Transfer students offer tips for acclimating to Rutgers
First-year students at any university may find it difficult to get used to the new environment that is college. Transfer students must go through that process more than once.
Julia Palazzo, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said getting used to Rutgers was not a difficult process.
Palazzo, who previously attended the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, said being used to a state school helped her acclimate to Rutgers easily.
Having friends she could get help from when she needed also aided the transition process, she said. Familiar faces also helped.
Ektaa Sangvhi, a Rutgers Business School junior, transferred from the University of Maryland.
“[My friends would] tell me about stuff like ‘Course Sniper,’ which made it easier to register for classes,” she said. “More than using the school resources, I think I was fortunate to have friends that go here.”
The bus system was one of the more difficult aspects of transitioning.
Sangvhi’s friends helped her navigate through Rutgers campus, which has a larger public transportation system and more campuses than the University of Maryland.
Similarly, Palazzo said making sure she took the right bus to class took some time.
While Rutgers has a transfer center for students, located on the second floor of Lucy Stone Hall on Livingston campus, Sangvhi never visited it. The one-day orientation program for transfer students was the only time she interacted with the center.
Ravi Patel, a Rutgers Business School sophomore, was unaware of the transfer center and its resources. He used NJTransfer to pick his courses at Middlesex County College and apply to Rutgers.
Classes at MCC were more classroom-based than the classes he attended after transferring, which were generally in lecture halls. He said the small classes were more conducive to learning than the large lectures.
Though the classes are a bit more difficult, Patel said, any student who puts time into learning the material should do well.
“I think [the University of Massachusetts] was a bit easier,” Palazzo said. “I think [the] work [here] is a little bit heavier.”
Attending Rutgers was cheaper than paying out-of-state tuition at the University of Massachusetts, Palazzo said, and difficulties with financial aid made moving to Rutgers a logical choice.
Sangvhi went to the University of Maryland to study pre-law but then decided to change her major. She transferred to avoid unnecessarily paying higher tuition for a degree in accounting.
Patel said the atmosphere at Rutgers was less than welcoming. Making friends in his lectures was a difficult process.
He was also unable to find people who could help him locate his classes when he first got to Rutgers.
Palazzo said University of Massachusetts-Amherst students were nicer than the students she met after transferring to Rutgers, though Rutgers students were not necessarily unfriendly.
One of her main concerns was joining the University community.
“That was the big thing I was worried about,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to get involved in ... The thing is, I’m also commuting, so transitioning and commuting was a bit difficult.”
Joining a sorority opened more doors for Palazzo. She joined Phi Sigma Sigma after transferring to Rutgers. She was not a part of a similar organization while in Massachusetts.
Palazzo also joined RU-tv and is a news correspondent for Rutgers’ radio station, WRSU-FM 88.7. Joining all of these organizations helped her ease into Rutgers faster than if she had just met people in her classes.
Sangvhi said not joining an organization would likely have made it more difficult for her to get used to the University. She is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a service community.
“If you don’t get yourself involved, it’s going to be much more difficult to meet people,” Palazzo said. “If you join any clubs that are related to your major or are in your interests, that’s the best way to get friends.”
Sangvhi said Rutgers could be intimidating at first, but with time, adaptation could be easier for students.
Palazzo’s advice to new transfer students is to join groups on campus.
“Get involved, and don’t feel too overwhelmed,” she said. “[Your experience] will get better, and you will get used to [Rutgers].”