Rutgers University – Camden
Rutgers – Camden (visited 4/26/17)
The Camden branch is the smallest of the 3 Rutgers campuses with about 5000 undergraduates, only 600 of whom live in the 3 dorms buildings. There are no traditional-style dorms; freshmen live in 3-bedroom/6-person suites; upperclassmen get their own bedrooms in suites or apartments. All rooms have a fridge and microwave, AC, and cable.
Campus was surprisingly nice and compact; I expected more of an urban feel – and this is definitely in the city, but once on campus, it feels quiet and safe.
Weekends are “… quiet,” said one of the students working in admissions, the only 1 of the 3 I spoke with who lives on campus. There are some activities on campus, but not a lot. There are shuttles around town every 2nd Saturday to the malls, stores, theaters, etc. There’s also a subway stop about a 5-minute walk from campus; for $3 round-trip, students can get into Philly which can be seen from campus. There’s also a bus station to other cities for students wanting to go to NYC, Baltimore, or DC.
Every year, the school holds a Civic Engagement Day of Service. 20% of students go Greek, but not all the chapters are nationally recognized. One of the students tried to explain that “it’s different here. It’s more values based. It’s not like the movies.” However, I think that this is the way most chapters are moving (particularly at smaller schools). “There’s no traditional Rush. You get asked to join.” Students are eligible after completing 12 credits.
“Food is good but it’s repetitive. As a senior, I’d love for them to put some money into changing things up.” Students get a declining dollar account with freshmen automatically enrolled in the highest level. “They don’t have kitchens in the freshmen dorm. After that, we have kitchens so we can get fewer dollars on our account,” said the tour guide. Students also said that parking is a bit of an issue. “It’s there, but they just moved it farther away. They do run shuttles though.” It seems that the parking issues are the same as in any city.
Although there is a priority application deadline, they will continue to admit students if there is available space. During admissions, qualified students will get invited to join the Honors College or the Leadership Institute. NJ residents are eligible to participate in the Bridge the Gap initiative which helps cover tuition for lower-income students.
The Camden campus only has 3 undergraduate academic colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business, and Nursing. The business offerings are limited, but they have some interesting options in A&S such as Computational and Integrative Biology, Urban Studies and Community Development, and Childhood Studies. The minors offer even more choices including Museum Studies, Animation, Statistics, Ethics, and Justice and Society. Money is being put into new facilities including a new nursing building that is going up. The Fine Arts building has a Green Screen, digital media equipment, a black box theater, and more.
It is possible to transfer between the Rutgers campuses, but it’s not guaranteed. The admissions rep said that it’s considered an internal transfer and “it’s up to the Schools. They make the decision if you can move. It’s probable. It’s not for sure.”
Because of its size, students get much better access to the professors, something that all 3 students I spoke to raved about. There are a couple lecture halls on campus holding up to 250 students, but most classes are a much more manageable size of 20-30. Even when we toured, we saw a class in the lecture hall with very few students (like 10) in it. The tour guide’s largest class was his General Bio class which did fill a lecture hall; on the other end, he’s had a class with 4 students. Classrooms are now equipped with cameras to record lectures. Some professors do this automatically and will post the classes; others will do it if asked by a student who has to miss class.