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10 Best Colleges in New Jersey

What’s Covered:

 

Looking at a map, New Jersey seems like a small state—it’s the fourth-smallest state by area, but the 11th largest by population. This makes New Jersey state with the highest population density in the nation. In addition to people, a number of great schools are also crowded into this tiny state. The Garden State is home to everything from world-renowned institutions like Princeton to large public institutions such as Rutgers and innovative schools like Stevens Institute of Technology. 

 

Our Ranking Methodology

 

Our list of the 10 best colleges in New Jersey was constructed with a focus on school quality, outcomes, and return on investment. It also considers a host of other factors such as retention rate, selectivity, endowment per student, student-faculty ratio, median earnings, and cost of attendance. You can find CollegeVine’s rankings in their entirety here.

 

10 Best Colleges in New Jersey 

 

1. Princeton University

 

Location: Princeton, NJ  

Acceptance Rate: 4%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1460-1560

Middle 50% ACT: 32-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,422

 

Founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey to train ministers, Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in the country. It’s also one of the most prestigious. Princeton is a member of the Ivy League, a collection of eight schools located in the Northeast known for exceptional academics, super-selective admissions, and sterling reputations. Often considered the quintessential Ivy League school, Princeton features a stately suburban ivy-lined campus, rich history, and unique traditions—for example, its eating clubs

 

Learn more about Princeton University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

2. Stevens Institute of Technology

 

Location: Hoboken, NJ  

Acceptance Rate: 53%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1320-1480

Middle 50% ACT: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,791

 

Founded in 1870, the Stevens Institute of Technology was the first college in America dedicated to mechanical engineering. Today, Stevens Institute of Technology offers 34 undergraduate majors through its four colleges:

 

  • Schaefer School of Engineering & Science
  • School of Business
  • School of Systems & Enterprises
  • College of Arts and Letters

 

Stevens Institute of Technology has built a reputation for its outstanding return on investment in its education. The school ranks 14th on Payscale’s list of best value colleges

 

Learn more about Stevens Institute of Technology and what it takes to get accepted.

 

3. Rutgers University–New Brunswick | Rutgers

 

Location: New Brunswick, NJ  

Acceptance Rate: 66%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1180-1410

Middle 50% ACT: 25-33

Undergrad Enrollment: 35,844

 

Founded in 1771, Rutgers University is the eighth-oldest college in the country and is one of only nine colonial colleges established before the American Revolution. In fact, Rutgers was originally chartered as Queens College; it was renamed in the 1820s to honor benefactor and Revolutionary War hero Colonel Henry Rutgers. Today, Rutgers has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most diverse colleges in the country. More than 50,000 students attend Rutgers, coming from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. 

 

Learn more about Rutgers University-New Brunswick and what it takes to get accepted.

 

4. Ramapo College of New Jersey | RCNJ

 

Location: Mahwah, NJ  

Acceptance Rate: 70%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1110-12850

Middle 50% ACT: 23-29

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,145

 

Founded in 1969, Ramapo College of New Jersey is a newcomer to higher ed compared to institutions like Princeton and Rutgers. But don’t let RCNJ’s youth dissuade you from believing in its excellence, the school is one of the best colleges in New Jersey and the state’s premier liberal arts college. In addition to rigorous academics, RCNJ is known for its gorgeous 300-acre campus, its designation as a Military Friendly School, and for being one of the most liberal colleges in the nation.  

 

Learn more about Ramapo College of New Jersey and what it takes to get accepted.

 

5. The College of New Jersey | TCNJ

 

Location: Ewing, NJ  

Acceptance Rate: 51%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1150-1300

Middle 50% ACT: 24-30

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,105

 

The College of New Jersey is consistently recognized as one of the top comprehensive colleges in both New Jersey and the nation. TCNJ boasts the country’s seventh-highest four-year graduation rate among all public colleges and universities. The First-Year Seminar (FYS for short) is a unique aspect of TCNJ’s education. All first-year students are required to take a FYS—small, seminar-style classes outside of the student’s major, in which they work closely with a professor, ensuring they are intellectually challenged from the start of their college career. 

