liberty park NJ

Best Colleges in New Jersey 2017-2018
Top Consensus Ranked Schools

Consensus Ranking New Jersey 10

To identify the Best Colleges in New Jersey for 2017-2018 we averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with thousands of real student review scores from around the web to produce a unique College Consensus rating for each school. You won’t find a more comprehensive ranking of the top colleges and universities in New Jersey anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.

Colleges & Universities in New Jersey

The best colleges and universities in New Jersey are among the best colleges and universities, period. First of all, New Jersey is home to two of the oldest universities in the US, Princeton University 83 and Rutgers University 61 , both founded before the American Revolution and counted among the most prestigious Ivy League and public research universities nationally. These two research institutions alone are responsible for some of the 20th and 21st century’s most significant, influential innovations in STEM, economics, law, business, and the humanities, and both build on centuries of expertise in crafting students into leaders – from Founding Fathers to modern tech entrepreneurs. The are key feeders to the heart of American culture, whether it’s Wall Street or Broadway, and they keep New Jersey central to leadership in every aspect of American life.

New Jersey can also toute some of the nation’s finest small liberal arts colleges, including institutions like Monmouth University 59 and Drew University 61 , colleges keeping the liberal arts tradition alive while exploring the most current knowledge and methods of the 21st century. Besides Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, the state has an incredibly impressive network of public universities and colleges frequently ranked among the best regional institutions in the north – a competitive field indeed. With institutions like the The College of New Jersey 72 , Stockton University 58 , and Ramapo College 58 , New Jersey’s professional workforce learns the skills to take on leadership in one of the most densely-populated and diverse states in the union, carrying on a long tradition of world-changing action.

Here are the top colleges and universities of the Garden State.

1

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ

83
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
85
RANKING CONSENSUS
81
REVIEW CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2017

The very definition of an Ivy League institution, Princeton University is the fourth-oldest college in the United States, one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution. Originally founded in 1747 as a Presbyterian college for future ministers, Princeton was nearly named Belcher College in honor of the New Jersey governor Jonathan Belcher (who, according to legend, found the name laughable himself). By the 20th century, the school had become Princeton University, and was already known as the alma mater of Presidents, Supreme Court justices, and titans of industry, as well as internationally-renowned writers, actors, and artists. For nearly two decades, Princeton has been ranked one of the two best universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

As an Ivy League university, Princeton is extremely selective – only 6% of applicants are accepted. Those who make the grade enter a curriculum largely rooted in the traditional liberal arts, encouraging critical thinking, collaboration, and a well-rounded foundation. Princeton has regularly ranked as one of the best undergraduate educators in the nation. Princeton is notable as the first university to eliminate student loans; all students who qualify for financial aid have their needs met with scholarships and grants, ensuring that Princeton gets the best students regardless of their financial condition, a policy other Ivy League and elite universities have also adopted. Princeton is particularly known for their partnership with the Institute for Advanced Study, one of the most influential theoretical think tanks in the world, counting Albert Einstein among its lecturers.

2

The College of New Jersey
Ewing, NJ

72
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
74
RANKING CONSENSUS
71
REVIEW CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2017

Though Princeton University was founded as “The College of New Jersey,” today that name belongs to a top-tier public institution in Ewing, NJ. Founded in 1855, TCNJ was New Jersey’s first normal school, a two-year teacher’s education program designed around the French model of hands-on practice teaching real students. As the college expanded and deepened its offerings, the College of New Jersey gradually earned a reputation for excellence, growing into New Jersey’s most selective public university. Today, The College of New Jersey is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as New Jersey’s best college, as well as the #1 regional university in the North.

TCNJ is designated as New Jersey’s premier public liberal arts college, with a specialized mission to keep New Jersey’s best students in the state. With its sights set on excellence, TCNJ is designed to bring together all of the best aspects of private liberal arts colleges – qualities such as critical thinking, open inquiry, and collaborative learning – with all of the resources and affordability that a public university allows. That quality of education has real results: more than two-thirds of all graduates applying to medical school are accepted (far above average), while education majors have a perfect record of passing NJ teacher’s exams, and 85% of nursing graduates pass the NCLEX. The College of New Jersey has one of the highest 4-year graduation rates in the nation, despite a challenging curriculum on par with the Ivy League, proving that the College of New Jersey deserves the recognition it has earned as New Jersey’s best college.

3

Rutgers University-Camden
Camden, NJ

65
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
64
RANKING CONSENSUS
66
REVIEW CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2017

Though Princeton University was founded as “The College of New Jersey,” today that name belongs to a top-tier public institution in Ewing, NJ. Founded in 1855, TCNJ was New Jersey’s first normal school, a two-year teacher’s education program designed around the French model of hands-on practice teaching real students. As the college expanded and deepened its offerings, the College of New Jersey gradually earned a reputation for excellence, growing into New Jersey’s most selective public university. Today, The College of New Jersey is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as New Jersey’s best college, as well as the #1 regional university in the North.

TCNJ is designated as New Jersey’s premier public liberal arts college, with a specialized mission to keep New Jersey’s best students in the state. With its sights set on excellence, TCNJ is designed to bring together all of the best aspects of private liberal arts colleges – qualities such as critical thinking, open inquiry, and collaborative learning – with all of the resources and affordability that a public university allows. That quality of education has real results: more than two-thirds of all graduates applying to medical school are accepted (far above average), while education majors have a perfect record of passing NJ teacher’s exams, and 85% of nursing graduates pass the NCLEX. The College of New Jersey has one of the highest 4-year graduation rates in the nation, despite a challenging curriculum on par with the Ivy League, proving that the College of New Jersey deserves the recognition it has earned as New Jersey’s best college.

4

Rutgers University-New Brunswick
New Brunswick, NJ

61
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
50
RANKING CONSENSUS
72
REVIEW CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2017

As one of the Colonial Colleges (like Princeton, #1 above), Rutgers University is one of the nine oldest colleges in the US, and one of only two that are not members of the Ivy League (along with the College of William & Mary in Virginia). From its 1766 founding, it should be no surprise that Rutgers has gone through many significant changes in its history, from a Dutch Reformed Church seminary to a land-grant research university. Officially designated Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Rutgers is the state’s flagship institution and a major public-private research university, funded in part by the state, but governed independently. Rutgers is ranked in the top 30 national universities by U.S. News & World Report, and its cultural and economic impact on New Jersey cannot be overstated.

Rutgers University has many faces; as a land-grant institution, it has long been a leader in agriculture (not only in the Garden State, but nationwide), biomedical research, and engineering. As a university with a liberal arts heritage, Rutgers’ humanities programs (such as English, history, and library science) are ranked among the best in the world. Rutgers is also a key component in professional education, particularly for New Jersey’s working adult and nontraditional students, and in recent years Rutgers has prioritized the growth of its online degree programs for New Jersey’s working professionals. Rutgers truly has the means to meet every need a prospective New Jersey student may face.

5

Drew University
Madison, NJ

61
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
52
RANKING CONSENSUS
70
REVIEW CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2017

Named for its founder, philanthropist and industrialist David Drew, Drew University began its life in 1867 as a Methodist seminary, only the third in the US. Located only 25 miles west of New York City, Madison, NJ, is known as a commuting suburb, and that proximity allowed Drew to build a strong reputation in areas like business and political science, along with its traditional theology strengths. Located on the former estate of William Gibbons nicknamed The Forest, the University in the Forest is also known for its beauty, and has been a favorite filming location for decades of movies and television. Drew University is ranked among the top tier of national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report.

In many ways, Drew University is a definitive liberal arts college, with a 10:1 student:faculty ratio, a small student body, and a campus in a small college town ranked among the safest places to live in the world. But Drew’s proximity to New York has made it one of the best institutions in the US for areas like business (including the Semester on Wall Street program), politics (with the Semester at the UN), and art (the Semester on Contemporary Art). Drew also offers numerous master’s programs, including a unique Master of Medical Humanities oriented around biomedical ethics. With a 93% success rate placing graduates in jobs or graduate school, Drew University makes its name as one of New Jersey’s best private universities.

6

Monmouth University
West Long Branch, NJ

59
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
48
RANKING CONSENSUS
70
REVIEW CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2017

A small, private liberal arts institution on the famed Jersey Shore, Monmouth University was founded in 1933 as a junior college. Monmouth County, however, is well known as a commuter region, with affluent professionals tied to Manhattan. That reputation made it possible for Monmouth Junior College to grow quickly into Monmouth College and Monmouth University, and to develop top-ranked business, nursing, and social work programs. Monmouth College has regularly been ranked by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review as one of the best regional universities in the North.

Monmouth University is a model of a mid-sized liberal arts institution, with a student body just over 6000 and a favorable 14:1 student:faculty ratio. Small classes gives students the feeling of personal attention and mentorship that they expect from a small liberal arts college, but the school has the wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, and the top-tier amenities, of a larger university. The Hess Business School and the Unterberg School of Nursing & Health Studies are particularly well-regarded, both regionally and nationally. Monmouth is also known for the Woodrow Wilson Hall, a former mansion owned by a Woolworth executive; now an administrative building, it has also been featured in major motion pictures like the 1980 adaptation of Annie. It’s a definitive best college, and the Jersey Shore’s pride.

