The College of New Jersey


Located just a stone’s throw from the state capital of Trenton, New Jersey, TCNJ exudes the ultimate collegiate ambiance and energy. With its classic Georgian Colonial architecture, wide brick pathways, and vibrant green lawns dotted with books and blankets on warm afternoons, visitors to campus might think that they’ve accidentally wandered onto the set of a quintessential college movie.

Growing up in suburbia, I’d always imagined myself cutting ties with my small-town past and reinventing myself as a big-city college girl, but my parents encouraged me to keep an open mind about TCNJ, a mid-sized school just about an hour from home. Initially, I only agreed to take a tour of TCNJ to rule it out, but as soon as I stepped foot on the campus, I grudgingly admitted that my parents were onto something. The campus, the residence halls, the academic programs…despite what I thought I had wanted, it all just seemed to fit. A second visit sealed the deal. Ultimately, I ended up applying Early Decision—and not applying anywhere else.

Long considered the college of choice for many of New Jersey’s best and brightest students, this in-state secret is out, and the rest of the nation is taking notice: TCNJ provides a world-class education at a public school price, even garnering the label of “the hot college” from The New York Times.

The college was established in 1855 as the New Jersey State Normal School, the state’s first teacher training institute. In its first year, the school welcomed 15 students at its one-building Trenton campus. Today, nearly 7,000 graduate and undergraduate, full- and part-time students take a range of classes offered in seven schools on the college’s 289-acre campus.

The campus itself is a quiet oasis within bustling Ewing Township, closed to outside traffic and encircled by Metzger Drive, a two-mile loop popular with joggers, walkers, and bikers. An abundance of trees and the bordering Hillwood Lakes—Lake Sylva and Lake Ceva—give the campus a natural, pristine feel, despite its location in the heart of suburban New Jersey. There’s never a shortage of geese to feed, and at dusk, it’s not uncommon to see deer darting into the woods.

More than half of TCNJ students, and nearly all freshmen, choose to live on campus in an array of residence hall arrangements. Residential life at TCNJ goes far beyond simply sharing a bathroom or living space. On-campus living is heavily focused on communitybuilding, providing new students with a supportive and hospitable home away from home. Several days before upper-class students arrive and classes begin, incoming freshmen participate in Welcome Week, a whirlwind five days of floor-bonding and community-building activities, and an integral part of the college’s award-winning First Year Experience (FYE) program. Highlights include a local community-service project, volleyball tournaments,

T-shirt decorating, and PlayFair, best described as the biggest ice-breaker you’ll ever experience. (It’s not a bad idea to have a list of fun facts about yourself on hand.)

One of the first people you’ll meet during Welcome Week is your Community Advisor, or CA, an upper-class student who oversees your area of the residence hall. Your CA is your connection to campus resources, as well as a wealth of must-know information, such as which pizzeria will offer the most prompt delivery for your 2:00 A.M. study session. Think of your CA as the cool older sibling you never had. You’ll also get to know your floor’s College Ambassadors, typically identified by their striped rugby shirts and infectious enthusiasm. Your Ambassador will be your host—and get you excited—for a number of Welcome Week activities.

TCNJ’s Welcome Week really helped me to ease comfortably into college. I had plenty of time to get to know my roommates and neighbors, and to just allaround adjust to my new surroundings. I’d never in my life met so many people in such a short period of time! Thanks to events like PlayFair, I was able to extend my social circle beyond my freshman floor—and I can safely say that I’ve high-fived every single person in the Class of 2010. By the convocation ceremony, I knew I’d made some lifelong friends. Simply put, I had a great time at Welcome Week. Yeah, some of the activities were kind of cheesy, but I’m so glad I put any apprehension aside and threw myself into the unknown. Those first few days at TCNJ were an experience that I will always remember fondly.” —Caitlin Levins, Class of 2010

What’s in a Name?

