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Undeclared Engineering SoE Orientation Registration Guide | Summer 2020

Welcome to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute!

We are so excited to welcome you to the Rensselaer community. The School of Engineering First-Year Advising Hub will be your main resource when it comes to understanding your academic requirements.

As part of Student Orientation, we have developed this Registration Guide to support you with your first selection of college courses! We understand that you are each coming into Rensselaer at a different place based upon the credits you are bringing in. We want to ensure that you have a good understanding of your first year curriculum and that you feel confident with the courses you select for the Fall semester.

This guide covers:

  • The SoE Hub and your Hub Advisor
  • Curriculum Planning for the Fall Semester
  • The Major Template (4-Year Plan)
  • Transferring AP, IB, and other credits to Rensselaer
  • An Overview for Course Registration
  • Upcoming Video Chats presented by the SoE Hub (major specific)
  • Online Academic Resources

Special Note! While there are plenty of tools and resources for academic planning, this Registration Guide will provide you with a 'starter kit.' Once we get closer to the fall semester, we will introduce you to all of the information you need to know for your 4-Year Plan and be available for one-on-one meetings.

We'll talk more then!

Review this entire Registration Guide before developing your schedule! You will find important information and tips throughout each section.

And remember, the SoE Hub is here to support you!

Who is your SoE Hub Advisor?

The SoE Hub and your Advisor

Turn up the volume or click the CC button to meet your SoE Hub Advisor, Kristin Bergene!

The School of Engineering (SoE) Advising Hub is your primary resource for academic and curriculum planning for your first year at Rensselaer. As an Undeclared Engineer, you were assigned to one of our Hub Advisors, Kristin Bergene. She will walk you through each step of developing your Fall Schedule through this guide and upcoming video chats.

Contact Information for Kristin Bergene: bergek@rpi.edu
On to your curriculum!

Curriculum Planning

For this Student Orientation Guide, we are focusing on your first semester at Rensselaer. We'll worry about the rest later!

Let's start with...

  1. Course Suggestions for Undeclared Engineers
  2. Major Templates
  3. Your Schedule for Fall 2020
  4. AP, IB, and other Transfer Credits
  5. The Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (HASS) Core
Curriculum Planning - one step at a time!

1. Course Suggestions for Undeclared Engineers

Below, you will find a colorful guide (JPG) with course suggestions for Undeclared Engineering students for the first few semesters. This Undeclared Engineering Guide is what you will use to plan your Fall Semester.

Being Undeclared, you have a special opportunity to explore multiple majors until you decide the right path for you. All engineering majors require many of the same courses in their first year, which gives you time to explore your options.

Special Note! You will need to declare by your 3rd semester.

What will you find in the Undeclared Engineering Guide?

  • Exploratory courses, such as Introduction to Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISYE-1100), or Fundamentals of Flight (MANE-1060). These are 1-credit, seminar-based courses that will introduce you to certain majors and their respective industries.
  • The courses that all engineering majors are required to complete during their first year, such as math and science, and other engineering courses.
  • Other major specific courses that you can explore while making a decision about your major.
  • Free Electives! Each engineering degree requires 12-credits of Free Electives. These allow you to explore courses and majors easily.

How do you navigate the Undeclared Engineering Guide when planning your first semester?

Save the guide (below), and take a good look at the courses listed in the first year. Think of the courses listed in the fall as your Plan A, and courses listed in the spring as your Plan B. The key to curriculum planning is understanding the sequence of classes (prerequisites and corequisites). With this understanding, you are able to move courses around.

Quick Definitions:

  • Prerequisites: Courses that must be completed before you can take the next course in the sequence. For example, Calculus 1 is a prerequisite for Calculus 2.
  • Corequisites: Courses that must taken during the same semester, or before you take the next course in the sequence. For example, Physics 2 is a corequisite for Introduction to Engineering Design. That means you can take Physics 2 with or before Introduction to Engineering Design.

Turn up the volume or click the CC button! Your SoE Hub Advisor, Kristin, is going to walk you through navigating the Undeclared Engineering Guide.

If you have AP, IB, or Transfer credits (more information in Section 4), we suggest that you use your computer's basic-level, photo editing software, to cross out all the courses you believe your AP/IB/transfer credits will fulfill. What remains in those first two semesters is what you should look at taking next fall, and register for during this summer's registration period. You can also print out the guide and use a pen or highlighter. We will talk about this in depth later in the guide!

