If you’re looking for a tight-knit campus community with gorgeous colonial architecture that also happens to be one of the top-ranked institutions in the country, look no further. I’m nestled in the suburbs of Central Jersey (yes, there is a Central Jersey) and just ten minutes away from the closest Wawa. Whether you want to rush a sorority or fraternity, dominate in a poetry slam, or just stay in on a Friday night, you’ll find your niche here.
I’m often praised for my nursing, engineering, and education programs. In fact, I used to be called the New Jersey State Normal School. I was just a teacher training college back then, but I’m so much more than that now. Budding artists, journalists, and marketers pick me to teach them and it’s not hard to see why. US News & World Report consistently ranks me as the number one public institution in the Northeastern United States.
And I mean, how many other schools include “the” in their acronyms? Yeah, I went there.
Roscoe the Lion is my name, don’t wear it out. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve had to listen to “Roar” by Katy Perry. It’s permanently stuck in my head. The only thing that drowns it out is the cheering at my athletic events…which is why you can almost always find me at one.
Ewing, NJ. People say there’s not much to do around here, but they’re flat-out wrong. More on that later.
I’m pretty slender for such an esteemed university, taking up only 289 acres. The majority of me is confined within “the loop,” a road that circles around my academic buildings, residence halls, library, and dining hall. I hold 6,650 undergrads and around 700 graduate students at any given time, and it only takes them fifteen minutes to walk from one end of me to the other.
Current Living Situation
Most of my students live on-campus and most of my freshman live in the freshman towers, Travers and Wolfe. I have “townhouses” and “apartments,” which aren’t exactly what they sound like, but they are arguably the nicest residence halls I offer. Each apartment has a kitchen and bathroom inside.
Campus Town recently opened on the lot adjacent to me, but it’s so close you’d think it’s part of me. My students can work out at a new state-of-the-art gym, chow down at Panera, Mexican Mariachi Grill, an awesome pizza place, or Mr. Sushi. Campus Town also offers a bank, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, and apartments—real full-fledged apartment buildings with furnishings. How awesome is that?
I’m currently single and that’s how I’d like to keep it. I have a pretty competitive rivalry with Princeton, though. Sure, it’s an Ivy League school, but what does it have that I don’t? We still argue over me “stealing” their name. Get over it, that’s so 1746.
I don’t get along too well with Rutgers or Rider, either. They act like they’re smarter than me, but their reputations don’t even come close to mine. They hate us ’cause they ain’t us.
I’m not affiliated with a single religion but I have a Spiritual Center with a Meditation Chapel that’s open to all students. There are worship services there sponsored by student organizations such as Chabad, Catholic Campus Ministries, the Islamic Society, and Hillel.
I’m mostly liberal-minded. I mean, I’m a liberal arts school. What did you expect? Many of my students can be found staging die-ins to protest police brutality and arguing with a particular preacher who comes to campus every year to denounce homosexuality and premarital sex.
I must have misplaced it, but I have a photo somewhere of two guys kissing in front of him.
I do, however, have active chapters of both College Democrats and College Republicans, so I have students on both sides of the aisle covered. And since I’m right next to Jersey’s state capital, there are plenty of opportunities to become politically involved.
You should apply to me if…
you don’t want to be a nameless face in a lecture hall, you want the feel of an Ivy league school without the price tag, or if you want a Fat Sandwich delivered to your dorm at 3:00A.M. Trust me, you do.
Hallmarks and Quirks
Things I’m Good At:
- Giving away food. Repeat after me: Meal Equivalency. Between the hours of 11:00AM and 1:30PM, students with a meal plan can grab $7.25 worth of food for free. You want egg and cheese on a croissant with a java chip frappuccino? No problemo. A chicken caesar salad with a mango Naked juice? Sure thing.
- Helping my freshmen assimilate. The newest class always moves in a week before the rest of the campus, giving them time to bond with their floormates and to learn all the campus lingo (you’re going to “the lib,” not the library. Be cool). The week culminates in PlayFair, a wild night of dancing and socializing under the lights of Lions Stadium.
