Think you know every college out there? Think again. Here are some diamonds in the rough from The Garden State.

List produced by the Experts

  • Drew University (Madison, NJ): A wonderful liberal arts college not well-known out of state, Drew provides good teaching with lots of class discussion, solid liberal arts education, and a social life that's very much do-it-yourself. In addition to having strong academics, a supportive environment, and involved students, Drew has been a leader in technology, and computers are part of the fabric of every academic area. The same is true of is writing, which is why the application essay is important. Students are friendly, tolerant, and hard-working, but the atmosphere is not competitive, and both liberals and conservatives will find friends. There are international seminars where the student pays only tuition and incidentals, and Drew picks up the rest. This pretty campus is in a forest of oaks in a good New Jersey suburb of New York City, allowing students to take advantage of NYC and Wall Street seminars. The university is well-heeled, with an endowment per student that is among the top 5% of all colleges in the country. And even though Drew has "friendly" admissions--SATs are optional--the freshman retention rate is over 90%. This place is a gem, and students who do well graduate with better options than when they entered.
  • Monmouth University (West Long Branch, NJ): This college in West Long Branch, north of Asbury Park on the Jersey shore about an hour from NYC and Philadelphia, is located on the gorgeous old Woolworth estate, augmented by new buildings. Most students have practical education in mind, and the curriculum is heavy on business, education, and software engineering as well as the usual liberal arts. To serve a wide variety of students, Monmouth has a vigorous honors program on the one hand, and on the other, small "homey" courses and extra help for students who need to get off to a strong start. In addition to good academic programs and support, Monmouth has lots of activities, strong athletic teams, and more than 70 campus organizations. Students seem to like what they are getting at this school. If this sounds like you, and you can stand being within a mile of the ocean and some of the world's loveliest beaches, give Monmouth a look. Yes, connect me!
  • Ramapo College of New Jersey (Mahwah, NJ): Medium-size, public (and thus affordable) college, Ramapo is situated on a tree-lined, wooded campus, yet is only 25 miles from New York City.
  • Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ): Located right across the river from New York City in Hoboken, Stevens is often overlooked by the student who wants a top-notch education in sciences and engineering.
  • The College of New Jersey (Ewing, NJ): A state school that stands out academically, TCNJ offers a quality education that focuses on the individual.
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