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New Media Design
Avon NY

The RIT Ratio

Becky Drexler on Friday, 17 June 2016. Posted in Residence Life, RIT Behind The Scenes, Student Life, Women at RIT

When looking for schools, you try to look at everything – food, housing, classes, activities, and let's not forget the ratio.

What is this ratio I speak of? I'm referring to the male-to-female ratio on campus. The first people think of when they hear "tech school" is the idea that the females are significantly outnumbered in the stereotypically male-dominated fields.

I'm here share my experience with the RIT ratio from both the engineering and the design side. The overall male-to-female ratio on campus is 2-1. Each major is different, however, and you may have a completely different experience.

My freshman year, I majored in Civil Engineering Technology. I took several classes within that major, as well as math and science classes. In Civil Engineering Tech classes, I would definitely have to say the ratio of men was much higher than women. If I were to estimate a ratio for several of my engineering classes, I would say it was roughly 3:1. I never found this to be a problem. Some girls visiting campus ask me about the ratio for engineering majors, and are concerned that their male classmates might exclude them or disrespect them. I felt very welcomed and comfortable in my major, and was always one of the ones to ask questions and give answers. I worked hard and played key roles in different group projects, and students (regardless of male or female) would work together to solve homework problems and study. My classmates were very respectful and I really enjoyed having classes with everyone.

After a year, I decided I wanted a more creative and design-oriented major, so I switched to New Media Design. This was a complete 180 from my previous major as an engineer. In the design-oriented and artistic fields, you'll find the ratio to be completely reversed. Now there was an average of almost 3:1 female-male – depending again on the specific classes.
As you can see, each program is different, and you cannot just assume that everything on campus follows the "RIT Ratio." Engineering will typically have more men, and design will have more women. Some of our majors on campus are even closer to 1:1.

Yes, the ratio is something to consider when making a decision about what school you want to go to, and I hope this gives you a better idea of the ratio here. I was a little worried as an incoming college freshman that I might feel left out or uncomfortable, but I was happily mistaken. I've made a lot of close friends in both engineering and design majors – off all gender. If you are concerned about your "odds" and meeting people, I would simply recommend to get involved in clubs and organizations on campus. Make friends outside of your major.