New Jersey Institute of Technology (visited 3/23/17)
NJIT 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).
Because 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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.