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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

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Application Options

Early Decision I & II

For students who decide that Rensselaer is their first choice, applying Early Decision (ED) is a great option. Early Decision is binding - applicants who are admitted to Rensselaer under Early Decision must withdraw all applications to other colleges. Rensselaer offers two rounds of Early Decision applications, EDI and EDII.

What is the difference between EDI and EDII?

The main difference between Early Decision I and Early Decision II is the application deadline. The deadline for Early Decision I is November 1, with a notification date of December 16. The deadline for Early Decision II is December 15, with a notification date of January 13.

What about financial aid?

All applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are automatically considered for merit-based aid. If you are interested in receiving need-based financial assistance, you must submit both the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the admission application deadline. If admitted to Rensselaer, you will receive a financial aid award along with or shortly after your acceptance. International students are not eligible for financial aid.

Early Decision Agreement Form

If you submit an Early Decision application, you must also submit a signed Early Decision Agreement Form. This may be completed electronically through the Common Application or Universal College Application. Students using the Candidate's Choice Application should complete the ED agreement form through their application status portal.

*Please note - Rensselaer does not offer Early Action.

Regular Decision

The application deadline for Regular Decision is January 15. The notification date for Regular Decision applicants is March 10.

We strongly encourage families seeking financial assistance to submit an application for aid as soon after the January 15 deadline as possible. The priority filing deadline for the CSS Profile and the FAFSA is February 1.

Transfer Admission

Each year, we welcome applications from students who wish to transfer to Rensselaer. We consider applications from students who have attended or are attending other institutions — including international students enrolled overseas.

Rensselaer considers any student with 12 or more transferable college credits completed after high school as a transfer student.

Transfer applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Once we begin reviewing applications for your desired entry term, you may expect a decision approximately 3-4 weeks after your application is completed.

Semester Application Deadline
Fall Apply by June 1
Spring Apply by November 1
Summer (architecture only) Apply by March 1

Learn more about transferring to Rensselaer

Accelerated Law & Medical Programs

The application deadline for Accelerated Law & Medical Programs is November 1.

Please note that you cannot apply Early Decision to either accelerated program, and the application is non-binding.

The priority filing deadline for the CSS Profile and the FAFSA is February 1 for accelerated program applicants.

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How to Apply

We accept any of the following applications for admission. We strongly encourage you to apply online and we do not prefer one application over another.

Common Application

Apply Now

Rensselaer has an optional supplement on The Common Application which allows students to submit a resume if they choose. This is optional — if you feel that the activities section of the Common Application provides enough space to describe your activities, you do not need to submit a resume. Resumes should include information not found elsewhere on the application, and should not repeat what is already described on the Common Application.

Universal College Application

Apply Now

Please include the associated Rensselaer Application Supplement form.

Candidate’s Choice Application

This streamlined application is available to students who have expressed an interest in Rensselaer. Please note that students applying to an accelerated program (in law or medicine) cannot apply using the Candidate’s Choice Application.

Please note — Any credentials submitted through Naviance will only be received by Rensselaer if the applicant has submitted the Common Application.

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Application Checklist

Here are the additional supporting documents needed to complete your application. Rensselaer does not offer evaluative interviews as a part of the application process.

High School Transcript

An official transcript sent by your school is required.

Early Decision Applicants: Please have your first marking period grades sent directly to our office as soon as they are available.

Regular Decision Applicants: Please have your mid-year grades sent directly to our office as soon as they are available.

Letter of Recommendation

Request a letter of recommendation from a counselor or teacher, preferrably a math or science teacher who knows you well.

Test Scores

Have your official standardized test scores sent to our office. Please note that test scores that appear on an official high school transcript submitted by your school will be considered official test scores. Be sure to check your online application status page to ensure that the scores are processed into your file.

  • SAT Institutional Code: 2757
  • ACT College Code: 2866

Standardized Test Requirements

Essay

The general essay/personal statement submitted with your application satisfies Rensselaer’s essay requirements, except for applicants to the following programs:

  • Accelerated Programs (BIAM, SSLW, BMLW)
  • Architecture (ARCH)
  • Electronic Arts (EART)
  • Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS)
  • Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication (EMAC)
  • Music (MUSC)

Essay Requirements

Portfolio (if required)

If applying for the Architecture, Electronic Arts, or Music program, prepare your creative portfolio for submission.

