CLASS at Rensselaer

Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (CLASS) is a comprehensive approach to the student experience at Rensselaer. Through ongoing support, guidance, and co-curricular activities, CLASS connects students to a network of faculty, staff, and other students, ensuring that they are part of a strong community of learners. As students strive to become the leaders of tomorrow, CLASS helps them develop the intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and global awareness that will enable them to change the world.


A Network for Success

CLASS involves the entire Rensselaer community working to challenge and engage students as they move to higher plateaus of success.

Student Life

All portfolios within the Division of Student Life play a critical role in helping students become well-rounded and uniquely prepared Rensselaer graduates, ready to impact the world. Student Life support is offered through Athletics, Campus Experience, Student Support and Resource Center, Student Success, and Student Transitions.

Residential Assistant Deans

Directly and through the Residential Assistants and Residential Directors, our Residential Deans are actively engaging students in intentional, timely dialogue and developmentally specific programming to promote personal and academic growth, ensuring that every student is engaged in our community.

Class Deans

Provide developmentally specific advocacy, support, and programming for students campuswide. They help structure leadership experiences, provide learning assistance and career planning, connect students with special counseling as needed, and, together with Residential Assistant Deans, plan social and cultural activities. In short, Class Deans are mentors, counselors, facilitators, and guides as students make their way through their college years.

Faculty-Student Engagement

Student Living and Learning staff, in partnership with faculty across all five schools, provide and facilitate academic and experiential learning activities (e.g., lunch meetings, dinner with the Dean).

Student Life Resources

Archer Center for Student Leadership Development
(518) 276-2119 |

(518) 276-6685 |

Center for Career and Professional Development
(518) 276-6234 |

Dean of Students Office
(518) 276-6266 |

Division of Student Life
(518) 276-6201 |

First-Year Experience
(518) 276-6864 |

Graduate Experience
(518) 276-8022 |

International Services for Students and Scholars
(518) 276-4966 |

(518) 276-6231 |

Rensselaer Union
(518) 276-6505 |

Student Health Center
(518) 276-6287 |

Student Living and Learning
(518) 276-6284 |

Student Success
(518) 276-8022 |

Student Transitions/The Arch
(518) 276-6655 |

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Time-Based Clustering

Rensselaer has introduced time-based clustering to support the personal and academic needs of students throughout their collegiate journey.

Each class is supported by a team of Residential Assistant Deans, upperclass student staff, and a Class Dean. This support structure ensures that every student receives the best individual counseling, mentoring, and personal attention.

First-Year Experience - First-year students are offered a number of important programs, including Student Orientation (SO) and Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond (NRB), all aimed at adjustment and transition during their freshman year at Rensselaer.

Sophomore Experience - This year is spent working with students on co-curricular experiences while firming up their academic goals, clarifying their intent after graduation, and preparing for The Arch at Rensselaer.

Junior Experience - During the fall or spring semester of their junior year, students participate in an approved Arch experiential learning opportunity aligned with their academic major and career goals.

Senior Experience - The goal of senior year is to help students make the transition from Rensselaer to becoming young alumni leaders on the global stage, through work, government service, or advanced education.

Graduate Experience - Co-terminal, master’s, and doctoral students are essential to the social fabric of the campus. During this time, graduate students are making an impact as researchers, teaching assistants, and leaders while building their professional portfolio for life beyond Rensselaer.

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Residential Clustering

To ensure that the educational and developmental needs of our students are met, Rensselaer provides unique living and learning communities for each class cohort. As a central feature of CLASS, the following commons communities exist, each with its own character and focus, creating a small, tightly knit student community that blends the academic, social, and residential aspects of university life.

Three Unique Commons at Rensselaer:

Residential Commons - On-campus residence halls, clustered by class cohort, provide students with ongoing support and guidance.

Greek Commons - A living and learning environment that cultivates leadership and personal development for Greek chapter and council members through programming and collaboration with staff and campus leaders.

Off-Campus Commons (1525 15th St.) - A place for students living off campus to engage and collaborate with the Rensselaer campus community through programs, meetings, and events.

Several affinity-based living options are also available, including “Vasudha,” centered around earth, energy, and the environment; “Leadership House,” which provides student leadership development; “Design and the Arts,” for students interested in the intersection of design, arts, media, and technology; “Wellness House,” focused on a holistic approach to health and well-being; and, beginning fall ’19, “Cultural House,” celebrating the diversity of our student community; and the “Global Experience House,” offering international views and experiences.