What’s New At Six Northeast Colleges


Last week I attended a NJACAC panel discussion with admissions representatives from six colleges: Rutgers, Villanova, NYU, Yale, TCNJ and Rider. Each representative shared news from their campus.

  1. Rutgers had a record-breaking class of 7033 freshmen this fall with an average SAT score of 1300 and an average GPA of 3.7.  The top 100 students in the freshman class had an SAT score above 1440. 
  2. This spring marks the first graduating class of the Rutgers Honors College. The average SAT score in the Honors College was 1480.
  3. In 2020, Rutgers will open a one-stop building to house the registrar, bursar and financial aid offices.
  4. A new engineering building and a new chemical/chemical biology building opened this year. A new arts building will open on 2019.
  5. There will be $10 million dollars in new engineering scholarships.

Villanova – 
  1. Villanova has six new residence halls and they have upgraded the gymnasium.
  2. In January 2020 a new performing arts building will open.
  3. Fifteen students in the graduating class were awarded Fulbright scholarships.
  4. The college has a 96% retention rate (freshman to sophomore year).
  5. Villanova will host the largest student-run Special Olympics.
  6. The school’s Carnegie classification was changed to Doctoral Universities: Moderate Research Activity.

  1. NYU is adding residence hall space.
  2. They are focusing on improving student retention by adding a new early warning system.  
  3. They just opened a one-stop building to house the registrar, bursar and financial aid offices.  
  4. NYU is adding more Saturday programs and summer programs for high school students.

Yale –
  1.  Yale had 35507 applicants for a class of 1578 students.
  2. They admitted 110 students from New Jersey from 1200 applicants.
  3. A new student center and a new science building will open in 2020.
  4. Neuroscience and data science are new majors. Neuroscience is the third most popular major.  
  5. Yale does not require the optional essay on the SAT or ACT. The SAT Subject test is not required.

  1. The college president retired.
  2. TCNJ is opening a new STEM building  and renovated the Student Center.
  3. They have added a BA in Biology in addition to the current BS in Biology. They also added a Health major, are starting an Audiology major and will be adding an MBA soon.

Rider –
  1. Rider has renovated the Bart Luedeke Center, upgraded two residence halls, made improvements to the Business Building, and upgraded the Science and Technology Center. A $20 million addition to the Science and Technology Center will start in 18 months.
  2. There is a new dining service partner and the dining facility will be renovated next year.
  3. Rider has 920 freshmen with an average high school GPA of 3.35 and average test score of 1120 on the SAT or 23 on the ACT. The school offers test optional admissions for all except homeschooled students, and students who want to be considered for the Honors programs or full-tuition scholarships. To qualify for a full-tuition scholarship, students must apply Early Action, submit the scholarship essay, have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and an SAT score of 1310 or an ACT score of 28 or higher, complete an audition if one is needed for their major, and participate in an on-campus interview.
  4. A new Business Analytics major started in January 2018. The Actuarial Science major has been restarted. There is a new Technical Theatre concentration. The school added a BA in Musical Theatre; this is in addition to the very popular BFA program in Musical Theatre.

What’s new at NJ, NY and PA colleges

Admissions representatives from several universities shared highlights of what’s new at their institutions at the NJACAC fall kickoff. 
The Rider representative talked about:
  •  Special activities to commemorate the college’s 150th anniversary, including a gala, special performances, the breaking of a Guinness world record for the longest string of cranberries.
  •  The Westminster Choir College getting a new building. 
  • Sports management being offered as a new co-major.
  • The Musical Theater degree becoming a Bachelors in Fine Arts, requiring an application by January 1.
  • The current college president retiring on June 30th and the search for a replacement.

The Rutgers representative spoke of:
  • The opening of the Residential Honors College housing for 500 students and faculty in September 2015. 
  • Mason Gross having a new digital film making major starting in 2015.
  •  Rutgers planning for a 2016 celebration of their 250th anniversary.

  • Will be celebrating their 150thanniversary in 2015 with a Lehigh vs. Lafayette football game in Yankee Stadium. 
  • Has purchased two Bethlehem Steel buildings and turned them into research space. 
  • Has a new college president who came from the University of Virginia. 
  • Is in the midst of a one billion dollar capital campaign.

·         Has fully integrated the engineering school into the university. Has new majors including Design and Performance Study, and an interdisciplinary Business and Film/TV.
·         Is looking for a new president. 

·         Is building a Campus Town Center which will open in August.  It will have a first floor with Panera,Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and a pizza place, and a second floor housing 430 TCNJ students. 
·         Has a new STEM facility housing natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. 
·         Will be switching to a 4-1-4 schedule to encourage a higher 4-year graduation rate and to give more students the opportunity to study abroad. 

·         Will require students to complete the CSS PROFILE in order to get financial aid.  They expect this will enable them to give more aid to students whose families make between $75K and $150K per year.
The Rowan representative spoke of:
  •  Bringing in five companies, including Lockheed Martin, on property Rowan owns next to the college campus so students can do research and work with those companies.
  • Two new med schools and the integration of medical studies with arts, business, and STEM.  Students can get accepted into medical school right after high school; the med schools are focusing on community/family medicine. 
  •  The freshman class being 40% bigger than last year. 
  • Rowan focusing on improving their graduation rate and having a goal to reach a 90% graduation rate. 

New York University, New York, NY

NYU is a “hot” school. If you are looking for a big, private college in the Village, maybe NYU is for you. You can join about 20,000 undergrads studying over 230 majors, in classes averaging fewer than 30 students. About ten thousand of these students live in the residence halls, and housing is guaranteed for all four years. In addition to the campus in NYC, there is a 2-year old campus in Abu Dhabi, and a campus is scheduled to open in two years in Shanghai.

NYU also owns and operates twelve other physical sites in Accra, Florence, Paris, Tel Aviv, Berlin, London, Prague, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C. You can attend classes taught by NYU professors in English at these sights for the same price as classes in New York. A lot of students (42%) take advantage of studying abroad.

NYU has both research opportunities and 22,000 internship opportunities for undergraduates.

What NYU doesn’t have is a campus. On the other hand, most of the undergraduate buildings are a short walk from Washington Square Park.


Most financial aid at NYU is need-based. The school does give merit aid, which ranges from $1000 to full tuition. Students need to submit both the FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE.

There is Early Decision I, Early Decision II and Regular Decision. Students can apply to a first and second choice college within the university.

There are 9 undergraduate schools, colleges and programs:

  • College of Arts and Sciences (1443 freshmen)
  • College of Nursing (63 freshmen)
  • Gallatin School of Individualized Study (253 freshmen)
  • Stern School of Business (552 freshmen)
  • Liberal Studies (1125 freshmen)
  • Silver School of Social Work (26 freshmen)
  • Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management (100 freshmen)
  • Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development (567 freshmen)
  • Tisch School of the Arts (776 freshmen)

NYU Poly, also known as the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, in downtown Brooklyn is transitioning to become the tenth school within NYU. At this time, it has it’s own application.


There are a lot of testing choices. You can submit SAT or ACT with writing or 3 SAT subject tests or IB scores or 3 AP tests.

Students in the arts have to audition or submit a portfolio. In addition to being talented they also need to have strong academics.

Students interested in the business school need to know Calculus.

The Gallatin School is made up of students who create their own majors from classes that cross other major boundaries.

There is plenty to do because of the city location. In addition, NYU has over 400 student organizations, two athletic centers, a gym on 14th Street, 21 Division III varsity teams, and the largest theatre south of 42nd Street.

If you are looking for a big school with dorms in the big city, and don’t mind not having a campus, NYU might be for you.

If you are a student or alum, do you have any comments to add about NYU?