Portfolio Requirements & Guidelines

Applicants to the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication (EMAC) programs may submit an optional creative portfolio.

Application Fee

The nonrefundable application processing fee is $70. Credit card payments should be made through the individual application websites. If you do not wish to pay by credit card, please mail check or money order, payable to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, to the mailing address shown in the sidebar. Include your full name and date of birth with your payment. Do not send cash. Please note that the application fee is waived for Rensselaer Medalists.

Fee Waiver Eligibility & Instructions

If your total family income is $60,000 or less, and the application fee presents a hardship for you and your family, you may qualify for a fee waiver.

To request a fee waiver, ask your high school guidance counselor, principal, or other school official to fill out the SAT Request for Waiver of College Application Fee form or to submit an official letter on your behalf. We will also accept the ACT, College Bound, or NACAC Fee waiver forms.

You may assume the waiver has been granted unless you hear otherwise from us. Be sure to check your online application status page to ensure that your request has been received and processed.

The form, or official letter, may be emailed to adm_updates@rpi.edu or mailed to "Fee Waiver Request" at the mailing address shown in the sidebar.

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Selecting a Major

While there is flexibility to change your major once you are here, you are encouraged to be as specific as you can when you choose a major (or school) on your application. If you are interested in the Architecture, Electronic Arts, Music, or Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program, we recommend that you apply directly to that program.

Options:

  • Declare specific major
  • Undeclared to a specific school (i.e., undeclared engineering)
  • Undeclared general studies
Pre-Med

You can major in almost anything at Rensselaer while preparing yourself for medical school, but most students who want to pursue medical school choose something in our School of Science (often biology or chemistry). Interested students may enlist the assistance of the Pre-Health Committee, a group of professors who will guide students interested in medical school (or other health professions) through their four years, making sure they are putting themselves in the best position possible when it comes time to apply to the professional school of their choice.

Accelerated Programs

Rensselaer offers several Accelerated Programs to give you a one- to two-year head start on your fellow professionals. 

Please note that the Physician-Scientist Program (B.S./M.D.), the Business-Management Law Program (B.S./J.D.), and the Science, Technology, and Society-Law Program (B.S./J.D.) all require students to apply by November 1 of their senior year of high school.

* Please Note — We do not accept applications for the combined Physician-Scientist (B.S./M.D. accelerated medical) Program from international students, including Canadian citizens.

Physician-Scientist Program Brochure

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Program-Specific Essay

The general essay/personal statement submitted with your application satisfies Rensselaer’s essay requirements, except for the following degree-specific guidelines.

Accelerated Law & Medical (BIAM, BMLW, SSLW)
  • State your reasons for aspiring to a career in law or medicine.

Include your completed essay with the application form. The essay should be no more than 1–2 pages.

Architecture (ARCH)
  • State your reasons for choosing architecture as your profession.

Include your completed essay with the application form. The essay should be no more than 1–2 pages.

Electronic Arts (EART)
  • Discuss your interests in the field of electronic arts, and state how this is reflected in your portfolio.

Include your completed essay with the application form. The essay should be no more than 1–2 pages.

Electronic Media, Arts, and Communications (EMAC)
  • State your reasons for choosing the field of electronic media, arts, and communications, making reference to your portfolio if one has been submitted.

Include your completed essay with the application form. The essay should be no more than 1–2 pages.

Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS)
  • State your reasons for choosing the field of games and simulation arts and sciences, making reference to your portfolio if one has been submitted.

Include your completed essay with the application form. The essay should be no more than 1–2 pages.

Music (MUSC)
  •  Describe your interest in the music major and your goals. Please include completed course work in music, private music instruction, musical performance and production experience, or completed independent projects.

Include your completed essay with the application form. The essay should be no more than 1–2 pages.

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Portfolio Requirements

Architecture, Music, and Electronic Arts applicants are required to submit a creative portfolio. Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences and Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a creative portfolio.

Online Portfolio Submission

Architecture (ARCH)

Applicants are required to submit a creative portfolio consisting of 10-20 images of work. The work included within the portfolio may consist of a range of media: pencil, charcoal, oil stick, and water color drawings; acrylic or oil paintings; paper, chipboard, wood, metal, ceramic or mixed media models; measured drawings or digital renderings; and black and white and color photographs, music scores, video, and other creative endeavors.

Portfolio Requirements

Electronic Arts (EART)

Applicants are required to submit a creative portfolio and a written statement of intent, which should be connected to the work submitted in the portfolio and the applicant's interest in the program.

Portfolio Requirements

Electronic Media, Arts, and Communications (EMAC)

Applicants are encouraged to submit a digital creative portfolio that includes up to 10 examples of creative work that demonstrates originality and an interest in the interaction of media, technology, and culture. 

Portfolio Requirements

Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS)

Applicants are required to submit a statement of intent and a portfolio that demonstrates creative excellence and preparation for interdisciplinary studies in games.

Portfolio Requirements

Music (MUSC)

Applicants are required to submit a statement of intent, a portfolio, and a portfolio description. There are no live auditions.

Portfolio Requirements

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Special Information For:

Physician-Scientist Program (B.S./M.D.)

Deadline: The annual application deadline is November 1. Please note that you cannot apply Early Decision to the Physician-Scientist Program, and the application is non-binding.

Application: There is no separate application for the program. You must use the Common Application or the Universal College Application, and select the "Regular Decision" option. You must select “Physician-Scientist Program-B.S./M.D.” as your major on your application. Students may not apply to the accelerated medical program using the Candidate’s Choice Application.

Other Important Information

Rensselaer will read the applications and refer qualified students to Albany Medical College (AMC), which will then review the applications and reach out to certain students for an on-campus interview (in January, February, or March). From that pool of students, AMC will make offers of admission to the program. The application process is lengthy and notification begins in early April.

Due to the nature of the program, please note that students enrolled in the Physician-Scientist Program are not able to dual or double major.

* Please note — international students (including Canadian citizens) may not apply to the Physician-Scientist program.

Accelerated Law Programs (B.S./J.D.)

Deadline: The annual application deadline is November 1. Please note that you cannot apply Early Decision to the accelerated law program, and the application is non-binding.

Application: There is no separate application for these programs. You must use the Common Application or the Universal College Application, and select the "Regular Decision" option. You must select “Business and Management-Law Program-B.S./J.D.” or "Science, Technology, & Society-Law Program-B.S./J.D." as your major on your application. Students may not apply to the accelerated law programs using the Candidate’s Choice Application.

Other Important Information

Rensselaer will review applicants to the B.S./J.D. programs and refer qualified applicants to Albany Law School for review. Successful applicants will be notified of acceptance to the program in early April.

Due to the nature of the program, please note that students enrolled in the accelerated law programs are not able to dual or double major.

Rensselaer Medalists

Congratulations on being named a Rensselaer Medalist! We look forward to reviewing your application to Rensselaer. 

You may use any of the applications we accept to apply, and, as a Medalist, your application fee is waived. All other requirements are the same as for all incoming freshman applicants.

Every year, we accept hundreds of Medalists into our freshman class; however, please note that being named a Medalist is not an automatic acceptance to Rensselaer. 

To receive the Medal Scholarship, you must apply, be accepted, and enroll at Rensselaer. Please be sure to mention on your application that you are a Medalist.

Medalist Scholarship: As a Medalist, should you apply, be accepted, and enroll at Rensselaer, you will receive a merit scholarship with a value of $25,000 per year. This award is guaranteed to be applied to your tuition for each year of your undergraduate study at Rensselaer. As a Medalist, if you enroll in our School of Architecture, your scholarship will be extended to cover the fifth year of the program. If you enroll in our Co-Terminal (five-year B.S./M.S.) Program, your scholarship will be extended to cover the fifth year of study.

Accelerated Programs: As a Medalist, if you enroll in either our Physician-Scientist Program or one of our Accelerated Law Programs, your Medal Scholarship will only apply to the financial aid package you receive for the three years you are studying on Rensselaer’s campus.

Rensselaer Medallion: As a Medalist, if you enroll at Rensselaer, you will receive your Medallion at Honors Convocation in the fall of your freshman year.

Medal Selection: Medalists are chosen by each individual participating high school. Rensselaer provides general guidelines for selecting a Medalist, but the ultimate decision belongs to the high school. Each high school selects their Medalist differently, so contact your guidance office to see if your high school participates and what their selection process entails.

Home-Schooled Applicants

As a home-schooled student, you’ll be treated just like any other applicant to Rensselaer.

To fulfill the transcript requirement, you should submit any official transcripts from your high school years (a recognized home school clearing house program, if you’ve attended a traditional high school program for part of your HS career, or if you’ve taken any college-level courses).

You’re encouraged to submit a detailed roster of all academic course work at the secondary level with supporting documentation attached. Also, we’ll need a teacher recommendation from someone other than your parent(s).

Veterans

1. Determine if you should apply as a transfer or first-year student.

  • If you have 12 or more transferable credits after completion of high school, you should apply as a transfer student.
  • If you have completed Navy Nuclear Power Training School, you are eligible for 31 credits and should apply as a transfer student.
  • If you have fewer than 12 transferable credits, you should apply as a freshman.

2. Submit your application and required materials before the appropriate deadline for either transfer or freshman admission.

We encourage students to apply electronically. If you intend to use Yellow Ribbon benefits to pay for your Rensselaer education, we require you to indicate your eligibility on the application in order to include you on our list of prospective Yellow Ribbon scholarship recipients.

3. Apply for VA Educational Benefits.

Once you have applied for your benefits, you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility which you will need to submit to Casey Redden, the School Certifying Official, who can be contacted at reddec@rpi.edu or (518) 276-6996.

If you are eligible to receive Yellow Ribbon benefits, please note that we offer a Yellow Ribbon scholarship of $35,000 per year to up to 75 students at a time. We provide this scholarship on a first-come, first-served basis on the order of enrollment deposit date for students who self-identify as being Yellow Ribbon-eligible on their application for admission. Students who do not indicate that they may be eligible will be placed on a waitlist for the scholarship.

Please note that a Yellow Ribbon recipient is not eligible to receive other Rensselaer scholarship or grant aid programs.

If you have any questions, please contact Megan Whalen, Veterans’ Admissions Coordinator, at doppm@rpi.edu or (518) 276-8401.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website. More information on the Post 9/11 GI Bill® and Yellow Ribbon program.

Other Useful Resources

To assist veterans in understanding higher education costs, financial aid, and other useful information the Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has developed the following tools:

  • College Scorecard: A consumer planning tool and resource to assist prospective students and their families as they evaluate options in selecting a school.
  • College Navigator: Provides school information including tuition and fees, retention rates, use of financial aid, student loan default rates and features a cost comparison tool.
  • Financial Aid Shopping Sheet: Provides a model aid award letter designed to simplify the information that prospective students receive about costs and financial aid so they can easily compare institutions and make informed decisions about where to attend school.
  • Paying for College: A web page that can be used by prospective students to enter the names of up to three schools and receive detailed information on each one and to enter actual financial aid award information.
Non-Matriculated Students/CTY Scholarship Recipients

If you do not currently hold a B.S/B.A. degree in any field, but are interested in taking courses on a non-matriculated basis, you should download the Application for Admission as a Non-Matriculated Undergraduate Student.

If you hold a B.S./B.A. degree, please visit the Graduate Admissions site for additional information. Please note that the Rensselaer computer store is not able to sell laptop computers to non-matriculated students.

There is no application fee for non-matriculated applicants. Mail the completed application, along with most recent transcript(s), to the mailing address shown in the sidebar.

Center for Talented Youth (CTY) Scholarships

If you are interested in using a CTY scholarship to take courses at Rensselaer, you should download and complete the Application for Admission as a Non-Matriculated Undergraduate Student (including an indication of the class desired), along with an official copy of your high school transcript and a copy of the CTY award letter.

Please mail materials to the mailing address shown in the sidebar, attention Center for Talented Youth.

If you have any questions, please contact Ulysses deArmas.