- Class: Alum
- Major: English
- Gender: F
- High School:
- Transfer Student: N
Rutgers is huge, and as expected, there are not enough administrators to accomadate every student's personal needs. The help is there, if you want to seek it out, but be prepared for a lot of bureaucracy and paper work. It's in New Brunswick, which is a limbo city, neither here nor there. There's a huge socio-economic divide between the kids going to school and the general population of the city, and the school usually gets it's way in terms of zoning, city planning, and funding, often to the detriment of the rest of the New Brunswick community. As a public school, Rutgers is influenced by the tax-payer's and the state's interests. Sometimes this is great and means the school can't cut funding for important academic and artistic programs, but more often it means we spend a million dollars (literally) for a new football coach to boost our image and attract better atheletes. Such is the paradox of public funding. It all depends on how smart the public and the administrators are.
Classes range from insanely large at the lower levels (400 student+ classes at the 100 level) to the very intimate (My Wallace Stevens seminar had 6 students in it. It was wonderful). Class participation is required in higher level classes, and is lively. In the big, lecture classes, there's usually none. And there's everything in between. Conversations from class often spill out, and students work together when studying and argue over books in the bars. The teachers run the gamut, too, and it really depends what department you're interested in. It's the kind of school where, if you want to really work hard, you will get a great education, and if you want to squeak by you can do that too. No one's really going to MAKE you do anything. Classes 300 level and above are very challenging. As an English major routinely taking 5-6 classes per semester, I was writing at least 4 papers per week, and finals were mind boggling. For such a large school, Rutgers is unusually academically rigorous at the upper levels.
The student body is as diverse as imaginable, racially, religiously, economically, etc. The only students who would feel out of place at Rutgers are those looking for a homogeneous environment. A large percentage of student at Rutgers are from New Jersey, but that means very little considering that New jersey is also the most diverse state in the nation (true!). Politically, it's a left leaning school, though not oppressively so, and there are certainly niches for the conservatively-minded. The student body is pretty politically active, and there are regular rallies and demonstrations on various fronts, all very well organized and peaceful. Because it's left leaning and tends to err on the side of political correctness, you do have the occasional reactionary group or party who's looking to take offense, but these scuffs usually extinguish themselves very quickly. On the whole it's a pretty tolerant place. Again, it has to be because of it's size.