Rutgers Honors College vs Case vs Northeastern -- please advise

My DD has narrowed down her choices to these 3 colleges for Biomedical Engineering but is not sure where she wants to go. The Rutgers Honors College seems too good to give up as we are in state. I don’t know what to advise. Any suggestions from parents with kids going to these colleges or have been there before would be much appreciated.

  1. Rutgers Honors College for SOE – generous scholarship and cheapest, We are in state.
  2. Case – good schol but not honors. Also far.
  3. Northeastern – good schol but not Honors.

I wouldn’t weigh the honors program so highly inherently, it means different things at different schools. At Northeastern, it’s not a meaningful distinction. I can’t say for the other two.

With that said, given three quality comparable schools and one being way cheaper, it’s hard to give a reason not to go with that one.

Rephrased: Why not Rutgers?


Thank you. The Rutgers Honors College is a very distinct community apparently with separate dorming and other research/internship opportunities. I personally feel it is the best.
Yes, why not Rutgers ? I think it’s something to do with the familiar for kids :slight_smile: Also she thinks Northeastern and Case are a few ranks higher than Rutgers. Does it matter much?

Ah so it sounds like a case of “I don’t want to go to college in my own backyard I grew up in during high school”. The ranking differences here are minimal to none.

So the question is then can you afford Case/Northeastern to avoid that, and even if so, is it worth it? How strongly is that aversion to Rutgers, and is it a dealbreaker?

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No not a dealbreaker. Now with the Rutgers Honors acceptance, she is leaning towards it, but is getting more confused as decision day draws close. She also got Purdue, UIUC and NYU but doesn’t want to go there.

Rutgers Honors College has that beautiful dorm and I see they are requiring the Covid vaccine for students to offer an in person experience so that’s good. Last year my son chose Northeastern over Rutgers and NU had a campus experience and Rutgers did not. In talking to a friend whose son was a Rutgers freshman, it seemed like NU offered a better experience with orientation, advisors, course selection, and of course living in dorms and taking in person classes, etc. so I was very glad he did not pick Rutgers last year but this coming school year should be a more normal and better experience at Rutgers. I hope so for the many kids from our high school that go there.

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Imho Rutgers Honors College indeed seems too good to give up (assuming it comes with a 10K scholarship).

All the students I know that picked that path are very happy they did (and so are their parents).

You might want to check out the 2018-2019 edition of Inside Honors by John Willingham that contains a section on Rutgers Honors.


Thank you @NJEngineerDad, yes it comes with a little more schol than that. Do you know some parents personally ? As a parent I too feel the same but don’t want to put unnecessary pressure.

That’s fantastic. Some of my daughter’s friends are going to NU but those kids got bigger scholarships so makes sense for them. Wishing your son a great sophomore year.

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@DS2021 I do know some parents personally, although not intimately.

I know some parents that pushed their son a few years ago to pick Rutgers Honors College instead of Georgia Tech for Computer Science due to the huge price difference (he received the Presidential scholarship at Rutgers). They have no regret.

Conversely, I know some parents who let their son a few years ago go full-pay to Washington University in Saint Louis for Computer Science despite the fact that he was offered the Presidential scholarship at Rutgers (they could afford it). They have no regret either.

Unless your income is very high, I feel it makes sense to pick a college based on its value (based on ranking and effective price).

Getting into Rutgers Honors College, especially for Engineering, has become super competitive. I think that it is a good indicator that it offers great value.


your child can still apply into the honors program at Northeastern as a freshman (must maintain like a 3.8 GPA and write a little essay about why they want to be in honors). Honors and non honors students at NU really are not that different besides kids who were admitted into honors get their own special freshman housing building, but if you apply into it, you get access to special study abroad programs and some classes that are only offered to honors kids.

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My oldest graduated from RBS and had a job offer junior year (which she took). Two of my kids applied with a 3.9 UWGPA, 33/34 ACT, no merit, no honors. I’d be thrilled to be in your shoes!


Yes, also her friends who go the NU honors college got a whopping scholarship with it, which makes it very affordable as compared to us. So that is another con for us

Wow! No merit even with that stats. I didn’t realize that.

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Her friend, who got into Cornell, did get merit from RU either.