Summer HERE. The World AWAY.
Get all of your questions answered about The Arch.
Mark your calendar with important dates to guide you through The Arch at Rensselaer. Frequently asked questions, contacts, and additional information on various departments, divisions, and offices are also included.
Have questions? E-mail us at The Arch.
Regardless of your current year at Rensselaer, please consult the academic calendar for the most up-to-date information regarding academic deadlines.
FALL SEMESTER 2019
29 - Fall Arch Exploration and Planning Course Begins
29 - Classes Begin
5 - Career Services and JobLink Workshop
10 - Resume Writing 101
10 - CCPD Late-Night Walk-Ins
11 - Career Fair Prep Workshop
11 - Study Abroad Information Session
12 - Workshop for International Students Working in the U.S.
16 - Arch Away and Career Fair Prep
16–20 - Resumania
20 - Fall Arch Exploration and Planning Course (Resume Due)
20–21 - NSBE & SHPE Career Fair
25 - LinkedIn Lab
21 - Spring Consultation Week
28 - Fall Arch Exploration and Planning Course (Five (5) Applications Due)
4 - Spring Registration Begins (Through November 18)
4 - Semester Away Selection Begins (Closes November 29)
4 - Housing Application and Selection Begins (Closes November 29)
4 - Arch Exception Process Begins (Closes November 29)
18 - Study Abroad Information Session
18–22 - Resumania
24 - Fall Arch Exploration and Planning Course (ILE Plan Due)
4 - Arch Away and Career Fair Prep
11 - Last Day of Classes
31 - FAFSA Renewal Filing Deadline
SPRING SEMESTER 2020
13 - Classes Begin
13 - Early Arch Applications Open (Freshman)
13 - Spring Arch Exploration and Planning Course Begins
17 - Resume Refresh
29 - Searching for all Professional Away Experiences
30 - Career Fair Prep Workshop
30 - Spring Arch Exploration and Planning Course Resume Due
5 - Spring Career Fair
18 - LinkedIn Lab
28 - Spring Arch Exploration and Planning Course Five (5) Applications Due
1 - FAFSA Renewal Award Notification
2 - Summer Registration Begins
2–20 - Fall Consultation Week
6 - Mock Interview Day
26 - Fall Registration Begins (Through April 3)
1 - Arch Student Bills Issued by Bursar
24 - Arch Student Bills Due
24 - Spring Arch Exploration and Planning Course (ILE Plan Due)
29 - Last Day of Classes
SUMMER SEMESTER 2020
1 - First Arch Payment Due (Arch Payment Plan)
23 - Commencement
24 - Arch Orientation and Move-In
1 - Second Arch Payment Due (Arch Payment Plan)
26 - Semester Away Registration Deadline in SIS for Fall Away Students (Spring Away Registration - October 1)
1 - Final Arch Payment Due (Arch Payment Plan)
21 - End of Summer Term
SIS Semster Away Selection Available
The Arch Update
October 14, 2019
Spring Away 2020 Students Memorandum
Congratulations on your up-coming Semester Away -- Spring 2020!
You are getting ready to embark on an exciting opportunity to participate in an individual learning experience that you get to design, to meet your specific career, educational and experiential learning interests. All Semester Away options are under the umbrella of the “Individual Learning Experience”. Every Arch student is able to identify how you want to use your semester away—this is what makes this opportunity "individualized" and independent in nature.
Individual Learning Experience
Study at Another U.S. Institution
To start the process, all students are assigned to the “self-design" section of the Individual Learning Experience. If you desire to change the designation from self-design to one of the other ILE options, you’ll need to complete the steps below. Students will be able to facilitate any changes until the add deadline of the spring term: January 24, 2020.
Steps to follow:
- Briefly share how you will use your semester away in the provided ILE Webform
- Finalize plans by logging into the Student Information System (SIS) and select the specific semester away option.
- After follow-up, provide the specific documentation needed to the designated offices listed below.
As you begin to conclude your fall term on campus, our goal is to equip you with the comprehensive knowledge base that provides you with skills to navigate your semester away term. Please do not hesitate to contact any of the affiliated offices to ensure you receive the necessary support to close out your semester.
ILE - Internship or Co-op – CCPD 518-276-6234
ILE - Civic Engagement - CCPD 518-276-6234
ILE - Self Design - Undergraduate Education 518-276-3142
ILE - Research - Undergraduate Education 518-276-3142
ILE - Study at U.S Institution – Undergraduate Education 518-276-3142
ILE - International Experience – International Programs/Study Abroad 518-276-3411
The Arch Inquiries Team
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180-3590 USA
This summer, the first full implementation of The Arch at Rensselaer marked a significant milestone for our Institute. Described as one of the most significant pedagogical innovations at Rensselaer, The Arch was developed to be intentionally transformative by providing the following:
- An acceleration of immersion in both the academic and professional worlds;
- Structured academic advising, career counseling, and leadership development;
- Unique academic and co-curricular summer experiences;
- Re-clustering of the junior-year cohort across disciplines;
- More focused and meaningful engagement with the faculty; and
- An opportunity for students to engage in self-discovery, leading to increased intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and a global perspective.
With a deep commitment to a culture of assessment and continuous improvement, we are writing to share updates on the past two successful Arch pilots and the full implementation of summer 2019 where nearly 1,100 students immersed themselves on campus during a robust academic summer semester.
Through increased faculty-student engagement, great academic success was achieved during the summer semester. Of the 1,100 students participating in The Arch, 95% passed all three summer terms, a testament to the prowess and resiliency of our Rensselaer students. This statistic is representative of student performance in both the six- and 12-week courses. Surveys also indicate that the rewarding conversations that took place during the weekly student-faculty “community luncheons” contributed to an increase in academic success. Additionally, a vast majority of students stated that they were able to enroll in summer term courses needed by their major field of study.
- Eliminate Six-Week Courses
Based on preliminary student/faculty feedback and our initial analysis of the courses offered during the summer, responses indicate that the compact nature of the six-week courses did not allow for an in-depth exploration of material.
- Review Course Offerings
Of those students who were not able to register for courses needed for their major, the primary reasons were scheduling conflicts and a more limited offering of courses over the summer term. We are working diligently to reduce these conflicts by increasing the number of courses and sections.
Co-Curricular Intentionality, Health, and Well-Being
Support was offered through the Institute’s wide variety of stress management resources including outdoor recreation, intramural sports, fitness classes, Mueller Center wellness programs, and Student Health Services. During some of these activities, we offered free food, live music, games, and support animals all designed to help support efforts to reduce stress and anxiety.
Co-Curricular Intentionality, Health, and Well-Being Recommendations
- Student Organized Activities and Hours of Operation
Feedback suggests scheduling events and programming after hours to increase student participation. In addition, increasing the hours of operations for campus facilities will help to maximize student productivity.
- Increase Counseling Service Hours
The Student Health Center received interest from students to add more drop-in and after-hour options to accommodate their schedules. To date, the office has arranged drop-in counseling sessions at three locations, four days per week, meeting students where they are (i.e., ECAV, Mueller Center, and Student Union).
Career Exploration and Leadership Development
Through campuswide collaboration, Rensselaer staff worked diligently to prepare students for an array of semester away opportunities. The Center for Career and Professional Development’s (CCPD) staffing structure was expanded to include an employer relations team to further develop long-term employer partnerships, develop on-campus recruiting and career events, and to place a regional focus on top markets. Additionally, a required non-credit course was developed that focused on essential professional development skills and career success through five-course modules. This course was designed to help students link their interests with their passions, set future professional goals, and to pursue academic aspirations.
To date, over 450 students have embarked on a fall away Individual Learning Experience (ILE) in the following areas:
- 47% – Cooperative Education or Internship
- 8% – Research Experience
- 5% – International Experience/Study Abroad/Studying at Another U.S. Institution
- 6% – Civic Engagement Experience
- 34% – Self-Designed Experience
Career Exploration and Leadership Development Recommendations
- Modify Online Career Exploration Course
Based on student feedback and further analysis from the CCPD, the online course will be modified to one semester and will be customized by school, and ultimately by major, to further strengthen and prepare our students for their semester away experience. In the future, the online course will also include a module on mental health and well-being. We also strive to continue developing on-campus employer relations interactions and engagement, career fairs, and the like.
- Continue to Diversify Away Opportunities
As we continue to strengthen opportunities for students to engage in self-discovery, leading to increased intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and a global perspective, we are strategically building partnerships across all disciplines and Individual Learning Experiences (ILE).
