campus encounters

"Get the first-hand scoop about colleges and universities"

Archive for the category “New Jersey”

Centenary University (NJ)

Centenary University (visited 11/12/19)

Centenary main 2

The main building as seen through the gates from the street. 

My visit totally started off on the wrong foot. I arrived about 20 minutes early for my 2pm tour. I arrived at the given address and found the large main building with the gold dome; it’s hard to miss. However, there’s no parking to be found. No visitor lot, no signs for admissions parking, nothing to direct people arriving from off campus. No signage is a huge red flag for me. I circled the area, pulled onto a couple small roads into campus thinking it might lead me somewhere. I saw a lot of old buildings, nothing that looked well kept up, no signs for anything. Pulling onto another main road, I saw a small (like the size of a sheet of paper) sign that said “Centenary Parking” with an arrow. I followed it. Saw another one indicating I was still in the right direction. I ended up at the Hackettstown train station about 3 blocks from campus (which is a bonus, I’ll say – so there’s a plus in the university’s favor). I pulled into the lot and called the admission office, explaining that I had no idea where I should be going or parking. “Oh, you need to park on the street!” – which they never indicated on the website or in any of the emails confirming my visit. I explained that I had been circling for about 10 minutes; no spots available. “Then just go to this other place.”

Centenary chapel 1

The balcony of the chapel which sits under the gold dome.

I finally found someone who had pulled out, I parked on the street, and I made my way into the building. Right inside the main doors is a Welcome Center; I figured that was maybe the admission hub since there were no other signs for admissions. I thought that was great! A lot of schools don’t have that. I went in, introduced myself, and said I was there for the 2pm tour. “You’re in the wrong spot. You want Admissions.” Nothing else. Ok … where would that be?? I got pointed in the right direction.

I seriously almost walked away at that point. It’s hard to feel good about a place that seems to almost go out of its way to not welcome people – especially when they’re trying to get enrollment up. How can I recommend a place in good faith when I’m not sure that students will be taken care of, and that starts with visiting Admissions.

Centenary quad 1

The main quad where there are often activities held, including a massive Easter Egg hunt,

Once I got into Admissions (at least it was just around the corner from the Welcome Center), the student worker at the desk was friendly, and things turned around a bit. I introduced myself, and he was enthusiastic and told me that he was going to be the one taking me on tour. While I was waiting for him to get his coat, none of the admissions officers who saw me come in introduced themselves or said hello … and this office was NOT busy. I was the only visitor there; I heard no phones ringing; nothing much seemed to be going on. As a side note, the woman who I had been emailing/talking to also never introduced herself.

Centenary tablesThe tour was fairly quick – maybe 40 minutes, and we dawdled because I asked a lot of questions. He was totally not scripted and was good about answering things openly. As a senior, he’s got a lot to say, and I walked away feeling like I had a decent grasp on the place.

So, here’s what I can say about Centenary:

  • This is a great school for students who are maybe C students in high school and who need small classes and possibly academic support: they offer a couple for-pay support programs.
  • Centenary equestrian 1It has a spectacular Equestrian Center. The center is about 8 miles away, about a 15-minute drive through some very pretty countryside.
    • “The center is amazing; the classrooms are right there and you can actually watch people riding and doing the things you’re talking about in class.”
    • They offer Equine Studies with a variety of concentrations, including: Equestrian Media/PR, Equine Business Management, Equine Training/Instruction, Animal Health (pre-vet track), Equine Science, and Equine Studies.
    • Centenary equestrian classroom

      One of the classrooms in the equestrian center that looks onto the indoor arena

      They run shuttles several times an hour to and from the center; they even have a kitchen there “Because a lot of them are there for a big chunk of the day for classes and riding; they can even use their meal swipes out there.”

  • They have a very cool “double-decker” (2-storey) chapel on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the main building.
  • Campus facilities leave a lot to be desired, although they’re slowly improving upon them.
  • Centenary theater

    The interior of the new theater lobby. The black box theater is straight ahead; the large theater is the left.

    They have new theater facilities which brings in community members both to perform and as audience members.

