Rutgers expected to see largest number of applicants in history
More than 48,000 prospective students will apply to Rutgers this year, an all time high for the University, said Courtney McAnuff, vice president for Enrollment Management.
“We worked really hard with enrollment, and I think it’s a combination of many things,” he said.
A number of factors could cause the increase in applications, he said. The launching of the new honors college had a significant impact among students considering a college within New Jersey.
Joining the Big Ten Conference also raised the University’s profile among many domestic students, he said. Applications within the United States have gone up by about 15 percent compared to past years.
A larger increase was seen among international applicants, with about 40 percent more students applying than in previous years, he said. The Center for World University Rankings placing Rutgers at 33 out of 1,000 schools in 2014 probably had an impact on this.
Rutgers was also named the best public university in the U.S., further improving its image, he said.
Aakash Patel, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said the University has a strong reputation for academics, which are likely to draw in potential applicants. The amount of research done by faculty and students is equally strong.
“As Rutgers continues to make more innovations and renovate its campuses to make it more aesthetically pleasing and efficient, there is sure to be more interest generated for prospective students,” he said. “(They would) want to apply to Rutgers (rather than) other New Jersey institutions.”
More attractions such as Starbucks, Henry’s Diner and Rutgers Cinema in The Plaza on Livingston campus would add to the appeal and interest of prospective students as well, Patel said.
The University saw its largest incoming class a few years ago, but now has a smaller number of admitted students, particularly in New Brunswick, McAnuff said. The Newark and Camden classes should see larger incoming classes than previously.
The New Brunswick campuses do not have the capacity to see larger incoming classes, he said. Besides individual class size, the number of buses and current infrastructure would not support that many people.
"It depends on the campus and the program, but generally we’ll have some 18,000 students admitted (this year)," McAnuff said.
According to the University website, more than 16,400 students graduated last May.
When more buildings are opened, such as the up-and-coming residence halls, the New Brunswick campus will be able to accommodate more students, McAnuff said.
The University’s infrastructure is heavily taxed with this year’s population, said Jacob Migdail-Smith, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. Modernizing it should be a priority before greater numbers of students are accepted.
Patel said he believes the University should slowly increase its acceptance rate because it is a public institution.
Expanding its ability to house residents and provide parking and facilities for commuters would have to happen first, Migdail-Smith said.
The number of students admitted also depends on the programs prospective students apply for, McAnuff said. The Enrollment Office works with the deans from each school within the University to determine how many students they can accept.
The Enrollment Office then determines how many students will be admitted, he said. A mathematical projection is used to determine how many admitted students will enroll.
The yield for each school is different, which is factored into the overall admittance numbers, he said. Other factors include where the prospective students are from, their gender and ethnic backgrounds.
“It’s a science,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is build a very diverse class, and so we try to make sure within each school there’s a diversity mix.”
New Jersey students got first consideration in this process, he said.
Though prospective students can now apply to the University using the application on its website, future classes would have a new application, he said.
“We’re looking in two years to a new application system,” he said. “That’s by 90 universities and Rutgers is one of them to come under this new application.”
Other institutions to use this application include the University of Michigan, Stanford University, the University of Chicago and the Ivy League schools, he said.
All private institutions that met 100 percent of its need and many public institutions with strong graduation records would be part of this new application, which will formally be announced later this year, he said.
An institution meets 100 percent of its need when all students who require financial assistance receive it, he said. Rutgers cannot provide financial assistance for all of its students, although it does cost less to attend than a private school.
“The mission of a great state university is to provide access to all of its citizens, whether a first-year student, a transfer student or an international student,” he said. “We have space for them.”