.
  • Applications from students interested in science and biotechnology have increased by more than 250 percent.
  • Applications from students interested in the arts, humanities, and social sciences have increased by more than 900 percent.

The academic quality of applicants also continues to rise. The Class of 2011, which started classes in fall 2007, had an average SAT score up almost 20 points from the previous year, and more than 65 percent of the students came from the top 10 percent of their high school classes. 

And applicants have been showing a greater interest in opportunities for undergraduate research, Nondorf said. A growing number of students have been involved with research projects in high school, and they see Rensselaer as a place to continue pursuing discovery with faculty who are at the top of their fields.

Expanding participation in undergraduate research is a key part of The Undergraduate Plan, which calls for challenging, engaging, and highly relevant academic programs that combine theory with experiential learning. 

New facilities and initiatives have fueled this increased interest across the board, according to Nondorf. In 2004, Rensselaer opened a new Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, and in September 2007, Rensselaer celebrated the grand opening of the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations (CCNI) — a $100 million partnership to create the world’s most powerful university-based supercomputing center. The upcoming Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), which will open in October 2008, is drawing the attention of artists and scientists from around the world.

In addition to the promise of EMPAC, new programs also have generated growing interest in the arts at Rensselaer. The Institute recently added a bachelor of science degree in Design, Innovation, and Society, while also launching a new undergraduate degree program in Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS). The major — which builds off the success of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences’ highly popular game studies minor, created in 2004 — will equip graduates with a suite of integrated skills necessary for leaders in the game development industry. The interdisciplinary program shared by the arts and cognitive science departments combines classes in game design with a range of courses in the arts, such as digital imaging, animation, computer music, and performance art.

Contact: Jason Gorss
Phone: (518) 276-6098


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit