Update: Rutgers-New Brunswick
Rutgers-New Brunswick is not the most selective flagship public university in America. But it is still one of the best, unless you really care how your football team is doing. I have lived in New Jersey most of my life, and still wonder why so many bright students will pay twice the tuition to another state university in another state.
No other school offers virtually any program that you can find at NYU for a much lower price, while being easily accessible to Manhattan by train. I decided that it was time to write an update, and invite you to check out my Rutgers Pinterest page. The deadline for Regular Decision, December 1st, is coming fast.
At the moment I don’t blame Rutgers-New Brunswick students from staying away from the football games to opt to sleep in or study in the library. I have been to only two state universities where I felt the “typical student” might be brighter than a peer at Rutgers: Georgia Tech and UNC-Chapel Hill.
Rutgers also has the highest percentage of students who receive Pell Grants (29%) in the Big Ten as well as the second-highest percentage of under-represented minority students (after Maryland). Few large public universities do better at graduating first-generation college students than Rutgers. Some such as UC-Berkeley and UCLA have higher hurdles to leap in admissions.
Rutgers’ four-year graduation rate has hit 60 percent in recent years, very good for a state school with well over 30,000 undergraduates. With more than 70 living-learning communities on campus, Rutgers does more than most big schools to make a very large university feel smaller. Greek life also helps. But it is less important at Rutgers than it has been at Penn State or the larger Midwestern schools in the Big Ten.
Unlike the other public universities in the Big Ten, Rutgers can house around half of its students on campus. Only Michigan State has a larger housing operation. However, the newest apartments, the Yard on the College Avenue Campus, and the apartments on the Livingston Campus, are quite pricy for college student budgets. Vacancies on-campus are low, but there are less expensive options if you want to move off. Rutgers allows all students, including freshmen, to have cars. But you’re more likely to park in one spot and ride buses to go everywhere on a typical weekday.
Rutgers’ current freshmen class averaged over 1300 on the SAT. That was pushed up by the high Math scores for the business, engineering and science-related programs. The university welcomed just over 7,300 freshmen on campus, most in university-owned housing. That was over 300 more than the admissions office expected for this fall. Freshman retention has been quite good, most recently at 94%. As a result, next year’s freshman class will likely be smaller.
Overall, around 60 percent of the students who apply are accepted. But the profiles for the different schools within Rutgers vary by grades and test scores. One tip: use the Rutgers application instead of the Coalition Application: it allows you to apply to up to three schools within the university for a single fee.
Rutgers does not report the percentage of incoming students who applied Priority Early Action. So I don’t know if the university is the first choice for most of the students who chose to come. But I would imagine that it is at or near the top of lists for those who are interesting in Nursing, Pharmacy or the visual and performing arts, which have smaller entering classes. Over 1,000 freshmen arrive to try an honors opportunity versus just over 300 at Penn State. This is another way that a large university can feel smaller.
You don’t need to get into an honors community to have a more personalized education. Rutgers has its own undergraduate research office to match students with faculty projects. The Douglass Residential College has its own opportunities for women. Rutgers helps its students get to Wall Street, Washington DC, and many other places. Care about high rankings? There’s more than I could ever list in a profile.
Rutgers is trying to offer more merit-based aid. If you qualify for the Presidential Scholarship, a full ride and more, you receive a housing allowance even if you move off campus. Other awards are available, too. More are needed since resident tuition and fees, and room and board are among the highest in the country.
I’ve also spent some time at career services this year, in preparation for my recent trip to China. Rutgers has every service that you could expect to find at a large and highly competitive public university. But because of the alumni base and location, it has a bit more. Take a look at the alumni page on LinkedIn, and you will see that there are large alumni communities in any major job market, especially New York and Philadelphia.
A football record of 9-36, likely to be 9-38, over the past four seasons is hard to achieve, unless your team is totally outclassed and out-coached. I was a season ticket holder for 12 years. I’ve gone to only two games since I dropped the season tickets. But I hate when anyone says that scoring 21 points against second-ranked Ohio State is a “moral victory.” I guess I care, since I’ve seen competitive teams, and happier students who cheered them on. I saw full student sections when the Scarlet Knights were winning. The current student section is an outgrowth from a temporary expansion of bleacher seats that was closer to the field, behind the same end zone. There will always be plenty of support for a winning team at Rutgers.
There are some very good teams at Rutgers-New Brunswick, including women’s basketball, women’s soccer and wrestling, as well as many great athletes. Men’s basketball is getting better, too. Rutgers ranked 82nd in the Director’s Cup standings for all sports last year, worst in the Big Ten. However, the university finished higher than Boston College (87) and Pitt (137) among schools in so-called the ‘Power Five’ football conferences. Prior to joining the Big Ten, Rutgers competed in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). This past season Rutgers ranked higher than any of its former AAC rivals, except Central Florida (62).
The Rutgers that I attended from the late 1970s through the early 1980s is so different from Rutgers today. There are far more academic and entertainment options, which the current students deserve. Housing is easier to get, and the food is better in choices and taste, except for possibly Brower Commons, the infamous dining hall on the College Avenue campus. Our generations share the same “love” for the campus buses, but those services have gotten better, thanks to technology.
Would I go to the Rutgers of today, if I could be a college freshman again? Probably yes, unless I had much higher SATs and a less limited budget. If someone tells you that Rutgers is one of America’s best state universities, don’t argue.
Report Card: Rutgers-New Brunswick
- Four-Year/Six-Year Graduation Rates: A/A
- Freshman Retention: A
- Costs: B
- Curriculum: A
- Community: B+
- Comforts: A
- Connections: A
Sharing is caring!