- Supporting LGBTQ rights. I have an extremely active chapter of PRISM, a safe place for LGBTQ students to connect and plan events. They sponsor an awesome drag show every year that you won’t want to miss.
- Churning out volunteers. Every freshman has to take a seminar that focuses on “Community Engaged Learning,” which could mean tutoring prisoners, cleaning up disaster zones, or working on the beautification of Trenton.
- NCAA sports. I’m a Division III school, but that doesn’t mean I don’t show up to play. My field hockey and cross country teams are particularly impressive.
My Top 5 Must-Haves:
- A fan. There’s no air conditioning in the freshman towers, so unless you want to sweat through your clothes (and your bedding), a fan is a must.
- An ethernet cable. Freshman rooms don’t have WiFi, either, so you’re going to need to do it the old-fashioned way. Make sure the cord you buy fits into your computer. Some students need adaptors.
- Coffee. How else do you expect to make it through those 8:00AM classes? Keurig coffeemakers are allowed in all residence halls, but if you don’t have one, no worries. There’s a Starbucks in my library. It’s super convenient since you’ll probably spend all of finals week there anyway.
- Some kind of club membership. I’ve heard from my students that clubs are where they really get to know other people on campus. Join a sport or Greek Life. Write for The Signal, my award-winning student-run newspaper. Join the College Union Board to help coordinate lectures and concerts. In the past, we’ve brought Big Sean, Twenty One Pilots, We The Kings, and Ice-T to campus.
- A bike. Or at least the ability to dodge a few on the way to class.
Why You Might Have Heard of Me:
- My education, engineering, nursing, and humanities programs are top-notch. I’m home to the David Sarnoff museum. He was a communications pioneer who led the Radio Corporation of America, which owned NBC. He’s kind of a big deal.
- My newspaper, The Signal, interviewed Walt Whitman in 1888. There was also an original first-edition of “Leaves of Grass” found in my library, accompanied by a handwritten note from Whitman himself. That discovery definitely put me in the headlines.
- I’m consistently ranked number one when it comes to best colleges in the Northeastern U.S., best value colleges, highest freshman retention rate…the stats don’t lie.
On a regular Saturday night, you can find me…
At a frat party, drinking and dancing ’til the sun comes up. No, wait, I’m probably at a basement show a few blocks away from campus, rocking out to pop punk music. No, maybe I’m just in bed watching Netflix. There’s no typical weekend here.
- The Alumni Grove. The patio between Eickhoff Hall and the library offers a dozen or so tables and chairs with a gorgeous view of the center of campus. But if you want to “Grove chill,” get there early. Tables fill up quickly when the weather is nice.
- Grab a towel and go lay out by one of my two lakes, Sylva and Ceva. You might have to wrestle a few geese for a spot, but the view is great.
- Every residence hall has at least one lounge with a television. It’s the perfect spot to study, hang out with some take out, or watch the Game of Thronesseason premiere with a big group.
- Spend a night at Slocum’s Bowling Alley and Bar. Drinking and bowling always go well together.
- Take a fifteen-minute drive north and find yourself walking down the tree-lined streets of Princeton, visiting the record store there for some cool vinyls, or shoving spoonfuls of world-famous ice cream in your mouth.
- Laundry is free here. That means more money in your pocket.
- I’ve been mistaken for Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, many times. Just calmly explain yourself when you say you attend The College of New Jersey and someone asks you, “which one?”
- My dining hall staff may very well become some of your favorite people on campus. Look up Eve Cruz or Big Larry, and add them on Facebook while you’re at it.
- Greg Grant, point guard for the Phoenix Suns. And the Knicks…and the 76ers…
- James Florio, New Jersey’s 49th governor
- Holly Black, author of the The New York Times bestselling series The Spiderwick Chronicles
- Tom McCarthy, play-by-play caller for the Philadelphia Phillies
- Madaline A. (Worthy) Williams. She was the first black woman elected to the New Jersey Legislature.
*This story was originally published on shmoop.com.