On-Campus Living and Dining
The re-clustering of the junior cohort on campus, a very important component of Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (CLASS), is designed to build community among our students and affinity with their alma mater. This was achieved through our intentional living and learning approach and the variety of programs offered within the seven climate-controlled residence halls. In addition to the cohort living community, students participated in a variety of opportunities immersing themselves in the cultural richness of New York’s Capital Region, including summer activities, arts, and cultural experiences only offered during the summer.
Students also had access to our talented team of student Resident Assistants and Resident Directors, live-in Residential Deans, 24-hour On-Call Counselors, and the daily Safe Ride transportation program to help build community and create a safe and inclusive environment. Essentially, students had access to all the resources and support services offered at Rensselaer during the fall and spring semesters.
On-Campus Living and Dining Recommendations
- Improve the residential transition and readiness of move-in/out.
- Further build cohort affinity and community.
- Experience the expansion and transformation of the Commons and Russell Sage dining halls and increase meal plan options to reflect student needs.
Understanding the aforementioned, the implementation of these recommendations in preparation for The Arch in 2020 is a top priority as we work to further enhance the experience and continue to make it one of the most innovative elements of our Rensselaer education. As the Class of 2021 completes their semester away experience this spring, the findings will continue to be a catalyst for sustainability of the student experience through The Arch. We look forward to celebrating your success as you pioneer new Rensselaer traditions throughout your academic journey and create a legacy as a Rensselaer graduate who will indeed change the world and beyond.
Dr. Peter Konwerski
Vice President for Student Life
Dr. Prabhat Hajela
Students are eligible to participate in The Arch summer semester after their fourth semester on campus (6th semester for B.Arch students) or after earning at least 59 credits (90 credits for B.Arch students), whichever comes first. This will typically fall in the summer following sophomore year. Students are required to create a plan of study which includes a full-time (12-16 credits) summer of on-campus coursework and a fall or spring away semester.
Transfer students who enter Rensselaer as sophomores (see Table I) are required to participate in The Arch. Transfer students who enter as juniors will not be required to participate.
Table I. The Number of Credits that Determines Class Status
|School of Architecture||School of Engineering||All Other Schools|
|Freshman||0–31 credits||0–30 credits||0–29 credits|
|Sophomore||32–65 credits||31–60 credits||30–59 credits|
|Junior||66–100 credits||61–95 credits||60–89 credits|
|Senior||101–134 credits||96–128 credits||90+ credits|
|Fifth-Year Student||135+ credits|
The Arch is a required part of Rensselaer matriculation; therefore any student who is not on a leave of absence and has a curricular discrepancy, must apply for an exception through The Office of Undergraduate Education.
Summer Semester Requirements
- Rising Juniors are required to complete an Arch summer term and semester away term, unless given an exception from the requirement.
- Students whose majors allow for a choice will be able to indicate a preference for semester away (See Table II).
- All Academic Policies and the Student Handbook apply during The Arch summer semester.
Requesting a Leave of Absence during The Arch Summer Term
Students can request a leave of absence during their summer semester on-campus. A Leave of Absence (LOA) request requires schedule a meeting with their class dean and filling out the form in the Office for Student Success.
- If a student takes a LOA prior to the 2nd week of the summer term, the student will be inactive and eligible to reapply for the subsequent semester by the published deadlines.
- If a student takes a LOA after the 2nd week, the student will not be eligible to enroll in the subsequent term.
- If a student takes a LOA before their summer semester on campus, they are still required to complete the semester away term. Students should consult with their academic school about plan of study changes.
Table II. Listing of Term Away by Major
|School of Architecture|
|B.Arch||Fall or Spring|
|Building Science||Fall or Spring|
|School of Engineering|
|Aeronautical Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Biomedical Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Chemical Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Computer and Systems Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Electrical Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Industrial and Systems Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Mechanical Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Lally School of Management|
|Business Management||Fall or Spring|
|School of Science|
|Biology||Fall or Spring|
|Biochemistry and Biophysics||Fall or Spring|
|Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology||Fall or Spring|
|Computer Science||Fall or Spring|
|Geology||Fall or Spring|
|Hydrogeology||Fall or Spring|
|Interdisciplinary Science||Fall or Spring|
|Information Technology and Web Science||Fall or Spring|
|School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences|
|Cognitive Science||Fall or Spring|
|Communication||Fall or Spring|
|Design, Innovation, and Society||Fall or Spring|
|Economics||Fall or Spring|
|Electronic Arts||Fall or Spring|
|Electronic Media||Fall or Spring|
|Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences||Fall or Spring|
|Music||Fall or Spring|
|Philosophy||Fall or Spring|
|Psychology||Fall or Spring|
|Science, Technology, and Society||Fall or Spring|
|Sustainability Studies||Fall or Spring|
All Academic Policies and the Student Handbook apply during The Arch summer semester.
