Many of the clubs and organizations that I joined have played into my sense of home and belonging at Rutgers.
Out of all the schools I applied to, Rutgers was my second to last choice. Out of all the schools I got into, Rutgers was my second choice. When I was applying to colleges, Rutgers was never my top, but when it came down to decision time, I had to choose between Rutgers, Seton Hall, and Marist.
Marist was my favorite, but the only reason I really wanted to go there was the Florence study abroad program. It allowed me to study abroad in Florence, Italy my entire freshman year and if you know me, you know I love Italy and it's my dream to own a house there some day. Besides that, there really wasn't much that appealed to me about Marist. The campus is absolutely gorgeous, as it's right on the Hudson River (I can't even begin to imagine how beautiful it would look right now), but compared to everything that Rutgers has to offer, just those two things couldn't be enough for me to go there. It was more expensive, the campus is isolated and there aren't that many students there, something that I thought was a positive but is actually a negative for me. The Florence study abroad program was really clouding my judgment but once I realized that going to Marist wasn't financially a possibility, Rutgers became my number one.
I ruled out Seton Hall almost immediately and I'm not entirely sure why. It's a great school and one of my cousins is even going there for law school, but something about it just didn't feel right for me.
Going to Rutgers has to be the best decision I ever made for a lot of reasons. What really brought me here was the honors college, the dorming and the price.
The biggest appeal for me was the honors college. The honors college has a great reputation and when you apply for jobs or grad school, it's definitely going to look good on your application because only the top of the top of the incoming freshman class is admitted into the honors college. Of course, you have to keep up your GPA and take certain required courses, but if you're an HC student, I definitely feel like it gives you an advantage over some of the other students at Rutgers that continues throughout your four years in college.
Another perk of going to Rutgers was the dorming. I've talked to people who lived in the honors college and are now living somewhere else and they said there aren't any dorms on campus that are nearly as nice as the honors college, besides the yard apartments and the Livingston apartments, which are both impossible to get into. We get air conditioning, something that not all dorms have, and everything looks nice and new.
Something else that appealed to me was the price tag. In state, Rutgers is pretty cheap and with being an honors student, you also get a scholarship which is pretty nice. Out of state, I'm pretty sure Rutgers is kind of expensive, but I'd definitely say it's worth it.
Rutgers has the reputation of being one of those state schools. I had that mentality about it, but it changed over time. It's becoming a competitive school and I feel like one day it can be up there with the Ivy leagues in terms of reputation and academics.
Even though I came to Rutgers for the honors college, the dorming and the price, I love Rutgers because of everything else.
Before coming here, I thought that I would hate the parties. In high school, I was never much of a party person and I know that Rutgers has the reputation of being a party school, and it is, but I have to say, that's a pretty big bonus. Not everyone parties and no one is forced to go out. When I do go out, I can blow off some steam after a long week and I always have fun and come back to the dorms with stories to tell.
The Rutgers bus system also gets a really bad reputation. The buses do bother me, but not as much as I thought it would. Getting around from campus to campus is actually a lot of fun and it's kind of nice having such a big campus. I know some of my friends who are at schools where you can walk across the campus in like 20 minutes. I feel like if I went somewhere like that, I would go stir crazy. The buses give off the feeling that Rutgers is a mini-city within a city. Although I will admit that I will curse the buses sometimes for nearly making me late to class and for almost making me throw up because some drivers are really jerky and for tossing me around like a salad.
Overall, the buses aren't bad and it's a huge bonus that you don't have to pay for them because that would just suck. I know a lot of people who have bus horror stories, I even have one of my own, but I feel like those are rare occurrences. Most of the time, the bus system works pretty fluidly.
The community also plays into why I love it here. It's very inclusive and people are really friendly. Everyone is accepted for who they are and there's always a place for someone if they want it. There are lots of clubs and organizations that you can get involved in. Many of the clubs and organizations that I joined have played into my sense of home and belonging at Rutgers.
A lot of factors went into why I chose Rutgers and I couldn't really see them until I started living here. Being here now, I know that I'm in the right place. It's already begun to feel like a second home. Sometimes when I leave to go back home, I start to miss the campus. It takes a little bit to get into a routine and manage your way around the campuses, but once you get it, you'll feel like a natural.