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Guest Cheryl B

New Brunswick, NJ

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If you don't mind a little commute (which really isn't bad with a fac/staff parking permit), look for a place in the Highland Park/North Brunswick/Edison/Milltown areas.

I spent two years in an apartment in Edison (on the border of Highland Park) called Valley Manor. It was a one bedroom, ~600 sq. ft., with heat/hot water/cooking gas included for around $900 a month. It was a pretty good deal when I took into account the area and online reviews and such. The only other bills we paid were for a phone line (RU offers free dial-up access for off-campus students), cable TV and electric. My roommate and I rarely used the AC and were pretty good about shutting things off - our electric bill usually ran around $30 a month.

This year I'm in a place called Maebrook at Renaissance, in North Brunswick. I share the area with 3 roommates, all grad students. For ~1600 sq. ft. we pay $1,615 a month plus all of our utilities. Phone/Internet/Cable is around $100 a month and Electric/Gas usually runs around $130.

New Jersey is defintely an expensive place to live, but you can get by here. My fiance actually has the same aid package you were offered - tuition remission and an 18k stipend - and he has no financial problems. He has to keep an eye on his budget, but he's never short on cash when he needs it.

If you have more questions about the areas or anything, feel free to email me through my member profile.

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Guest guest

I just returned from a Prospectives event at Rutgers, and while this is hearsay, one of the grad students there had nothing positive to say about the grad student housing on campus. If you're considering it, it might be worth it to do some serious investigating of it, and other options as well.

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Guest ls529

Hi, this is all really helpful info. I was wondering... is there a lot of off-campus housing close enough to campus that you could walk/bike back and forth? And, do people have bikes there? At my current school, no one rides bikes, and there are very few bike racks, etc. for students to use. Thanks!

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Guest guest

I saw students and professors on bikes. I saw one person on roller skates. Lots of walking. It seemed like there were a lot of buses, but they may have been going from one campus to another. I spoke to one student who rode his bike from Highland Park day and night all year -- but I don't know if that is typical.

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Guest guest

There are places to live within walking distance of the school-just not the most upkept ones. Bikes do tend to get stolen but I guess that is everywhere.

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Guest Cheryl B

I just got back from visiting the campus and aside from the dismal, dreary train ride from Newark, had a very pleasant experience (btw, never fly US Airways - what a crappy airline!). All of the grad students I spoke with advised strongly against living on campus (dirty, small, smelly, nasty furniture, and scary steel doors were among their descriptors) and against living in New Brunswick (safety issues - esp for girls). I looked at apartments in Highland Park and Edison, which were nice but to my small-town mindset, exorbitant. I guess I'll have to change that mindset, and soon. Apparently the sooner you go there and fill in an application for an apartment the better - most of the apartment managers I spoke to said that by the summer (i.e. June/July) things have already filled up for August rentals. Since it's only March, I'm first on the list for an August opening at the places I visited. However, visiting this early they don't know yet whether any apartments will be vacant then, so it's practically impossible to lock anything down. Also, my student stipend isn't enough to meet their income requirements, so I have to get my parents to cosign with me, which is a bummer. So much for my so-called independence.

Anyway, that's the info I picked up while I was there, so good luck to any and all going through the same process in the future.

Also, to reply to the person asking about departments, I'm going into the humanities but not English (sorry about the vagueness here, but since I've already posted my name, I don't want to give out my life story online).

The people that I met there were really nice, so I have high hopes for a good experience there for the next, oh, seventeen years.

Cheryl

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Apartment optoins are only good if you have a car and commute. Rutgers has the 2nd largest campus bus system in the US. You can park, but unless you have faculty parking, you will have to take the Bus, which really isn't so bad, even the professors ride the BUS. The main problem is that New Brunswick (Rte. 18) is under major construction for the next few years and so will the College Avenue campus. There is alot of new construction rentals, but the fees are exhorbitant. The entire city of New Brunswick is undergoing a major overhaul, for the better, but there are a few places you wouldn't want to venture late at night. Situated on the Northeast Corridor train line halfway between philly and NYC really has its benefits.

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Guest Orhan and the Red

Hi! everybody here.

Just wanted to ask whether you started with the visiting or 'looking for a room' kind of stuff after you got your formal letters or a confirmation from the grad status page. Wondering if there is anyboyd else around who has received a departmental confirmation (a couple of weeks back) but hasn't got a notice from the grad school still. Or am I the only one around still waiting for the grad school posting?

anyway, thanks for all the postings on this page. They are really useful in getting a hang of things.

yours

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Guest Cheryl B

I received my confirmation (i.e. formal letter) from the Graduate School about 3 weeks after my email of unofficial acceptance from the department. I started sniffing out the area for particulars and housing pretty much immediately after the email, since the department director said that it was highly improbably that the Graduate School would force them to retract the offer--and I don't have anything better to do than spend hours looking at floorplans on rent.com :) Since we're beginning to approach the infamous April 15 deadline, I'm sure you'll get official news from them soon.

Cheryl

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Guest Orhan and the red

Cheryl B, what about the status page. It is that damned thing which has me worried. (Well, it doesn't really require much: pretty much anything can have me worried). Two weeks after the letter and the status page still saying "no decision". I don't want to fall into any spell by going ahead with that search kinda thing before it is confirmed. I 'heard' you say the stipend is not enough to allow lease-signing. How much is your stipend? Is it not the same 18K that everybody has been reporting. Is that not enough?

best wishes.

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Guest Cheryl B

Orhan,

So sorry, I misunderstood you concerning "status page." I never checked that while I was waiting and I'm not sure I know quite what you're referring to. I just now looked at the Graduate Application site (I'm not sure what it's called officially, but it begins with https://www.acs.rutgers.edu/gradadmission/... It's the only place I could find my application and it doesn't say anything about my decision status, just my name, department, submission date, degree program, term, and year. Nothing that says "admitted" or "accepted" or even "decision status." I found out the decision solely from correspondance initiated by Rutgers folks. If there's somewhere else to check, you can post the home page and I can check to see if it's updated (for my decision), if you want.

I'm sure if you got an acceptance letter from the Graduate School (or even the dept), that's more important than the status page, which they may just be behind on updating. Of course, I don't work there, but that's my 2 cents, for whatever it's worth.

Regarding the lease-signing, it may only be a problem if you're going for a one-bedroom. The income requirement was in the lower $30,000 range for a one-bedroom, which my $18k stipend doesn't cover. However, it was still generally somewhere in the $35,000 range for two-bedrooms, so if you have a grad student roommate, you may be able to cover it yourselves, depending on the complex. If you have to have someone cosign with you, they have to go through the same "application procedure," i.e. submit information so they can do credit, income, and criminal background check. Pain in my ass, but my parents are ok with it.

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful, but if you have any more questions I'll try my best to answer them.

Cheryl

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Guest Cheryl B

Blast... It appears that I am completely un-techno-savvy. Why must university websites be so labyrinthine? I just searched some more and found the actual status page. It says "recommended for admission" but doesn't give a date or anything so I don't know how long it's been posted.

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Guest Orhan and the red

Hi Cheryl,

You have to be my lucky mascot. well, I read your post and when I went to check the next thing, it was there: 'you have been recommended for admission'. Imagine, I had been checking this page "very very" often for the last ten -may be fifteen- days. So, I'm off to room and room mate hunting as well... . Thank you for the updates on the residential information too.

best wishes

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Guest imnotjesus

Cheryl,

i'm interested in some more details on your impression of New Brunswick and Rutgers. can you post some more of your thoughts from your trip while i get ready for my own next weekend?

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Guest Cheryl B

Well, non-deity, since I spent almost all of my time there either talking with faculty or grad students about my specific program and research interests or frantically visiting as many apartment complexes as quickly as I could, I'm not sure how much more general info I can supply... let me think...