Over the past 150 years, The College of New Jersey has evolved from a specialized teachers’ college to a comprehensive institution offering more than fifty undergraduate majors, and has experienced five name changes in the process:

  • 1855—New Jersey State Normal School
  • 1908—New Jersey State Normal School in Trenton
  • 1929—New Jersey State Teachers College and State Normal School at Trenton
  • 1937—New Jersey State Teachers College at Trenton
  • 1958—Trenton State College
  • The College of New Jersey Regardless of its name, one thing has remained constant at TCNJ since 1855: a commitment to academic excellence.

Though TCNJ students take their studies seriously, the fun and camaraderie don’t stop when classes begin. Throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities to set aside the books for a bit and participate in a variety of school activities and Residence Life programming, such as bus trips to football games, on-campus comedy shows, and concerts from popular music acts, to name just a few options. And even though freshmen aren’t permitted to keep a car on campus, the free “Loop” bus offers service to local malls, movie theaters, and grocery stores several evenings a week.

With its impressive academics, active campus community, and bargain price, it’s no wonder that more than ninety-five percent of freshmen decide to continue their education at TCNJ beyond their first year.

With its pride in its humble Jersey roots and its rise to prominence on the national stage, perhaps TCNJ is the college equivalent of Bruce Springsteen or Jon Bon Jovi. If you choose to attend TCNJ, you’ll be welcomed into a community of learners and friends, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in all aspects. Don’t be dissuaded by its size or its location—just remember that at TCNJ, you’re getting world-class, Ivy-caliber education at a public school price. Take advantage of all the academic, social, and professional developments that come your way, and a successful college career is guaranteed. Come graduation, you won’t believe the doors that will open for you with a TCNJ degree in hand.


Information Summary

Ranks 6th in New Jersey and 297th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 90.5
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $34,992
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 30 / 1350
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 19 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 93% / 100%
Enrollment Total (all students) 7,686


With seven scAt TCNJ, you have your choice among seven schools and more than fifty majors and programs of study. Your classes will be instructed by a member of TCNJ faculty—virtually no classes are led by graduate students or teaching assistants. With an average student-tofaculty ratio of thirteen to one, you’ll play an active role in each class meeting, and have the opportunity to get to know your professors first-hand. Rarely, if ever, will you meet in a lecture hall. Your professors will know your face and name.

While it might sound intimidating to not be just another anonymous face in an enormous lecture hall, the small class size is highly beneficial to your academic growth. TCNJ professors are always available during office hours. Take the time to connect with your class instructors on a personal level. You never know when you might need some academic guidance or a letter of recommendation.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Your learning experience won’t be limited to the classroom. Several hundred companies actively recruit TCNJ students for jobs and internships, and the school’s location just about midway between Philadelphia and New York places students just about an hour away from an abundance of internship and job opportunities.

Internships and jobs are plentiful in nearby cities and communities, but real-life work experience can also be acquired without ever leaving campus. Nearly every academic department offers independent study options and research projects each semester. Some students choose to assist professors in their research; others, under the tutelage of their advisers, embark on their own personal research projects.

While I knew I wanted to work in the media industry postgraduation, I was unsure about what specific career path I was meant to follow. With my adviser’s encouragement, I applied and interviewed for a variety of communications- related internships. TCNJ’s proximity to New York, arguably the media capital of the world, allowed me to pursue two internships with a popular cable television network, and a whirlwind semester-long stint at a weekly celebrity magazine. All three positions taught me more about working in the media industry than any course I’d taken—and how cool is it that I earned class credit by interviewing a supermodel and working on a TV shoot with a rock ‘n roll legend? With New York just a train ride away, I still got the big-city experience I’d always wanted…though I’m still figuring out that whole career-path thing.

Most Popular Majors

The academic offerings at TCNJ are greatly varied from school to school. The top three majors in the graduating class of 2008—the most recent data available—were:

  • Psychology
  • Biology
  • Elementary/early childhood education

A recent survey found that ninety-three percent of 2007 graduates were employed within six months of graduation, and 25 percent were enrolled in graduate school.

Liberal Learning

While the number of credits required for graduation varies from major to major, all students must earn at least one hundred twenty-eight semester hours, with a minimum overall GPA of 2.0. The general TCNJ undergraduate education consists of a “liberal learning” curriculum of thirty-two to thirty-four course units. These courses span a variety of topics, including diversity and community engagement, natural, physical, and social sciences, humanities, and the arts. While students must meet specific academic requirements to graduate, there are a number of classes to choose from to fulfill each requirement.

Taking classes across the academic spectrum allowed me to pursue scholarly interests outside of my major. After taking a class called The Politics of Sexuality in order to fulfill the liberal learning gender requirement, I was so enamored with the subject matter that I took on a minor in women’s and gender studies. My internship with a cable network piqued my interest in film production, and I added a minor in communications. The liberal learning curriculum opened my eyes to what else is out there beyond my major, and allowed me to develop marketable skills in addition to pursuing my interests.

First-Year Requirements

As a part of TCNJ’s comprehensive “First Year Experience,” students are required to complete a First Seminar, an academically exciting and challenging small, seminarstyle class. Students can choose whatever seminar focus interests them most—and you’re guaranteed to be interested in at least one of these unique topics. Subjects range from Walt Whitman to tourism to cultural history and the science of food. Community service, or civic engagement, is also a crucial element of the First Year Experience. Students participate in their choice of more than thirty community service projects in the Ewing/Trenton area. In addition to fulfilling an academic requirement, students form a solid connection with their new home away from home. Many choose to continue serving the community long after the requirement is met.

Honor Societies

Ranging from Iota Iota Iota (women’s and gender studies) to Beta Gamma Sigma (business and administration) and beyond, TCNJ is home to fifteen national honor society chapters. In 2006, the college was selected in Phi Beta Kappa, an honor for which fewer than ten percent of higher education institutions are selected. Forty departments offer their own honors programs.

Student Organizations

Some of the student organizations you might be surprised to find at TCNJ include m ACTION: A coalition of political activists striving for change at TCNJ and beyond.

  • Manhunt: Manhunt members rule the night with their nocturnal cross of tag and hideand- seek.
  • PEANUTS: A much-appreciated acronym for “Planning Exciting Activities for a Never-ending Utopia for TCNJ Students,” PEANUTS is responsible for events such as white-water rafting and “Natural High Olympics.”
  • TCNJ Swing: Its goal is to preserve, maintain, and celebrate the historic legacy of swing dancing.
  • Water Watch: This environmental organization is dedicated to improving water quality in the Trenton area.


TCNJ students have access to truly impressive, state-of-the-art academic facilities. In 2006 construction on a 135,000 square-foot library was completed. In addition to housing traditional library collections and services, the building accommodates twenty-four group study rooms, a café, a late-night study area, and a 105-seat multipurpose auditorium. Its five stories are packed with more than half a million volumes, almost twenty thousand periodicals, one hundred public computers, printers, scanners, copiers, and cozy nooks perfect for a quiet study session (or a quick nap). Most areas inside the library, as well as the outdoor Alumni Grove just beyond the library’s front door, have wireless access. Many lounges and classrooms are also enabled for wireless, and there are plans to connect more areas in the near future.

Most Popular Fields of Study


The College of New Jersey
The College of New Jersey


Many current TCNJ students made the decision to apply after talking to older siblings and friends, checking out the Web site, or scouting the rankings in college guides. For others, it took a visit to campus to seal the deal.

Visiting Campus

Prospective students are encouraged to take advantage of campus tours, offered several times per week all year long. During a campus tour, you’ll receive a presentation from an admissions counselor and an hour-long tour of the campus led by the same College Ambassadors you’ll meet during Welcome Week, should you choose to attend TCNJ. A few times a semester, the college holds campus “open houses” to give prospective students the chance to chat with current students, faculty, and administrators. The open house schedule includes a campus tour, an admissions presentation, and an information fair with faculty from all of TCNJ’s academic departments. For an even more true-to-life TCNJ experience, you can also request to sit in on a class, or to stay overnight with a current student.

