Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Admissions: The SAT, ACT Scores and GPA You Need to Get In

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Admissions Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute act scores Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute sat scores -magoosh

Are you interested in pushing the boundaries of science and technology, designing video games, or innovating in the business world? If so, then Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute might be a good fit for you!

RPI is known worldwide for a focus on science, engineering, and technology, and is consistently ranked as one of the top fifty universities in America. Rensselaer’s campus boasts a business incubator, one of the most powerful university supercomputers, and an annual student video game showcase.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is also considered one of the top six universities in America in terms of median graduate income, meaning their alumni are rewarded not only with state-of-the-art facilities and rigorous academics but the tools they need to build a career straight out of college.

With a student population of 7,500 and only ten miles between campus and Albany, New York, you can count on a vibrant student life in addition to a solid education.

If their motto “Why not change the world?” resonates with you, RPI could be the place for you!

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at a Glance


Rensselaer SAT average composite1415
Rensselaer ACT average composite31
Rensselaer Admissions Rate 43%
Rensselaer GPA average (admitted students)3.87

Some of those are pretty high numbers…but they are achievable!

Let’s take a deeper dive into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute admissions, and find out what you need to do to make yourself a competitive candidate for RPI! 🙂

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute SAT Scores

While the composite Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute SAT scores are in the above table, here’s a breakdown by section:

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing640-720

Rensselaer doesn’t have a minimum SAT score required for admission, but the average composite SAT score of admitted students in 2019 was a 1415 out of 1600.

On the Writing test the middle 50% of students scored between a 640 and a 720, while in Math the middle 50% scored between a 690 and a 780. This means 25% of admitted students scored lower than a 640 in Writing or a 690 in Math, while another 25% scored about a 720 in Writing and a 780 in Math.

If you can get scores above the middle 50% of admitted students, you can be fairly confident about your chances–if the rest of your application stands up. If not, RPI is a selective school, so you should be prepared to support your scores with strong grades and diverse extracurriculars.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ACT Scores

The average ACT of students admitted in 2019 was a 31 out of 36.

The middle 50% of students, meaning those scoring between the 25% and 75% percentiles, got between a 29 and a 33. That means scoring below a 29 will put you at a disadvantage, but one quarter of students admitted that year scored lower than a 29 and still got in.

If you have a 33 or above, you can be confident about your chances: only 25% of admitted students had scores that high!

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute GPA Average

Students admitted to RPI in 2018 had an average GPA of 3.87–which means the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute admissions office expects you to be near the top of your class.

Two-thirds of admitted freshman had a GPA of 3.75 or higher, 21% had between a 3.50 and a 3.74, 8% had between a 3.25 and a 3.49, and only 4% had GPAs between a 2.00 and a 2.99.

Not sure how to calculate your GPA? You can figure it out with our GPA calculator!

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Acceptance Rate

Rensselaer’s acceptance rate is 43%. This year a record total of 20,402 high school students applied to RPI, with 8,773 admitted and 1,755 enrolled.

Although a 43% acceptance rate is not too selective (about 2 out of every 5 applicants are admitted!) increasing numbers of applicants may drive RPI’s admissions to become more competitive in coming years.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Freshman Profile

So who is the typical Rensselaer freshman? Let’s take a look at the Class of 2022:

  • International Students: 13.6% from 39 countries
  • Students from U.S: 86.4%
    • American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.1%
    • Asian: 13.7%
    • Black/African-American: 4.6%
    • Hispanic/Latino: 10.4%
    • Multi-race (not Hispanic/Latino): 7.8%
    • White: 61.8%
    • Unknown: 1.6%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Other Admissions Requirements and Info

Let’s dig a little deeper, and see what else you need to get into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, besides your GPA and test scores:

RPI has the following admissions recommendations:

  • Four years of mathematics through pre-calculus (calculus recommended)
  • Three years of science (including chemistry and lab-based physics)
  • Four years of English
  • Three years of social studies and/or history

Additionally, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute admissions committee will be looking for students who demonstrate leadership qualities and talents that will add to the RPI community!

Expert Advice on How to Get Into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

We talked to Ashley C. from the college prep organization Transizion, to get her expert advice on how to get into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute University.

Let’s see what she has to say!

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute admissions - Magoosh

“Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research university with an acceptance rate of 44 percent. If you apply to RPI, you should be as specific as possible when choosing a major on your application. There will be flexibility to change your major once on campus, but your selection impacts the application process.

If interested in one of the following programs, you should apply directly to that program:

  • Architecture
  • Electronic Arts
  • Music
  • Games
  • Simulation Arts and Sciences
  • One of the accelerated law or medical programs

There are also degree-specific guidelines. For instance, you will have an additional essay if you’re applying to:

  • Accelerated Law and Medical
  • Architecture
  • Electronic Arts
  • Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication
  • Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences
  • Music

You need to make sure you’re budgeting enough time to write these essays with a specific narrative in mind. In addition, Architecture, Music, and Electronic Arts applicants are required to submit a portfolio. Portfolios are “strongly encouraged” for applicants to Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences and Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication. (That means creating a portfolio will definitely boost your chances of admission!)

RPI focuses on tackling society’s “great global challenges.” If you’re creative, innovative, and have a passion for changing the world, highlight these qualities in your application. Think about how you want to use your hard skills to solve a problem using systems, technology, and other platforms related to your talents.” — Ashley C., Transizion

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute FAQ

Does Rensselaer accept transfer students?

Yes! Any student with 12 or more transferable college credits completed after high school is eligible to apply to RPI as a transfer student.

Transfer applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but there are final deadlines to apply to each semester:

  • Fall: Apply by June 1
  • Spring: Apply by November 1
  • Summer (Architecture only): Apply by March 1

After your application is submitted, you may expect a decision in approximately 3-4 weeks!

Does Rensselaer accept the Common App?
Yes! Rensselaer accepts the Common App, the Coalition Application, or the Candidate’s Choice Application.

The RPI admissions office weighs all applications equally, so feel free to use whichever of these application platforms is the most convenient for you!

Can non-native English speakers apply to Rensselaer?
Yes! However, if English is not your first language, you will be required to submit your Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores as part of your RPI applications!

How to Get Into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

How to get into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute?

Let’s do a quick summary!

Here’s your “How To Get Into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute” Checklist…

You need:

  • A 1500 or higher on your SAT (780 in Math and 720 in Evidence-Based Reading & Writing)
  • A 31 or higher on your ACT
  • A 3.87 or higher GPA
  • An engaging application essay that conveys why specifically you’re interested in the major you’ve chosen
  • A strong portfolio if you’re applying to Architecture, Music, Electronic Arts, Games and Simulation Arts, Sciences and Electronic Media, Arts, or Communication
  • Compelling letters of recommendation from teachers and counsellors who know you personally

Check those boxes, and you’ll be all set for your new life in New York–just don’t forget a jacket! 🙂

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  • Molly Kiefer

    Molly is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She designs Magoosh’s graphic assets, manages our YouTube channels and podcasts, and contributes to the Magoosh High School Blog.

    Since 2014, Molly has tutored high school and college students preparing for the SAT, GRE, and LSAT. She began her tutoring journey while in undergrad, helping her fellow students master math, computer programming, Spanish, English, and Philosophy.

    Molly graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a B.A. in Philosophy, and she continues to study ethics to this day. An artist at heart, Molly loves blogging, making art, taking long walks and serving as personal agent to her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.


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