 

Learn more about the College of New Jersey and what it takes to get accepted.

 

6. Rutgers University–Newark | RU-N

 

Location: Newark, NJ  

Acceptance Rate: 75%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1010-1170

Middle 50% ACT: 18-23

Undergrad Enrollment: 9,118

 

What makes Rutgers University–Newark unique among the other 10 best colleges in New Jersey is that it’s primarily a commuter college, with 85% of students living off-campus and commuting to class. Despite the overwhelming majority of students commuting, more than 1,300 students live on campus and 100+ student-run organizations keep RU-N’s campus active. RU-N is one of the most diverse colleges in the country and, according to the website Niche, is one of the best Hispanic-serving institutions in America.

 

Learn more about Rutgers University–Newark and what it takes to get accepted.

 

7. New Jersey Institute of Technology | NJIT

 

Location: Newark, NJ  

Acceptance Rate: 66%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1200-1370

Middle 50% ACT: 25-31

Undergrad Enrollment: 9,084 

 

New Jersey Institute of Technology is the only polytechnic institute in New Jersey. A leader in STEM education, NJIT offers 125+ degree programs covering STEM disciplines as well as architecture and design, management, and the humanities. NJIT proudly prepares its students for life after college. Payscale ranks NJIT 41st (for in-state students) and 61st (for out-of-state students) on its list of best value colleges. Additionally, Forbes awarded NJIT top honors for upward economic mobility; the school has the highest percentage of students from the bottom fifth of the income distribution who end up in the top fifth.

 

Learn more about the New Jersey Institute of Technology and what it takes to get accepted.

 

8. Seton Hall University

 

Location: South Orange, NJ 

Acceptance Rate: 78%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1150-1310

Middle 50% ACT: 25-30

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,913

 

Seton Hall University has the distinction of being one of the best colleges in New Jersey, one of the top Catholic-affiliated institutions in the country, and the nation’s oldest diocesan institution (it’s not affiliated with a particular order like the Jesuits). Seton Hall is welcoming to students of all faiths, however, about 70% of Seton Hall students identify as Catholic. Located in the quiet town of South Orange, Seton Hall offers small-town charm and a close-knit, 58-acre campus. That being said, New York City—and all the amenities offered by one of the world’s great cities—is just 14 miles away.  

 

Learn more about Seton Hall University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

9. Rowan University

 

Location: Glassboro, NJ  

Acceptance Rate: 78%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1030-1230

Middle 50% ACT: 20-28

Undergrad Enrollment: 15,963

 

Founded in 1923 as a preparatory school for teachers, Rowan University has grown into one of the best public institutions in the nation. Today, the university offers over 70 bachelor’s degree programs ranging from accounting to writing arts. Rowan University is known for its Edelman Fossil Park, a 65-acre quarry that is a treasure trove of marine and terrestrial fossils from the Cretaceous Period. In 2023, the university is expected to open its Fossil Park Museum, which will feature fossils found along the East Coast and explore a range of sciences unrelated to paleontology. 

 

Learn more about Rowan University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

10. Drew University

 

Location: Madison, NJ  

Acceptance Rate: 73%   

Middle 50% SAT: 1120-1300

Middle 50% ACT: 24-30

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,636

 

A top-rated Christian College, Drew University has its roots in the Methodist faith but welcomes students from all spiritual backgrounds. The college sits on a quiet wooded campus in one of New Jersey’s best places to live and safest towns, but is just a hour-long train ride away from New York City. Through Drew’s Launch Program, students build in-demand skills, a network of mentors, and their resumes by participating in at least two immersive experiences like internships, research, and study abroad. 

 

Learn more about Drew University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

 

CollegeVine can help you discover your odds of admission to the best colleges in New Jersey and the rest of the U.S. Our free chancing engine uses numerous factors—such as grades, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities—to predict your odds of acceptance at schools both in New Jersey and across the country.

 

Our chancing engine can also help you build a balanced school list. By providing you with your odds of acceptance, you can strategically assign safety, target, and reach schools and put yourself in the ideal position to get into a great-fit school. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.