Rutgers Class of 2019: Diverse, Accomplished and Largest Ever
More than a third of the 8,100–member class are the first in their families to attend college
Members of the Rutgers Class of 2019 are making their mark on the world even before they set foot on campus as members of the largest incoming class ever at the state university.
Inspired by the brother she knew only as “different,” Angelina Lim Shu Xian organized the first autism awareness program in her home city of Penang, Malaysia, then went on to publish a well-received book of poetry featuring the inner thoughts of a child who has autism.
Adegoke Fakorede of Newark became one of the first high school students in debate history to qualify for the national tournament of champions in two areas: policy debate and Lincoln-Douglas debate, which deals with issues of social justice and morality.
Steven Yankanich was a key player on the team that built the Philadelphia Eagles’ e-commerce division from an in-house merchandise department to a multi-store, multi-million dollar business, more than doubling the number of employees along the way.
The three incoming students will join the biggest class the university has welcomed since its 1766 founding: approximately 8,100 first-year students across all of Rutgers campuses statewide.
They and their classmates beat out some fierce competition: Courtney McAnuff, vice president for enrollment management, said admissions officers received a record 37,000-plus applications this year, an increase of 11 percent over last year.
Approximately 6,550 of the first-year students will take their classes in New Brunswick and at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS). Rutgers University-Newark is expecting about 1,150 first-year students; Rutgers University-Camden, about 400.
More than 220 members of the Class of 2019 were valedictorians or salutatorians at their high schools. In New Brunswick/RBHS, 64 percent of them placed in the top 20th percentile of their classes. The average SAT score for regularly admitted students in New Brunswick/RBHS is 1875, an 18-point increase over last year.
There are 84 Presidential Scholars in the incoming class, with an average SAT of 2305 (out of 2400). There are also 114 Henry Rutgers scholars with an average SAT of 2170.
The new Honors College at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, which formally opened its doors this semester, has enrolled 530 students. With an average SAT of 2160, the Honors College profile is about 300 points higher than New Brunswick/RBHS, and more than 600 points higher than the state and national average.
The university also is expecting about 4,450 transfer students.
Like Angelina Lim Shu Xian, many of the first-years hail from outside of New Jersey’s borders. Out-of-state and international students represent more than 15 percent of the first-year class in New Brunswick.
Coming from more than 40 states and 60 countries, the incoming class joins a community of students from more than 100 countries and all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The most popular countries sending first-year students to Rutgers this semester are, in order, China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Nigeria, Turkey, Egypt, Canada and Lim’s home of Malaysia.
Lim Shu Xian, who is enrolled at Douglass Residential College with plans to major in psychology, says she chose Rutgers partly because it houses the Douglass Disabilities Center, highly regarded for its research into autism.
“I am saddened by society’s insensitivity toward individuals who suffer from mental disorders,” she says She recalls watching her younger brother grapple with situations unequipped with the knowledge or social skills to handle them.
She was 18 when she invited her brother to showcase his work at an event she titled “On the Inside,” designed to bring awareness of the autism spectrum to her Southeast Asian country. Her book of poetry, Artistic: The Way I am Is How You Choose to See Me, followed.
Adegoke Fakorede is raising his voice in another, equally powerful way.
The Newark man began debating during his first year at Science Park High School, going on to be ranked among the top debaters in the nation.
In March, he travelled to the University of California, Berkeley, to participate in one of the largest tournaments in the country, where he and his teammates took home first-, second- and third-place honors.
Fakorede and fellow Science Park debate team member Christian Quiroz have been selected as Clement Price Scholars, named for a longtime history professor and civic leader at Rutgers-Newark who died last November.
They will receive full scholarships to live at Rutgers-Newark, joining the inaugural class of the campus’s Social Justice Learning Community.
The Social Justice Learning Community is designed for first-year students who have an interest in community engagement, social equity, and issues of justice and injustice. The learning community assists students in their transition from high school to college by enabling them to share common first-year courses while receiving academic and personal advising.
Steven Yankanich, who will enter the School of Business at Rutgers-Camden, began as a warehouse manager with the Eagles organization in 2003 and worked his way up the ranks to become assistant director of merchandise operations.
Now an independent contractor, the resident of Washington Township, Gloucester County, recently returned from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, where he oversaw merchandising for the Aerosmith concert that inaugurated the hall’s Concert for Legends series.
Other facts of note about Rutgers’ Class of 2019:
- More than 2,500 are the first in their families to attend college.
More than 1,250 have parents who attended Rutgers.
About 48 percent of incoming students are of African-American, Latino or Asian background.
More than 9,600 first-year and transfer students will receive financial aid.
- The most popular projected majors for the first-years (in order) are business; health professions and related clinical sciences; biological and biomedical sciences; engineering, and social sciences such as economics and political science.
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