Upon confirming that you'll be attending RIT you are given an RIT computer account with access to Google Apps including email. The interface will be very similar for those who have a Google Account as the service RIT uses for students is Google Apps for Education. In most ways your RIT account will work like a Google account. However there are a few significant differences. To start you will have different options when it comes to sharing documents in Google Drive. If you create a document with your RIT account you won't be able to transfer ownership to anyone outside of the RIT domain (rit.edu). Second, RIT handles authentication for computer accounts so Google does not actually have your password and you login to your account using RIT's systems. This means that unfortunately you won't be able to directly login to your Google services (e.g. by going to google.com and logging in with your RIT account). To login your RIT Google Apps account you go to google.rit.edu and login with your RIT computer account information. It is possible to login to your account by going to google.com but you must first configure your Google Apps password at https://start.rit.edu/GoogleApps.
The more popular and common methods that I have seen are:
- Checking mail online on a computer via google.rit.edu and via a mobile device's native client
- Checking mail online via google.rit.edu on all devices
- Checking mail exclusively via one client (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.)
- Forwarding mail to a personal Gmail account and using gmail.com and the Gmail app for all mail
The option that I took was to forward my RIT email to my personal Gmail address. I set my RIT email to forward all mail to my personal Gmail and then delete it. Within my personal Gmail I have filters that automatically sort messages and assign labels based on which account the mail was sent to and sent from. This process was very helpful for me because I check my email very frequently on both my phone and computer and between school, work, my fraternity, and extracurricular activities I have multiple email addresses.
Two final tips: I recommend using Google's two factor authentication and if you do set your Google Apps password make sure it is different from your RIT computer account password. Please remember that there are multiple ways of configuring your mail and different people will want different end results that will work well with their different workflows. The information I presented reflects some of the more common approaches.
RIT Mail Server Settings
- Incoming Server Name: imap.gmail.com or pop.gmail.com (I recommend IMAP)
- Enable SSL (incoming): Yes
- Password: Google Apps Password
- Outgoing (SMTP) Server Name: smtp.gmail.com
- Enable SSL (outgoing): Yes
- SMTP Authentication Required: Yes
- Tags: @phryanjr