Campus and Student Life Resources The Hidden Curriculum, Episode 7 | Class of 2024

For all of your needs outside the classroom!

While academics are a large part of your college experience, they certainly are not everything. Many of our episodes so far have taught you how to register for your classes, get connected with academic support services, and figure out how to start your coursework off on the right foot. Now, we want to turn our focus to some of the questions outside of class - how do I find a job once I'm done here, what do I do if I'm sick, how do I sort out issues with my tuition bill? As always, we've got you covered!

So, what will this episode teach you about?

  • The Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD)
  • Health and Counseling Services
  • Financial Services (Financial Aid and the Bursar's Office)
  • Undergraduate Research Program (URP)
  • Campus Involvement and the Student Union

The Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD)

After your time at RPI comes to an end, unless you immediately join a graduate program, you will almost certainly be on the hunt for your first full-time job in your field. However, the preparation for that transition does not (and should not) start in your final semester! Read on to learn how the CCPD can support you every step of the way.


To fully take advantage of CCPD's services and offerings, your first step should be to make a Handshake account. Making an account is free and easy, so go ahead and make one at the link below if you haven't already!

What are some things you can do in Handshake?

  • Apply directly to jobs and internships
  • Register for career development workshops and employer events on campus
  • Schedule a one-on-one appointment with a career counselor
  • Stay in touch with CCPD while away on a co-op or internship
  • Connect with students at other universities that use Handshake to learn about their experiences with various internships and companies

Career Counseling Services

Much like the Hub, the CCPD is staffed with full-time professionals who are excited to meet with you one-on-one to discuss your career goals and help you make them a reality. They can talk to you about your interests, discuss companies and average starting salaries affiliated with each major, review your application materials (resumes/cover letters), set you up with a career assessment to help you identify areas of interest, and more!

The School of Engineering is affiliated with three specific career counselors - Emily Seils, Kristen Kettering, and Lindsay Dembner. Meet them all in the short video below as they say hello and tell you about how they can help you!

Some great reasons to meet with a career counselor include:

  • You want to go to the career fair/apply for a job or internship and you need your resume or cover letter reviewed and critiqued (hint: if you have never had these materials reviewed by the CCPD before, you absolutely need to do so!).
  • You are enjoying your major so far, but you aren't sure exactly what opportunities are available out in the working world.
  • You realized you don't like your major and you aren't sure what you would rather be doing instead. There are career interest assessments, like Focus2, that they can guide you through to come up with new ideas!
  • You want to search for an internship/Arch away experience and aren't sure how to get started. The CCPD's specialty areas for Arch away are co-ops, internships, and civic engagement experiences.

To meet with one of the career counselors, you can book your one-on-one appointment in Handshake!

To do so, log in to Handshake, then click 'Career Center' in the upper right corner of the screen. Then, click 'Appointments' under "What can we help you find?" From here, you can book a meeting with any of our Engineering career counselors. While it does say "Resume and Cover Letter Review" for the appointment type, you can type details into your booking to discuss other topics. You can also choose whether you want to consult via email, phone, or video chat!

Career Development Workshops and Employer Events

Beyond individual appointments, the CCPD offers plenty of other opportunities to connect with both them and potential future employers! All of these events can be found, and registered for, in Handshake under the 'Events' tab.

Some examples of upcoming CCPD workshops include:

  • Searching for Arch Away Opportunities: Friday, November 6th and 20th
  • Using Your Remote Experience to Build Your Network: Tuesday, November 10th
  • Job Searching Week - Developing Your Application Materials: Monday, November 30th
  • All Majors End of Year Networking Event: Wednesday, December 2nd

Beyond the CCPD, you can also connect with a variety of employers through Handshake! There are all sorts of events offered including coding challenges, targeted resume reviews, info sessions for different employers, and educational workshops. Not only can you learn a lot from these events, but registering and attending can help put you on the employer's radar! Some employers hosting events in the coming months include:

  • Target
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Google
  • HP
  • GE
  • Bank of America
  • National Security Agency

Helpful Links to Stay Connected

Student Health Center and Counseling

Over the course of the next few years, it is nearly certain that you will need a medical visit to take care of your physical or mental health. As RPI students, you have access to both the campus health center and counseling center to support these needs. Read on to learn about the available services and how to access them!

Student Health Services

If you are ever feeling sick, you have free access to the Student Health Center on campus! Like many offices, they have changed operations this fall to protect everyone's health and safety in the wake of the COVID pandemic. To make an appointment, you will need to either call the Student Health Center directly, or schedule a 10 minute Scheduling Consult in the online portal. This process allows them to facilitate a safe and effective flow of traffic and offer telehealth visits in appropriate instances.

Here are some general procedures you can expect for sick visits this fall.

1) If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms or suspect you may be COVID-19 positive, the phone triage person will guide you. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, they will direct you to go to a local hospital, the Academy Hall Auditorium for an on-campus medical evaluation (separate location from other health visits), or give you proper guidance for self-care/symptom monitoring in your place of residence.

2) In appropriate cases for non-respiratory illnesses and for psychiatric needs, appointments will be conducted via phone or video. Providers can still assess you, make referrals, and submit prescriptions electronically.

3) Urgent conditions that cannot be adequately addressed via telehealth will be managed with an in-person appointment in the Student Health Center, 3200 Academy Hall.

Counseling Services

Beyond the psychiatry capacities of the Student Health Center, the campus also has a Counseling Center for talk therapy. If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, or anything else that is preventing you from feeling and performing your best, it may be beneficial for you to schedule an appointment with a counselor.

There are two ways to make a counseling appointment. One does not require speaking on the phone, which can be helpful if that causes you stress! The short video below walks you through both scheduling options.

For further information, hours of service, phone numbers, and a link to health portal, click the button below!

Most services in the Counseling Center and Student Health Services are fully covered by your student health fee, but a few select services (primarily vaccinations) are an additional cost. You can see the list of services that have a fee and their respective costs here.

Campus Financial Services

There are two main offices on campus that handle financial matters relating to tuition and payment: the Financial Aid Office and the Bursar's Office. Both are helpful and necessary, and it is important to know how their functions differ!

Financial Aid

For an oversimplified explanation, the Financial Aid office handles all of the logistics that go into figuring out your cost of attendance at Rensselaer. To do this, they are in charge of:

  • Standard financial aid documents (FAFSA and CSS Profile)
  • Any RPI merit scholarships or grants that you have been awarded
  • Federal loan and work study eligibility
  • Documentation of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Generally speaking, you should always direct questions about your specific Financial Aid package (loans, grants, etc.) to the Financial Aid Office. They have proper access on the backend of RPI's systems to look at your financial details, your Hub advisor does not! However, here are some general responsibilities of yours to ensure your Financial Aid status is in good standing.

1) Complete the FAFSA annually! If you are interested in qualifying for federal aid or RPI need-based aid, you must fill this out every year.

2) Manage your Financial Aid awards in SIS. While you may qualify for certain loans and/or work study programs, you must go into SIS to accept, decline, or reduce these awards before they will apply to your bill.

3) Maintains satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Part of receiving federal aid is maintaining what is considered "Satisfactory Academic Progress" towards your degree. This is determined based on how many semesters you have attended RPI, your GPA, and the number of attempted credit hours that you successfully pass. Further details can be found here.

4) Maintain full-time student status. Many types of financial aid require full-time enrollment, which is defined as 12 or more credits per semester. This is why the Hub recommends always signing up for ~16 credits - you give yourself the flexibility to drop a course without jeopardizing your status. Unless you have prior approval from ALAC to be a part-time student, part-time enrollment will result in a reduction or elimination of certain Financial Aid awards.

The Financial Aid Office can be reached by email at finaid@rpi.edu, and they have limited phone availability at (518) 276-6813.

Bursar's Office

When thinking about how the Bursar's Office fits in to your financial equation on campus, think that the "B" for Bursar equals "bill." Based on all of the aid package work done in Financial Aid, the Bursar's Office generates your tuition bill and processes all payments/refunds.

Payment options are relatively simple - you can pay online via CashNet or by mail. Online payments are the fastest and generally more secure way to pay. You can also set up monthly installment plans instead of paying your bill as a lump sum!

If you have an outstanding balance on your account, you may have a "Bursar's Hold" on your registration. To fix that, paying off your balance should get the hold to disappear within 24 to 48 hours of receipt of payment.

If you have questions about your bill, you would want to get in touch with the Bursar's Office specifically at bursar@rpi.edu

For a quick and easy reference to see which office may best fit your needs or questions in a given moment, check out this infographic!

Undergraduate Research Program (URP)

A large percentage of RPI students participate in some form of undergraduate research over the course of their degree. The formal name for this at RPI is the Undergraduate Research Program, or URP. Many students are interested in getting involved, but aren't sure how to start or what benefits they stand to gain. Here are some frequently asked questions we receive in the Hub.

How do I find a project to be a part of?

There is no formal or centralized process to find a project. Your best way to find something is to start with the faculty! The RPI website has information on every professor, their respective publications, and their areas of research interest. Start by reviewing the professors in the department you want to find research in and see whose interests line up with yours. Once you have, get in touch with that professor and ask if they have any positions available! You can do this via email or during office hours. Also, keep an eye on your inbox, sometimes Morning Mail or mailing lists from your major's department will send out advertisements for open positions.

What can I get in exchange for my research hours?

The two main benefits you can receive are either course credit (1-4 credit hours depending on time commitment in the lab) or payment. This will need to be worked out with the faculty member who sponsors your research. Some labs have the funding to pay undergraduate researchers and others may not.

I found a project to work on! What do I need to do to register it?

Congratulations! Whether you are doing research for pay or for credit, fill out the form below and submit it to the Office of Undergraduate Education.

Other than credits/pay, what do I stand to gain from doing research?

The benefits of doing research can be wide-ranging and a great resume bonus going forward. You can be a part of creating new knowledge, learn new technical skills in the lab, demonstrate leadership and independence (particularly if you stick with one lab for awhile and earn more responsibilities), build your network with fellow students and faculty, and more. Don't do research just for the resume boost, but also don't think that there is nothing to be gained from research if you aren't planning to go into academia!

The Student Union

Even though this semester is different than usual when it comes to campus involvement, your Student Union is still here for you! Between their offerings of clubs/organizations and different campus services, they have the resources to help improve your campus life beyond the classroom.

Clubs and Organizations

While the activities fair was a great start to introduce you to the different clubs and organizations on campus, it is not too late to explore and join new groups. Check out this video below from Union President, Anissa Choinere, explaining how to connect and get involved with campus clubs this year!

You can access the Club Directory at the link below. Not only will this show you all of the different clubs you can become a part of, but it also provides the websites/contact information for all of these groups. Even if you didn't visit a group at the activities fair, don't be afraid to reach out! Clubs are always excited to grow their membership and they would be happy to hear from you.

The Union also maintains several different social media pages for campus events. Access the links below to follow the pages and watch Anissa walk you through each one!

Campus Recreation

While the Mueller Center is currently closed due to COVID-19, Campus Recreation is still offering virtual group fitness classes and occasional events! If you want to join any of the classes or events, you can sign up through the relevant links in the link tree below.

Legal Services

RPI students have access to legal services through a local law firm. Appointments are held off-campus or virtually. When contacting the law firm, make sure to inform them that you are an RPI student.

LGBTQ+ Resources

The LGBTQ+ Task Force on campus has put together a comprehensive resources page for LGBTQ+ faculty, staff, and students. There is information available for the LGBTQ+ mentorship program (pairs LGBTQ+ students with a LGBTQ+ staff/faculty member), a list of on-campus and off-campus health resources, Safe zone training programs, and more!

Complete Episode 7

To complete each episode of The Hidden Curriculum, you will take a quick quiz. This allows your Hub Advisor to know if you have completed each required episode, and helps to reaffirm the information that we really want you to walk away with.

Click the button below to finish this required step!

The School of Engineering First-Year Advising Hub

3306 Ansell Lounge, Jonsson Engineering Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute