It's the Largest Freshman Class Ever at NJIT -- and it's a Smart Class

Hari Ravichandran (left) and Kevin Chen are part of the largest freshman class ever at NJIT.

The freshman class -- the class of 2016 -- is the largest ever at NJIT.

With 1,048 students, it’s not only the biggest freshman class in the history of the university but it’s a bright class, too: its aggregate average SAT score -- 1,161 -- is 23 points above last year’s entering class and 140 points higher than the state and national averages.

Students in the freshman class say they chose NJIT for a variety of reasons: it’s affordable yet highly ranked academically; it’s small and personal yet offers myriad majors; it extends generous financial and scholarships and, for many, it has the added virtue of being close to home.

Hari RavichandranConsider, for example, Hari Ravichandran, a freshman who majors in chemical engineering. He grew up in Holmdel and attended High Technology High School.  High Tech, in Lincroft, is the top-ranked high school in the nation for science and technology, according to U.S. News & World Report. Thus Hari, a top student, could have gone to other top universities. In fact he turned down the Georgia Institute of Technology and Case Western Reserve University. He chose NJIT, he says, because it’s close to home and has a small and close-knit campus.  “And the Honors College also gave me a good financial aid package, better than the ones offered to me by other institutions,” he says.

Angelica McKenzie (pictured right), an interior design major, chose NJIT for similar reasons as Hari.  She wanted to commute to school and NJIT is close to her Angelica McKenziehome in Jersey City.  She too attended a nationally-ranked high school -- McNair Academic High in Jersey City -- and she too turned down tops schools such as Pratt Institute.  NJIT  (pictured right)was affordable; it had the major she wanted and the right mix of instruction and classes she wanted.  

“I want to learn how to create breathtaking displays like the Macy's windows during the holiday season and to create majestic set designs for Broadway shows, making set pieces that create grand illusions of the impossible,” says Angelica. “But I don’t just want to learn the artistic side of design. I want also to learn the technical side.  NJIT can give me both, which will give me an edge over students from other colleges who just study only the artistic side of design.”

Samantha BersettFreshman Samantha Bersett certainly didn’t pick NJIT because it was close to home: She’s from Missouri.  Rather, she came to NJIT to play Division 1 soccer – she’s the goalie on the NJIT Women’s Team – and to study biomedical engineering.  While still in high school she visited the NJIT campus. She loved the soccer team and the biomedical engineering department. She also wanted to be on the East Coast – she likes Manhattan – and NJIT is a short train ride away from NYC.

“Overall, NJIT was a perfect fit for me,” says Samantha.  “It allows me to play soccer and study what I love.”

Kevin ChenKevin Chen (pictured right) also didn’t choose NJIT for reasons of proximity.  He’s from Singapore.  He came here because the Honors College gave him a scholarship and because his sister, an NJIT junior, recommended the school to him.

Kevin, a freshman majoring in interior design, attended the Singapore American High School, a school with a cosmopolitan flavor.  He has traveled widely and he, like Angelica, loves the arts and he loves music. And he too liked the way the interior design major at NJIT mixes design and technology.

“I love art and took all the art classes I could in my high school,” says Kevin. “But I also like staying contemporary and using technology with design. NJIT was perfect for me.”

By Robert Florida