Engineering Exploration at RIT

Eric Kolb on Tuesday, 04 December 2018. Posted in Coursework, Institute Requirements, Labs, Majors & Minors

Hi guys! As most of you will know, one thing that makes RIT great are the exploration programs available within the different colleges. There is an option for almost every college, within RIT to choose an exploration or undeclared major for students that are unsure about picking a specific major. This gives students the chance to get involved in multiple classes and programs to really see what they want to do and allows them to think before they choose what career they want to pursue. This time to think can be invaluable for some students since not everyone will know what they want to commit to right away.


In my case, I came to RIT as an engineering exploration student. I knew that my brain was geared towards engineering, but I wasn’t quite sure exactly how I wanted to focus my engineering knowledge. My first semester at RIT involved general classes including math, chemistry, and social science classes to fulfill requirements that every engineering major will have to take during their first year. On top of these classes I also had to take an exploration seminar once a week that was organized and taught by a few of the engineering advisors. Each week, one of the heads of each of the different engineering departments visited our class to tell us about their specific engineering program. These lectures included the classes we would take, the topics we would learn, the labs we would be working on, and the industry in general. They would tell us about the fields we could work in when we graduate and how each of our majors would be able to make a difference in the world.


Every other week when there wasn’t a presentation we visited the buildings, classrooms, and labs of these departments. For me, this was one of the most important parts of the class. Being able to see exactly what I would be working with over the next 5 years of college was essential in my choice. After these classroom and lab tours, we were given a survey for ourselves and were told to write about our experience and opinions on the program we saw that week. We had to compare each program by the end and analyze which engineering we really thought we fit with, and we were asked to think about projects we might work on if we were to graduate as each type of engineer. This gave us a chance to actually see how we felt about these programs instead of just absorbing the presentations, allowed us to think more critically about what major we would pick.


For me, this program really helped me decide on what I wanted to do during college, and how I wanted to spend my time once I graduated. I believe it may have even been better for me because I got to choose my program not simply based off what I heard online, but also on what I experienced. I was able to ask questions and hear firsthand accounts from experienced professionals about the work they did. While it may not be for everyone, this opportunity can help students who are unsure to decide how they would like to spend their college career. Having this opportunity in each of the different schools at RIT makes it much easier for students to choose the right program, and they have a chance to get their feet wet in each of these disciplines, while not taking away from the college experience and graduating on time.