A Quick Look at this Year's Impressive Freshman Class

The newest batch of students enter NJIT at a time when the university's reputation for diversity, long-term value, impressive curriculum, attractive student-faculty ratio (17:1) and earning potential hover near an all-time high.

“You are an impressive learning group, which includes more than 1,100 first-year students of exceptional talent,” said NJIT President Joel. S. Bloom, while welcoming the newest batch of students to NJIT at the university’s annual convocation. “It’s unlikely that you have been anywhere with so many hard-working, high-achieving students. Please keep that in mind.”

It’s true.

This year’s freshman class was selected from 7,200 applicants with an average SAT score of 1215 for the math and critical reading sections—last year’s average SAT score in those areas for freshmen was 1211.

The average SAT score of freshmen in the Albert Dorman Honors College is 1420. Both scores represent record highs for NJIT and surpass both state and national averages.

The newest members of the Highlander family hail from large, urban cities and small, rural towns right here in The Garden State and nearby New York and Pennsylvania. While others have journeyed thousands of miles from California and abroad, helping to increase the top-ranked university’s geographic diversity. And 84 freshmen are returning to NJIT after graduating from the 2016 Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), a five-week academic enrichment program for academic and personal development.

“EOP is a rigorous but great program that has made me more confident in my chosen career path,” said Lawson Nzegwu, who’s studying mechanical engineering—one of the most popular majors among incoming freshmen, in addition to computer science, engineering science, computer engineering, civil engineering and biology.

The students enter NJIT at a time when the university’s reputation for diversity, long-term value, impressive curriculum, attractive student-faculty ratio (17:1) and earning potential hover near an all-time high.

The Brookings Institute reported that NJIT is one of the nation’s top 10 schools providing “the greatest value-added boost to their alumni in the occupational earnings power.” The university continues to be recognized by Forbes, PayScale.com and SmartAsset.com as one of higher education’s best values for return on investment.

During the last three years, NJIT’s U.S. News & World Report ranking for Best National Universities has improved by 15 spots, five in the last year alone. And NJIT was included in the 2017 Fiske Guide to Colleges, which offers an overview of the top colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain.

Freshman Amina Bendaoud says she chose NJIT—which is 1 of 3 New Jersey universities to be included in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings of premier global universities for teaching and research—for its emphasis on STEM disciplines. As a tutor during high school, she helped other students with a range of subjects, from calculus to American literature to global history. Now, Bendaoud is fulfilling her dream of studying science and math in college. “I have always loved teaching and hope to continue tutoring at NJIT,” she said.

Karen Ayoub also values tutoring her peers, as well as advocating for women in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) fields. A recipient of a new award from the Albert Dorman Honors College—the Women with STEAM Scholarship—Ayoub looks forward to both learning from and teaching other young women as they pursue their STEAM studies. “I hope to utilize my skills and passion in order to make a difference at NJIT,” she said.

Other freshmen are equally enthusiastic about becoming a Highlander, particularly after attending the university’s New Student Orientation (NSO).

“I was relieved when I realized at NSO, there are a lot of girls like me in my major," said computer science major Yamini Bokka. Newcomer Domenico Cipriani, who is also majoring in computer science, said, "NSO has been a positive experience and ignited my passion for programming."

Today, there is a need for 1.3 million STEM employees in the U.S. “Add design and the management of technology, and that number grows significantly,” said Bloom. He encourages the freshmen to envision what it will mean to graduate from NJIT. “Do you see [yourself] being one of those filling this demand, a sought-after professional working to improve the quality of life or an entrepreneur bringing a better idea or product to the marketplace?  Whatever the motivation,” he added, “you’ve chosen the right place at the right time.”

By Julie Jacobs
julie.w.jacobs@njit.edu