Save your Undeclared Engineering Guide (below) in a safe place!

NOTE: This document is not a Major Template. It is a general guide to support you as an Undeclared Engineering Student. | Updated June 2020 | Cohort 2024
Remember! Your Hub Advisor, Kristin, is here to support you whenever you have questions about your curriculum requirements. We do not expect you to understand or know everything right off the bat. We are here to help!

If you already have an idea of a few majors you are interested in pursuing, you can use this guide alongside any specific Major Template.

What is a Major Template...?

2. Major Template

It is a semester-by-semester guide of a major's 4-Year Plan. All courses listed on the template are required. You can certainly add to your curriculum in ways such as declaring a minor, but you must take all courses listed on a Major Template in order to graduate with that specific engineering degree.

Once you declare an engineering major, you will follow that specific Major Template for your cohort, the Class of 2024. A template can change annually, so you want to ensure you are always looking at the correct guide. For your cohort, there should always be a date ending with “2020” at the bottom (for example: 8/19/2020).

P.S.: Even if you are ahead with credits, and might graduate early, you will always be part of the Class of 2024 cohort as you started at Rensselaer in the 2020-2021 Academic Year.

As an Undeclared Engineer, you are always encouraged to review Major Templates to support your decision when selecting a major. In fact, if you have an idea of what you might like to study, we suggest referring to those templates now to support the planning of your fall schedule.

Where can you find Major Templates?

Pro-tip: NEVER use Google to search for your Major Template! You may end up taking the wrong courses by following a plan meant for another cohort. Kristin has access to all Major Templates for your cohort (2020-2021). Ask her for the templates you would like to see! bergek@rpi.edu

You can find Major Templates in the Advising Handbooks. There is a handbook for each major. They include information on curriculum, career paths, concentrations, alumni statistics, and information specific to each department within the School of Engineering.

In other words, the Advising Handbooks are an amazing resource for Undeclared Engineers!

Beyond the Advising Handbooks, you can use the other major-specific Registration Guides on the SoE Hub website designed for Student Orientation. Just as this guide is preparing you to register for courses, the other guides also offer major-specific advice with the same goals for the fall semester.

As mentioned earlier in this guide, you should also utilize The Catalog to understand the sequence (prerequisites/corequisites) of required courses. In The Catalog, you will also find...

  • Major options and requirements (Major Template)
  • Course descriptions
  • Prerequisites and corequisites
  • Minor options and requirements
  • Concentrations within certain majors
  • and more!
Questions? Make an appointment with Kristin now!

3. Your Schedule for Fall 2020

As mentioned, we are going to focus this Registration Guide on your upcoming Fall semester. Later, you will meet with your SoE Hub Advisor to talk about your spring semester and your 4-Year Plan.

In the fall semester, as an Undeclared Engineer, you will take:

  • 1-Credit, ENGR-1700 | Introduction to Better World Engineering *
  • 1-Credit ENGR Course | See the ENGR Guide for all 5 fall options **
  • 4-Credit MATH Course | MATH 1010, MATH 1020, or MATH 2400
  • 4-Credit Science Course | CHEM 1100, PHYS 1100 or PHYS 1200
  • 4-Credit Science Course | CHEM 1100, PHYS 1100 or PHYS 1200
  • 4-Credit HASS Course | IHSS-xxxx (HASS Inquiry course, Communication Intensive)

= a total of 16 to 18 Credits

* Introduction to Better World Engineering (ENGR 1700) is highly recommended for all Undeclared Engineering Majors. Each week, you will be introduced to one of Rensselaer's Engineering Majors. Content will be presented by faculty from each department. They will discuss curriculum and career paths for each major. By the end of this course, students have stated that they are able to identify which majors they would and would not like to pursue!

ENGR 1700 is only offered in the fall, so make sure it's on your schedule! **

Two science courses? 16 to 18 credits?

In the video below, your Hub Advisor, Kristin Bergene, will walk you through your first semester, the above mentioned courses, and provide more insight on the Undeclared Engineering Guide. Don't forget to turn up the volume or click the CC button!

Special Note! On the Undeclared Engineering Guide, you will see the course title, the number of credits each course is, if the course is fall or spring only, and the suggested semester that you take the course. This is all useful information as you plan your fall semester!

Some courses are only offered in either the fall or spring semester. As an Undeclared Engineering student, this is important information to know when planning your schedule as you do not want to miss out on taking the courses that could help you make a decision about your major. Keep an eye on the courses you would want to take, so you can include them in your planning! Use the Undeclared Engineering Guide for more information, or reach out to Kristin if you need help.

What if you are bringing college credits with you?

4. AP, IB, and other Transfer Credits

Are you planning to use AP, IB, or other transfer credits?

Yup! -- Read through Section 4) AP, IB, and other Transfer Credits.

Nope! -- Skip to Section 5) Your Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (HASS) Core.

Is it worth using my transfer credits? How will they work toward my requirements at Rensselaer? How have other students done this in the past?

Many students take advantage of transferring college credit to Rensselaer. This is one of the first decisions you will make about your curriculum and your fall schedule. So, where do you even begin?

Turn up the volume or click the CC button! We will explain how transfer credits work at Rensselaer.

To start, you need to have a good understanding of what options you have, both with the courses or exams you have taken, and the scores you have received. You also need to start thinking about how those credits will have a direct impact on your fall schedule. Review the equivalency charts (below) to see examples on how your AP, IB, and/or Cambridge Exam credits can be used toward your Rensselaer graduation requirements.

Left to right: AP/Cambridge/IV

Some students also receive credits through other colleges during high school. Common names for programs that grant these credits are dual enrollment, taking courses at a college as a “non-degree seeking” student, Project Lead the Way, or SUPA. If these courses were “above and beyond” what was required for you to graduate from high school, there is a good chance they can be accepted for use at Rensselaer! Check out the video below to see how to get those credits to Rensselaer.

Hopefully, you can start to envision what your fall schedule might look like.

By using your AP, IB, or other transfer credits, you give yourself the option to advance through your curriculum at a quicker pace. This can be a great option if you have considered adding to your existing requirements, such as declaring a minor.

Now, you might be asking yourself...

Should I move to the next highest course, or should I retake the course again at Rensselaer? What happens if I'm bored, or if the course is too hard?

The final step is to decide how you want to use the credits that you are able to bring with you. You might be unsure if you want to take the next course in the sequence during your first semester of college. However, our data shows that students who choose to use their transfer credits do very well!

Check this out; in a 5 year analysis...

  • Over 300 students with Calculus 1 credit proceeded to Calculus 2 and 75% received a B or higher.
  • Over 200 students with Calculus 1 and Calculus 2 credit proceeded to Multivariable Calculus and Matrix Algebra and 90% of them achieved a B- or higher.
  • Over 100 students with Calculus 1 and Calculus 2 credits proceeded to Introduction to Differential Equations, and 90% of those students received a B- or higher.
  • Over 100 students with Physics 1 credit proceeded to Physics 2, and 74% of them achieved a B- or higher.

Bottom line: If you felt confident with the material presented in the course, you may want to move forward in the sequence. From the data above, you can see that many students found success in taking the next course. However, if you found yourself a little overwhelmed with the content, it is perfectly fine to retake the course here at Rensselaer. There is nothing wrong with gaining a deeper understanding of the content by revisiting the material.

Regardless of what you register for, there will be time to adjust your schedule once the Fall semester begins. There is a two week Add/Drop period at the start of the semester. This means that if you wish to switch out of one course and register for another, you will have that option. For example...

  1. If you earned credit for Calculus 1, but choose to retake Calculus 1 at Rensselaer this fallonly to discover that you are not being challenged enough in the course, you can switch into Calculus 2 during the Add/Drop period.
  2. Or, if you have earned the credits for Physics 1, and choose to register for the next course in the sequence, Physics 2, only to discover that you want to retake Physics 1 at Rensselaer, you will be able to take a step backwards in the sequence during the Add/Drop period.

You will have to finalize your schedule before the Add/Drop period ends, but there is plenty of time between now and then!

Now that we've covered how transfer credits can impact your fall semester, let's talk logistics!

Is there a limit to how many credits you can transfer to Rensselaer? Yes!

  1. You can apply up to 32 transfer credits total toward your degree at Rensselaer.
  2. Up to 20 credits can be accepted across AP/IB/and Cambridge exams specifically.
  3. You can apply up to 8 transfer credits to your HASS Core. You will learn more about the HASS Core in Section 5.

