Many of my colleagues who help produce Rutgers Magazine are graduates of the university. I have learned a lot about what it was like attending Rutgers in the 1970s and 80s. In many ways, it’s much different from student life today, although there are constants, namely the rewarding experiences of a great education, learning about oneself as a young adult, and making lifelong friends. 

One topic that resurfaces is recalling the frustrating process of registering for classes, a labyrinth that students warily entered without knowing their fate in getting the courses they wanted. Often, after hours of anxious searching and waiting, the verdict was, no, the class was closed, sending them on the quest to find a substitute. Dorm life had its share of inconveniences, certainly by today’s standards, anyway. There was a time when students had to wait their turn in the evening to use the pay phone in the dorm hallway. Researching a topic as part of a class assignment was a physical workout as they scoured the library, trying to find the information promised in the card catalog and other reference sources. 

Students today have a bounty of choice and convenience, leaving more time for the actual learning. The big factors in improving the student experience are the countless advances in technology. Registering for those classes? Easily accomplished, in a matter of minutes, from a student’s smartphone. The myRutgers online portal allows them to transact all manner of university business, from checking grades to financial aid to graduation forecasting. New residence halls, many configured as three- and four-bedroom apartments, have private bathrooms, not to mention amenities like air-conditioning and Wi-Fi internet access. That term paper? QuickSearch, an online search service of Rutgers University Libraries, allows students to access and search Rutgers’ vast library holdings of print and electronic resources from anywhere.

These are just some of the advantages of today’s student experience at Rutgers. Read more about it in “New & Improved.”