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Admissions getting more competitive at Rutgers–New Brunswick

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September 2012 | Admission into Rutgers’ latest class of first-year students is statistically more competitive in comparison to previous years in the University’s history, based on SAT scores and enrollment numbers.

With Rutgers reaching its full capacity, it is becoming increasingly difficult each year to receive a Rutgers acceptance letter.

There is no space for increases in New Brunswick, so admissions will be more selective, said Courtney McAnuff, president of enrollment management.

“That means your diploma is going to be worth a little more each year," he said. 

McAnuff said the class of 2019 has an average SAT score of 1881, which is 16 points higher than last year and 350 points higher than the national average.

About 100 less students will be admitted to Rutgers New Brunswick compared to last year due to overcrowding, McAnuff said. The number of admitted students affects class availability, housing, transportation and financial aid.

The School of Environmental and Biological Sciences has had a trend of increasing SAT score and GPA benchmarks over the years, said Richard Ludescher, dean of Academic Programs at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

Three years ago, Ludescher said SEBS admitted more than 700 students, but the class of 2019 will be about 650 students.

“We want the next class to always be a little bit better than previous classes,” he said.

There is also an increase in demand for the University, McAnuff said. The University has received 36,000 applications for the fall of 2019 so far and is projecting a record of 48,000 total applications.

Admissions received a 12.4 percent increase in first-year applications and a 40 percent increase in international applications this year.

“I’ve been involved with admissions for more than 30 years, and I’ve never seen an annual increase this high,” McAnuff said.

One of the factors that may have caused the increased demand is the attractiveness of the new honors college, McAnuff said. The honors college has space for around 500 students and will be competitive.

The average SAT score of an admitted honors student is a 2210, but varies by school, McAnuff said. This is 600 points higher than the national average.

“The new honors college at Rutgers is giving a venue for the very top students not only in New Jersey, but in the nation,” he said.

The movement to the Big Ten conference has helped attract applicants as well, McAnuff said.

Rutgers was ranked 33rd in the world and 8th among public universities in the U.S., which has had a dramatic impact on international applications, McAnuff said.

Rutgers has recently been selected as the site for the International High School Guidance Counselors summit in the summer of 2016, which will affect future international applications, McAnuff said.

“This will bring 1,200 international high school guidance counselors from 93 countries to the University,” he said. “That will have a big impact on international applications.”

Faculty from each school meets with the Rutgers University Undergraduate Admissions in the fall, Ludescher said. They calculate a target number of students to admit based on predictions, statistics and trends.

One factor that will affect admissions at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is a change in the list of majors offered by the school, he said.

The faculty at SEBS voted to discontinue six majors offered by SEBS that were also offered by the School of Arts and Sciences, such as geography, geological sciences and chemistry, Ludescher said.

“Students interested in those six majors will be applying to SAS rather than SEBS next year,” he said. “This affects the admissions process.”

Ludescher said the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is not as competitive as other schools, such as the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, the Rutgers Business School and the School of Engineering.

The Mason Gross School of the Arts has the lowest percent of students admitted, while the School of Pharmacy is the most academically competitive school, McAnuff said.

“I think it’s a tribute to the programs,” McAnuff said. “I believe the runner-up for 'The Voice' was an applicant at Mason Gross this year.”

The average GPA of students admitted to the School of Pharmacy last year was 4.05 and the average SAT score was 2200, he said. 

Many students apply to Mason Gross from across the U.S., but classes are small and enrollment is selective.

Rahul Parehk, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, said he is glad Rutgers is becoming more selective.

“It will help me when I’m looking for a job in the future,” he said. “When employers see that I graduated from such a competitive school, it will get me the job.”

He said he hopes the University continues to attract international students because it will bring more diversity to the campus and make Rutgers a more recognized name around the world.

“The trend at Rutgers New Brunswick is that the school is more difficult to get into every year,” Ludescher said. “The primary thing this reflects is that Rutgers is now more desirable, we are getting more applicants and can be more selective.”

Avalon Zoppo

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