From Colonial College to Research University: Rutgers University

By Amanda Bertsch

Rutgers University is the state university of New Jersey and December’s school of the month. Rutgers has three unique campuses: New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden.  Together, the three process 58,200 students a year. Rutgers accepts more than 60% of applicants and costs less than half what most top-tier colleges do, making it a feasible alternative to the Ivy League universities.

Rutgers New Brunswick is by far the largest campus, with 40,000 students. It is also the most historic, as it was the original campus of Queens College, founded in 1766. Rutgers Newark is a 37-acre campus with 11,800 students in the middle of Newark City. Rutgers Camden is the smallest in students, with 6,400 students on a 40 acre campus. It is across the Delaware River from historic Philadelphia.

Rutgers boasts a myriad of clubs and activities. Academic clubs include the Biochemistry Club and the Italian Dental Society. Music and performance are represented by traditional marching band and orchestral ensembles as well as more unique groups such as the Liberated Gospel Choir and Glee Club. Habitat for Humanity and all major political parties also have representation.  There are groups for almost every nationality. No matter what your interests, there are clubs for you at Rutgers.

SAT scores for applicants at the 25th and 75th percentile are relatively low; 460/550 for critical reading, 490/590 for math, and 470/560 for writing. Between 58% and 61% of applicants make it in each year.  Those accepted are 47% male and 53% female and come from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Tuition for a year at Rutgers carries an estimated cost of $24,742 for an out-of-state student. In-state tuition is as low as $10,718 a year. Room and board carries a hefty cost of $10,000 and up. Books and other expenses, according to college statistics, will only cost about $3,000 a year. Compared to colleges such as MIT ($48,000 in tuition alone a year), this is extremely inexpensive.

Rutgers alumni name many things as advantages. Several mention in their blogs and in conversation the extensive Rutgers library, which boasts mahogany shelves and high ceilings. Others enjoyed the high diversity at Rutgers and the large student body. Rutgers is also known for its research facilities, supposedly the best in New Jersey.

More colleges of the month are coming soon. January will be John Hopkins University in Maryland. February will be Rice University, Texas, and March will bring the focus back to Arizona with Embry-Riddle. To nominate a college for an article, email Amanda at

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