1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Scholarship Issue

  1. Jul 18, 2012 #1
    (This paragraph is not necessary to read) Background: I am a physics major and I just got accepted to Rutgers University in Brunswick today. I only applied three weeks ago because it was a last minute decision not to continue to finish my community college associates. To clarify, I wouldn't have been able to finish my associates in the allotted two years since I started off with algebra and did not take advantage of summer classes (for good reason too).

    Getting to the point, I'm quite disappointed because their scholarship opportunities are dreadful for students like me. Their scholarships consist of those for first year students, and those for transfer students who completed an associates in the allotted two years by spring and hence I do not qualify. This is really unfortunate, I have a 3.9 and research experience. Their physics-based scholarship is there for students who have been there in Rutgers, so I am only eligible for it at the end of the year.

    And since I am not getting a scholarship, I have to commute there (a big downside)-- which shouldn't be TOO bad since it is around 40 minutes to get there (with no traffic). I can handle that for a year, though I'm not particularly happy about it. The bad part is that if I were to get a scholarship from the physics department for the following year -- it would only cover me $7500, which doesn't help enough to convince me to pay for room and board fees.

    Now I'm in a bit of a pit hole and I would greatly appreciate some advice. The way I see it there are a few options:

    a) Stay there for the next 3 years and suffer the commute (not likely).
    b) Just continue onto my community college and transfer in the spring (not likely)
    c) Transfer to another university after the first year at Rutgers which are of equal or higher reputation in physics. This though would mean searching for an out-of-state university and hope that I will get fully covered. (looking into it).
    d) Maybe it isn't too late, aim for late admission at a couple of other universities NOW.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2012 #2
    I would go with option b, personally. You may not want to, but I think all of the other options are much worse. Commuting would suck. Having to transfer again would also be bad. And it is likely too late for any university to admit you and give you financial aid.
  4. Jul 18, 2012 #3
    a) Do you qualify for FAFSA? Will you commute by driving yourself or riding the bus/train? If you are riding a bus/train, that gives you time to relax, study, or do homework. You can also look into housing that is about 15 minutes or so away from campus. Assuming you will be living with other people, that can cut down the costs of room and board.

    b) What are the advantages of transferring in the spring?

    c) Transferring to a university with a lower reputation isn't bad especially if that would mean being better off financially. A lot of universities have opportunities for their undergraduates, so it isn't difficult to find one that is low cost and decent in opportunities.

    d) Applying late normally means you won't have priority over students who applied on time. That's how it is in my state anyway.
  5. Jul 18, 2012 #4
    So, you're not finishing your Associates because you started in Algebra? Possibly take the placement test and place into calc or above. I'd rather finish community college and get a scholarship than have to pay out the butt for a year or more.
  6. Jul 18, 2012 #5
    I can't stand being in that community college anymore. First, I am the only physics major there-- that is ridiculous. There used to be another physics major there but not anymore, but even then he wasn't the type of person that I would benefit from.

    Second, I commute to that college as well and it is in an urban setting -- which I hate.

    Third, I don't like the classes I have to take there. My schedule consists of Calculus III, differential equations, and principles of biology (12 credits). That is it! I can't take any relevant class else than C++. In my other college, I'd likely take Physics III, mechanics I, intro to comp-based experimentation, Calc III, & differential equations (with permission of course). With that said, I would rather take the latter schedule-- especially because I am already behind in terms of curriculum since I started with algebra I.

    No, that was two years ago. And I did take the placement test, I missed placing into pre-calculus by four points and I couldn't appeal it or retake it.

    I can finish my associates by next fall if the dean were to allow me to take modern physics. But she didn't allow me since modern physics counts as 5 credits in this college, but other nearby colleges counts it as 4 credits. Sooo.. -.-. Even then I can't finish my associates because the class is only available in the summer.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
  7. Jul 18, 2012 #6
    Yes, I do qualify for FAFSA. And actually, I only have to pay $700 bucks after all the grants (for off-campus).

    Public transportation takes 2 hours and a half -- something I cannot do. I've looked into off-campus housing, most are around 500-600 a month. A good price but it counts up once you do it for the whole year. I haven't been able to save money either because I've used it to help my family, though I'm beginning to save my money now at least. I might do it, but I still have to think about the expenses. I've calculated that it might take around 400-500 dollars a month for the commute -- but that was just a quick estimate that I've done recently.

    I'll have a much better schedule, as noted in the post above. I'll also be able to be around other like-minded individuals -- something that counts to me the most.

    In terms of cost and opportunity, this one is fairly well. There are other programs that might very well cover me fully around my area -- but their curriculum, research, and environment don't suit me as good.
    Yes, that is how it is here as well. It is a relatively important factor. I did some research on some other universities of equal or higher ranking and I would pay even more there. The only one that was extremely generous with their grants was Rice (Actually, it is unusually generous compared to the other schools I've looked into). In fact, I would be covered almost fully (the rest by work-study) just by the federal pell grant and their university assistance grant.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
  8. Jul 18, 2012 #7
    It seems like option b would be the best then. You'll have your math courses covered with the only downside being that you don't get to take Physics III. You could take general/liberal studies (w/e the college calls them) unless you already have. Other than that there isn't much you can do but be patient. Also, don't forget to account for food in your expenses. ;)
  9. Jul 18, 2012 #8
    It is very tempting. I am considering that route, but one thing comes to mind: what are the positives of going to my community college one more semester? I would be offsetting my dilemma for one more semester. But then what? What am I going to gain out of it? I'm still not going to be eligible for the scholarships at Rutgers. And some schools don't accept transfers in the spring (Rice being one of them).

    I know I don't come from a rich family, far from it, and money isn't easy to spend, but at the same time I want what is best for my education. And I feel that I have much more to gain from Rutgers.

    Actually, I can take out $3500 from federal subsidized loans -- so that can take most of the financial stress off my shoulders; considering I won't have to pay it off till 6 months after I graduate and I can pay it off with a postdoc.
  10. Jul 18, 2012 #9
    Quickly skimming this thread, it seems the best thing for you to do is attend Rutgers, and live off campus. You say off campus should be ~600, and commuting will be ~500. Off campus sounds like much less hassle, for not much more. Maybe try to pick up a work study job. Living around the area would be much easier, and you are going to college, so you should be able to enjoy it socially.
  11. Jul 18, 2012 #10
    Does Rutgers offer any scholarships to Phi Theta Kappa members? If so, join the chapter at the community college you attended. Even if Rutgers doesn't offer any Phi Theta Kappa scholarships, you would be eligible for other scholarships.
  12. Jul 18, 2012 #11
    Another thing to consider is that If you don't get a associates degree you will have to do their core curriculum, half of which you must take at rutgers. Also if your communiting you can only park in one campus and you still have to take the bus to the right campus if your class is on another one. If you are still transferring in the fall you should register for star day and pick your classes soon cauze most of them are full. I'm transferring their in the fall too.

    If you apply by October for the spring your eligible for the ptk scholarship
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
  13. Jul 18, 2012 #12
    Your telling me that some of the classes might not be accepted right? I've contacted the department and I'm pretty sure the classes will be accepted. I have another friend who is transferring there in the Fall for physics and his classes were accepted.

    Well how far are the other campuses from Busch? I would have thought that all of my physics and math classes would be located here, but then again I'm not sure how the campuses are split up.

    Before I visit in star day, I have to know whether I should go to Rutgers or not. A few hours ago I was getting ready to pay the $150 fee to officially be in the school, but now I'm having second thoughts.

    What is your major?

    And no, I'm not eligible for the ptk scholarship because criteria states you need have an associates by the fall semester.
  14. Jul 18, 2012 #13
    Well I'll definitely work while at Rutgers, that is a given.

    Mmm_Pasta recommended I stay at my community college for at least one more semester to off-set the costs. I'm still not too sure of what to do.

    Yes it does, and I'm not eligible for it because the criteria says that you must have an associates by the fall semester.
  15. Jul 19, 2012 #14
    Your classes would be accepted but you would need to take your writing classes there, and a couple of gen eds unless you have an associates, look up the core curriculum under the sas website. Most of your classes would be on Busch except for the gen eds and some math. The campuses are about a 15-20 min bus ride apart. It's not bad but an added stress to get their find a parking spot, then catch the bus.

    About the scholarship, they offer it both semesters but you will need you associates by the spring. If you can't do the physics a.s. can you do a general science, or math a.s. At my cc the math a.s. only required calc 1-4, and physics 1-2 which you would have. What cc do you go to? Also keep in mind that you will get more financial aid if you live on or off campus. You can also try outside scholarships like the smart scholarship which covers everything but you would have to get a govt job for 2 years afterwards and do internships for them in the summer.

    I'm a math/physics major btw.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  16. Jul 19, 2012 #15
    I go to Hudson County cc. And the math major in my school requires linear algebra -- which isn't available in the fall. So I'm not too sure what I'm going to do about that. But an alternative major in this CC sounds like a good idea.

    I used the financial aid calculator, and it said that it would give me the same amount of financial aid for on or off campus, I think it is because I have the maximum amount.

    Scholarships are offered both semesters? You will need your associates by the spring? Can you send me the link where you got that from. Look here: http://admissions.rutgers.edu/Costs/Scholarships/TransferScholarships.aspx Or are you talking about the physics scholarship?

    Smart scholarship makes me drool, I've seen it before. But I'm not eligible for it, I am a green card holder and an eligible non-citizen, but criteria states you need to be a US citizen. You made me think about something though, maybe I'll be eligible for some of the other outside scholarships if I continue on one more semester in my CC.

    Also, how tough is it to find parking there? What time of the day is best for parking?

    EDIT: Waiiit! I have made a huge error on my part. The Phi Theta Kappa scholarship is relevant for both fall and spring admission! I'm excited because this is a huge game-changer. Thank you.
  17. Jul 20, 2012 #16
    I'm not too sure about parking, I'm transferring there in the fall too. I don't think it's that bad because they regulate the amount of parking passes the give out for each parking lot. Traffic could be a problem though.

