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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  1. Mar 3, 2009 #1
    Hi,

    Does anyone know anything about this school? I'm thinking about applying there, but I'm not sure what kind of reputation they have in Engineering. Is their program, especially the Chemical Engineering program, well known? Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
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  3. Mar 3, 2009 #2

    Tom Mattson

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    I went to RPI in the 90's (BS Engineering Physics and MS Physics), and I loved it. I would have done my PhD there if my thesis advisor hadn't died. RPI's strongest suit is engineering, and there is a ton of funding for research. Undergrads are encouraged to participate. I don't know too much about the Chemical Engineering Department in particular, but the School of Engineering as a whole is routinely ranked in the top 25. It's also one of the most "wired" campuses in the country.
     
  4. Mar 3, 2009 #3
    Did you have a hard time finding a job, or did companies want to hire you while you were still in College?
     
  5. Mar 3, 2009 #4

    Tom Mattson

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    *I* had a hard time finding a job, but only because of the death of my adviser. I was a partially finished PhD in physics, and nobody's going to hire you as a physicist without a PhD. But my story is well outside the norm. My friends who left RPI with a BS in Engineering did fine. Many of them did a co-op while they were undergrads, and were hired by the company for whom they co-oped.
     
  6. Mar 3, 2009 #5
    I don't think I can recommend going there (I'm a student)---it's a pretty bad mess here right now, partly due to the economic crisis. most of the students are very upset with the current administration, and I believe a lot of the non tenure-track professors are being let go, so the class sizes will probably be pretty large for engineering classes, which were already oversized.

    I suggest checking out www.rpinsider.com[/url] and [url]http://blogs.timesunion.com/business/?p=6107[/URL] . I've heard also that they are eliminating creative writing and foreign languages. There's probably other schools that are of the same calibur that aren't having problems of this magnitude.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  7. Mar 4, 2009 #6
    I wouldn't be so sure of that...
     
  8. Mar 4, 2009 #7

    turbo

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    Never attended, but I worked with a summer-intern who was in the Chem-E track, and who was very sharp. She was quite knowledgeable and quick to pick up on subtleties, as was another intern from McGill, who worked on process-automation projects. These northern-region schools were pretty good feeder programs for our pulp and paper business. I was in production (paper machine operator) at the time, but had previously put in over 4 years as a process chemist in the pulp mill prior to the construction of the paper machine. Chemists actually made a lot less money than production-staff at the time, so I switched.
     
  9. Mar 4, 2009 #8
    My advising professor went to Rensselear and she seemed to turn out all right, although being a private school I would be a little worried right now. During economic hardships private schools can have some serious financial trouble as axeae said.
     
  10. Mar 4, 2009 #9
    I would look into the local newspapers of the schools you applied to and see how thosr schools are handling things---most of rpi's problems started before the financial crisis so we're having an especially rough time
     
  11. Mar 4, 2009 #10
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  12. Mar 5, 2009 #11

    Andy Resnick

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    I went there (BS in '91), and have been very pleased with the forward-thinking that has occured there since (in terms of continuing development of the institution). Although, Troy is a terrible city to live in- there is literally nothing to do but study or drink. You will work hard, feel stupid, be jealous of your high school friends that went elsewhere and can party during spring break, but come out very well-positioned.
     
  13. Mar 5, 2009 #12
    Every college is in trouble, but not like RPI is. I don't know if you've looked at the links I've sent yet, but the administration has been treating the faculty (tenured) so poorly that I'd imagine as soon as they could, they'd probably try and find a job elsewhere---'it's much worse here than you guys think.

    I just don't see a reason to justify paying the ~50k/yr. Have you looked at some of the other big engineering schools, or the smaller non-phd schools like Harvey-Mudd? I don't know anything about their chemical engineering but they're supposed to be pretty top-notch in everything else.
     
  14. Mar 5, 2009 #13
    Sort of....I'm still trying to figure out which are the best ChemE schools out there. I know about University of Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Cal Poly Pomona, Purdue and Washington State. Other than that, I'm not sure. If you don't mind, would you sharing what you think is the top engineering school? Thanks.
     
  15. Mar 5, 2009 #14

    turbo

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    The University of Maine at Orono has a well-respected chemical engineering program, and if you have good grades or perform well in the freshman engineering track, you could qualify for a 5-year Pulp and Paper scholarship. It's not dirt-cheap for out-of-state students, but as an old land-grant university, they have managed to keep tuition reasonable compared to private schools.
     
  16. Mar 6, 2009 #15
    Everyone thinks it's worse where they are... I've been associated with RPI in the past and I guarantee you that they are doing much better than my undergraduate institution...

    I've been in the same position you are when talking to prospective students... I've felt very conflicted between not wanting to discourage potentially good students from going to my alma mater. I care quite a bit about my old university improving... or at least not completely falling apart in this crisis... But at the same time I don't know if I can really truthfully recommend the place right now...

    Really, RPI is like looking at the stars compared to this other place right now.
     
  17. Mar 6, 2009 #16

    You've been associated with RPI in the past... I go there now---it's a really bad time and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Email a few of the professors at RPI and ask them what they think.

    The problems at RPI have been happening long before this year's economic downturn; I understand that a lot of schools are in trouble, but RPI's are more than that. From the outside, it looks like RPI is doing fine because of all of the spending (Empac, Athletic village) but the fact is, that spending is the reason why there was a near vote of no-confidence against the president of RPI, and shortly after, the faculty senate was disbanded.

    To the orginal poster, I'm not an engineering student, so I'm not sure of what schools are the best for chemical engineering, but I'd probably look into Berkeley, Stanford, Harvey-Mudd, Rose-Hulman, and I thought I heard University of Toronto was pretty good, but you'd probably have to check.
     
  18. Mar 7, 2009 #17
    I'm an alumni - BS in CompSci in '96. Highly recommended school, especially for engineering. Hired right away, and made bank in the dot com boom. My main issue with RPI was too much theory, too little application. I didn't have my own computer, and we used Unix workstations - I barely had seen Windows, and didn't even know how to insert a CD in a computer until junior year in '94. A co-op (internship) helped me along, and I got the practical experience during the year I worked at Digital Equipment. Good luck!
     
  19. Mar 8, 2009 #18
    Thanks for the suggestions. I've heard about Berkeley and Rose-Hulman, but I didn't know about the others.

    Thanks for the heads-up as I'm looking for a more pratical school, rather than a theoretical one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  20. Mar 9, 2009 #19

    Tom Mattson

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    Really? That certainly wasn't the case in engineering when I went there (BS 1995). My major was Engineering Physics (arguably the most theoretical of the engineering majors). Sure there were many theoretical math-based courses, but I also took...

    * Intro to Engineering Design
    * NEEP Lab
    * Circuits Lab
    * Lab Intro to Embedded Control
    * Senior Design Project

    All of these courses were practical, hands-on applications. These were just the required courses, and I'm not even counting all the science courses I took that had a lab component. I could have taken even more hands on courses if I hadn't chosen to use all my electives on math and physics.
     
  21. Mar 9, 2009 #20

    Tom Mattson

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    I must object here. I've been living in Troy since 1992, and it has improved a great deal since I arrived. There's a trendy coffee shop on every other corner, and there are several excellent options for dining (Illium Cafe, El Platano, Lo Porto, Bacchus, Daisy Baker's, and Tosca Grill if you feel like spending a lot of money). Of these, only Lo Porto was around in 92. Another Troy Institution is The Ale House, which routinely takes top honors for "Best Pub Food" in the Metroland. And now we have Revolution Hall, which is the best place in the region to see live music. Speaking of, the NY Capital District has an excellent live music scene and Troy is a vital part of it. My favorite band on the planet right now is Super 400, and they're based in Troy. Since they first rocked my face off in 1998, they've come to be 3 of my best friends (where else could that happen?).
     
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