If you’re interested in taking a tour, attending an open house, or just want to receive more information about the application process, it’s recommended that you register for the college’s mailing list at Once you’re registered, you’ll be able to RSVP for prospective student events and receive information about the academic, residential, and social opportunities available to TCNJ students.

The Application Process

After you’ve made the choice to apply, the process is fairly standard. Prospective students are required to submit an application (the Common Application is accepted), academic transcripts, official test scores (SAT or ACT), two or three letters of recommendation, an essay, a list of activities or a résumé, and a nonrefundable application fee. (Certain majors may have additional requirements; check the Web site for more information.) The entire application process can be completed online if you’d like, although mailing it all in the old-fashioned way is perfectly okay, too. It’s important to note that hard-copy applications for admission and course catalogs are no longer mailed to recipients—but no worries, these materials can be downloaded from the TCNJ Web site.

Getting In

Just like every other school you’re looking at, there’s no magical combination of grades and test scores that will guarantee you a spot in TCNJ’s incoming freshman class. One of the most crucial elements of an application is a strong high school transcript. The classes you take in high school (and their difficulty—special emphasis is placed on honors and Advanced Placement courses), your grades, your GPA, and your class rank are all weighed heavily during the decision-making process, more so than your standardized test scores. Eighty-seven percent of current freshmen were in the top fifth of their graduating classes, with ninety-eight percent in the top two-fifths.

As TCNJ becomes the top choice of many applicants, it also becomes less of a “safe school” option, with a current acceptance rate of around forty-six percent. Bottom line: if you’re sure that TCNJ is the place for you, admissions officials recommend you apply Early Decision.

Financial Aid

TCNJ offers a world-class, first-rate education at a bargain public school price. But as college costs continue to rise, many students find themselves seeking ways to manage the financial burden of a college education. In a recent year, about two-thirds of full-time freshmen received some form of financial assistance. TCNJ’s Office of Student Financial Assistance counsels students on the various resources, such as work-study programs, scholarships, loans, and grants, that are available to fund their college educations. To be considered for most types of assistance, you must first complete either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Renewal FAFSA. The FAFSA is required for consideration for any need-based and/or federal aid at any American college or university. (Learn more at The priority filing date for TCNJ is March 1. Getting your application and supporting documents to the federal processor by that date labels your application as a “priority” when it’s received by the Office of Student Financial Assistance, meaning that, although there are no guarantees, you may have a better chance of receiving funds that are awarded on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Once your application is received, you’ll be notified of the amount of need-based aid for which you qualify. For more information, visit the Office of Student Financial Assistance online at

Even with the support of financial aid, the cost of attending college can seem overwhelming. But there are options beyond just need-based aid and federal assistance. Many students are the recipients of private scholarships, secured with the help of high school guidance counselors or by searching online scholarship databases. In addition to padding their pockets, students can pad their résumés with the on-campus work-study program. Certain positions in residence life even provide free room and board. Off-campus, there are lots of businesses that are happy to hire hardworking college students and are willing to work with their flexible schedules.

Another financial aid option for some New Jersey state residents is the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF). The EOF program provides financial assistance, as well as personal and academic support, to motivated state residents who have the potential for academic and career success, but come from backgrounds of “historical poverty” and who “have lacked access to quality education preparation,” according to the EOF mission statement. You can find more information and see if you’re eligible at

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 746th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in New Jersey.


In recent years, TCNJ has shaken off the “suitcase school” image of the past. While it’s true that most students hail from the Garden State, more than half of TCNJ students reside on campus, and on any given weekend, most of them are sticking around town. And why wouldn’t they?

Some of the student organizations you might be surprised to find at TCNJ include m ACTION: A coalition of political activists striving for change at TCNJ and beyond. m Manhunt: Manhunt members rule the night with their nocturnal cross of tag and hideand- seek.

