This year’s class photo, taken on the ECAV field on August 23, followed on the theme of Student Orientation—Infinite Possibilities.

The fall semester is in full swing and members of the Class of 2018 have already completed their first week of classes. The 1,383 first-year students promise to be an exceptional group and represent 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 overall class SAT average was 1382 based on the 1600 scale and 167 incoming students received a perfect 800 SAT critical reading, math, or writing score. Seven students scored a 1,600 on the critical reading and math portions of the exam. Nearly 70 percent of the students are from the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

“Rensselaer continues to attract unprecedented levels of student interest,” said Paul Marthers, vice president for enrollment and dean of undergraduate and graduate admissions. “The rising application and student quality trends have run parallel with the exciting transformation that has occurred at Rensselaer over the last decade. 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 first-year students hail from 40 states and Puerto Rico. The high-achieving group includes 440 women, representing 32 percent of the class, underrepresented minority students representing 14 percent of the class, and continued geographic and international diversity, reinforcing the global reach and global impact of Rensselaer.

A record total of 18,603 high school students filed applications to attend Rensselaer this fall. This year’s total represents an increase of approximately 17 percent from last year.

The rising application and student quality trends have run parallel with the exciting transformation that has occurred at Rensselaer over the last decade.”—Paul Marthers

The members of the Class of 2018 join Rensselaer with a demonstrated record of extracurricular achievement, leadership, and support for civic engagement in various roles including sports captains, class presidents, Eagle Scouts, and Girl Scout Gold Award winners. Eighty-nine freshmen were valedictorians or salutatorians of their high school, and many were actively involved in music, science, research, community service, and the arts. In addition, 770 students participated in sporting activities while in high school, with 58 students serving as captains of their school’s athletics team.

Of special note, the class also includes many students who have volunteered their time to support their schools, environmental causes, and their religious communities. For example, one student co-founded a nonprofit organization that sends care packages to troops. To date, more than 1,000 packages have been sent overseas.

In the world of business, the class also boosts several entrepreneurs. One student created his own penny auction website called doughchest.com, while another student has been a successful participant of The World of Money program focused on developing generations of financially educated and technologically skilled youth. Upon completing the program, the student created his own World of Money mutual fund scholarship to be awarded to two program participants on an annual basis.

Members of the class also include students with a strong interest in taking entrepreneurship to new heights based on their inventions. For example, the class includes a student who has his name on a pending patent for green light emitting illumination compositions; another student who has a provisional patent for The Ouchless Cutting Board; and another student who developed an iPhone app that serves as an alarm in the morning. In order for the alarm to be deactivated, the student has to solve a complex math problem (he says he designed this because he is not a morning person and needed some way to help him get out of bed in the morning).

The class also includes a student who won the 2013 Vermont Biathlon Championship, a student who is nationally ranked by U.S. Climbing and Bouldering, and one student who served as captain of his school’s Quiddich team.

This year, 191 students are recipients of the Rensselaer Medal. The honor is awarded to promising secondary school juniors who have distinguished themselves in mathematics and science.