I didn't really venture into New Brunswick proper so I can't say much about that, other than the fact that the outskirts that I saw fit my vague, preconceived notion of what NE cities look like; and I also had the pleasure of being followed for blocks by a creepy guy whistling constantly about 5 ft behind me. Most of my time was spent either on campus or to the east of it. My department is located on the College Avenue campus, which was very walkable and quite pretty with nice architecture (esp compared with the uniform 1960s style of my current college). Just walking around, I'd say there was good diversity among the student population, which was, of course, mostly and obviously undergraduate (distinguishable by their trendy clothing).

To get to my host graduate student's apartment we took the inter-campus bus, which dropped us off (somewhere between campuses) about 5 minutes away from her place in a pretty area of Highland Park. There are many older, beautiful homes in that area, and my hostess said that many professors live around there. There is also a grocery store within walking distance (Shop N Stop, or something like that) that has average selection and is a little on the expensive side. To get a fair amount of groceries for a grad student dinner we had we drove about 15-20 minutes to a large (and cheaper) grocery store, and she also told me there was a Costco that was roughly the same distance away. I'm horribly oblivious so I didn't think to check milk prices to gauge the overall cost of groceries. I had to buy a pack of cigarettes there and they were much more expensive than what I'm used to - I think they were around the $5-6 mark for a premium brand. It seemed decently smoker-friendly there; I don't think I'll be hard pressed to find someone to join me outside during breaks.

The grad students there complained about rush-hour traffic, but I didn't see anything too horrible - of course, I may have just missed the really bad times. They also said that the faculty parking you get as a grad student costs around $20. Apparently, there's no trouble finding parking spaces if you come in the morning, but it's near impossible at certain other times (ca. 1:00 is supposed to be especially bad). Also, non-Jersey folks complained vociferously about terrible Jersey drivers - constantly getting belligerant and breaking the law to get where they need to go as quickly as possible. I can be a bit of an aggressive driver too and can flip the bird with the best of them, so BRING IT ON, NJ!

As I mentioned earlier, some of the apartments were really nice: lots of hardwood floors and big windows letting in lots of light. And fire escapes! I've never lived somewhere with fire escapes, even when living on upper floors of multi-story buildings (clearly the management was none too perturbed at the prospect of the tenants dying a slow, painful death). What else, what else... The graduate students were from all over the country rather than just the NE, and there were a fair number of internationals as well. Of course, this won't apply everywhere, but I was struck by the friendliness and non-condescension of the faculty - I had heard of the reserve and coldness that is supposed to suffuse the NE lifestyle, but didn't really see anything of it.

OK, I'm kinda tapped out and am rambling more than normal (btw, for cheap laughs check out dictionary.com for the etymology of the word "ramble" - you'll never think of the word in the same way again). If you have specific questions, I can try to answer them. I really hope that your trip goes well!

Cheryl

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Guest ti_ana

Cheryl, thanks for sharing your experience during your trip to NB. I found it interesting that you mentioned the grad students didn't like grad housing. (I wasn't horribly impressed with the pictures of it that I saw at RU's on campus housing website, either.) But, if grad housing isn't that nice, living in NB can be dangerous (especially if you have to walk alone at night after a late class), and living in another town might require owning a car to get to the campus, the housing options are seeming a bit dire to me, especially since I'm not sure if I'll be able to have a car my first semester.

Can anyone else who's visited the campus or already goes there talk a bit about the housing options? How about entertainment? Do big bands and artists tend to come anywhere near NB? Any nice small venues to discover non-big time artists?

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Guest MOFOXXX

BRNSZWCK PWNS.

No, for serious, this town, despite its glaring inadequacies, offers access to the best city this century in a very easy way. You blessed sons of beaches.

