This school has a great reputation. It is definitely a challenging and time-consuming workload, especially as you get higher up. Many professors and T.A. are foreign and sometimes hard to understand, but you get used to it.
I came for the nuclear program. Every class is intellectually stimulating and I do like my professors.RPI is very much geared toward both getting you a job, and graduate school.
Teachers are tough, but it's a good education. Not!!! Most professors are foreign and have thick accents that throw off many average everyday American kid that comes here.
I am on a first-name basis with almost all of my professors! Architecture is focused around a studio-based education: while we do take 3 to 4 other classes every semester (ranging from structures, to architectural history, to environmental and ecological studies), everything somehow trickles back into or is woven into studio. Studio is where the magic happens, and it's also where most architecture majors will spend the majority of their time. As everyone at RPI knows: the lights in the Greene building are always on. Outside of class, architects are in studio. And outside of studio, architects are either drinking or in bed. The education at RPI is geared toward toward becoming fluent in your major, and then based on what kind of a relationship you have with your topic of study, you can take your education in any direction desired. Regardless of major, it is important to understand its application in our world today, and RPI has a worldly focus unlike any other school I know. Every major studies how various applications and research can change and improve the world in which we live. In architecture, all of our studies have a central theme of sustainability, and it is clear that if we don't embrace a sustainable and intelligent-rammification-oriented approach to our learning and practice, we're not going to get far. From my own experience, RPI graduates are snatched up very quickly. There are several job fairs every year and the list of attending representatives is always impressive. As an architect, I've never had an issue getting a good summer internship and even with the shitty economy, employers are always happy to work with an RPI grad. In general, a good reputation precedes the name. Faculty and alumni are also play a big role in getting graduates, and other students, jobs, internships, and research opportunities.
The academics at RPI, assuming that RPI has what you are studying, are awesome. Favorites are Existentialism, Drugs Society and Behavior, General Psychology, Anarchism and Democracy, Utopian Literature, and Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature. Professors get to know you by name and in the small discussion based classes, everyone really gets to know each other well. RPI students generally have intellectual conversations outside of class, related or unrelated to class material. No one is too competitive about their grades, though everyone studies a lot. Students are more likely to work together to tackle a tough problem, than compete against each other to see who can get it right first. I'm an Electronic Media, Arts, and Communications major, and for that, RPI is both good and bad. RPI is much better than an art school because RPI has the technical background for animation software, coding, MAX/MSP (audio/video software), and related aspects that all go into things like game design or making electronic music. However, there are virtually no fundamental art classes. Basic drawing is one of the only 'traditional' art classes offered, and you certainly won't find printmaking, pottery, or photography here. There are very few requirements for a core curriculum and no courses are specifically required for the core curriculum. Many students find this very satisfying, as they can get right into their major and choose classes such as Technical Writing to satisfy a humanities core requirement. They can also choose to take electives that interest them and use those electives toward their core curriculum. Unfortunately, a great deal of liberal arts education is lost due to this, and someone must really struggle to be well-rounded in their education.
I am in a small division at RPI, and as an Electronic Media Arts and Communication (EMAC) major all the professors that I have had in my department have learnt my name and remember who I am. The Arts department is one of the smallest, if not the smallest, department on campus. The head of the department is amazing, as a women and a professor. Everyone in the department is encouraging and motivates you as a student to do your best work. My arts classes have always been small, and have been taught by a professor not a TA. My favorite class is a toss up between Intermediate Digital Imaging and Intermediate Video; both classes were taught by excellent professors who encouraged the best work out of me, and where very encouraging towards my projects. As an EMAC major, i have more projects and papers then I have tests and quizzes. It seems to happen that I have projects and papers due around the same time every couple of weeks. It means you have to stay on top of it so you don't fall behind. My friends who are engineers and science majors seem to always studying for some quiz, test or writing some lab report. In my humanities classes participation is common, however, debates and heated discussions are not so much. Intellectual conversations outside of class is not common dinner coversation, but it does happen. Politicals, religion and english literature are not highly discussed topics ever. Computers, sports, games, video games, TV shows and movies, and other random technology conversations are way more common. RPI students i feel are a little more ignorant then general college students on some of the more pressing issues of our time.
