More than 1,700 new students—representing the largest incoming class in the Institute’s history—have arrived on campus. Members of the Rensselaer Class of 2020 promise to be an exceptional group and represent the next generation of leaders, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, and innovators, in fields ranging from engineering to architecture, from fine arts to science, and from management to information technology.
The first-year students hail from 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and from countries all around the world. This year, 198 of the students are citizens of countries other than the United States.
The high-achieving group includes 544 women, representing 32 percent of the class, and 281 underrepresented minority students, representing 16 percent of the class. The continued geographic and international diversity of the incoming class reinforces the global reach and global impact of Rensselaer.
The overall class SAT average was 1367 based on the 1600 scale and 195 incoming students received a perfect 800 SAT critical reading, math, or writing score. Four students scored a 1600 on the critical reading and math portions of the exam. In the incoming class, 99 students were valedictorians or salutatorians of their high school graduating class, while 68 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their class.
“We are proud of the fact that the Class of 2020 is not only the largest incoming freshman class in the history of Rensselaer, but also one of the strongest academically,” said Jonathan D.Wexler, vice president for enrollment management. “This is the most academically, ethnically, and geographically diverse incoming class in the history of Rensselaer!”
The high-achieving group includes students who have received the Rensselaer Medal, a 100-year-old scholarship awarded to the top math and science students at high schools across the country. This year, 205 Medal winners have joined Rensselaer. The Medal was first presented in 1916 with two purposes: to recognize the superlative academic achievement of young men and women, and to motivate students toward careers in science, engineering, and technology.
“The incoming Rensselaer students have passion and commitment, which is clearly exemplified in their various activities outside of the classroom,” said Karen Long, director of admissions, in remarks delivered during the Student Orientation program held earlier this summer. Fifty-six students were captains of athletics teams in high school, and 870 students participated in sporting activities overall.
The Class of 2020 is filled with students who have already made a mark on the world. Several students have volunteered their time to help in schools, support environmental causes, and to assist within their religious communities. One example is a student who is the founder and president of a high school club that traveled to the Dominican Republic during the summer to help to build aqueducts.
We are proud of the fact that the Class of 2020 is not only the largest incoming freshman class in the history of Rensselaer, but also one of the strongest academically. This is the most academically, ethnically, and geographically diverse incoming class in the history of Rensselaer!”— Jonathan D. Wexler
The class includes a student who competed in a triathlon at the age of 5 and won the NorCal Triathlon as a teenager, another student who cheers on the national Level Five team and travels each year to the Cheerleading World competition, one student who is an avid curler who has competed in tournaments from Cape Cod to Prince Edward Island, and another who aspires to become a professional race car driver. The student—the youngest racer ever invited to compete in the Indy Car Academy Shootout—garnered a second-place win. The class also includes a student who climbed Mr. Everest at the young age of 12, and a few self-proclaimed Rubik’s Cube solving experts, including two who can solve it in less than 20 seconds.
It’s no surprise that the class includes a number of inventors and creators. One member of the class has published three apps in the Apple App store, while another is currently working on a prototype for small boat navigation lights. One student has completed research on Whitetip reef sharks, and another student has been invited by NASA to have her experiment tested at the Kennedy Space Center. The experiment will travel on a lunar lander to the moon.
In addition, 98 students are the sons or daughters, grandsons or granddaughters of Rensselaer graduates, an increase of 20 percent from last year. “This is a wonderful message about the Rensselaer education and impact it has on alumni and alumnae long after they’ve graduated from Rensselaer,” Long said. “The number of students following in the footsteps of family members demonstrates the longstanding connection Rensselaer makes with graduates to educate the men and women who are leaders of tomorrow.”
Follow the Class of 2020 on social media using #RPI2020