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Guest Cheryl B

Ti_ana, I was just going to let someone else take this, but since everyone seems to have disappeared from the forum (now that it's the official day, that makes sense), I just want to reassure you that it's not that dire and I'm sorry if I made it seem so - I'm just being overly picky, I think. If you're without a car, Highland Park is walking distance (around 20 minutes) or you can pick up an intercampus bus in the area if it's too cold or whatever. It's affordable if you have a roommate - most of the two-bedrooms I saw were only $150-$300 more than one bedrooms (such a rip off for one-bedrooms). Also, lots of students, especially undergrads, live in New Brunswick, so it's certainly do-able - I think it may just be that grad students want more peace and quiet and ease, so they immediately reject anything that might hamper that. I'm sure you'll be able to find something suitable - there are lots of options, just not a lot of perfect ones :)

Anyways, that's my two cents on that count.

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Guest ti_ana

Cheryl, thanks for the reply! Where I live now isn't exactly known for being super safe either, so I guess the safety of a place, or lack there of, is really very relative. I was told by someone else that Highland Park is a great place to live. I will be wanting that peace and quiet you spoke of. ;-) I guess I could find myself one or two roommates and get a place there. I saw what you mean about the 2-bedroom apartments being not that much more expensive than the one bedrooms. It *is* a rip off. Ah well.

I appreciate the imput. :-)

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Guest ls529
Where I live now isn't exactly known for being super safe either, so I guess the safety of a place, or lack there of, is really very relative.

Same here! Plus, the crime stats for New Brunswick really aren't that bad (not much higher than the national average, I believe). (Plus, for Highland Park they are very low.) I visited a couple of weeks ago and thought the area was nice. The downtown district is small, but surprisingly densely developed. It seems like there is a lot going on there. I decided not to attend Rutgers, but not at all because of my impressions of the area.

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Guest rutgers

Hello to all,

can someone please tell me something about 1-bedroom Russell Apartments at Busch Campus or Russell Apartment in general? I couldn't find any picture of the apartment on the Rutgers webpages.

Thanks.

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Hi all,

I'm moving to New Brunswick in August. I was wondering, are there any nice coffee houses and supermarkets near the Douglass College campus? Also, does anyone know anything about the Old Gibbons Houses?

Thanks for any advice

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I've been through the New Brunswick thread, and there was very little said about grad student housing at Rutgers. I'm engaged, and my man is coming with me, so we are looking for 1 bedroom apartments in the area. Unfortunately, I'm trying to glean bits of information about Rutgers housing from my cozy apartment in Florida. Can someone volunteer an opinion about the Busch Campus grad housing?

Thanks!

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i don't go to rutgers, but my gf does and lived on busch campus. the non-family housing is totally fine. pretty big for 4 people - lots of closet space and a big living room. and she says that people who live in family housing all like it and it's a really good deal. busch campus is fine, too. only big negative is if you go to classes on other campus or if you take the train a lot, it's a little bit of a trip. the bus is pretty good, but can get a little busy, and sometimes there's traffic between the seperate campuses. there are more places to eat and stuff around the college avenue campus, of course. (there's a really cheap indian food place in the student center, though.)

for off-campus housing, check out rutger's off-campus housing website. some parts of new bruswick could be not so nice, but very convenient depending on where your classes are.

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As someone who has lived just outside of New Brunswick (Highland Park) for a very long time, I wanted to make some general remarks on NB/the Rutgers experience (N.B. that I have not attended Rutgers, though 90% of my friends do/have).

I cannot speak to housing in NB, but what I would recommend from seeing numerous apartments or houses (all along College Ave. and downtown NB) for one-night shindigs is that if you care about cleanliness, upkeep, being at a remove from the madding crowd, then don't live anywhere near College Ave.

New Brunswick is NOT a beautiful city, and there are stories about crime. The worst that's happened to me (and I've walked quite a distance across NB at all hours) is a few angry, strange words (?) from unsettled passers-by. I'm also a fairly tall guy, so take that into consideration.

If you're concerned about social atmosphere/getting rowdy for football games, then NB is a good fit for you. I imagine there are places that live it up more often, and places that are more zealous about their football team, but there's certainly no shortage of venues to partake in the city-wide bacchanalia.

I'd be glad to address any specific concerns for those interested (caveat, not much knowledge about campuses - campii? - other than College Ave.)

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