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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The College of New Jersey

If you want to go to a state college in New Jersey, but Rutgers feels way too big to you, there are plenty of other choices. The most academically challenging of your alternatives is The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), a school with an undergraduate enrollment of about 6000. TCNJ has a beautiful 289-acre campus in the suburbs with brick buildings, mostly in the Georgian style. The school has liberal arts, business, and education. The classes are small with the biggest class being 40 students and there are plenty of opportunities for research, internships, projects, and study abroad.

Everyone on your floor in the freshman dorm is in the same freshman seminar and there are 2 roommate switch dates just in case your freshman roommate doesn’t work out. Ninety-five percent of freshmen return for their sophomore year, while the average retention for state colleges is only sixty-seven percent. Popular activities include two big concerts per year; dances, concerts, movies, and parties; and free and low cost day trips to NY, Philly and Princeton. There are few classes on Wednesdays so clubs and sports meet then. It is easy to get involved but you need to be proactive about it. TCNJers are friendly, but it gets harder to meet people after freshman year.

I have one caveat for all NJ state colleges. With the NJ economy in the doldrums, state budget cuts may impact school quality, tuition, or a student’s ability to finish in four years.

For additional photos of TCNJ, check out the Slosberg College Solutions Facebook page.  If you have attended or visited TCNJ recently, share your impressions.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bryn Mawr College

If you’re considering a women’s college, Bryn Mawr may be right for you. The beautiful campus is in the Philly suburbs, and the nearby train will take you downtown in twenty minutes. The school has a fine liberal arts program with a high percent of graduates continuing for a Ph.D., a strict academic honor code, and strong educational and social ties to nearby coed Haverford. The student body participates heavily in travel abroad and almost the entire student body lives on campus.
When you consider Bryn Mawr, also look closely at Haverford since you have the opportunity to take classes there. Bryn Mawr also has relationships with Swarthmore and University of Pennsylvania.

The school was impressive, but the article that I subsequently read about our tour guide, Jomaira Salas, was inspiring. She is making a difference in the community.  If she is representative of the Bryn Mawr woman, you will be in good company.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Questions for Jewish students

If you are a Jewish student, you may be interested in the following information about the colleges you are considering:

1. Is there a Hillel? What kind of activities does it sponsor? How many students typically attend?

2. Does the school participate with other colleges in regional Jewish programming?

3. How many Jewish Studies classes are offered? Is Hebrew offered?

4. Are there travel abroad opportunities to Israel? Does the school sponsor a Birthright Israel trip?

5. What Jewish social, social action and arts activities are there?

6. Are there celebrations for Jewish holidays? Is there a Passover Seder?

7. What Shabbat and holiday services are there?

8. Is there a kosher meal plan? Is Kosher for Passover food available?

9. Are there Jewish opportunities in the surrounding community (e.g., work in synagogue, invitations to holiday dinners, attendance at services).

10. Are there Jewish alternate spring break opportunities?

To find the answers to these questions and more:

1. Review Hillel’s Guide to Jewish Life on Campus on for the colleges you are interested in

2. Check out college bulletin boards and see what Hillel activities are posted.

3. Check out the Hillel calendar of events

4. Visit the Hillel building or office.  Talk with the Hillel staff and students who frequent Hillel.

5. Try out the kosher food on campus.

6. Attend a Hillel activity.

7. If you stay on a Friday night, try out the Shabbat service and dinner.