NJIT's reputation vs a FREE RIDE

My son has been offered free tuition and housing at NJIT, as well as admittance into the Honors program. This school was his fall back school, he’s just not that interested, basically I think because of it’s reputation. Plus, we live in NJ. He’s heard back from U of Pitt, no word on merit money there, and are waiting to hear from Lehigh, Layafette, Stevens & Carnegie Mellon. The last is probably a lost cause, he didn’t realize he had to take 2 subject area tests for admission consideration and the next test date in in May. NJIT’s free, so I say take it and I’ll buy him a new car at the end of 4 years. Any opinions on the lower-status NJIT vs the others?

What did you tell him before he applied to all these schools? Obviously, free ride is enticing. We told our kids we would pay up to instate cost. We did not tell them they had to look for merit. It depends on what your discussion has been.

Re-post when you know all the options and when you have the net cost of each school. Until they you are spinning your wheels on hypothetical choices. Once you have all the information, then you will be in a position to make a decision. (PS for full disclosure, my D is at Lafayette and loves it there).

Well, big mistake there. I told him he could go where ever he wanted, assuming he would receive some merit and some federal financial aid. Didn’t know at that time that I’d be divorcing, so that’s another hit to the budget. I could still probably make any of those colleges work (inheritance earmarked for his college), but I really don’t know first hand anyone who has gone to NJIT. I’ve heard some negs - Newark is a pretty crime-ridden city (I know this from 1st hand experience), NJIT doesn’t have a great national presence, conflicting accounts about its academics. We visited the Open House today, big difference I observed versus the other schools was that they did seem to focus on the fact that they are rated the first in return on investment - tuition vs salary expectations. That’s great, but is it a good school academically? And when they talked about grads with major engineering accomplishments, none of those grads looked to be younger than 60. Didn’t talk at all about intramural or club sports, and that is important for my son.

Yes, spinning my wheels is accurate! It’s hard not to, when you don’t get info on even admissions or financial aid until so late into the spring - and I understand that it’s kind of fruitless. However, I would like to know if anyone has first hand knowledge of NJIT’s engineering programs, positives and negatives.

I would not place too much emphasis on the ROI – they are high on the list because virtually all of their students are engineers/STEM majors that get jobs and the cost of attendance is (relatively) low as it is a public school.

I have no first-hand information about the school. But to me it sounds like it might be worth another visit to NJIT (maybe after other acceptances are in) to get your son’s questions about what type of EC activities/sports are offered answered. Also try to find out where recent graduates get jobs/go to grad school etc. It sounds like a good option to have given the scholarship and your personal situation.

It’s likely that same merit amount will come from Rowan, which is basically tied with NJIT in engineering but substantially more pleasant and diverse. Check to see if the deadline has passed.

NJIT is an average school academically. Very, very average. The social life is what makes the school below average. But there are hardly any NJ schools even worth attending anyways. If it were me, I’d choose between Pitt, Stevens, and Lehigh.

He’s better off elsewhere, even with a full ride.

“He’s better off elsewhere, even with a full ride.”

I suppose you will be paying for @TheMerm1962 son’s college education then, @LBad96?

@sevmom lol it’s not just about the fact that it’s free. It’s what has the best value in the long-term. NJIT won’t give him that.

Anecdotally, we’re from northern NJ and I know a few people from my kids’ robotics team who chose NJIT with great merit packages. Yes, Newark isn’t great (not sure how protected the campus is). Stevens is ~$65k/yr. Big difference between that and a free ride.

Can you visit again, and can he do an interview/overnight, where he could speak to other students and get some insight into the academic and non-academic factors?

“best value for the long- term, NJIT won’t give him that.” How do you know that?

@sevmom um, I’m from New Jersey. Look at what she said above. NJIT, as I said, is average. Newark is awful. I wouldn’t go there even if they paid me to attend.

Does he have a major in mind? If NJIT is strong in his major, it might be a good option.

Newark is a lot nicer than it used to be! I was amazed the last time I went there. I have no idea how safe the area around campus is, though.

Great access to NYC on the PATH.

Any other NJ options on the table? Rutgers? Rowan?

I’d wait for other responses to come through. Also if your financial situation has changed due to divorce, make sure the financial aid people know about it.

I am concerned if the school is average, academically. He’s always done very well in public HS, all AP or Honors courses, sports, a club, a p/t job - the art of learning and multi-tasking just comes easily to him and he works very quickly. He, IMO, needs a challenging environment. And his criteria for schools were factors that he thought would bring in the most serious students - high GPAs, SATs and schools with lower admittance rates. Not that he’s a snob by any means, but he’s a serious guy and wants to be in a serious school.

No other NJ colleges aside from NJIT & Stephens. He doesn’t have a front runner. And yes, I do have a lot of financial updating to do re: FAFSA and CSS. Fun times! I appreciate everyone’s responses, thanks.

NJIT with no tuition is not a bad choice if he wants to major in STEM subjects. I mean turning down Carnegie Mellon would be painful but if you are getting divorce and can’t pay then it’s going to be a big loan to pay off.

Happy1 - I’m sure you’re right about the ROI - I never put together the fact that the ROI is so high because they are mostly an engineering school. What does your D study at Lafayette?

My D is in the sciences, not engineering. But she has many friends who are engineers who are also very happy there (academically, socially etc.).

If you can afford Lehigh or Lafayette, I’d seriously consider them before NJIT. The town setting is depressing and depressed, and doesn’t make for a great college experience. If your child has no other choice, it’s serviceable and it delivers a good technical education. But it’s nowhere near Lehigh or Lafayette in terms of environment, peers, resources, or academics.