My profs try to know my name, and many of them know me personally. That's nice. My favorite classes have always been independent study courses, where I can work on long, envelope-pushing projects. Apart from those, I did enjoy Hypermedia: Art in Fiction with Pat Search. My least favorite class so far has been Multimedia Century, not because of the course or even because of the professor, but because of the classroom environment. I don't "study" study too often, but I strengthen my understanding by applying what I do in class (so highly theoretical courses don't surmount to bupkis). Class participation is much mroe common in small sections. RPI students' conversations are ALWAYS either intellectual or completely stupid, with about a 50-50 split. We are competitive. My most unique class at RPI has been IEE, a 1-credit electronics foundation course. That was a lot of fun. My major is Electronic Media, Arts and Communication, the 2nd-best major on campus. RPI is like Emerald City for EMAC-type folks. Our department is overflowing with ambitious creative types. I tend not to hang out with professors outside of class, but when I do, it is usually due to social or cultural events with some regard to my professors' specialties. RPI's academic requirements are intended to round us out as individuals, and I think it works. Our education is sometimes career-focused, but some majors (like ARTS and CSCI) are highly theoretical.
Some of my professors know my name, it depends on the class size. My favorite class was one i took last semester Introduction to Engineering Electronics. I really don't like Calculus II. There is a lot of studying going on at RPI. There is usually homework to do every night, but it is manageable. Class participation is big, most classes are designed to get students to interact with one another to create interest in the subject matter. Very often things will be discussed outside of class. We are all nerds at heart, and even though we may not act like it...our nerdiness comes out sometimes. ex: talking about how a car sliding off an icy road is perfect for a study of the conservation of momentum on a frictionless surface. Students are a little competitive, but we all want each other to succeed, so we help each other out a lot. The engineering department is really the central department on campus. RPI is really know as an engineering school and so it is the largest department. There are so many classes to choose from, but you have an academic advisor to help you know what to take. Some students spend time with professors outside of class, either in the office hours getting help, or on a research project. RPI has high standards of academic learning, they expect a lot of students, but it pays off in the end.
Surprisingly, many professors do get to know your name, especially in courses unique to your field. My favorite class is chemical process control. The material is fun (IMO), and the professor teaches very well and is very helpful with homework and humorous at times. Least Favorite Class: Computer-Aided Design (CAD): taught via video lecture (using word "taught" loosely, and the head TA of the class (we didn't have a professor) didn't even know anything about CAD, and I will never use that stuff. Students study regularly, but it definitely isn't enough to kill anyone's social life. One thing I love about RPI is that most students here enjoy intellectual conversation about their fields and current events and many topics. Most unique class I've taken: Music Theory II -- we listen to music and write our own works. The ChemE curriculum is difficult but interesting. Classes are all graded via curve. Despite this, ChemEs here are actually not competetive and help each other out (Ivy League Students' jaws drop). RPI's requirements are very rigorous but not unrealistic. It takes hard work and determination and, honestly, a positive attitude and pride and enjoyment in one's work. The ChemE curriculum prepares students for a wide variety of jobs, and is definitely aimed at professional preparation.
As a freshman, RPI students take a pretty standard curriculum. Most of the first year lectures are quite large, so the experience that each student has in that class is mostly determined by their individual behavior. The professors may or may not know your name depending on how much you participate in class, whether you ever attend office hours, or stay after class to ask questions. The great thing about RPI's professors is that they are always willing to meet with any of their students, regardless of their level. All of the professors at RPI hold office hours, and encourage students to attend. The trick is to actually go... most students do not. However, if you are having trouble in a class, office hours are not the only option. Free tutoring in almost any subject is offered 5 evenings a week. There are also teaching assistants who hold office hours in addition to the professor's office hours for many classes. RPI students often tend to form study groups for any and every class. There are such a wide variety of people at RPI, that it is not difficult at all to find a friend to help you with a subject. And, chances are, you'll be able to help them with something else.