Rutgers or Delaware or Connecticut or Penn State

Trying to decide between these schools. I’m undecided and all are out of state. WIth Covid, I haven’t been able to do much real campus visits, the virtual tours don’t do really have the same impacts.

Thanks for any advice and input!

What is your major? Have you been accepted to all of the schools, is one significantly less expensive than the other? Outside of the campus feel which is hard for us all to calibrate, which has the academics, athletics, activities, etc. That you want?

I’m undecided in what I want to major in. I’ve been accepted at all 3 (as well as Temple and Ohio State) and the total cost is roughly the same. I’m wondering which might have the better overall reputations academically and I want a campus that has a real college feel. I live in Brooklyn, so I don’t need a major city like feel. But I also don’t want a campus that’s completely dead. It would be fun to have a good sports team to cheer for, but I don’t think I’ll pick the schools based on that. I’ve eliminated Ohio State because it’s too far away and didn’t seem any better than these. I eliminated Temple because it seemed a notch below these academically and the campus looked really small and close to some really shady areas.


look at niche at us news websites for the academic rankings of the schools. Funny enough I applied to both Penn State and Rutgers this year and was accepted into both. Penn State was just not for me, the major was a bit off, it was a great school, but the OOS tuition is about 55k with no chance for merit. Rutgers is about 10k cheaper than that and had an amazing program with entrance to grad school that I wanted. I am trying to be perfectly neutral in my response, so hear it goes.
Rutgers - 63 in national universities (US News), about 1 hour from NYC, downtown new brunswick, 36,000 undergrads. Big 10 sports
UConn - 63 in national universities (US News), More rural, 18,000 undergrads.
Delaware - 97 in national universities (US News), newark delaware - don’t know much about this city. 18,500 undergrads.
Penn State - 63 in national universities (US News), college town of university park, in the smack middle of PA. 40,000 undergrads. Big 10 sports.

For college campus feel I would have Rutgers and Penn state tied. Both are huge athletic schools with Big 10 sports. Penn State is approximately 50-53k a year for OOS, while Rutgers is about 45k, but depending on stats Rutgers might give you merit.

I am going to attend Rutgers this fall, so take my knowledge with a grain of salt, I am slightly biased…

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In terms of academics, I’d say Penn State and Rutgers are a cut above Delaware and Connecticut. The Penn State campus is nicer, as is State College (the town PSu is in). UDel has a nice campus near a walkable town, Connecticut is the most isolated of the 4, Rutgers the closest to a big city (NYC). PSU, UDel, and Connecticut will have more going on on campus all week-long and weekends, because most live in town in college apartments (for Rutgers, some may live in NB, but many commute from home.)
Things to look into:
Does the “undecided” major allow you to pivot to any major or are there limited quotas for undecided majors who want to major in Engineering, CS, or Business (if you’re interested in these)?
Were you admitted to a special program (scholars, honors…)?


Do schools define those who don’t live in a dorm as commuters?

they use on-campus/residential v. off-campus, when off-campus can include daily commuters living at home, “suitcase” students who live in town but leave every weekend, and students who live in town, often in student apartments, all semester long.

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Do you say that students who off-campus but in nearby apartments do not spend much time on campus so is that why you believe that not much would occur at the school during the weekend?

If you live in NY, your best choice would be Binghamton, or one of the other SUNY universities. None of these schools are so much better than Binghamton, that they would be worth the extra 20K/yr or so for you to go to. Unless of course you’re receiving financial aid that would make them the same price or less than a SUNY school.

UConn is a big campus in a rural area, no significant associated college town, highly ranked academically. Penn State is really in the sticks, but has a college town with it, also pretty well ranked. Far from home for you. Rutgers and Delaware are closer to cities, and closer to home for you. If you have no idea of what you want to study, they’re all pretty good academically. You could pretty easily drive to all but Penn State from NYC to at least walk around the campuses. But if you’re paying rack OOS rate, I’d go with the SUNY school.

