Biggest Class at Rutgers–New Brunswick Is Expected as In-Person Orientation Returns

Rutgers students training for the orientation team gather for a group photo.
Returning Rutgers students, who trained June 4 to be members of the orientation team to welcome new students to the university, gather for a group photograph.
Melissa Buechert/Rutgers University

Summer sessions to welcome an estimated 7,750 students and their families to the fall 2022 semester begin in late June and continue through August

Orientation for incoming Rutgers University–New Brunswick students is back on campus as an in-person event this summer after the program was held virtually for the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Orientation sessions to welcome an anticipated 7,750 students – expected to be the largest first-year student class at Rutgers–New Brunswick – as well as parents and family members will begin on Monday, June 20, and run through August.

The goal this year is not only to welcome students and their families to the fall 2022 semester but to prepare and engage them in the transition to university life.

“It’s very exciting for us,” said Laura Randolph, associate dean of students and director of the Student Orientation and Transition Programs for the Division of Student Affairs at Rutgers–New Brunswick. “The piece that has been missing from the last two years that I’m excited to bring back are campus tours.”

Randolph said it has been challenging to explain in a virtual setting “how complex” Rutgers–New Brunswick's multiple campuses can be to navigate for newcomers and is “excited to get students on the buses to experience it for themselves.”

This will be the first orientation since the introduction of Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s new Academic Master Plan, which focuses on academic excellence and student success.

This year’s orientation sessions include more focus on the academic experience, Randolph said. In previous years, there had been a “big picture” approach to the topic, “but what we found in the virtual environment is that they wanted more information on how we connect the dots from schools’ academic planning and advising experience to their orientation experience,” she said.

While students in the School of Arts and Sciences and Rutgers Business School will select their classes during orientation, those attending other schools still will have the opportunity to meet with academic advisers and understand their course of study.

New Student Orientation

For first-year students, orientation at Rutgers–New Brunswick is a two-day, overnight experience. Sessions begin on June 20 and continue through mid-August. Everyone who attends must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination status.

Transfer students are invited to a one-day orientation. Sessions, including evening programs, begin on June 29 and run until mid-August. Orientation for Honors College students is set for Monday, June 27, followed by an orientation for international students on Aug. 29 and an orientation for out-of-state students on Aug. 30-31.

Orientation “is a great way to start to get involved by learning about all of clubs and organizations that are available, as well as some resources that can be utilized to better transition into college,” said Vanessa Mendoza, an incoming junior studying nursing and an orientation leader. “You can also meet others who are studying the same things as you and start to make connections and friendships that can last for a lifetime.”

Andrew Nyaga, a junior from Nairobi, Kenya, who is studying digital filmmaking and is an orientation leader, said these connections are a way to get to know the university culture.

“One particular orientation leader went out of their way to help me prepare for my Rutgers journey by telling me where the best food is, what to expect from my classes, who to talk to if I needed assistance as well as so much more,” said Nyaga.

Parent and Family Orientation

Parent and family orientation is an optional, one-day program for those wishing to connect and network with other families while getting information on matters such as academic advising.

“We’re excited to be back in person and to be able to welcome them and, you know, talk to them, shake their hands,” said Ashlea Coulter, associate director of Parent and Family Programs. “The main goal is knowing that there is a dedicated resource and a place just for parents and family members at a large university.”

Coulter said a second goal of orientation is to educate parents and families about Rutgers resources available to students, such as counseling, tutoring and exercising at university recreation centers.

Orientation for parents and families includes sessions hosted by members of university offices and departments, a student panel, a resource fair and an optional walking tour. The registration fee includes refreshments, a catered lunch, Rutgers family-themed giveaways and a parking permit. Per the university’s COVID-19 protocol, face coverings are required as well as proof of vaccination status.

Parents and family members looking for more information on how to stay connected to Rutgers beyond orientation may sign up for the parent and family newsletter.

The 2022 Welcome Week for students at Rutgers–New Brunswick is set for Sept. 1 through Sept. 10.