By Jeanne Hedden Gallagher

The students who make up the Class of 2025 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute possess qualities that will help them adapt, innovate, and flourish during these unprecedented times.

Hailing from 41 states and 12 countries, the incoming freshman class comes to campus with an average SAT score of 1463, the highest of any class to date. More than 150 members of the class received the Rensselaer Medal, a premier merit scholarship offered to outstanding math and science students.

“I am proud that this incoming freshman class is the strongest academically on record,” said Jonathan Wexler, vice president of enrollment management. “It is exciting to see this class of future leaders join us at Rensselaer.”

Public health restrictions in place due to the pandemic limited many of the students’ usual high school activities during their senior year. However, students found opportunity in this disruption.

A majority of incoming students had volunteer experience on their applications. During the pandemic, one student delivered food to the immunocompromised and another fundraised $27,000 for two hospitals.

The students are also entrepreneurial. One member of the Class of 2025 opened a bakery with her family and donated 100% of the profits to a nonprofit working to address food insecurity in northern New Jersey. Another student started her own nonprofit to build wells in Cambodia to provide clean drinking water to families.