Top New Jersey Colleges

14 of the Best Colleges and Universities in New Jersey

New Jersey has wide ranging options for higher education. Princeton is the most prestigious of the group, but the list includes public, private, large, small, women's and Catholic institutions. The 14 top New Jersey colleges listed below vary so much in size and type of school that I have simply listed them alphabetically rather than force them into any sort of artificial ranking. The schools were chosen based on a variety of factors such as academic reputation, curricular innovations, first-year retention rates, graduation rates, selectivity, financial aid and student engagement.

I always caution students to recognize the limitations of any college ranking system. The criteria I use to select the "top" schools may have very little to do with the criteria that would make a college a good match for you. Make sure you choose an institution that is a good match for your career goals, academic and extracurricular interests, and personality.

Compare Top New Jersey Colleges: New Jersey SAT Comparison Table

Will You Get In? See if you have the grades and test scores you need to get into any of the top New Jersey colleges with this free tool from Cappex: Calculate Your Chances for Top New Jersey Colleges

The College of New Jersey

The College of New Jersey
The College of New Jersey. Tcnjlion / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Ewing, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 7,686 (7,048 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: one of the top public liberal arts colleges in the country; easy train access to Philadelphia and New York City; over 50 degree programs; high retention and graduation rates; excellent value; 13 to 1 student to faculty ratio
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit The College of New Jersey profile

Drew University

Brothers College at Drew University
Brothers College at Drew University. Jim.henderson / Wikimedia Commons / CC 1.0
  • Location: Madison, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 2,263 (1,668 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: small private university with a liberal arts focus
  • Distinctions: impressive 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio and an average class size of about 20;  chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; close proximity to New York City; high four-year graduation rate
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Drew University profile

Monmouth University

Woodrow Wilson Hall at Monmouth University
Woodrow Wilson Hall at Monmouth University. Zeete / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Location: Long Branch, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 6,167 (4,630 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private comprehensive university
  • Distinctions: six colleges and strong professional programs; 13 to 1 student / faculty ratio; located just one mile from the shore; Honors School for high-achieving students; member of the NCAA Division I Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Monmouth University profile

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)

NJIT, New Jersey Institute of Technology
NJIT, New Jersey Institute of Technology. Romer Jed Medina / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Location: Newark, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 11,423 (8,532 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university with a science and engineering focus
  • Distinctions: 17 to 1 student / faculty ratio; 50 bachelor's degree programs; easy access to New York City; member of the NCAA Division I Atlantic Sun Conference
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the NJIT profile

Princeton University

Princeton University
Princeton University. Allen Grove
  • Location: Princeton, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 8,374 (5,428 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private comprehensive university
  • Distinctions: member of the Ivy League; one of the top universities in the country; 5 to 1 student / faculty ratio; attractive 500-acre campus; membership in the Association of American Universities for research strengths; chapter of of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; excellent retention and graduation rates
  • Explore the Campus: Princeton University Photo Tour
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Princeton University profile

Ramapo College of New Jersey

Ramapo College Arch
Ramapo College Arch. Daniellek0512 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Location: Mahwah, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 6,174 (5,609 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: average class size of 23; 40 academic programs; interdisciplinary academic structure; highly rated among master's-level colleges in the North; many new facilities; easy access to New York City; good value
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Ramapo College profile

Rider University

North Hall at Rider University
North Hall at Rider University. David Keddie / Flickr / CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Location: Lawrenceville, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 4,824 (3,920 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: comprehensive private university
  • Distinctions: 10 to 1 student / faculty ratio; 60 degree programs across four academic colleges; easy access to New York City and Philadelphia; strong business programs; member of the NCAA Division I Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Rider University profile

Rowan University

Rowan University College of Business
Rowan University College of Business.

Scott Brody / Wikimedia COmmons / CC BY-SA 4.0

  • Location: Glassboro, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 19,465 (16,120 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: comprehensive public university
  • Distinctions: average class size of 20; 17 to 1 student / faculty ratio; 87 undergraduate majors across eight academic colleges; strong music education and business administration programs
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Rowan University profile

Rutgers University, Camden

Cooper Library at Rutgers Camden
Cooper Library at Rutgers Camden. Peter Bond / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Location: Camden, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 7,171 (5,776 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: comprehensive public university
  • Distinctions: 15 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 22; located across the Delaware from Philadelphia; good grant aid and value; 35 undergraduate majors
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Rutgers-Camden profile

Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Rutgers University Football
Rutgers University Football. Ted Kerwin / Flickr
  • Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 50,254 (36,039 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: comprehensive public university
  • Distinctions: flagship campus of the Rutgers system; 16 to 1 student / faculty ratio; ranks highly among national public universities; many strong graduate programs; easy access to New York City and Philadelphia; Scarlet Knights compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Rutgers-New Brunswick profile

Rutgers University, Newark

The Golden Dome Athletic Center at Rutgers Newark
The Golden Dome Athletic Center at Rutgers Newark. Kai Schreiber / Flickr
  • Location: Newark, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 13,451 (9,142 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: comprehensive public university
  • Distinctions: diverse student body from over 100 nations; 16 to 1 student / faculty ratio; close to New York City; 40 undergraduate majors; Honors College for high achieving students
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Rutgers-Newark profile

Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University
Seton Hall University. Joe829er / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: South Orange, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 10,162 (6,136 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Catholic university
  • Distinctions: 13 to 1 student / faculty ratio; 60 undergraduate degree programs; all students receive a laptop computer; easy access to New York City; competes in the NCAA Division I Big East Conference
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Seton Hall University profile

Stevens Institute of Technology

Edwin Stevens Hall, Hoboken
Stevens Institute of Technology. Barry Winiker / Getty Images
  • Location: Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 6,929 (3,431 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university with technological focus
  • Distinctions: campus overlooks the Manhattan skyline; students come from 47 states and 60 countries; 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; highly rated engineering programs; most students receive grant aid
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Stevens Institute of Technology profile

Stockton University

Stockton University's Carnegie Library in Atlantic City
Stockton University's Carnegie Library in Atlantic City. Jay Reed / Flickr
  • Location: Galloway, New Jersey
  • Enrollment: 9,621 (8,604 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public liberal arts university
  • Distinctions: highly ranked among public master's universities in the North; strong environmental studies and marine science programs; 1,600-acre campus features an art gallery, observatory, a large outdoor research lab, and a laboratory, field station and marina for marine science; good value
  • For acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, costs and other information, visit the Stockton University profile