We suggest transferring everything possible, even if it goes over the credit limit. Once you have, you can work with your Hub Advisor to decide which courses should be applied towards your degree. Using the equivalency charts above, you are able to see how transfer courses can be applied to your degree in many ways.

Unsure how to transfer all your credits to Rensselaer?

As mentioned in the video, if you received credit from another college while you were a high school student, and these credits were not applied to your High School diploma, you will need to fill out the following form (button below) if you want to transfer these credits to Rensselaer. You will need a guidance counselor or principal from your high school to sign the form to verify that those college credits were 'above and beyond' your High School graduation requirements.

If you took a college course at another college during the summer between high school and your first semester at Rensselaer, you will need to fill out the following form (button below), along with the Incoming Freshman Transfer Credit Procedure/High School Certification Form above.

Important note! There will be plenty of chances to speak with your Hub Advisor if you have any questions about transferring credits to Rensselaer. Never hesitate to reach out! We are here to help.

And finally...

Wondering what other incoming students have transferred to Rensselaer? Check out this cohort-based, major-specific resource!

Updated: May 2020
HASS = Your General Education Requirements

5. Your Humanities, Arts and Social Science (HASS) Core

Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences = your General Education!

Turn up the volume or click the CC button! A SoE Hub Advisor will explain your requirements in the following video.

During your first year you will take an Interdisciplinary HASS course (IHSS), as mentioned in the video above. You are also required to take one Communication Intensive (CI) HASS course within your first three semesters. When you go to register, you will see which IHSS courses are Communication Intensive. You can also visit the link below for a comprehensive list of courses that meet the Communication Intensive requirements. It is important to think about what pathway you may want when deciding your course options, so make sure to check those out as well!

Questions about HASS courses or the HASS Core itself? Unsure what to register for, or what your AP, IB, or other transfer credits will satisfy? You are always invited to reach out to the HASS Hub. Visit their website (button below) for contact information.

Additionally, you can attend a HASS Webinar focused on your HASS Requirements and the Pathways. Find more information by clicking the button below.

Step 1) course selection, Step 2) registration!

How to Register

Now that we've touched upon what classes you should be taking, let's discuss how you will actually register for them. There are 5 main steps in registering for your fall semester courses, and seeing your first college schedule!

  1. Set up your Student Information System (SIS)
  2. Find your Registration Time Ticket
  3. Create a mock schedule in YACS
  4. Clear your Financial Agreement Hold
  5. Register for courses with SIS

This first registration period during July is the only time you will complete Step 1! Once you set up your SIS account, you will be good for each registration in the future. However, you will need to repeat Step 2 through Step 5 each semester, including the removal of your Financial Agreement Hold.

When will you register for your fall classes? Summer registration for the fall semester will start on July 13th and end on July 22nd. More information on how to find the day and time that you will sit down to register will be found in Step 2 below!

You can always find more information on the Registrar's website.

Throughout the registration process, you can always email The Registrar's Office for support. Their email during your first registration period is: newstudentreg@rpi.edu

Step 1) Set up your Student Information System (SIS)

You will be given your Rensselaer Identification Number (RIN) from the Office of First Year Experience (FYE) ~6 days after you submit your deposit. In other words, you will have this number well before it is time for you to register for your fall courses. You will always use your RIN to log into the Student Information System (SIS).

The first time you log into SIS, you will use your birthday as the password (MMDDYY) and you will be immediately prompted to change your password. Keep all this information in a safe place!

If you have any issues logging into your SIS account, you can always contact Rensselaer's Registrar's Office. They will help you out! Email: newstudentreg@rpi.edu

Important note: Faculty and staff will commonly ask for your RIN, so always have this identification number on hand. You can find it on your Rensselaer ID card, and on your SIS account. It's useful to include in your emails to faculty and staff on campus so we are able to quickly pull up your information.

Step 2) Find your Registration Time Ticket

As mentioned, registration for the fall 2020 semester will start on July 13th and end on July 22nd. How do you know exactly what time you are supposed to register for your classes? The Registrar's Office will assign you a Time Ticket for your personal registration period.

