Choosing a College

University of Northern New Jersey v. Rutgers


The problem: with two institutions that are academically and intellectually nearly identical, how are high school seniors and their parents to decide?

Below: a point-by-point comparison to help show you how to reach a decision.




Alumni of Northern New Jersey are known for their leadership and success in later life. They entered UNNJ knowing that their degree meant something.

The problem: the same is true, according to materials from the Rutgers Alumni Office, of those who graduate from Rutgers. This should not be the point on which you decide.

Exceptional Educational Experience 



The University of Northern New Jersey is known for providing its students with an exceptional educational experience. UNNJ is a multicultural institution dedicated to the discovery, development, and application of knowledge. Its faculty includes world-renowned scholars, intellectual leaders in a variety of fields, and inspiring teachers.

The problem: the same is true of Rutgers. Materials from its admissions office and videos on its website demonstrate that Rutgers is prepared to validate its own claims in these areas by providing materials from its admissions office and videos on its website.

Student Support 



The University of Northern New Jersey is internationally renowned for its student support system, which includes not only advice about courses and "how to study" tutorials, but help with dressing and eating and getting to class on time. Full-time Student Support Specialists help students who have received a grade lower than A to initiate appeal proceedings to rectify the injustice. The "Writing Lab," open to students of all majors, is available to help undergraduates with spelling and use of the apostrophe. The UNNJ Safe Spaces Initiative has a large staff of trained professionals who devote themselves full time to investigating cases of lowered self-esteem or perceived insensitivity.

The problem: here again, Rutgers services are virtually identical. This will not be one of the points on which you choose between the two.

Diploma and Certification



At the end of four years of study, the University of Northern New Jersey provides those who have accumulated the required number of credit hours with a piece of paper, featuring a seal of certification and signatures of various administrators, testifying that they were enrolled at the University of Northern New Jersey. In addition, the campus bookstore sells various items -- tee shirts, hats, nightgowns, fanny packs -- that allow UNNJ alumni to declare their university affiliation after receiving their piece of paper.

The problem: the Rutgers bookstore also sells a wide variety of items that allow the buyer to exhibit allegiance to the institution. Also, almost every university bookstore does the same thing. It should not be considered decisive when trying to decide on a college.




If your guidance counselor has advised you that your choice of a college is likely to come down to one between UNNJ and Rutgers, you should treat athletics as being very important, and probably decisive.

UNNJ, although a mirror image of Rutgers in nearly every other respect, has no football franchise. Or basketball franchise. UNNJ is not in a Div IA conference with half-time television commercials. Its undergraduates have no opportunity to drink beer and howl from the stands and turn over cars and set fires after victories in "the big game." Or defeats in "the big game." Whatever.

UNNJ is, in short, very subpar for this echelon of colleges and universities.

Our advice: make the choice that will give you four years of the experience that comes closest to the way you yourself imagine college.