- Students must complete the Arch Exploration and Planning course by the end of their sophomore spring semester. Please refer to your syllabus from CCPD for specifc module due dates.
- During The Arch summer semester, students must be enrolled throughout the 12 weeks of the summer term. The total number of credits taken must be at least 12 for the student to be considered full time.
Note: Students must be registered for at least one three-credit course during each 6-week session. It is recommended that students register for fewer than 12 credits in any 6-week session. A course in Summer 1 (12 weeks) counts as ½ the number of credits in each 6-week session.
3. While students may not take classes at Rensselaer during their semester away, they can transfer in class credits from other universities per the transfer credit policy.
Arch Away Semester
All students must engage in an away experience during the fall or spring of their junior year (see Table II) unless they have been granted an exception by the Exception Review Committee. B.Arch students will be away in the fall or spring following their third year of study. Away experiences are ultimately approved by the Office of Undergrduate Education.
All approved away experiences, including the online course, confer zero to one credit for administrative purposes, which does not count toward graduation but does maintain the student’s active status and defers repayment of certain loans. Students cannot pay Rensselaer tuition for the semester away unless they have been approved to participate in an affiliated semester exchange program. Students who participate in an affiliated exchange will pay Rensselaer tuition and may use one of their eight semesters of Rensselaer financial aid, subject to eligibility.
Students may obtain approval for their semester away experience by submitting the Semester Away Plan in the Student Information System (SIS). After having secured appropriate approval, students will be registered accordingly. J1/F1 visa holders will require additional approvals from International Student Services at least two months before the away semester begins.
Student who do not submit a semester away experience in SIS will automatically be placed into the Individual Learning Experience - Self Designed category, and will subsequently register for students for an online course designed for students participating in an ILE Self-Designed. Students taking the ILE Self-DesignedCourse will not be charged tuition. The ILE Self-Designed Course will be graded S/U and is the equivalent of 6 credits. Students will not be able to register for other courses at Renssleaer while on semester away term.
Visit the Financial Aid page for implications of a non-approved experience.
The following types of experiences can be approved if they are related to the students’ major.
- An ILE Co-Operative Educational experience is at least a 16 week experience in industry which can be fulfilled in consecutive months or two experiences (e.g. fall and the next summer).
- An ILE paid internship.
- An ILE paid research experience not at Rensselaer.
- An ILE civic engagement experience (paid or unpaid).
- An ILE affiliated or unaffiliated international experience.
- A Rensselaer affiliated study abroad program.
- Completing courses at another U.S. institution (see transfer credit policy).
- An ILE research experience at Rensselaer provided the student spends at least half of the term away participating in an off-campus activity. This time can be used toward the research project, or another experience entirely.
- An ILE Self-Designed in which the student crafts their own plan for their personal or professional enrichment. Enrollment in the 0 credit "ILE Course" is required for this option.
All students should meet with their HUB or Faculty Advisor to develop and as needed, revise their plan of study. For additonal information regarding required curriculum and timeline for completion, please see the information below:
- Students in the class of 2021 and beyond can view their required curriculum and timeline for completion by visting the Rensselaer Catalog associated with the year they entered Rensselaer and their major. The link to the Rensselaer Catalog defaults to the current academic year. Please be sure to check the drop down menu in the upper-right corner of the page to ensure you are viewing your required curriculum as described previously. View the catalog here.
- Students from the class of 2020 that participated in the 2018 Summer Semester Pilot II of The Arch can find their required curriculum and timeline for completion in template form here.
Course Scheduling Resources
- Your Advisor
- Advising HUBS
Note: Be sure to take The Arch summer courses in the summer and other courses during the fall and spring.
Advising HUB Locations
- School of Architecture – Greene Building
- School of Engineering – Johnson Engineering Center, 3rd Floor, Ansell Lounge
- School of Humanities Arts and Social Science – Sage Building 4307
- The Lally School – Pittsburgh Building, 3200
- School of Science – Science Center, 1C12
Once you accept an away semester opportunity (Congratulations!), it is important that you get the experience approved by the following process:
- All students will enter their confirmed away semester plans into SIS for processing by the relevant student service department and the student's faculty advisor.
If you decide to take a semester off from work and school, be sure you understand the financial aid implications (visit Financial Aid) and if you are an international student, the implications for your I20 (visit International Students).
Arch students are required to live on campus for the summer semester. If your current housing assignment is also designated as Arch housing, you can stay in the same room for the summer. Otherwise, you will be reassigned.
For more information on the room selection process, visit Student Living and Learning.
Living On Campus During the Fall Semester
- The regular room selection process occurs in January/February.
- If you are away for the fall semester, but on campus for the spring, you will apply for housing early November.
- Juniors are not required to live on campus.
Living Off Campus
- If you plan on living off campus, and need to find someone to sublease your apartment. Visit JumpOffCampus to list your space for rent.
- Once you have signed a lease, you are legally bound for the duration of that contract. Being away for a semester does not provide an “out” clause or exception to the lease.
- If you decide to live off campus, you will be responsible for paying 12-months (unless otherwise noted in the terms of the contract) of rent payments and utilities (as applicable). Troy area landlords typically lease apartments for 12-months beginning June 1st through May 31st. Shorter leases may be available at a higher rate per month.
For more information, visit Student Living and Learning.
For more information about off-campus living, contact Off Campus Commons.
How to Apply for a Resident Assistant Position
- Apply through the application process; There will be a rolling selection process for Fall, Spring and Summer.
- Interviews will be held via Skype or Phone.
- Students cannot apply for position during their semester away.
- Positions advertised in October and February of each academic year. For more information, visit Student Living and Learning.
Can I be a RA when if I am an Arch student?
You sure can! You apply the same way as a non-Arch student would. Information found on our website.
Do I get paid to be a RA?
Yes! You get a housing scholarship (free room) which is applied to your bill, and you get a stipend.
I live on campus and am participating in The Arch program. If I get the RA position do I have to move my belongings home to then move them to Arch housing a couple weeks after?
No, we will not make you move twice! You receive an extension to leave your belongings in your room and you are then able to move into your housing assignment early for RA training before The Arch program starts.
If I am living in my Greek chapter house for my sophomore year, am I required to live on campus for The Arch program?
Yes. All students are required to live in RPI residence halls that have been designated for use during The Arch.
Will I be able to choose my roommate(s) for The Arch program?
The office of Student Living and Learning will try to accommodate all roommate requests.
If I have decided to stay on campus for the fall semester (my away semester will be spring) can I stay in the same room?
Possibly. It depends on the room location in reference to the clustering model. Also, the limited space on campus for rising juniors may facilitate your having to move off campus after the conclusion of The Arch program.
I have a disability and require special accommodations. How would I go about obtaining a special room request?
You would fill out a housing accommodations form that can be accessed through the Disability Services website. You should also contact the Director of Disability Services, Jaqualyn Iardella.
Do I need to have a meal plan if I am living on campus for The Arch program?
Yes. All students participating in The Arch program are required to purchase a dining meal plan.
Can I stay in the same room that I lived in for The Arch for the fall semester of my junior year? Or, during the spring semester if I am away for the fall?
We cannot guarantee that you will be able to obtain the same room. We will assign you based on room availability and upper class clustering housing.
Will I be responsible for paying for a room for the entire academic year, or just for the semester that I reside on campus?
You will only have to pay for your non-away semester. Please be sure to notify the office of Student Living and Learning when you are aware of the semester you are going to be away.
Available Resources During the Summer Semester:
- Advising HUBS
- Advising Learning and Assistance Center
- Tutoring (For information on one-on-one tutoring, visit ALAC)
- Undergraduate Class Dean
Note: Students who are Continued on Probation or Placed on Probation will receive instructions from ALAC on requirements and support programs.
Available Resources During the Semester Away:
- Faculty Advisors and ALAC
- Faculty (available for SAM clearance and academic advising via email/phone/skype/in person as you register for classes)
- Academic Department
- Undergraduate Class Dean
Student Health Resources Available
- All other health center services available during the fall and spring semesters
- Health insurance for the spring semester continues through August 1st.
- Arch students do not need additional health insurance for their summer semester (the waiver or enrollment is already in place).
- The summer health center fee is part of the summer semester charges.
- If a student needs health insurance coverage in the summer and they waived it in the spring, they can enroll by reversing their spring semester waiver.
Students need to enroll in or waive out of the health insurance plan, effective August 1st for their away semester. This is the same process as regularly enrolled students.
For more information, visit Student Health Services.