SoE Hub Pro-Tip! The second your registration period begins (based on your Time Ticket) you should register for courses! During registration, hundreds of Rensselaer students are given access to register for their courses at the start of each hour. By delaying your personal registration you might miss the sections and courses you want to register for. Most first year students are planning to take the same courses, such as calculus and HASS. Do not wait to register for your courses, register immediately!

How do you find your Time Ticket?

Once you log into SIS, first select the Student Menu option, then View My Registration Status. Your time ticket is in United States Eastern Standard Time (EST) and is displayed in military/24 hour time. You may register any time after your assigned time slot during the registration period.

Special note: If you are unfamiliar with military time representation, times of 0000-1200 are equivalent to AM times. For times between 1201 and 2359, subtract 12 to get the equivalent PM time - for example a time of 1600 equates to 4:00 pm, a time of 1930 equates to 7:30 pm).

Be sure that you check your SIS account during the week of July 6th to find your Time Ticket information. Once you see the day/time that you will be registering for courses, put a notification on your calendar and block that time from other events.

If you know that you may have trouble accessing your SIS account to register for courses at the day/time listed on your Time Ticket, you may reach out to your Hub Advisor for support. Registering for your fall 2020 courses should be made a priority!

In future semesters, your time ticket will be based on the number of credits you have earned. You can find more information on Time Tickets by clicking the button below!

Step 3) Create a Mock Schedule in YACS

CRN = Course Registration Number

Turn up the volume or click the CC button! We will walk you through this crucial tool.

Important Note! YACS pulls all course information from SIS; however, there is a delay in the information being transferred from SIS to YACS. This means that the number of seats shown in YACS is most likely inaccurate when registration is open as changes are occurring every second to the number of available seats. YACS is unable to keep up! Always confirm the number of seats that remain by using SIS so you are not surprised if a section that you planned to register for is closed. It's important to always have a Plan A, Plan B, and maybe even a Plan C when you are registering for courses. Our advice is to have SIS and YACS open at the same time, even side-by-side, when you are registering for courses (see image below).

YACS on the left, SIS on the right!

Step 4) Clear Financial Agreement Hold

You will have to remove your Financial Agreement Hold every semester before you are able to register for courses.

What are holds? Holds are Rensselaer's way of keeping you on track. If you have requirements from the Bursar, Registrar, Health Center, or other offices on campus that have not been fulfilled, you will have a hold on your account. Holds will prevent you from registering for courses once you are on campus. You should check SIS regularly for holds, especially in the weeks leading to your future registration time tickets.

Step 5) Register for Courses with SIS

SIS = Student Information System

Turn up the volume or click the CC button! We will walk you through how to register for courses with SIS.

Prioritize one of the upcoming video chats!

Registration Guide Video Chats

Continued support from The School of Engineering Advising Hub and your SoE Hub Advisor!

The SoE Hub will host important, major-specific, 45-minute registration webinars from June 22nd to July 8th. Kristin Bergene, your advisor, will walk you through the curriculum choices you have as an Undeclared Engineer and your fall semester registration. Attending one of these video chats is highly suggested!

She will review...

  • What courses you should take this fall
  • Resources to inform your decisions
  • The tools you will use to register: SIS and YACS
  • And, she will leave plenty of time to answer all your questions!

What dates and times will the video chats happen?

Special notes: all times listed are EST.

Pay attention to your new Rensselaer email! Kristin will reach out to you with more information. Some video chats are meant for our friends on the West Coast, and around the world! If you're in a different time zone, look for the times that work best for you.

In addition to the video chat, Kristin strongly encourages every Undeclared Engineer to make an appointment with her for a one-on-one conversation about the fall. Your fall semester could look very unique based on your goals and expectations, and if you are bringing any credits with you. Kristin can help you piece together a schedule that includes elements from all the majors you are interested in, and matches your skill sets for a successful first-semester.

These one-on-one appointments can happen at any point before you register for courses.

Always remember, we are here to help!
Congratulations and welcome to RPI! - Your SoE Hub Team

School of Engineering First-Year Advising Hub

3306 Ansell Lounge, Jonsson Engineering Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

All photos within this Registration Guide were taken on the Rensselaer campus by SoE Hub Advisor Kristin Bergene, during her lunch time walks. We hope you enjoyed a brief look at our gorgeous campus. We certainly do not take it for granted!