Profile: Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), New York
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is one of America’s “Big Four” cooperative education schools. RIT, like Drexel, Northeasten and the University of Cincinnati, offers cooperative education, aka ‘co-op’ within nearly every major. Many other schools also offer co-op, including community colleges and larger public and private universities, but often limit it to students in majors such as Accounting, Computer Science or Engineering, where paid placements are easier to secure and monitor with the employer. I discuss co-op and more in my profile of Rochester Institute of Technology and offer a link to a Pinterest page.
RIT, like the SUNY flagship schools, Rutgers-New Brunswick and Penn State-University Park, attracts a very good (3.7+ GPA/1200+ SAT) student. But the one who commits to RIT is likely to be more career-oriented. Students who want to work “hands on” with technology early in their college education will find a good home at RIT.
RIT has many unique majors, especially in the visual arts and the sciences, as well as a nice selection of pre-professional programs in Business, Computer Science, Engineering and Engineering Technology. The Imagining Science program is the only one of its kind as is the Motion Picture Sciences program. RIT is also one of the best colleges in the world at educating the deaf. This school also makes it fairly easy for students who are interested in communications, the liberal arts or visual arts to design a degree program that will give them a very impressive skill set. RIT also has well developed Exploratory programs for undecided students.
Co-op schools are great for career development, especially in fields such as Accounting, Computer Science and Engineering where the placements will pay well. But they have their downsides. It takes an extra year to complete a co-op oriented degree at RIT, though students pay only four years tuition and fees. Unless a student does their co-op with an employer close to home, s/he will pay for an extra year for room and board. Co-op resumes are impressive for students who do not stray too far from their original major; they are even more impressive when the student sticks with it. However, they will appear confusing or disorganized for students who dramatically changed their course of study.
The academics and co-op are the best reasons to choose RIT over a larger flagship state university. Aside from that, the campus looks much like a red brick corporate office park. It’s clean, modern in many buildings and easy to navigate, though the signage on buildings isn’t the best. It was too easy to be lost on this campus in the rain without a guide! If you’re looking for ivy-covered buildings and lavishly landscaped gardens, there are other schools that would be better options.
RIT has tried to build a “spirit and sports” vibe by using the Tiger logo and colors all over campus. But this is a NCAA D-III sports school, except for Men’s Hockey, which competes at the highest level in D-I. It is also very difficult to build that type of campus culture when half of your third and fourth-year students—over 4,000 total—are working full-time on co-op during a given semester. Those who are looking for more “spirit and sports” who also want to do co-op in Computer Science or Engineering and know about life in Western and Central New York State would likely be happier at Syracuse.
RIT is a good value for the money, when compared to Drexel and Northeastern, although Rochester does not have a job market anywhere close in scope and size to those in Boston, Philadelphia or even Cincinnati. But RIT has great connections in many other major metropolitan areas through its faculty as well as its Career Development Center.
RIT can support and fulfill more ambitions than most other large schools. But it helps to find good advisors early and work with them often to arrive at a major as well as build a resume. This profile is a little longer than most I have written recently. But there’s more to RIT than many other schools.
Report Card: Rochester Institute of Technology
- Four-Year/Six-Year Graduation Rates: Not Applicable/B
- Freshman Retention:B+
- Costs: B
- Curriculum: A
- Community: B
- Comforts: A
- Connections: A
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