  • Their DIII athletic teams draw fans, including wrestling, but I get the feeling that it’s because there’s not a ton of other things to do.
  • It’s very much a regional school (70% from NJ) with a lot of commuters. “One of my friends commutes from Newark which is like an hour away.”
    • They offer 2 cool freshman dorms (attached to the main building), 2 transfer student dorms (which is incredibly smart of them), a couple sophomore dorms (“Middle Campus”) and 2 fairly new Apartment-style buildings. The apartments have 4 singles, 2 baths, a living room, and a kitchen. “You can move in here as soon as sophomore year, but usually only if you have older friends who are willing to have you live with them.”
    • Centenary middle campus

      The Middle Campus (sophomore) dorms

      They have a “Move In Crew” – volunteers from a bunch of clubs that will help unload stuff from onto golf carts and will bring them to the dorms.

    • There is no residency requirement.
    • Housing is more difficult off campus because “it’s an older town and it’s hard to find landlords to rent out houses, but there are some, and there are some apartment complexes not too far away.”
  • Centenary sci bdg

    The Science (and fashion) building

    Students have to complete 10 hours of community service. “Most of them get it done in freshman year because there’s a service project they do as a group during orientation.”

  • Enactus is a social entrepreneurship organization and/or class. Students can get a Social Media Marketing My tour guide loved this and got a social media internship between junior and senior years which he credits entirely to Enactus and his concentration.
  • They offer a fashion design major – which is housed in the science building. I didn’t get to go in and see the labs, but the building looked like an old elementary school.
  • Town is small. “It’s hard to get food late-night, so the school has offered some late night options. People love that!”

© 2019

New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Jersey Institute of Technology (visited 3/23/17)

NJIT 3NJIT is a physically small campus (2×2 city blocks) located right in Newark. It has managed to combine the best of a central campus feel with the urban environment. The central Plaza is separated into Upper Green (there’s currently construction going on) and Lower Green (filled with bouncy houses and other activities when I visited during mid-afternoon).

NJIT quad 2Because of its location (and because of the in-state tuition), it remains very much a commuter school with only about 25% of students living on campus. Commuters are well taken care of here with regular events for commuters to help them connect to others and the school. My tour guide was a commuter and loved it; he never felt like he wasn’t part of the school, and did spend a great deal of time on campus. If he could change anything about the school, he would add sleeping pods in the library. “Students who live in dorms can nap during the day. Commuters are sometimes here 10-14 hours a day, and it would be nice to be able to nap in our down-time!” The big parking garage provides plenty of space for drivers; an app shows how many open spots there are so they don’t waste time driving through the garage looking. Commuters pay less than resident students.

NJIT greek row 2

Greek Row

There are 2 freshmen halls (1 traditional, 1 suite) and 2 upperclassmen dorms with apartments and suites. There is a Greek Village with small residential units for students. The dining hall is big with some unusual options including sushi, make-your-own-pizza, carving stations, and even fajitas. Next door, there’s a commuter dining hall with microwaves, seating, and even a grill to purchase food. There are several grab-and-go places on and near around campus, and there are 3 food trucks regularly parked on campus. “I ate at one of those all year last year! The food is so good.” Upstairs from the dining hall is a pub. Everyone is welcome, but must show both a license and a current NJIT ID to get into the 21+ side.

NJIT honors dorm

New Honors Dorm

The Honors College offers spots to students in all majors; to qualify, applicants must have a 1370 SAT/30 ACT and be in the top 10% of their classes (or a B+ average if schools don’t rank). Students are guaranteed housing, and they’ve just built a new honors dorm although living there is not required. Students in the college receive a scholarship that can be stacked with any other merit aid they receive. Students must complete 30 hours of community service, at least half of those off campus.

NJIT student groups

Groups of students doing a lab project outside

“I like it here because most of the classes aren’t huge,” said my tour guide. The largest lectures he’s ever been in had 60-80 students, the size of the largest halls on campus. His smallest classes had 30. Class selection is good, and it’s extended because they also have the option to cross-register at Rutgers Newark. Their Architecture program is extensive; the Bachelor of Architecture is a 5-year program; along with Princeton, these are the only 2 in the state that lets students get certified directly. However, they also offer several BS/MS or MIP programs combining Architecture with Infrastructure Planning, Management, Civil Engineering, and Technology. They also offer graduate work in Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical Engineering; undergrads interested in this major in Chemical Engineering and then can move into the grad program.

