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Student Life

Everything From A-To-Z You Need To Know Before Your Freshman Year At Rutgers

The Bells Must Ring.

Rutgers University Student Dorms

The summer before your first year at college can be stressful and nerve-wracking. You and your family are probably worried about EVERYTHING, ranging from classes to housing. And, what even is a major, right?!

Well, don't worry, I'm here to help you out! Here's the A-Z of all the Rutgers University lingo you need to master.

A: Academic year and advisors

Academic Year: Lasts from September till May

Advisers: Basically your guidance counselors ready to help you with any concerns

B: Buses

Buses: Rutgers is huge and getting used to the buses can take some time. Make sure to download the Rutgers app to keep track of bus times and stops!

C: Campuses, CAPS, closed classes, course number, credits

Campuses: There are five... Busch (the science one), College Ave (the city one), Livingston (the business one), and Cook/Douglass (the farm one)

CAPS: Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program & Psychiatric Services at Rutgers for individuals seeking assistance and help

Closed classes: The limit for the number of students allowed into the class has been reached. Make sure to get Course Sniper to set alerts for when a spot opens up!

Course number: Identifies the course in which the 1st two digits are the faculty or school, the 2nd two digits are the subject area, and the last two digits are the course code

Credits: Earned for successful completion of a college course and counts toward your degree. Credits correspond to the number of hours the class meets every week. 3 credits are equivalent to 3 hours of class time per week in a semester. By the time a student graduates, he/she needs to have completed 120 or more credits.

D: Dead week and drop/add period

Dead week: Week before finals

Drop/add period: The period of time in which you can add/drop classes for the upcoming semester. Individual add/drop periods depend on the number of credits you have.

E: Easton, Expos

Easton: On the days you feel like splurging some cash, hit up Easton Ave for amazing food options! It's walking distance from College Avenue.

Expos: The dreadful expository writing class that all freshmen who didn't AP out of Lang/Lit have to take.

F: FAFSA, Finals, and Freshman 15

Finals: Exams given at the end of the semester that may or may not be cumulative

FAFSA: Free Application For Financial Aid, must fill out every academic year if you wish to obtain financial aid

Freshman 15: It's real. It's the dreaded weight gain college students experience in their freshman year of college.

G: GPA, GroupMe, and grants

GPA: Grade Point Average is a measure of a student's academic achievement. The numerical average is on a 4.0 scale. Typically, a 4.0 corresponds to an A, a 3.0 to a B, and so on, but the exact grade distribution varies by college and the course.

GroupMe: If you don't have it already, download it. You use it for EVERYTHING. Group projects, organizations, events... you name it.

H: Henry's Diner, Honors College, Honors Program

Henry's Diner: A great diner on Livingston with a huge menu that is literally printed as a newspaper

Honors College: Select students across all schools and academic programs in Rutgers are invited to be in the Honors College. Check the website for more details and requirements.

Honors Program: Select students in specific schools are chosen to serve in their respective honors program. Check the website for more details and requirements.

I: Involvement Fair

Involvement Fair: Right before classes start, attend this event with over 500 student organizations, university departments, and community partners to learn about the various opportunities Rutgers has to offer. Also, get involved early!

J: Jobs

Jobs: Looking for a job on or off campus? Click here!

K: Kilmer's Market

Kilmer's market: It's your go-to grocery and gourmet market located on Livingston. And what's even better is that they accept meal swipes as long as you purchase a salad/sandwich with your groceries.

L: Lecture and lab

Lecture: Typically an hour and twenty minutes long in which the professor lectures the class

Lab: More hands-on class in which students test what they learned in lecture; usually for science classes

M: Major, meal plans, midterms, and minor

Major: Specific area of study that requires completion of a certain number of credits. Students normally declare a major (or majors) that aligns with their interests and goals in the second semester of their sophomore year. View the list of majors and minors at Rutgers here.

Meal plans: Whether you're a resident or a commuter, Rutgers has got you covered. Make sure you keep checking your meal swipes so you're not left with a ton at the end of the semester!

Midterms: Exams given in the middle of each semester that cover material learned in the first half of the semester

Minor: Secondary field of study chosen by a student that requires fewer credits than a major

N: Nelnet, netID/RUID

Nelnet: An easy way to keep track and start paying back your student loans

netID/RUID: Student IDs that are given to each student at Rutgers. You use your netID for basically EVERYTHING.

O: Office hours and orientation

Office hours: A blessing to all students if available. A professor/TA offers certain hours during the week in which he/she can answer any questions you have about the material learned in class.

Orientation: A series of events held to welcome and make college a more familiar place for incoming students. Make sure to also complete the required programs on alcohol consumption, sexual harassment, and financial wellness.

P: Parking, Pass/Fail courses, and placement exams

Parking: Parking permits for the school year become available mid-August. Make sure to only park in permitted lots to avoid being ticketed.

Pass/Fail courses: Courses that do not have letter grades or midterms/finals. You either pass or you fail.

Placement exams: Online exams in math, English, and foreign language that may be required to take within a month of enrollment for placement in appropriate level classes

Q: Quarter system

Quarter system: Some colleges break the academic year into three 10-week quarters: fall, winter, and spring. A summer session is optional.

Quarters for laundry: Once in a while, the washing machine doesn't accept RU Express, so make sure to always carry some quarters in your wallet!

R: RateMyProfessor, reading days, and recitation

RateMyProfessors: A huge factor in your decision to register for a certain section of a course. If the professor isn't good, it's unlikely you'll enjoy the course.

Reading days: Free days before finals spent stressing, sleeping, and possibly studying for your finals

Recitation: Smaller classes to discuss and practice material learned in lecture; usually taught by TA

S: Sakai, Schedule of Classes, semesters, Starbucks trucks, student discounts, and syllabus

Sakai: Most important website that contains all your courses, syllabi, assignments, and grades

Schedule of Classes: View, build, and plan courses to take for upcoming semesters. Use Course Schedule Planner to actually build drafts.

Semesters: 15-week periods that the academic year is divided into; Fall semester runs from September to December and Spring semester runs from January to May.

Starbucks trucks: Hit up the Starbuck trucks because they take meal swipes!

Student discounts: Rutgers students who live on campus get free HBO Go. There are many other discounts available for Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and others.

Syllabus: Outline of information about the course, including policies, dates, and a timeline. Stay on top of it!

T: TAs, textbooks, and tuition plan

TAs: Usually graduate students who assist the professor and run recitation and/or lab

Textbooks: Unless absolutely required, do not buy them.

Tuition plan: Set up your tuition payment plan with convenient monthly payments

U: Unofficial transcript

Unofficial transcript: You can access your unofficial transcript and grades here. It's not official because it doesn't have the university's seal or the registrar's signature, but it's your very own academic record that is up to date.

V: Venmo

Venmo: A simple app to send and receive money for the days you go out and eat but are too lazy to split the money among your friends

W: WebReg, Wifi, and Withdrawal

WebReg: Website to register for classes online each semester

Wifi: RUWireless Secure is only available for enrolled students. When connecting for the first time through a device, you must connect to RUWireless first and log in with your netID to set up RUWireless Secure.

Withdrawal: Also known as taking a W (except in this case, it's not a win). Basically, you can unofficially drop a class by the tenth week of the semester.


XHIT: For the days that you don't have time to work out, you can squeeze in these quick 10 minute workouts available on YouTube to exercise the body part of your choice!

Y: Yellow line

Yellow line: I'm sure you'll never get tired of hearing, "Please stand behind the yellow line while the bus is in motion.” Seriously, even if the bus is packed and you don't somehow figure out a way to push yourself past the yellow line, you'll be asked or just stared at until you leave the bus.

Z: Zumba

Zumba: The recreation centers at Rutgers offer Zumba classes all through the year! Apart from Zumba, other classes offered include yoga, meditation, and intense body workouts.

Hope this list helps all my incoming freshmen out! I know college seems overwhelming right now and it seems best to plan out everything because you feel unprepared, but trust me, everything is going to be OK. Once you step into college, you'll be in good hands. Everyone is in the same boat, you'll have guidance when you need it, and you'll figure it out!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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