How to Get Into Rutgers University: Admissions Stats + Tips
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- How Hard Is It to Get Into Rutgers?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted Rutgers Students
- What is Rutgers University Looking for?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Rutgers
Founded in 1766 and the eighth-oldest college in the U.S., Rutgers University is a public research university in New Jersey with three distinct campuses in New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark. The New Brunswick campus, the oldest and main campus, regularly appears in top 30 colleges on lists for best public universities and best value colleges. With 17 schools and colleges, over 100 majors, and home to over 50,000 students, Rutgers—New Brunswick is an active hub of academic activity and a melting pot of cultures, backgrounds and interests.
While the Camden and Newark campuses are part of the same Rutgers umbrella and use the same applications system, the campuses each have their own admissions standards and individual programs. In this article we’ll be referring mostly to Rutgers—New Brunswick, though the application materials will apply to all Rutgers applicants.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Rutgers?
For the 2019–2020 admissions cycle, Rutgers University at its main New Brunswick campus received 41,263 applicants, of which 27,618 were accepted. Last year, Rutgers’ acceptance rate was 67%, making it an unselective school. Rutgers does not have a binding early decision application option, but it does have a non-binding early action option.
Want more insight into your personal chances of admission into Rutgers? Our free chancing calculator can help you better understand your chances of acceptance into any college. By taking into account multiple elements of your profile, including your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and more, we’ll estimate your odds of acceptance, and give you tips on improving your profile!
Average Academic Profile of Accepted Rutgers Students
Most students in last year’s admitted class at Rutgers—New Brunswick had a GPA between 3.7 and 4.1.
Of the 19% of Rutgers’ class of 2024 who submitted class ranks, 30% graduated in the top 10% of their high school class, and 66% graduated in the top 25%. 91% graduated in the top half.
While standardized test scores are normally required for applicants, Rutgers is test-optional for students applying for Spring or Fall 2022 admission. Of the students who enrolled in Fall 2020, the top 25% of students scored above a 1410 on the SAT, or a 32 on the ACT.
What is Rutgers University Looking for?
With more than 100 majors and ten undergraduate schools, Rutgers New Brunswick wants students who are eager to seize the opportunities in the classroom and those offered by the wide and global Rutgers network. With faculty in departments from aerospace engineering to criminal justice, Rutgers can open up possibilities for any student.
How the Rutgers Evaluates Applications
According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, Rutgers University—New Brunswick considers the following factors “very important”:
- Course rigor
- Academic GPA
- Standardized test scores
These factors are “important”:
- Extracurricular activities
These are “considered”:
- Class rank
- Application essay
- Character/personal qualities
- First generation
- Geographical residence
- State residency
- Racial/ethnic status
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
And these are “not considered”:
- Alumni/ae relation
- Recommendation letters
- Religious affiliation/commitment
- Level of applicant’s interest
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Rutgers
1. Aim for A’s while taking the most challenging classes available
As the average GPA of newly enrolled Rutgers students on the New Brunswick campus last year was 3.7—4.1, in order to be a competitive candidate, you should aim to get mostly A’s. Though a 4.1 GPA may be intimidating, many of these students are likely taking advanced honors, AP, or IB classes, which gives them a weighted GPA. Taking honors classes will show admissions officers that you’ve challenged yourself, while also giving your overall GPA a boost. However, do not take such challenging classes that your grades suffer.
If your GPA is lower, and you’re still a freshman or sophomore in your high school, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.
2. Report your SAT scores if above 1410, and ACT if above 32
While standardized test scores are optional for students applying for 2022 enrollment, Rutgers will still consider your test scores if you submit them. Students who do not submit test scores won’t be at a disadvantage from those who do, and will receive full admission consideration. That being said, a high standardized test score is a valuable way to display your academic aptitude in addition to your transcript. If you do take the SAT or ACT and score above average for Rutgers students, which is around a 1410 on the SAT or a 32 on the ACT, reporting your scores will likely give your application a boost.
If you’re trying to improve your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:
- How to Get a Perfect 1600 Score on the SAT
- How to Get a Perfect 36 Score on the ACT
- More SAT Info and Tips
- More ACT Info and Tips
3. Cultivate a strong portfolio of extracurriculars.
When your academics are as equally strong as many other candidates for a college, extracurriculars are where you have a chance to stand out and help admissions officers form a better idea of who you are and what you might bring to their campus.
As a research university that values its ability to propel students into successful professional tracks, Rutgers is most interested in accomplishments that demonstrate particular academic talents and abilities, or how you have applied your skills outside of the classroom. If you are a senior, highlight any awards or recognition you’ve earned, research you’ve done alongside a high school teacher or family member, as well as any notable leadership positions. If you’re a junior, sophomore, or freshman, continue working on pursuing any intellectual interests you have, and aim to win local or regional awards or recognition.
In general, extracurricular activities can generally be divided into four “tiers.” To increase your chances at Rutgers, you should have one to two “Tier 1” or “Tier 2” extracurriculars.
- Tier 1 activities demonstrate exceptional talent, achievement, leadership, or merit. Activities and roles on the national level or which garner field-wide recognition count as Tier 1 activities. This may include winning a national award, qualifying for international competition and therefore gaining prestigious recognition, or starting a nonprofit that gains national traction. Having a Tier 1 activity marks you as a distinguished youth in the field of your activity, so having Tier 1 activities is rare.
- Tier 2 activities are more common than Tier 1, but still show high levels of achievement and potential. Holding school-wide leadership positions like student government president, winning regional competitions or awards, and local recognition as a student athlete or musician are all considered Tier 2.
- Tier 3 activities demonstrate sustained participation rather than exceptional achievement, and are frequently seen in applications, both across the board as well as in any given individual student’s application, as some students may have more than one Tier 3 activity. These activities can include holding minor positions in school clubs or being on a Varsity team.
- Tier 4 activities are the most common and have the lowest entry bar; they demonstrate interest without particular dedication. However, they are still important to include, especially if you have higher tier activities, because they can help show the diversity of your interests. Tier 4 activities can include regular volunteering, general membership in clubs or organizations, or taking any kind of music or art lesson over several years.
Having extracurricular activities on your application shows colleges that you have personal passions and that you can take your skills beyond the classroom. While colleges are happy to see any kind of interest you’ve taken, you’re going to be a much more competitive candidate if you have a few Tier 1 or 2 activities that show dedication and excellence rather than many scattered Tier 4 activities.
4. Write engaging essays
Rutgers will require you to write a 3800-character response to one of the Rutgers short essay prompts. You will also have the option of submitting an essay on a topic of your choice. The essay is to help the admissions committee get a sense of your personality and for you to speak directly to your reader. It is the perfect place for you to show your strengths, character, authentic voice, and written eloquence.
How to Apply to Rutgers
Planning on applying to Rutgers? Here are some dates to keep in mind for the 2021–2022 application cycle for first-year students applying for 2022 fall enrollment.
Admissions Application Due
Rutgers accepts applications through the Rutgers Online Application Portal, as well as the Coalition Application. To apply, you will need the following materials:
- Online application
- $70 non-refundable application fee (option to request fee waiver)
- Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR)
- SAT or ACT scores (optional for 2022 enrollment)
- GED Results (for students with a GED diploma/certificate)
- Extracurricular activities list
- Short essay
Optional materials include:
- Talent assessment for applicants to the Mason Gross School of the Arts
- English proficiency test score (for applicants whose secondary schooling has been outside the U.S. in a country where English is not the principal language)
Learn more about Rutgers University
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15 Summer Programs at Rutgers University for High Schoolers