Virtual First-Year Experience

At Rutgers, the first-year experience is a revolutionary experience unlike any other. We recognize that for many, living on-campus is a fundamental part of that experience. We are committed to providing a world-class experience and making the Fall 2020 a revolutionary one for our first-year students, despite the restrictions on our on-campus housing offerings due to the global pandemic. This means providing innovative ways for our first-years to make friends, thrive in a world of remote learning, and get acclimated to Rutgers in a way that reaches beyond the banks of the old Raritan. Through our free, Virtual First-Year Experience program, students will be supported in their transition from high school to having a full and successful academic and social life at Rutgers.


  • Connect with your own virtual “floor” community to meet other first-year students and connect with a returning Rutgers student, your Resident Assistant (RA).
  • Learn tips and tricks to excel at remote learning and get to know about everything Rutgers.
  • Receive priority spring housing assignments to be placed in close proximity to the friends you make during this experience for an easier transition to on-campus living. *

This program is available at absolutely no cost to Rutgers students!

*On-Campus Living in Spring 2021

If national health guidelines allow for additional housing to open for the Spring 2021 Semester, students who participate in the Virtual First-Year communities will be provided the opportunity to live together (as space allows) in close proximity to further relationship-building and facilitate a more seamless social transition to Rutgers. Living on campus for spring 2021 is not mandatory nor a requirement to participate in this program.


  • Build connections and form relationships with a small group (no more than 25) of other first-year students.
  • Participate in one-hour, weekly group meetings led by your virtual RA.
  • Students can expect a mix of social interaction and content to assist in transitioning to Rutgers, with topics that may include:

  • Time management & study skills
  • Tips for navigating student/faculty relationship
  • Campus academic resources

  • Academic integrity
  • Classroom expectations
  • Virtual community platform guidelines & standards

  • Physical wellness
  • Navigating mental-health
  • Campus resources
  • Best-practices and strategies for balance

  • The Knight’s Call
  • Exploration of social identities
  • Celebrating diversity in community-living

  • Residence life community guidelines
  • Navigating difficult conversations with room/suite/apartment mates
  • Sharing responsibility in community

  • Upper-class student experience and recommended best practices for adjusting to campus

Application and Acceptance

  • Students must apply in order to participate in the virtual First-Year communities by an August 23 priority deadline (or until the program has reached capacity).
  • Acceptance into the program is on a first-come first-served basis until all communities are filled.
  • Once students receive their acceptance into the program, they will have the opportunity to verify their participation in the program and will be able to select the weekly meeting time that works best with their course schedule.
Make new friends and learn all about Rutgers right from home!

For any specific questions about the first-year experience program, please contact: