Rutgers Class of 2022: Diverse, Accomplished and Largest Ever

Rutgers Class of 2022: Diverse, Accomplished and Largest Ever

Approximately 3,200 incoming students are the first in their families to attend college

Rutgers Today, Rutgers News - Class of 2022, largest in history
Rutgers Class of 2022, the largest first-year class in the university’s history and one if its most diverse, starts its first semester on Tuesday.
Photo: Larry McAllister

“This year’s entering class... represents some of the best and brightest young people in New Jersey, the United States and the world.” 
 
–Courtney McAnuff

Rutgers University opens its doors this semester to the Class of 2022, the largest first-year class in the university’s history and one if its most diverse.

Many of the 9,300 students who will begin their post-high school academic careers on one of the university’s major campuses have already proven themselves both in and out of the classroom.

Rutgers Today, Rutgers News - Class of 2022, Peter Serruto Millburn High School, plays baseball
Incoming first-year student Peter Serruto postponed his chance to play for the Cincinnati Reds to attend Rutgers-New Brunswick.
 
Photo: Courtesy of Rutgers University Athletics
Sujay Ratna of Centreville, Va., who is studying at Rutgers University-Camden, finds himself wavering: Should he pursue a career as a pediatric neurosurgeon or become an orthopedic surgeon working with trauma patients?

What Ratna does know for sure, as evidenced by the 700 hours he spent volunteering in the emergency and medical oncology departments of a hospital near his home, is that he loves working with patients: helping them feel better, making them smile.

After four seasons as a standout at Millburn High School and much soul-searching, Peter Serruto postponed his chance to play Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Cincinnati Reds in favor of pursuing an academic career.

It was one of the toughest decisions of his life, the scholar-athlete acknowledges, but the opportunity to play for a Big Ten team at Rutgers University-New Brunswick proved too tempting to pass up.

Before Haliey Gonzalez even set foot on campus at Rutgers University-Newark, her resume brimmed with volunteer service: hundreds of hours at a day-care center, a domestic-violence shelter and a neighborhood soup kitchen, among other venues.

Closest to her heart, however, are the walks she participated in for cancer research every spring since 2014. Interacting with survivors of all ages taught Gonzalez the importance of a positive mindset – and may have set her on the path of becoming a neurosurgeon.

Ratna, Serruto and Gonzalez are joining a community of incoming students representing more than 125 countries and all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

China is sending the largest contingent of international students, followed in order by India, South Korea, Vietnam and Mexico.

The newest enrollees have already made history by being part of 45,000 first-year applicants universitywide, a 9 percent increase over last year and the largest pool on record for the 252-year-old university.

They will begin their studies in New Brunswick (approximately 7,000), Newark (1,300) and Camden (1,000), according to Elena Ragusa, director of strategic initiatives in the Office of Enrollment Management at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

The class also is welcoming approximately 4,750 transfer students universitywide.

Sujay Ratna of Centreville, Va., who is studying at Rutgers University-Camden, is wavering between a career as a pediatric neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon.
Photo: Courtesy of Sujay Ratna
“This year’s entering class is diverse in demographics, academic interests and professional goals, but they all represent some of the best and brightest young people in New Jersey, the United States and the world,” said Courtney McAnuff, vice chancellor for enrollment management for Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Business, management and marketing are among the most popular areas of academic interest among the first-years, followed by the health professions and related programs; biological and biomedical sciences, engineering; and computer and information science.

Count Ratna and Gonzalez among those for whom medicine beckons.

“I’ve known since a relatively young age that I wanted to work with people; my strengths are math and science,” said Ratna, a native of Karimnagar, India, whose parents brought him to the United States when he was 2.

He found his passion recruiting patients for clinical trials and pilot studies while working at a lab conducting medical research on Alzheimer’s disease and obesity at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

As a student in the joint seven-year Bachelor of Science/Doctor of Osteopathy program at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and Rutgers-Camden, he’s looking forward to joining the campus chapter of the American Medical Student Association in addition to the Indian Heritage Club.

For Gonzalez of Newark, medicine is a discipline that not only addresses her deep curiosity about the human body and how it’s constantly changing, but one that also lets her explore her belief that “people who carry positive mindsets no matter what happens to them in life will come out on top.”

Rutgers Today, Rutgers news - Haliey Gonzalez headshot
Aspiring neurosurgeon Haliey Gonzalez spent hundreds of hours volunteering at a day-care center, a domestic-violence shelter and a neighborhood soup kitchen before coming to Rutgers-Newark.
Photo: Courtesy of Haliey Gonzalez
This year, in addition to ranking in the top five in her class of 154 graduates, and winning the Superintendent’s All-Academic Excellence Award, the incoming Rutgers-Newark first-year student took home a Mayoral Academic Award for the Top Five Ranked Newark Seniors from Science Park High School.

She expects to major in pre-med at Rutgers-Newark, with a minor in cognitive neuroscience.

Serruto of Millburn said it was the reputation of the Rutgers Business School as well as the Scarlet Knights’ baseball coaching staff that drew him to Rutgers-New Brunswick.

He comes to The Banks after four seasons of varsity baseball at Millburn High School, a career topped by his selection in the 22nd round of the MLB draft.

“The next time I’ll be eligible for the draft will be junior year, he says. “I’m not looking ahead to that; I’m just looking at what I can do to benefit this university.”

Other notable facts about the Class of 2022

  • Approximately 3,200 members are the first in their families to attend college.
  • More than 1,300 students have parents or grandparents who attended Rutgers.
  • Across the university spectrum, 54 percent of first-year students are of African-American, Latino or Asian heritage.
  • Based on figures from 2016 and 2017, approximately 72 to 73 percent are receiving some form of financial aid.