NJIT arch projects

A student lounging on one of the Architecture projects displayed outside the Arch building

Research is extensive and varied, as one would imagine at a school like this:

  • They have a large telescope on top of one of the buildings, “but we’re in Newark. It’s not entirely useful.” They do have an arrangement with NASA, though, and the school’s solar telescope is being used extensively.
  • Their Center for Injury Biomechanics, Materials, and Medicine (CIBM3) is doing great work with concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries.
  • CoAD is a design showcase where students can get feedback from industry leaders on projects they’re working on.
NJIT dining hall

Part of the dining hall

Students are pretty active in campus activities in addition to taking advantage of Newark and New York City.

  • Greek Life makes up less than 10% of the population, but they organize a lot of events.
  • They host regular Days of Dialogue including topics like ‘Women in Polytechnics’ and ‘What are you doing to create an inclusive environment?’
  • They are DI for basketball, lacrosse, and soccer. They have a Fencing club and a fencing room in the rec center. The mascot is the Highlander.
  • They run a joint theater program with Rutgers Newark.

© 2017

College of Saint Elizabeth

College of Saint Elizabeth (visited 3/23/17)

COE main 2

The main building on campus

This is a small, Catholic school that had been single-gender until last year when it became “fully coeducational” in 2016. The male population quickly jumped to about 40% within the year. It’s a safe campus in a residential area, and while there are no longer shuttles around town provided by the school, the train station is right outside the school gates. NYC is an hour away. Only about 2/3 of students live on campus and they pull a lot of students from the local area.

COE chapelThis is still heavily Catholic with Sisters living on and around campus. There is a Mass during orientation, and they’re offered daily but not required.

COE train

The train station just outside the gates

I’m not sure about this school. It’s definitely small (both in size and population – they enroll under 1000 students) and manageable. Students were out even on a chilly morning around 9:30. There weren’t a ton around, but that’s normal for that time of day. However, graduation rate hovers around 50% in 6-years. I get this impression that students want a larger campus, and some students who came here for the single-gender experience left when it went coed. I’m not sure it offers anything unique to draw students from a distance; there are other small Catholic schools around. I just didn’t have a sense of what distinguished this one, unfortunately.

COE greenhouse

The campus greenhouse; don’t see too many free-standing ones on campuses!

I talked to a senior majoring in Sociology, “I still have no idea what I’m doing after graduation.” She loved that it was a small school. “It’s easy to get around and I know everyone at least by face if not by name.” She was surprised at how welcoming everyone was. “You’re not an outsider here.” She told me about how during orientation, she ended up having to go to an event before her mother left and was unable to say goodbye. She was in tears, but people she didn’t even know came over and hugged her.

COE dormThe academic offerings are limited, but students are allowed to take classes at Drew and at the nearby Fairleigh Dickenson campus. “There’s a path that leads right onto their athletic fields. It’s easy to get over there.” Drew is about 10 minutes away. She had a friend take music classes there; she didn’t have a car, but the school got her transportation over.

© 2017

Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University (visited 10/10/16)


Interior of the Chapel

Like many Catholic schools, students here agreed that SHU is “as Catholic as you make it.” This is a Diocesan university, unaffiliated with a specific branch of Catholicism. Just over 2/3 of the 5,800 undergraduates self-identify as Catholic, “but that doesn’t mean we’re practicing.” All faiths are welcomed. The mission is to create a “University of Opportunity for Deserving Students” while teaching respect and understanding based on the vision of “Home for the Mind, Heart, and Spirit.” SHU has a 44% diversity rate; students who come from all over the US and 70 foreign countries.

seton-hall-studentsStudents are engaged with each other and lots were wearing Seton Hall gear. There were so many students around that I was surprised to learn that students were actually on break. 80% of freshmen and 50% of total undergrads live on campus. Housing is not guaranteed, but they’ve never had a student denied if they’ve applied by the deadline. RAs and priests live in each of the 6 residence halls; they also provide 2 apartment buildings for upperclassmen.

