By Tracey Leibach

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has welcomed the Class of 2027 to campus. The class is one of the most diverse in the history of RPI, and includes the largest percentage of women (33%), underrepresented students (20%), and students from the West Coast (10%).

The 1,629 new students hail from 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and from countries all around the world. More than 100 are citizens of countries other than the U.S.

Not surprisingly, the students represent the very best, with 48 who were valedictorians or salutatorians of their high school graduating class. For those who submitted test scores, 42 had 800 SAT critical reading or math scores and five had perfect ACT scores. As a whole, the class SAT average is 1429 based on the 1600 scale. The Rensselaer Medal scholarship was awarded to 132 students who were identified as the top math and science students in their high schools.

Many of the new students were captains of sports teams in high school, and 778 participated in sporting activities overall.

Rensselaer students have passion and commitment, and many of our new students have readily given of their time to help others. One student led a team that raised more than $54,000 in seven weeks for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. One student cycled 800 km, stopping along the way to pick up trash to promote environmental protection, while another joined the Mass General Brigham Center for COVID innovation, which coordinated an effort to use 3D printers and other tools to supply face shields to frontline workers.

The class also represents creativity and passion for invention. One student is currently working on a 3D printed pothole detector that mounts to cars, scans the ground, and reports pothole locations to 311. One student cofounded the LifePak initiative, which creates packs of food, water, and necessities for the homeless population.

The students spent their first days on campus participating in Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond, a series of events to introduce them to each other, to Troy, and to the Capital Region.