6

Rutgers University-Newark
Newark, NJ

59
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
47
RANKING CONSENSUS
71
REVIEW CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2017

Originally the New Jersey Law School (founded in 1908), Rutgers University-Newark grew by the accumulation of smaller schools into the University of Newark, which was then incorporated into Rutgers in 1946. Rutgers had transitioned from a private into a public institution, and the Newark campus was intended to become the State University of New Jersey’s urban center. As such, Rutgers-Newark is the state’s leader in business, health, and law. Today Rutgers-Newark is composed of two campuses – the main campus, and the Rutgers Health Sciences Campus at Newark – and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 75 public universities in the nation.

Rutgers-Newark was intended to enlarge the university’s professional and graduate programs, and it has been a remarkable success in that effort. Rutgers-Newark is home to the Rutgers Business School, regularly ranked as one of the nation’s top business schools by publications like the Wall Street Journal, while the Rutgers Law School is the oldest and most prestigious in the state. With programs like the New Jersey Small Business Development Center and the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, Rutgers-Newark is also central to business and development in the state. One of the state’s most selective schools, Rutgers-Newark attracts the best, and proudly prepares New Jersey’s next generation of leaders.

8

Stockton University
Galloway, NJ

58
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
44
RANKING CONSENSUS
71
REVIEW CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2017

Stockton University is southern New Jersey’s center for learning. Founded in 1968, Stockton was conceived as a public college for the residents of the Pine Barrens region, located in the heart of what is now a national preserve. Stockton’s mission and vision puts its location first, and as a regional university Stockton’s top priority is providing educational opportunity for the people of southern New Jersey. Over its five decades, Stockton University has built a solid reputation not only for academic excellence, but public service, and Stockton is ranked in the top 15 regional public universities for the North by U.S. News & World Report.

Stockton University’s strongest programs are in professional fields like criminal justice and computer science, but with southern New Jersey’s prime industry being tourism, Stockton has also grown a solid reputation in business. Stockton has proven particularly important in building local business through the Small Business Development Center, while other research initiatives like the Southern Regional Institute keep Stockton’s eyes on the needs of the people. Stockton is also highly rated for the diversity of their student body and faculty, earning accolades from INSIGHT magazine. Stockton University shows what it takes to be one of New Jersey’s best universities.

9

Ramapo College of New Jersey
Mahwah, NJ

58
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
48
RANKING CONSENSUS
68
REVIEW CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2017

Founded in just 1969, Ramapo College of New Jersey is a public liberal arts college in Mahwah, NJ. Ramapo College emerged when Bergen County experienced intense growth as an emerging New York City suburb, and a solid higher education presence was needed to provide opportunity for residents. Built on the former estate of a sugar tycoon, and named for the nearby mountains, Ramapo College is the state’s official Public Liberal Arts College, charged with providing a traditional liberal arts education at affordable tuition rates in an accessible form. Ramapo College has regularly ranked as one of the best regional colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report, and has a national reputation as a best value.

Ramapo is New Jersey’s smallest public college, providing the ideal liberal arts college experience with small class sizes, a low student:faculty ratio, and a number of traditional majors and professional programs. Students get a solid liberal arts grounding in the humanities and sciences, while Ramapo has also built top-tier professional studies in areas like business and nursing: the AACSB-accredited Anisfield School of Business, and the Ramapo nursing program, are among the best in the state. The attention to individual students, and Ramapo’s dedication to the good of Bergen County’s people, have made Ramapo one of New Jersey’s best colleges, with graduation rates and job placement rates far higher than the national average.

10

Rowan University
Glassboro, NJ

57
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
47
RANKING CONSENSUS
67
REVIEW CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2017

Founded as a normal school in 1923, Rowan University quickly grew beyond that format (which was falling out of favor as full 4-year teacher’s colleges emerged). Glassboro, NJ was chosen as the site because of the shortage of qualified teachers in southern New Jersey, and because its well-developed rail system and growing industrial sector made it an area on the rise. Rowan pioneered special education, opened the first independent public medical school in the state, and became a full state university in 1997. Rowan University is consistently ranked among the North’s best regional universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Rowan University is notable for having grown from a small normal school into not just a state university, but a significant, large public research institution, including highly acclaimed business and engineering programs. Rowan is also well-known for their medical programs, including the Cooper Medical School (located in Camden, NJ) and the School of Osteopathic Medicine, making Rowan one of the few universities with both an MD and OD degree. Of course, Rowan is still a prime location for prospective teachers, while the South Jersey Technology Park has become a hub for high-tech startups. Rowan University is quickly gaining ground and national recognition, and is set to make the 21st century Rowan University’s golden age.