Rutgers Orientation: What You Need to Know


“America converges here, and in so many ways, the history of Rutgers mirrors the evolution of America — the course by which we became bigger, stronger and richer and more dynamic, and a more inclusive nation.” – Former President Barack Obama

Going from high school to college can often be very daunting, especially if you are going to a school as big as Rutgers. With having to figure out everything like how the bus system works, what classes to take, and how to make a whole new group of friends, it can all be very scary; But take it from someone whose experienced these fears first hand: it’s all a lot easier than it seems, and you don’t have to be scared.

Following being accepted and admitted to Rutgers, you are going to sign up for Orientation. Luckily, Rutgers offers a wide variety of dates to attend with both single and two-day sessions. Following sign up, Rutgers will send emails through your registered email account with all of the information about what to pack, where it will be, and the full schedule for the event. It’s incredibly easy to know exactly how to prepare and know whats going on at all times. If you want direct access to the packing list, here it is: Things To Do Before Orientation

Orientation will teach you the ropes of living at Rutgers. You will play games, meet new people, walk the campus, and talk about what it means to be a Scarlet Knight. Whats so great about Rutgers  is its diversity and inclusiveness, and it shows all throughout orientation. Despite being such a large group, Rutgers students are all very close-knit and share the pride of their community. Seeing the orientation leaders dance and chant as they welcomed everyone to the event made it impossible not to smile, laugh, and feel at home. I immediately made friends and felt welcomed to the school despite not knowing anyone just that morning. Whether you live in New Jersey or are an out-of-state student, everyone feels the Jersey pride of attending the biggest and most diverse college that this state has to offer.

One of the biggest concerns of mine and many others is figuring out the bus system. Rutgers University actually has the largest college bus system in the nation and the second biggest system in the state. As someone who has never had to take a bus before, it was scary to think that I would be using only busses to get around for the next four years. However, Rutgers makes it very easy by giving students a sheet where all of the routes are explained and access to an app (simply search “Rutgers app”  in the App Store) that will tell you exactly when each bus will arrive. Furthermore, at orientation everyone is taught exactly how they work and will learn bus etiquette.

Heres what the app looks like. There are many useful options on the App Store, but this is the best one.

Be prepared for a very long and fun two days. You will participate in game shows, learn the history and culture of Rutgers, walk the campuses, eat lots of food, and have a great time meeting new friends and partying it up at the social. From someone who just attended their orientation, here are some tips for making  your orientation the best it can be:

  • Bring a jacket- even though you will be walking around outside a lot in the hot summer weather, you will also be inside for the same amount of time. All of the rooms you will be in during orientation will be air-conditioned, and many students forget to bring a jacket and spent a good amount of time shivering during presentations.
  • Bring an umbrella- whether the weather app says it will rain or not, it’s better to be safe then sorry. Nothing is worse than being outside in summer clothing and being drenched by rain. It may be fun in the moment, but not when you have to dry off.
  • Take advantage of the resource fairs- the resource fairs at orientation are a great way to get a head start on getting involved, along with getting a bunch of cool Rutgers merchandise to rep. You will learn a lot more about events on campus along with what interests you and other students have.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions- as a new student, no question is stupid or not worth asking, and you don’t have to be afraid to ask it. Orientation leaders want to answer any questions you have and tell you about Rutgers, and its better to ask the question now and have the answer than to not know something and be confused about it later.
  • Get a lanyard- I found mine at the resource fair, and it was incredibly useful. I used it to hold my new ID and to also keep track of my keys to the apartment we were staying in. That way whenever I needed it I didn’t have to go through my bag to find it.
  • Go to the “Late Knight Sessions”- You may think its a little embarrassing to attend improv or sing a song at Karaoke night, however its a great way to have a good time and meet new people. I have absolutely zero experience with acting and still got up and had a great time and met a lot of great and funny people.

Have a blast at orientation!