While known for its beautiful beaches and boardwalks, New Jersey is also one of the best places to hit the books. Many high school graduates travel long distances to attend an academically suitable institution, but if you live in New Jersey, you need not even leave the state. If you’re from further away, though, many NJ universities are definitely worth the trip. Here are some of the best colleges in New Jersey, so you can get your degree by the sea.
Princeton University (Princeton, N.J.)
A world renowned Ivy League institution, Princeton University was ranked third in this year’s Forbes List of America’s Top Colleges, and for good reason, of course. Forbes considers primarily post-college activities and accumulated student debt when creating the list, and Princeton graduates certainly move on to do great things (and earn high salaries) and receive plenty of financial aid if they are accepted. College planning, review, and comparison website Niche gives Princeton an A+ grade in academics, value, professors, diversity, and student life.
Students are encouraged to work to their full potential, help professors with research in an integrated science curriculum, and become good citizens. Princeton’s history, biological and biomedical sciences, philosophy and religious studies, public administration and social services and social sciences programs are highly recognized. The 500 acre campus has a low 6 to 1 student to faculty ratio, ensuring that students receive individualized attention, and 36 departments, allowing students to choose from a variety of majors.
Nobel laureates, Rhodes scholars, and National Medal of Science winners both attended and taught at Princeton over the years. Notable alumni include former presidents James Madison and Woodrow Wilson, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Rutgers University (Various Locations)
Niche gives Rutgers University, one of the top public research schools in the U.S., As in academics, diversity, student life, and athletics. The school is known for its state of the art academic centers and institutes, unique Byrne seminars, and the student body’s commitment to volunteering.
The school is generally affordable with financial aid and some full scholarships are given to exceptional applicants. Its programs in gender and cultural studies are top ranked and almost all faculty members possess the highest attainable degree in their field. Students are encouraged to study abroad. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) received a law degree from the Newark campus in 1976.
New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, N.J.)
A top public polytechnic institute with a multidisciplinary curriculum, the New Jersey Institute of Technology prepares students to become global leaders in the science and technology fields. Niche awards this large, selective school an A in value. The school boasts high freshman retention rates, good earnings boosts, and more than 125 majors to choose from. Almost all faculty members possess the highest degree available in their field.
The College of New Jersey (Ewing Township, N.J.)
The highly selective College of New Jersey earns an A- in academics and value from Niche. The 289 acre school offers a strong, comprehensive liberal arts education at an affordable price. TCNJ provides graduates with some of the best earnings boosts. Its education program ranks nationally.
Seton Hall University (South Orange, N.J.)
Seton Hall University (not to be confused with Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania) promotes collaboration between students professors and sharing different perspectives in and out of the classroom to create “servant leaders for a global society.” With outstanding academics, an excellent student to faculty ratio, and more than 60 programs (including unique majors like health care law) to choose from, Seton Hall is an educational force to be reckoned with. The theology and religious vocations program is recognized, as well as the school’s athletics. The school’s suburban location just miles from New York City ensures that costs and noise levels stay down, but entertainment, activities, and opportunities in the city remain well within reach.
Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, N.J.)
Niche awarded Steven Institute of Technology an A+ in both value and local area. The demanding school transforms students into innovative thinkers and leaders. Four research centers on campus demonstrate the school’s focus on science and technology. The low student to faculty ratio provides each student with as much support as they need. Still, students remain independent through self-directed learning and the school’s proximity to New York City. Graduates enjoy great earnings boosts, especially those with degrees in computer or information science and engineering.
Montclair State University (Montclair, N.J.)
Montclair State University matches the needs and interests of every student with almost 300 majors to choose from. The diverse 250 acre campus contains state of the art facilities and is one of the greenest in the country.
If you’re student from the Mid-Atlantic region, don’t feel like you need to travel thousands of miles to find the perfect school: it might be right on the Jersey shore. If you’re from further away, New Jersey has dozens of nationally recognized schools worth considering, especially if you like the idea of studying on the beach. And if you’re not choosing a college anytime soon, all of these beautiful campuses are worth visiting on your way down to the shore. This list doesn’t cover all of the best colleges in New Jersey (There are too many!), so be sure to do more research to choose the school that works best for you.