Lower Intensity colleges in NJ & nearby

I’m looking for some colleges I may have missed for D23 who is bright but disorganized and gets stressed managing school work. She’s the type who does well on tests but has lower grades due to handing assignments in late.

On the financial side, we will get a great deal at Rutgers due to the new financial aid plan (under $20K). She would like that there is a lot to explore there (if she could get admitted) but I don’t think she’s up for the rigor. A place like TCNJ would present a similar problem in terms of rigor, I think.

We would get great FA for years 3 and 4 at other NJ state schools under the new state FA plan. I think she would do reasonably well at Rowan, and I will recommend Stockton. I know some average kids that did well at those colleges, but she’s not particularly interested in them.

Are there any other NJ state colleges she should look at, considering she is interested in environmental science, marine biology, and math but still very undecided?

What about and Pennsylvania state colleges, obviously not the big names?

I’m afraid she might get bored at a small school, but I might want her to check out Roanoke, McDaniel, and Elizabethtown, where costs might come firm to $30-ish and she might get more support.

She is interested in U Maine but I have reservations about anywhere too far away because of adding costs for traveling, health insurance, etc. And my older kids had medical problems and it’s very helpful to have them nearby if anything comes up. She has no history of asthma but had an asthma attack out of the blue last week that only makes me think I wouldn’t want her too far.


Not NJ but not so far as U Maine.
What about Univ. of Delaware?
Or Uni Rhode Island ?

Small but seems to have personal attention- Juniata. See the net price calculator.

I think UD or URI would be great but would be more than we are able to afford. I also think Juanita gave us a higher cost on the NPC compared to the ones I mentioned.

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What about an executive function coach or study skills /time management tutor? See Academic Coaching at Rutgers NB
“ Any student enrolled at Rutgers University is eligible to participate in this program. All sessions are conducted by appointment or during open office hours and are confidential. Academic coaches will meet one-on-one to help you:

  • conquer procrastination.
  • prepare for exams.
  • get organized.
  • study more effectively.
  • read more effectively.
  • and more!”

What are her stats? Rutgers is becoming a harder admit, same with TCNJ. My oldest did well at Rutgers, there is zero hand holding. My ADHD did did well at TCNJ, he was admitted with an uw3.4 gpa and 30 act, didn’t apply to Rutgers, way too big. My ds21 dropped out of rutgers last semester, I knew it was the wrong choice for someone not on top of things. He managed to get into RBS with a uw3.7 30 act. He enrolled in Montclair state for the fall and will commute. How about ramapo?


Maybe look at Drew in NJ and see if merit aid is a possibly.


I have heard from friends whose kids applied to URI that it can be generous with merit aid.

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I would suggest looking into York College in Pennsylvania.


Also, look at the Colleges That Change Lives group of schools. Yes, they are smaller, but they might provide just what she needs.


She had a 1300 SAT and a 3.79 weighted GPA. She had nearly two months of covid related absences the first semester and was not eligible for online learning because she never had covid, so her GPA will take a hit this year. Her school does not give unweighted GPA.

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I’m from SJ so I never hear anything about Ramapo. We did a drive they once and I liked that it was a compact campus with a natural area nearby. I wish I knew more about it

I think McDaniel is one of the Colleges that Change Lives and they have a big scholarship for the children of educators that would bring the price down to instate college cost.

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This is exactly the kind of support she needs…if she would take advantage of it…I’m happy to know Rutgers has it.

Checking for clarity….this kid had the asthma attack….or the older kid did.

Is there a good reason she missed so much school that the guidance counselor will be able to explain in the counselors letter?

Our high school sends many kids to Rutgers NB (about 20 last fall), some things look good on paper, but most report a lot is on the student, mental health services leave a lot to be desired once you get them, so I’d take some with a grain of salt (my husband is also an alumni). Parents have mentioned the RU screw. It’s a big school and it can be challenging to go from campus to campus with the buses with traffic and shortages. I know lots of students there who love it (all 5 of my kids have/had friends there), but it seems best for motivated organized students who will reach out to seek assistance. My daughter graduated summa cum laude and had job offers junior year, my other daughters would’ve been fine there, my sons not so much. ETA, does Camden have the same new tuition deal? Everyone here goes to Newark or New Brunswick, but I don’t think Camden is as overwhelming and my ou might be more familiar if from SJ.

You have to figure out unweighted GPA, on a 4 point scale, because that’s what the colleges will do…and it will help us give better recommendations. Take core courses only (Eng, Math, Sci, SS, FL), give As 4 points, Bs 3 points and so on. Divide by number of total courses/semesters that you used to calculate the numerator.

It’s my high school junior that had the asthma attack, the one who I’m looking for colleges for.

Yes. The guidance counselor said she will be writing a letter addressing some issues particular to her, but I’m not sure if she knows the details of the absences and I don’t know how much detail is appropriate for her to share. The school nurse was the one who helped us during that time.

There was probably once or twice she missed days when she had symptoms of allergies or a virus and could not go to school until a negative test came back. And then there were times she had exposures and had to quarantine because she was not fully vaccinated then. She had symptoms consistent with anaphylaxis after her first shot so her pediatrician asked us to wait as long as possible between shots, but it got to the point that she would have failed out of school unless we did something to change the situation and she was frustrated, so we made a plan with the pediatrician for her to get her second shot under at the office under medical supervision. She was also not feeling well for about a week after her second shot. With all that, she had a lot of absences.

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I think someone needs to have a conversation with the school counselor who can address the absences honestly but tactfully in the counselor letter.


What’s you impression of Montclair? It’s petty big but is there more of a personal touch that at Rutgers?

Often times just because a college is smaller it doesn’t mean it will have a more personal touch. In fact it may have more adjuncts and less a touch and overall be a lesser funded state school.

A true Honors program might get more support at one of these secondary schools but ultimately it will be up to your daughter to seek help. Schools can help those who seek but they won’t come chasing. College is different than HS in that it’s optional, so no one is chasing a dispassionate student from an administrative level.

I’m not sure lack of ‘intensity’ is the right thing to seek. All schools will have both intensity and not, depending on professors and majors. In other words I’m not sure a TCNJ, Rowan or William Paterson will necessarily be better than Rutgers.