The dining hall, an all-you-can-eat option, is spacious and has lots of stations and food choices. Booths have power outlets which is smart. “When they serve chicken tenders or mac & cheese, the line is out the door. Otherwise, maybe it’s a 3 minute wait for food,” said one of the students. I ate lunch there and was pleased with the food.

seton-hall-statueStudents feel that there’s enough to do on campus. As a founding member of the Big East, their 14 DI sports teams are a big draw, particularly basketball. Tickets cost $100 for the season (refunded if they go to all the games). Another student raved about the fact that Seton Hall won “Best College Christmas Tradition”: on the first Monday of December, they light the large outdoor tree, sing carols, and have hot chocolate.

seton-hall-2One student told me that campus can be quiet on the weekends. However, there’s no shortage of things to do. Many students choose Seton Hall because of its proximity to NYC. The train station is a 10-minute walk (or quick shuttle ride) from campus; from there, it’s a 30-minute ride into Penn Station. Luckily, the train station is on the “good side” of campus. I was worried as I drove in: an area close to campus was run-down with boarded-up/gated storefronts, garbage, and people literally wandering in the streets. Suddenly, within a block or two of campus, things changed. “One side of campus is shady; the other is a mega-rich neighborhood,” said students. Campus is beautiful, safe, and gated; students swipe in, and visitors check in with a guard.

Shuttles run every 30 minutes. Only seniors, commuters, and students with jobs or internships can have cars on campus. Commuters are given lots of resources and chances to integrate into the community; the university also recognizes the different needs of commuting students. For example, the Commuter Café is open 10-7 when classes are in session.

seton-hall-6Academics are student-centered, and students like the atmosphere: “We’re pretty chill here. It’s cooperative,” said the tour guide. Freshmen are assigned both an academic and a peer advisor, and they’re enrolled in a 1-credit University Life class to help transition into college. Students get a laptop when they start and a new one 2 years later (they can keep that one after graduation). They rank in the top 5 universities (keeping company with places like UPenn and Duke) for internships: over 80% of students complete at least 1. Clearly they’re doing something right: they’ve had 18 Fulbright awards since 2009.

seton-hall-signThe size of the school “offers all the advantages of a large research university but the support of a small school,” said the admissions rep. Classes average 21 students with Freshman English averaging 15 and languages capped at 15. The tour guide’s larges class was 30 (Intro to Bio) and smallest was 15 (Freshman Eng). Another student’s smallest class was 7 (Russian).

Students take 5 religious classes: the first one, and the only common one, is Journey of Transformation. “It’s mostly philosophy and introspective.” Students then choose 4 others. Students in the Honors Program (requiring a separate application to get in) take a different class in place of Freshman English and the Transformations class.

seton-hall-3There are two early deadlines to be aware of for scholarships. First, students interested in Special Scholarships need to apply by 1/5. Second, to be eligible for the Public Tuition Rate, they must apply by 12/15. For this, students must rank in the top 10% of their high school class and meet various GPA and score requirements. They do not need to be NJ residents to get this award. If the high school doesn’t rank, the school counselor should contact admissions with information.

Information about the different schools include:

  • Arts & Sciences
    • Engineering (electrical, civil, computer, mechanical, biomedical, industrial) is housed in this school
  • Health and Medical Sciences: All the programs in this school are streamlined undergrad majors combined with graduate degrees (Masters except for the DPT).
    • For PA Candidacy: students have to complete the application in junior year
    • All others: students are automatically in as long as they meet minimum GPA
  • Diplomacy and International Relations
    • Seton Hall has an exclusive alliance with the UN
    • 100% do internships or study abroad with UN, USAID, UNESCO, UNICEF, FBI, Embassies, Red Cross, Missions abroad, etc.
  • Business
    • The Leadership program was ranked #1 in the US for the 2nd year in a row
    • They boast a 95% employment rate (within 6 months) and 100% admission to grad school
    • Management Information Systems, Legal Studies, and Finance and Mathematical Finance are worth nothing.
  • Nursing
    • This is a Direct-Admit program.
  • Education and Human Services
    • Students complete more practicum placements and hours (and in a variety of schools) than at other schools.
    • A Joint Masters in speech language pathology is available.
  • Communication and the Arts
    • The student-run radio station and the college newspapers are consistently highly ranked (often in the top 5)
  • The Medical School will open in the fall of 2018; they’ll partner with Hackensack University Medical Center, listed as the #1 hospital in NJ. They’ll have a direct admit, 7-year BS/MD degree program.