No, the opposite. I’m saying, from knowing the different environments, that at UConn, UDel, or Penn State, most students live off campus after freshman year, but very few commute from home or leave on weekends - they stick around and spend their time there, hence a very active weekend life. Rutgers, being in a more densely peopled area and more urban has more commuters and more students who don’t just live off campus in student apartments but rather live with their families. It doesn’t mean nothing is going on, in fact Rutgers organizes a lot of activities, but fewer students stick around in evenings and on weekends.

I agree that if you’re instate for SUNY Bing, it’s your best value, unless they’re all within budget and one of the 4 offers you something Bing doesn’t offer. (Still best value but if you can afford the “luxury” option, it’s up to your family to determine whether it’s worth the cost for them.)

We toured UConn and UDel, and live near Rutgers. Penn State was never considered due to price and size.
UConn does have a new “town” area - not huge, but definitely walkable from campus with shops and food. Tons of school spirit, sports, etc. It was my daughter’s top pick.
UDel - I liked it, a Main Street walkable from campus again with lots of shops and restaurants etc. D didn’t like it; not sure why, but she didn’t apply. Felt the road dividing campus was too busy. Not really sure!
Rutgers - if you want a traditional campus, Rutgers doesn’t have it. It’s 3 (maybe 4?) different campuses. Students have to bus between campuses for classes. Schiano is back, so football is huge again. And basketball and wrestling. But the campus is not a traditional campus feel.

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Yes, UConn has more of a traditional “college feel” than Rutgers and Delaware. Someone mentioned academics are stronger at UPENN and Rutgers, I disagree, the three could be considered equals and a cut above Delaware. All three are underrated as well.

My husband and oldest went to Rutgers, my 20 year old is at Delaware, you won’t find more of an on camps feel as UD! Beautiful campus, brick lines, big but totally walkable campus, a great Main Street right next to campus with shops, restaurants and bars. There is a shuttle but my daughter has yet to use it, she has an old bike. Rutgers is great, one of my seniors will almost definitely go there (it’s in state so for financial reasons), the bus is definitely needed as the different campuses are spread out. UCONN gave my other current senior a lot of merit, but it’s too suburban for her (we live 10 miles west of Manhattan). Everything is on camps target is a half hour drive away. Rutgers is still cheaper for her than UD, but I think she’d go to UD in a heartbeat if finances weren’t an issue.

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PSU and Rutgers have higher academic profiles than UD and UConn. Here’s the proof of that statement: check out These are the best research institutions in the US and Canada. Membership in this elite club is decided by the existing members. PSU and RU make this cut. If you plan to attend a major school, I consider this measure a better test than US News rankings.

I know this is a 6 month old thread, but want to mention Rutgers has a lot going on socially, there are 16,000 who live on campus, and a lot of the off campus housing is in walking distance. My oldest had a great time, one of my 18 year olds decided to go there, and my daughter at UD has been there many times on weekends visiting friends. Sure, there are commuters, but the student population is so large that there are plenty around on weekends. Most of my family is there now tailgating before the RU - UD game.

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AAU membership will have absolutely no impact on 99% of undergrads’ college experience, so I would not consider that a factor. Given that PSU, UConn and Rutgers are all ranked about the same in virtually every ranking, it comes down to social fit and post-college recruiting for your major.

PSU is a massive school, while UConn and Rutgers are more mid-sized. Rutgers is interspersed within a semi-urban area that does not really have a campus feel to it, while UConn is an island out in eastern Connecticut that definitely feels like a campus. UConn is a lot of fun and doesn’t have the suitcase school vibe of Rutgers and to a lesser extent Delaware. I will add that most PSU, UConn and Delaware grads I have met are big advocates for their schools. It is much less so with Rutgers grads in my experience.

If you are going into most stem or business majors, I would recommend UConn. UConn does a great job placing graduates throughout the northeast, especially in Boston, New York and Hartford (a Top 30 metro area). Rutgers is more New York/New Jersey limited, with some Philadelphia.

Only you know what you are looking for though, so I recommend a visit to all 4, and more importantly find someone that has attended all 4 schools, before making a decision.

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Yes, I hope no one makes a decision on which college to attend based on AAUU membership.

The OP would have made a decision months ago.

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