What is it Like to Attend Rutgers University?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Nida graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Media. She is an Austin tutor who specializes in Essay Editing tutoring, Reading tutoring, Grammar and Mechanics tutoring, and more. Check out her review of her alma mater:


VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?

Nida: Rutgers University (New Brunswick,NJ) is a huge campus spanning two towns (New Brunswick and Piscataway) and divided into five college campuses (College Ave, Busch, Livingston, Douglass, Cook). The college is very safe and provides bus transportation within and between campuses. Having a car is a plus, but you will need to pay for a parking permit and spend some extra time every day looking for parking.

VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants? 

Nida: Although Rutgers is a large university consisting of 44,000 undergraduates, the professors and teaching assistants are always available during their office hours, or outside of office hours by appointment. Academic advisers are available on a walk-in basis during office hours.

VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Nida: Dorm life at Rutgers is so much fun! Every campus has its own character. College Ave is the most lively campus, with dorms in close proximity to Greek life, grease trucks, several other dining options, as well as off-campus shops and cafes. Busch/Livingston campus is more sprawled out and quieter, and dorms there can really become a “home away from home”. Cook/Douglass campus feels more like you’re in a beautiful countryside location. It is also larger and more self-contained. There are dining halls on every campus with a delicious variety of food; it’ll be easy to gain that Freshman 15! My personal favorite of all the campuses is College Ave.

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?

Nida: Rutgers is a research university, so one might think the Sciences and Social Sciences are best represented and supported. But Humanities also have a strong presence here. I studied Journalism and Mass Media at the School of Communication and Information, and felt that there was a lot of support and resources for my particular area. 

VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Nida: It’s not easy to meet people as a freshman if you’re shy, like me. But if you’re willing to put yourself out there a bit, and realize that everyone’s in the same boat as you, you’ll have no trouble meeting lots of new people. One of the best things about student life at Rutgers is its diversity, with students from all over the world and belonging to so many different racial, cultural, and religious backgrounds. There is a significant Greek life at Rutgers, but I wasn’t part of it.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus? 

Nida: The Career Center is extremely helpful, even to alumni like me, after all these years. Many reputable companies recruit on campus such as Johnson & Johnson, Verizon Wireless, Merck, Bristol Meyers Squibb, and many others.

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges?  Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Nida: There are many libraries, dorm lounges, quiet rooms, and student centers at Rutgers. You can always find a space to sit down and relax, study, or have meetings/conferences with other students. The hardest times to find space are during exam weeks, but then other study halls that aren’t normally available to students after hours, become available. Some places I loved to study: Alexander Library, ARC Computer Lab, and the Quiet Room at the Busch Student Center.

VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus? 

Nida: Downtown New Brunswick has a few options to entertain oneself, but I did used to wish it were bigger and more diverse. There are some great cafes and restaurants (Harvest Moon, Old Man Rafferty’s, Tumulty’s). It has a dynamic theater life (George Street Playhouse, State Theater, Stress-Free Comedy Club). There are a few dance clubs, as well (Perle, Platinum). But the best thing about New Brunswick is the fact that it’s a 50-minute train ride to New York City. 

VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes? 

Nida: In the early years (freshman, sophomore), class size is big. Size also depends on the popularity of the class, so an Intro to Biology class can be as big as 500 students in a massive lecture hall and the professor speaking through a microphone, or an Intro to Political Science class can be 100 students packed into a big classroom. As you get older and more specialized in your area of study, class size becomes smaller. I had about 20-30 students in my Senior Journalism classes.

VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most. 

Nida: One of my most memorable experiences was with my professor of Creative Writing. She conducted one-on-one conferences with students, even though it was an Intro course. It was during one of these conferences that she shared with me just how talented she thought I was and planted the seeds in my mind of pursuing an MFA in Fiction Writing.


Check out Nida’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.