© 2016

The College of New Jersey

The College of New Jersey (visited 11/14/15)


The iconic campus building

I had wanted to see TCNJ since a colleague’s son had gone there and thrived. I had heard great stories: not only was he incredibly happy to be there (so happy that he stayed on campus for 2 summers), but he got involved in a lot of research and before he graduated, ended up being published in a textbook that one of his professors wrote.

TCNJ Mascot

TCNJ Mascot

TCNJ didn’t disappoint.

~TCNJ 2Two students told me essentially the same thing about what surprised them: it’s small enough for the class sizes they have but large enough to meet people. “I meet new people all the time, but I see people I know all the time.” Another student was surprised at how challenging the academics were and how smart everyone is. Classes tend to be on the small size: of the students I spoke to, the smallest classes ranged from 11-16; the largest ranged from 25-40. TAs don’t teach classes, but they may help run labs or foreign language discussion sections.

New Campus Village

New Campus Village

~TCNJ 1Housing is guaranteed for two years (4 years for out-of-state students), “but I haven’t heard of anyone having trouble getting it if they want it.” They traditionally had been able to house a bit more than half of the 6,500 undergraduates, but now they have space for 460 juniors and seniors in the new Campus Village apartments. The spots filled up within an hour, so TCNJ is building more to meet the demand. This area is designed with retail space on street-level to increase the amount of places students can walk to.

~TCNJ nature trailFreshmen can’t have cars. The Loop takes kids around campus and town, including the mall, the movies, and even into Princeton. They can also take the town bus, that that’s not free. Upperclassmen can have cars; there’s “always parking in the garage.” Campus is both walkable and safe. The blue lights were pressed “12 times by accident last year,” said a rep; when I asked a junior if he had ever heard of them being used, he couldn’t think of a single time.

~TCNJ stadiumThere really is something for everyone here. There are plenty of activities (including Bubble Soccer and Billiard Soccer tournaments) and traditions the kids like. The EPCOT Festival is a particularly popular as is jumping in the fountain before graduation. The Radio Station is well-run and DJing is popular; it is 1 of 4 radio stations nationally to get nominated for Station of the Year by College Music Journal. Approximately 1/3 of students will go Greek which has a delayed rush in the spring. Sports (DIII) are incredibly successful and well supported by fans. Students interested in service can apply to become a Bonner scholar.

The tour guide had a hard time thinking of anything she’d want to improve upon or change on campus. She finally said, “I want a bigger smoothie bar. What we have is good. I just more of it!”

~TCNJ Art and Interactive media

~TCNJ acad bldg int

The interior of one of the academic buildings

Students couldn’t say enough about their classes and professors. The Arts and Interactive Media building is relatively new, and they receive a 2010 Art grant resulting in 4 large colored balls as a permanent art installation on a quad that are supposed to be pixels. Departments are well-stocked with top-notch technology for teaching such as the simulation labs in the Nursing department and the planetarium for astronomy students. The Education department offers all the usual subjects plus Deaf/HH and Urban Education. The Biomedical Engineering degree gives students an option of doing a 7-year Medical School program. The iSTEM (integrative STEM) is noteworthy.

~TCNJ pixels

The PIxel installation on an academic quad

TCNJ is one of several colleges that offers Study-Travel classes during their Maymester. Some students take a class in the spring that has a travel component; other classes are “Stand-alone” classes in students travel for 2-3 weeks. Some travel sites/topics include studying/comparing Genocide in Armenia and Eastern Europe; the Gendered History of Food in Italy; and Biology in the Galapagos and the Rain Forest.

© 2015

Rider University

Rider University (visited 11/14/15)

~Rider quad 3During my tour, I had a hard time figuring out what makes Rider different from other smallish liberal arts schools. It’s a lovely campus with just over 4000 undergrads on the main campus in Lawrenceville. I visited on a partly-sunny day in November; although it was a bit windy, it wasn’t all that chilly, but only a few people seemed to be around campus. I don’t know how much of that was because it was a Saturday afternoon and classes were not in session, because students maybe go home on the weekend, or because there was an open house and several students were giving tours and helping to staff some Student Life Booths (although those students only represented a tiny fraction of the total population).

~Rider quad


The students I talked to were earnest and pleasant enough but most had trouble answering questions with any substance. Everyone I talked to said that they liked the community feel on campus, but there was little talk of how that manifested itself. I had to go to the website to learn about student life on campus; there appear to be a lot of great-sounding traditions, but none of the students talked about them, even when asked. The two students who were staffing the Hillel booth at the Open House Activities Fair were the exception to this. They were enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and interesting to talk to. They said they were “small but mighty” – there is a decent Jewish population on campus, but not a huge regular group at Hillel. However, those who came were very active, and they would often do things with The College of New Jersey which is only a few miles down the road.

~Rider businessThis seems like a good university for students looking for a solid, basic liberal-arts education with some options for career-oriented majors. I caught a bit of the Business Department’s presentation to prospective students. They were up-front about the fact that many careers that students prepare for don’t even exist yet. They have a wide range of options to choose from within the business program including Management and Leadership, Global Supply Chain Management, Information Systems, Business Economics, and Sport Management. Organizational Psychology will begin in Fall 2016.

~Rider sculpture 2Rider merged with the Westminster Choir College in the 1990s; that campus now houses the Arts College. They have robust range of offerings in this division including a BA in Popular Music Culture, Musical Theater, and Arts Administration.

Classes are kept small: the tour guide’s largest class had 40 students in her Intro to Geology class and 16 in her Cognitive Psych lab. Her favorite class was Theories of Psychotherapy.

One of the dorms

One of the dorms

Freshmen must live on campus; two years of housing are guaranteed, but the tour guide said that she had never heard of anyone being denied housing if they wanted it. Some housing is geared towards specific majors, and there’s 1 all-female dorm but no single-sex housing for males. Premium housing includes the suites and apartments (with a kitchen). Health Services gets rave reviews: “I love the health services here better than my own doctor.”

Pond with housing on the far side

Pond with housing on the far side

Centennial Pond is a nice feature on campus; there’s a bridge across and 2 fountains. The Lake House is a dorm on the far side for Musical Theater Majors. There are 2 frats (also housed by the lake) and 4 sororities. The Chapel has all sorts of religious services, including Shabbat services.

© 2015

Monmouth University

Monmouth University (visited 7/29/13)

~Monmouth wilson hall stairsMonmouth is a private university with about 4400 undergraduates. The main hall on campus is Wilson Hall built in the early 1900s and named for President Wilson who had stayed there during his 1916 campaign for president. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, it is surrounded by the Shadow Lawn Estate, modeled after the Gardens of Versailles. Many people will recognized it as Dr. Warbuck’s mansion from Annie. The Guggenheim family “cottage” (mansion) is also on campus and now houses the library and cafe.

~Monmouth fountainMonmouth stresses Experiential Education, required of all students. This can be fulfilled through study abroad, internships, or other similar experiences. Classes are caped at 35 with an average size of 22. The tour guide’s largest classes were 35 in her Gen Ed classes; the smallest had 8. She had transferred from Ramapo (a larger public school) for the hands-on experience and to take advantage of the 5-year BA/MBA program; she’s planning on doing her MBA in Health Care Management. “I like that they make sure we succeed. It’s not survival of the fittest here.”

~Monmouth businessThere are several notable academic areas to point out:

  • There are multiple 5-year Bachelor/Masters programs. Their Social Work (concentrations in International and Community Development or Families and Children) and Software Engineering programs are top ranked.
  • They have a student-run record label!
  • Marine Biology is well-regarded with research opportunities in the Bahamas.
  • The Center for Entrepreneurship. One student started a natural pet treat company and donates 10% of profits to animals for military
  • Their Clinical Lab Science major is unusual. Students can complete concentrations in Cytotechnology or Medical Lab Sciences.
  • Other unusual majors include: Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy, Chemistry: Chemical Physics, Homeland Security, and Fine Arts with concentrations in Creative Writing, Animation, or Graphic Design.
  • They’re starting their nursing program in the fall of 2014 with 25 spots anticipated. Students will need about a 1600 SAT and 3.25 GPA and must write an essay addressing interest.
  • They offer 3 free rides to law school.
  • The art museum has exhibits and studio space.

~Monmouth 4~Monmouth flowersHousing is guaranteed for freshmen, and starting this year, for sophomores as well (a new sophomore residential hall just opened up). A tunnel under the road leads to the residential oval where there’s a 50/50 split between traditional housing and suites, although freshmen tend to be in more standard cinderblock set-ups. Dorms are wired for wifi, but rooms have backup Ethernet hookups. Each room has cable access for students wanting to buy into that system. There is no official Greek housing, but groups can live together on a hall as long as they don’t exceed 15% of space. Most students will opt to live on campus, but there’s plenty of off-campus housing should they choose to move off. Most students living in non-campus housing will need cars or will ride the shuttle into school. Parking costs $300 a year in the assigned lot; it’s first come, first serve.

~Monmouth stud cntrThe Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC) was completely built with donations. They have TV and radio stations inside, student activity offices, and plenty of meeting spaces. There are even special recycling bins; by using them, students win points for iPods and more. Monmouth has a world-class debate team which won a national competition last year. Students are given a calendar of activities when they arrive on campus. “There’s a ton to do on and off campus,” said the tour guide. Big campus traditions include Battle of the Buildings (inter-dorms competition in the fall, Winter Ball (prom-like dance), and Spring Fling. Off-campus trips, include weekend shuttles to the beach, require a $5 reservation to hold a the spot, but they get it back when they get on the bus.

~Monmouth mascot~Monmouth hawkAdmitted students tend to have a B+ average and have about a 1600 SAT or 24 ACT. Crossover colleges are often Scranton, Charleston, Iona, TCNJ, Rowan, and Drew. About 65 students are admitted to the Honors program during the application process. They are housed together and have access to specially designed classes that are often thematic and emphasize creativity. Students need to keep a 3.5 in the major and 3.4 overall to stay in the program. The Honors Program has about a 94% retention rate.

© 2014

Rutgers University – New Brunswick

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY – New Brunswick (visited 7/19/13)

Rutgers 3I heard stories from former Rutgers students that scheduling classes with enough time in between was a nightmare and that they needed to ride buses to class because of the size of campus. I’ve seen state universities with enough students to populate small cities but never one that had spread out over such a large expanse, so I was curious – and I wondered how they kept attracting students when it was so difficult to get around. Having seen it now, I get it. Students get around easily on the fleet of 60 buses that run every 5 minutes, and the university has made sure not only that scheduling works, but that students have a variety of options to suit all sorts of needs and interests. Being a Rutgers student means having access to many campuses in one.

Rutgers 2

Campus Train Station

Campus Train Station

The New Brunswick campus (Rutger’s flagship) is unusual in that they don’t have a single contiguous campus. Instead, they have five campuses with distinct feels. Each has residence halls, libraries, and recreational facilities, but students can take classes, eat, study, or work out on any campus. The Busch Campus has the stadium and lots of recreation facilities in addition to the Engineering department, most of the sciences, computer science, half of psychology, and math. The Douglass Campus was originally the NJ College for Women, and remains a residential college for women. It looks like a traditional college campus with trees and lots of green open space. Special programs for leadership development are housed here. The Cook and Douglass Campuses are contiguous; the Cook campus is the original land-grant portion of campus, and many of the Applied Science fields (biotechnology, food science, meteorology, pre-vet) are still here as well as a farm so students have experience with animals. The business and art departments are also here. The College Avenue Campus is the smallest campus and houses English, history, languages, economics, and other similar departments. The Livingston Campus is seeing quite a bit of new construction with a collection of apartment buildings; the first floor of the buildings house retail establishments such as a movie theater, a 24-hour diner, Starbucks, a Mexican restaurant, and more. The student housing above this are mostly singles. The original site of the school, Queens Campus, is not considered one of the 5 campuses because there are no classes held there anymore. Instead, there are offices, a museum, and the chapel. There are two satellite campuses: the Newark campus is 15 miles from NYC, and the Camden campus is across the river from Philadelphia.

Rutgers was founded in 1766, making it the ninth oldest university in the country (the second public university after William and Mary). Rutgers 1They got the land-grant in the mid-1800s and were officially named the State University in the mid-1900s. Currently, there are about 32,000 undergraduates (and about another 10,000 in the graduate and medical schools) at New Brunswick, representing all US states and 125 countries (with 120 languages spoken). However, they’re looking to lower freshman enrollment at New Brunswick and will increase at the other two campuses to compensate. There are 50 residence halls (including apartments) but more will be added with the $1 billion dollar expansion that the university is undertaking, which will include new dorms (including honors), academic buildings, new nursing facilities, and other programs.

New dorms with retail on the first floor

New dorms with retail on the first floor

One of the coolest things I learned during the information session was that Rutgers was instrumental in developing the first underwater self-propelled tube across the Atlantic from NJ to Spain. The tube was controlled form Rutgers, and the ship that accompanied it (called Scarlett because of Rutger’s colors) was manned by students and staff from the university. There were even freshman on the team, including English majors who accompanied a Professor who was a documentarian; some were so excited they switched to oceanography as a major! Rutgers ranks as 21st in the nation in sponsored research.

Here are some cool facts about Rutgers that the tour guides shared with us on our tour:Rutgers athletics

  • They have the largest indoor practice football “bubble” in the country, and the Giants and the Jets practice there.
  • Their intramural sports include a 5’5” and under basketball league, quidditch, and underwater basketweaving.
  • Their swimming pool has a hydraulic floor to control its depths.
  • Their Math building is shaped like Pi
  • Their Physics building looks like a cupcake with a steep underground lecture hall.
  • There are over a hundred study abroad experiences in 40 countries.
  • Some of the off-campus housing is closer to the bus-stops on campus than several of the dorms.
  • 3 different police patrols cover campus.
  • Nabisco funded their Food Science Building.
  • The River Dorms are Living Learning Communities with classrooms in the basement
  • They have a well-renowned Marine and Coastal Sciences program.
  • One-credit Freshmen Interest Groups led by upperclassmen are offered during the first semester. Some of the more unusual ones are: “Yankee Stadium: Why Did the Stadium Cross The Road?” “Harry Potter and Behavioral Genetics,” and “Graphic Novels.”

Supply Chain Management and Business Analytics Information Tech are the newest majors from over 100 to choose from. Departments are organized into schools: First year students can apply to Nursing, Pharmacy, Arts, Business, Arts & Sciences (the largest division), Engineering, or Environmental and Biological sciences. Nursing is a direct admit program, but it’s not required that they start the first year. Many students start in Arts & Sciences, take the first-year classes, and do a school-to-school transfer. Engineering students take their intro classes in A&S and then begin the Engineering program. First year engineering students have a special residential hall; students who live there have a .5 higher GPA than those who don’t. There’s a “We’re in this together” attitude. The students are told, “Look to the left; look to the right. It’s YOUR responsibility to make sure you’re all here next year.” Materials Engineering: They are working on making bridges out of used milk containers! The Arts school is a conservatory and will earn a BFA except for the music majors who have the choice of getting a BA through A&S. The theater students study abroad at the Globe Theater. Pharmacy is a 0-6 degree; they enter right out of high school and will get a DPharm (required to be a practicing pharmacist) in 6 years. This is highly competitive with 3800 applicants for 220 spots. In Business, juniors and seniors can apply to major in Planning and Public Policy, Management and Labor relations, or Communication and Info if they’d like.

Rutgers has Priority application dates, but not Early Action or Decision. December 1 is a priority deadline and is the last date that applicants will be considered for scholarships. Some of the more competitive schools will also be closed after that. After 12/1, the online application will only show what programs are still open. Students apply to up to 3 schools: students can rank their top three options (and actually could get accepted to all three). Students have to self-report their own grades; they only turn in a transcript after they deposit (the final end-of-year transcript with the graduation date is the best). They only had to rescind 2 acceptances last year because students misrepresented their grades. They will superscore both SAT and ACT. No TOEFL is needed if the international student graduates from an English-speaking school, but it can help if the CR section is low. Currently 14% of the school is from out-of-state; they’d like to get that up to 25% (which is still under the other Big Ten schools).

© 2013

Post Navigation