    Can you petition the physics class or linear algebra to be offered in the fall. The professors at my cc wanted to teach these classes but they were only offered in the summer as well since there wasn't enough demand. They told me there was at least 7 students who wanted to take the course we could talk to the dean and they would offer it in the fall. You could ask your dean if this is possible. If it is He/she might be able to send a mass email to everyone in the program or you could go through the math or physics club if your cc has one to find other people to get the class going.

    If you can't do this maybe try getting an independent study instead, probably for linear algebra since there is no lab.

    Also If you are going to stay at the cc make sure your a.s. fulfills the requirements for the nj transfer agreement so you don't have to take any gen eds at rutgers. Ask your guidance or call rutgers to make sure. Most cc have the requirements built in to their degrees but some don't.
  18. Jul 20, 2012 #17
    I am commuting about an hour each way, 5 days a week, to school. I use the time to listen to the lectures I recorded, try to "explain" problems to myself that I am trying to understand more clearly, and review my memorizations. I have found that the down time between my last class and getting home to dive into chores, homework, studying, and so forth is really valuable.

    One other issue is that on campus it can be quite noisy (especially evenings) in the dorms. You also have to deal with roomies who may not need to study as much as you do, and you will have to pay more money for food. A lot of on-campus individuals eat way more fast food than I do. I pack my lunch and I eat at home. I calculated last semester I saved almost $400.00 just from not eating out everyday. That really adds up. Not to mention having to pay for laundry, and other miscellaneous stuff (around the campus everything is more expensive than it is out where I live).

    We have a free shuttle that goes from the free parking area nearby and takes you all over campus, so I actually get dropped off anywhere I want, and campus is pretty big so that saves time and energy, too. Some of the on-campus students spend way more time trekking back and forth from their dormatories, which can be quite far from the classroom buildings.

    When I really need to stay in town overnight, I have made friends who let me stay with them. This has only been needed a couple of times, like when there was a storm and the road was closed, and several times when I had to stay late at the observatory.

    Just some points to consider....
  19. Jul 20, 2012 #18


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Have you gone to financial services or the college of science and asked about scholarships that aren't offered by the university? Sometimes local businesses, alumni, et cetera will offer scholarships to students who meet some specific criteria. My university has a catalog that lists all scholarship offerings, and I was surprised to see how general some of the requirements were. For example, a local engineering firm offers $500, every year, to undergraduates who've chosen to pursue the Renewable Energy track of the EE program. You might find something similar with a little bit of poking around. I'd seek out the physics department's academic advisor and ask if there are any such offerings, or if they know of a resource you can use to find them yourself.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  20. Jul 20, 2012 #19
    Yes a lot of people complained about traffic. Which is why I figured maybe I should leave by 6-7am and hopefully there won't be that much traffic then. And I was also planning to just stay there all day and leave after rush hour lol. *You can see how I hate traffic*

    That is very helpful advice! Sounds like a good idea, I'll try it out.

    Does independent study count as credit? Would I still have the declared major?

    We have an agreement with the university so that all credits are accepted after graduation.

    Well, I've spoken to the head of the department of physics and he didn't notify me of any other scholarships -- just the ones they offer at the end of the year. I also called the head of scholarships a couple days ago but she wasn't in the office, so I'll call again.

    I'll definitely try with the financial services and college of science as well, sounds like a good idea.
  21. Jul 20, 2012 #20
    Sounds exactly like how much I would be commuting too.

    Those two hours a day could be spent on doing other things, like focusing complete attention on reviewing the material for a shorter amount of time and relaxing or doing chores. You end up having more time in the day.

    Hmm, well I think it depends on the dorm, some are close to the library and some are not if I'm not mistaken. I'm fine studying in the library so it is no problem. And why do you have to pay more money for food? Isn't food covered in room & board fee?

    :bugeye: Oh yes, I did not include laundry in my calculation. I wonder how much it and other miscellaneous stuff would cost.

    Wait, there is a free parking area?? That just shows how little I know of the university. And I thought for the most part, all of the math and physics classes that I will take will be in the Busch campus.

    How far can the classroom buildings really be? 20 minutes?

    I can imagine that to be uncomfortable, you had to sleep on the floor right?
  22. Jul 20, 2012 #21
    There isn't free parking at rutgers, I think plife goes somewhere else. Meal plans range from 700 to 2000 and isn't part of room and board. Theres a net calculator on the admissions web site that will show estimated price of the misc things.

    The transfer agreement is not about your classes transferring but about having to fulfill the core curriculum or not. Like one of the requirements is 2 writing classes that must be taken at rutgers. If you have an a.s. and meet the conditions you don't have to do the core curriculum. If I didn't meet the reqs I would have had to take 5 extra classes for the core curriculum.

    The independent study would have to be discussed with the dean.
  23. Jul 20, 2012 #22
    Ohh, so that is where they got the number from the misc expenses, I was wondering why it was that high lol.

    Hmm, well my other friend who transferred into their physics program did not have to take any of their gen ed classes -- he just jumped into the meat of the potato so to speak. I'll check it out though.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook