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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Rensselaer Welcomes Members of the Class of 2015

August 19, 2011

Rensselaer Welcomes Members of the Class of 2015

Meet the Next Generation of Leaders, Scientists, Innovators, Artists, Scholars, Game Designers, Architects, and Entrepreneurs

The incoming Class of 2015 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute promises to be an exceptional group, with an increase in average SAT scores, and more than 100 receiving a perfect 800 SAT critical reading or math score. Nearly 63 percent of the students are coming from the top 10 percent of their high school classes. The incoming class represents the next generation of leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, and innovators, in fields ranging from engineering to architecture, from fine arts to science, and from management to information technology.

The class comprises 1,192 students, in addition to a total of 120 transfer students from various institutions. This high-achieving group also includes 380 women, and diversity in the geographic and international profile of the student body. More than 11 percent of the class is comprised of underrepresented minority students.

This year, the Office of Enrollment Management received 14,583 freshman applications. The number represents a new record for Rensselaer, and is up nearly 8 percent from last year. Applications to Rensselaer have grown and set new records every year since 2005, representing an increase of 163 percent since 2005.

“Rensselaer continues to attract unprecedented levels of student interest,” said Paul Marthers, vice president for enrollment and dean of undergraduate and graduate admissions. “More than ever before, we are reaching excellent students from all around the globe.”

Nearly 29 percent of the students in the Class of 2015 are from areas outside of the Northeast. The first-year students hail from 43 states; in addition to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from countries all around the world, reinforcing the global reach and global impact of Rensselaer.

“The rising application and student quality trends have run parallel with the exciting transformation that has occurred at Rensselaer over the last decade,” said Paul Marthers, vice president for enrollment and dean of undergraduate and graduate admissions at Rensselaer. The freshman class is comprised of very bright students with a special interest in discovery, innovation, and interdisciplinary study in architecture, science, technology, management, and the intersection of technology with the humanities, arts, and social sciences.”

The Class of 2015 also includes students who are focused on reaching new heights through their accomplishments—75 incoming freshmen were valedictorians or salutatorians of their high school, and many were actively involved in music, science, research, and the arts. In addition, more than 480 students participated in sporting activities while in high school, with 46 students serving as captains of their school’s athletic team.

Overall, the Rensselaer Class of 2015 joins Rensselaer with a demonstrated record of extracurricular achievement, leadership, and support for civic engagement in various roles including sports captains, class presidents, Eagle Scouts, Girl Scout Gold Award winners, among others.  

Of special note, the class also includes a student who was invited to attend President Barack Obama’s inauguration, as well as a student who played the flute in a high school band that participated in the inaugural parade; a student who can solve the Rubik’s Cube in 15 seconds; a student who won the Harvard University Pi contest by reciting Pi to the 387th place while in fifth grade; a student who is a two-time national Origami finalist; and a student who is writing a novel based on travels to Africa.

Members of the incoming class also include students with strong musical interests. For example, one student had the opportunity to play with Tom ‘Bones’ Malone, a musician from the Blues Brothers Band and the house band for the Late Show with David Letterman; a student who was a backup singer and glockenspiel player for the popular band OK Go at YouTube Live at the Guggenheim Museum; a student who wrote an original music score for his high school production of Macbeth; as well as a student who auditioned for American Idol.

This year, 188 students are recipients of the Rensselaer Medal. The honor is awarded to promising secondary school juniors who have distinguished themselves in mathematics and science. The Medal was first presented in 1916 with two purposes: to recognize the superlative academic achievement of young men and women, and to motivate students toward careers in science, engineering, and technology.

The class also includes 89 legacies, or students who are related to Rensselaer alumni. “This is a wonderful message about the Rensselaer education and the impact it has on alumni long after they’ve graduated from Rensselaer,” said Karen Long, director of undergraduate admissions. “The number of students following in the footsteps of family members demonstrates the longstanding connection Rensselaer makes with graduates to educate men and women who are the leaders of tomorrow.”  

Starting classes, meeting peers, and exploring a new geographical area all at once can seem intimidating for many new college students. But it doesn’t have to be that way—at least that’s what staffers in Rensselaer’s Office of the First-Year Experience (FYE) believe. From August 23-28, members of the incoming class will participate in a weeklong program of welcome events and team-building adventures, known as “Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond.” The annual program features events that are designed, specifically for first-year students to help ease the transition to college life by connecting new students to each other and to resources available on campus and in the local community. 

To see video from last year’s NRB activities, visit:

Contact: Jessica Otitigbe
Phone: (518) 276-6050