by Tori Cappo and Molly Bandelli
In the long-anticipated and dreaded college search and application process, many New Jersey students set their sights on universities across the country. But they often fail to take into account the fact that we have a top, internationally-ranked school less than an hour’s drive from our homes.
That school, of course, is Rutgers University. Although many students are off-put by the short drive from home, students should balance the pros and cons of attending Rutgers before leaving their home-state for four years or more.
So the question is: RU neglecting Rutgers?
The pros of Rutgers are numerous: All three campuses are nearby, it’s located in close proximity to two major American cities (New York and Philadelphia), it’s part of a major Division I athletic conference (Big Ten) and its academics place it among the finest state universities in the nation.
For New Jersey residents, Rutgers is often a household name, a security blanket for students, knowing that if they are rejected from all other schools, Rutgers will always be there. Students should take into account that Rutgers University has been consistently ranked within the top 100 public colleges in the nation. As of last year, Rutgers University-New Brunswick was ranked number 23 in the nation, according to usatoday.com.
Along with being highly ranked within the United States, Rutgers University-New Brunswick has also been ranked 33rd among the world’s top 1,000 universities this year by the Center for World University Rankings.
Perhaps Rutgers is viewed as lacking prestige because many students’ parents attended the school themselves. Thus, it is not regarded with the same untouchable respect that Ivy League schools earn from students and parents alike. New Jersey residents often perceive other New Jersey schools such as TCNJ and NJIT as more distinguished.
Perhaps WHS students prefer these schools to RU simply because the schools are farther from home. Students often view college as a time to assert their independence, and remaining close to home can leave students feeling restricted or missing out on collegiate experiences.
Despite our willingness to sport Jersey pride, we often take the world-class education that Rutgers has to offer for granted, whether it’s because of the school’s proximity to Westfield or the lack of prestige that some WHS students attribute to a public university.