Like many colleges, TCNJ doesn’t permit first-year students to keep a car on campus, but you’re hardly stranded on the college’s grounds. The “Loop” bus service provides free transportation to area malls, movie theaters, and grocery stores several evenings a week. There’s an NJ Transit bus stop just outside of the Brower Student Center, offering service to a number of local attractions, including the closest NJ Transit train station. Public transportation offers easy access to the museums, restaurants, theaters—and general excitement—of New York and Philadelphia.

Clubs and Organizations

There are almost two hundred clubs and organizations at TCNJ, ranging from the Asian American Association to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, and a new club is probably forming at this very moment. If no existing organization embodies exactly what you’re looking for, you’re welcome to request campus funding and start your own club. About twenty-five percent of TCNJ students belong to a sorority or fraternity. While there are no official Greek houses on campus, there’s a strong off-campus presence if you choose to seek it out. It’s fairly safe to say that no matter what your background or your interests, you’ll feel at home and find your niche at TCNJ.

For those interested in getting off campus but still keeping it local, there are many restaurants and shops in Ewing proper and on the nearby Route 1 corridor. Minor-league baseball and hockey games are only a short drive away in Trenton. Thanks to TCNJ’s many active student organizations, there’s almost always something cool happening on campus any given night of the week. Concerts, lectures, late-night pizza parties—you name it, and it’s probably on the schedule.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


TCNJ, home to eighteen varsity sports teams, is a National Collegiate Athletic Association powerhouse. In the past thirty years, TCNJ has earned thirty-eight Division III titles in six different sports. The college has also amassed thirty-two runner-up awards. With the support of an excellent coaching staff, many TCNJ student athletes have earned All-American and all-conference honors.

In addition to the various NCAA titles and honors, TCNJ athletics also enjoy a solid and enthusiastic fan base, with the annual Homecoming celebration bringing out students and alumni alike to support the college’s football team. Athletic participation isn’t limited to those competing at the varsity level. The college is home to eighteen club sports, ranging from such diverse options as rugby and ice hockey to fencing and Ultimate Frisbee. Intramural sports such as flag football, volleyball, basketball, and softball are also offered.

Varsity Sports


  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Field Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field


  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Wrestling


The sky’s the limit for TCNJ graduates. Thanks to the impressive education under their belts, former students have gone on to work in the corporate, nonprofit, and governmental sectors, and have embarked on successful graduate school careers at the nation’s top law, medical, and graduate schools.

Notable Grads

  • James Florio, Former Governor of New Jersey
  • Holly Black, Author, The Spiderwick Chronicles
  • Ty Treadway, Actor/Television Host
  • Tom McCarthy, Announcer, Philadelphia Phillies
  • Derick Grant, Harlem Globetrotter

The Office of Career Services offers a variety of workshops on career and major exploration, résumé writing, interviewing skills—including the cringeinducing, yet enormously valuable, videotaped mock interview—and internship and job search preparation.

The LionsLink system, powered by the NACElink network, is TCNJ’s online recruitment program. This recruitment tool, used by many top-tier universities around the nation, allows students and alumni to submit résumés to potential employers. Whether you’re looking for an internship to add to your résumé or a full-time permanent position, LionsLink is a convenient one-stop shop.

With eight hundred companies recruiting on campus in a recent year, many students have jobs lined up well before graduation. Currently, TCNJ grads are writing award-winning children’s books, researching potential cures for cancer, and editing video for some of your favorite television shows, just to name a few. Your possibilities are endless with a TCNJ degree.

Top Employers

In recent years, some of the top employers of TCNJ grads have included…

  • Johnson & Johnson
  • State of New Jersey
  • Americorps
  • Ernst & Young
  • Bloomberg LP
  • US Army
  • Liberty Mutual
  • KPMG
  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Deloitte

This website and its associated pages are not affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by this school. has no official or unofficial affiliation with The College of New Jersey.