Rutgers Class of 2021: Diverse, Driven and Accomplished

Rutgers Class of 2021: Diverse, Driven and Accomplished

The incoming first-year class of approximately 8,400 students was selected from a record pool of more than 41,000 applicants

Rutgers’ incoming students are an accomplished and determined group who are inspired by their successes to reach even higher.

Amirah Ali, one of the newest members of the Rutgers women’s soccer team, was recognized as the top girls high school player in the country – an honor that drives her to prove herself every time she steps on the field.

Ashani Shah, who spent her last two summers participating in cancer research, joins the joint BA/MD program and Honors Living-Learning Community at Rutgers University-Newark.
Photo: Courtesy of Ashani Shah
Then there is Ashani Shah, who arrives at Rutgers University-Newark after spending her last two summers participating in cancer research at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. In addition to volunteering at a local hospital while in high school – an experience that contributed to her interest in medicine and community service – she recently earned her black belt in Aikido.

She is part of a distinguished group that also includes Jacob Lapinson, who was accepted into the Leadership Institute at Rutgers University-Camden to build on the skills he developed during years involved in the Boy Scouts.

These are just some of the notable stories from a first-year class of approximately 8,400 students across all campuses, selected from a record pool of more than 41,000 applicants – a 5 percent increase over last year.

“The university again had a record number of applications for new students, over 50,000 first-year and transfer students applied for Fall 2017," said Courtney McAnuff, vice president of enrollment management at Rutgers.

McAnuff said approximately 6,300 first-year students are headed to the New Brunswick and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) campuses. Rutgers University-Newark is welcoming over 1,300 students and Rutgers University-Camden will see a record incoming class around 800.

Rutgers also is welcoming 4,850 transfer students universitywide.

Out-of-state and international students represent 17 percent of the first-year class in New Brunswick. Coming from more than 40 states and 50 countries, the incoming class joins a community of students from more than 115 countries and all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The five most popular home nations are China, India, South Korea, Egypt and Vietnam.

“Our 50,000 plus undergraduates represent students from many states and countries,’’ McAnuff said. “As President Obama said last year, ‘America converges here.’”

Jacob Lapinson was accepted into the Leadership Institute at Rutgers University-Camden to build on the skills he developed during years involved in the Boy Scouts.
Photo: Courtesy of Jacob Lapinson
They are a smart group: 65 percent of the incoming students in New Brunswick/Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences represent the top 20 percent of their high school classes, and the number of valedictorians and salutatorians across all campuses is 130.

The average SAT score for regularly admitted students in New Brunswick/RBHS was 1324 on the redesigned SAT.

Ashani Shah chose Rutgers University-Newark from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the unique opportunities it provides. She is on an accelerated track to medical school through the BA/MD program that guarantees her a slot at the New Jersey Medical School when she finishes her undergraduate degree. She is also looking forward to the community service opportunities through her involvement in the Honors Living-Learning Community.

“I think getting into medical school early frees you up to explore so many other opportunities and areas of interest,’’ Shah said.

For Lapinson, of Cherry Hill, being accepted to the Leadership Institute at Rutgers-Camden gives him a chance to hone the skills that helped him reach the rank of Eagle Scout, while taking advantage of special programs and classes.

“It opens more opportunities to be involved in school and will make it feel more like a home than a school,’’ said Lapinson, who will major in computer science.

Amirah Ali, who was recognized as the top girls high school soccer player in the country, is studying exercise science at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
Photo: Larry Levanti
The incoming class also is made up of many accomplished athletes, including Ali, a homegrown soccer standout from Voorhees. She strives as a Scarlet Knight to meet the heightened expectations that come with being recognized as the top high school player in the country by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

“I shouldn’t let a title make me think I am the best,’’ said Ali, who plans to major in exercise science at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “I think because I got the title I need to work harder to show I deserve it and I deserve my spot on the team at Rutgers. I want to push past it and show I can do better every day.’’

Other notable facts about the newly entering undergraduates, including first-year and transfer students:

  • More than 4,800 are the first in their families to enroll in college.
  • More than 1,200 have a parent who attended Rutgers.
  • More than 50 percent of incoming students are of African-American, Latino or Asian backgrounds.
  • More than 10,000 incoming students will receive financial aid.
  • About 500 first-year students will be enrolled in the Honors College in New Brunswick. About 75 percent of those are from New Jersey. Honors College average SAT score is 1480 on the redesigned SAT.