Sunday, February 15, 2009

NJSTARS: A Smooth Transition

By Jaclyn Mandelbaum

Just the thought of transferring from a small community college to a large university certainly may be nerve-wracking to many people. Joe Bindert, age 21, reflected upon his transition from Ocean County College to Rutgers University. Certainly, Joe has encountered a very different life-style here at Rutgers University than he had been previously accustomed to. He has expressed how he has adapted to this change, and has given his opinion about the whole process.

After graduating from high school, Joe, resident of Forked River, NJ, had the prestigious opportunity to partake in the NJSTARS program. NJSTARS is a scholarship opportunity that is available for high school graduates in the top 15% of their class. This program covers the tuition of all 19 community colleges in New Jersey. If an appropriate grade point average is maintained after completing an Associate’s Degree, participants qualify to have their Bachelor’s Degree paid for at any state college. This is the path that Joe chose to take.

Joe described the immensely different atmospheres that Ocean County College and Rutgers University take on. He said, “The biggest change is the size of the school. Rutgers is enormous compared to my community college". He explained how peculiar it is that the whole community college is smaller than any one of the five campuses at Rutgers. Certainly, accompanying large campuses are large classes. Lecture halls with hundreds of students were a new and interesting experience for Joe as he adapted to his new environment. Joe came to Rutgers as a Junior, without a friend accompanying him. He said that he “felt almost like a freshman because everyone else already knew each other”. However, was not long before Joe befriended a decent amount of people and fit right in.

Rutgers University is home to people of a variety of interests, backgrounds, and hobbies. The wide-range of people and open-minded attitude provides the University with a rich culture. Joe is enjoying this attribute that he felt Ocean County College lacked. He described his experience there simply as “going to class”, and not much else.

In addition, Joe is enjoying the reality that there is always something to do on the Rutgers campus. No matter what day of the week, or what time of the day it is, people are always outside doing something. He described how it is not everywhere where you can order food to be delivered at 5:00 AM.

Content living on the Busch campus in the McCormick dorms, Joe is in no rush to move. He is thriving in his new atmosphere and said, “When I got to Rutgers, I wasn't sure how well I would adjust, but it seemed pretty natural after awhile, and I met a lot of great people". He believes that his transition from community college to Rutgers University was for the better. “It was the right choice”, he said. Joe recommends that Rutgers is a good decision for transfer students who are looking for a big-school feel.

You can learn more about the NJSTARS program at

No comments:

Post a Comment