51 SCHOOLS in NEW JERSEY
Land of the Jersey Devil and countless other urban legends (immortalized in the cult favorite magazine Weird NJ), New Jersey has a long, complex history and a multifaceted culture. Situated between New York and Pennsylvania, New Jersey was a critical crossroads for the Revolutionary army during the American Revolution, and one of the most enthusiastic participants in the war. After independence, New Jersey was the third state to ratify the Constitution and the first to sign on to the Bill of Rights. That spirit runs deep in New Jersey – loyalty and independence, in equal measure, and it’s made New Jersey one of the most distinctive American personalities.
New Jersey is also the second-wealthiest state per capita, all thanks to its unique geographical position. Throughout the 20th century, New Jersey went through extensive suburbanization, with the southwestern part of the state growing into a suburb of Philadelphia, and the Holland Tunnel and railway system connecting the northern part of the state to New York City. With the growth of its urban areas, and the perceived desirability of its suburbs, New Jersey has a highly diverse population, including large African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic groups. Due to its status as a suburban and urban stronghold, non-Jerseyites often forget why New Jersey is nicknamed The Garden State – it is a major agricultural center, one of the nation’s largest producers of blueberries, spinach, cranberries, and peaches, not to mention extensive fishing. The legendary Jersey Shore – including Atlantic City, Ocean City, and Asbury Park (mythologized by New Jersey’s favorite son, Bruce Springsteen) – is a prime tourist destination throughout the northeast.
All of New Jersey’s sides come together in the state’s higher education system, from some of the most elite Ivy League and public research universities (Princeton University and Rutgers University, respectively), to a complex of top-tier liberal arts colleges and universities, many of which are ranked among the best in the nation (like Drew University and Monmouth University). New Jersey has world-class engineering and agriculture programs, and some of the best medical and nursing schools in the nation, but business, law, and the other professions of urban life are where New Jersey’s colleges and universities really shine. New Jersey might be a haven for myth and legend, but it’s also one of America’s most American places. New Jersey is no unsung hero, but from pop culture to finance, blueberries to banking, it’s hard to overestimate its influence.