Somerset County, NJ ?

<p>So, we are looking at a very appealing job opportunity in this area and know almost nothing about the entire Northeast except a bit about Boston by having a son in college there. Younger child is just finishing her sophomore year of high school. DH really wants this position and I want him to be happy but we are both trying to figure out if we dare even think about moving a kid midstream from a high school she loves. Like her older brother, she is extremely strong academically and potentially viable at top colleges. Her aspirations are high. </p>

<p>Just not even sure how to begin to think through this. Can anyone recommend high schools in Somerset County, NJ ? Could possibly keep daughter and me here for the next two years and have DH commute home weekends, us go there summers, etc. </p>

<p>Maybe should be posting this on Parents Forum instead?</p>

<p>I currently live in this county and grew up next to this county. It's a great place to live! I don't know where you currently live, but forget all the stereotypes about NJ. It is plenty green in Somerset county. You'll have to drive to get to the urban cities. </p>

<p>Most of the high schools in this county are considered to be quite good academically. If you ask me directly about a certain school, I may be able to give you specific advice as some are certainly much better than others. </p>

<p>We do have a number of good schools nearby including Princeton (which is in Mercer county which is the county just below Somerset) and Rutgers (which is also very close by) and Westminster Choir College. My son is a grad student at Fairleigh Dickinson University and he's had an excellent experience at that school. </p>

<p>Do you have any specific quesitons yet? One challenge may be the cost of housing as it's quite steep. And of course, the better high schools are in the towns with the higher priced houses. But I'd guess that you already knew that. </p>

<p>To sum up, Somerset County is a great place to live and if your family can adapt to a new place, I am sure that you will be happy here.</p>

<p>Thx, bookreader - completely agree with you that the area is lovely. We are very excited about the move - just not sure about the impact on our younger child.</p>

<p>We moved to NJ (Union County, which is next door to Somerset County) when our youngest was in the middle of 10th grade. The good schools in New Jersey can be quite good. Here is a site that has rankings of public schools in the state:
Top</a> New Jersey high schools by rank | <a href="http://www.njmonthly.com%5B/url%5D">www.njmonthly.com</a>
We picked our town from among places that had houses we could afford and schools ranked in the top ~30. We have been very pleased. Son was accepted at 2 top 10 LACs, one of which he will be attending in the fall. More importantly, the school really helped him make the adjustment, the guidance counselor was very helpful, and the classes and most teachers interesting.</p>

<p>Depending on where you are coming from, you will find property taxes in New Jersey to be very high to stratospheric by comparison. While some of the property tax dollars are undoubtedly wasted, the public schools in the good areas are quite good in comparison with the schools we came from: average class sizes in the very low 20s, enough guidance counselors relative to students that the GCs actually get to know your kid even if they are not a trouble maker or super star, strong programs in the arts. Like many public schools, though, kids who are B to B- students may get left out of the best academic opportunities.</p>

<p>Based on our experience, I'd say go for it. Feel free to PM me.</p>

<p>Oh yeah, forgot to mention our property taxes. And let's not forget auto insurance. I hope you have daughters. Insuring boys is very expensive. </p>

<p>That said, NJ is a great state. We've lived here almost all our lives and really do love it here.</p>

<p>We think the area is very appealing. And are okay with the cost of living - there's a good relocation package attached to the offer plus we are looking to downsize. The issue is DD. She is doing well at a small private high school. Selected to be editor of the paper next year, on the quiz bowl team (a big deal to her), and developing strong friendships with several teachers. She is tied for first in the class so far. The school sends a lot of its grads to top schools. I know the NJ schools are superb but I'm very worried about all the relationships and the momentum she has developed here that she will have to give up.</p>

<p>We're thinking of renting a place here for these next two years and having DH commute back as much as possible. Summers we would spend in NJ. Trying to figure out if the time would go fast and be a good compromise. The company has said that working remotely a week a month might be a possibility.</p>

<p>Home prices and taxes are very tied to the quality of the local school in suburban NJ and both can be quite high. Nearby Hunterdon County to the west has more room and a bit lower prices while still having good schools. The area near Oldwick is very very nice.</p>

<p>I agree with much of the above. We moved to NJ 14 yrs ago from CA and have enjoyed living here. That said, as previouslyl stated, expect high housing prices and extremely high property taxes. Last month 58% of all school budgets in the state were defeated by voters - many upset at the ever increasing property taxes. We are in Morris county and our school budget has been voted down 8 of the last 10 yrs. Many cuts as a result -all Middle School sports, language programs in the High School, pay to play fees now in place for High School sports, pay to park for seniors and juniors, busing likely to be cut next year, etc, etc. Despite all this, our kids have done well in their school, but make sure you do your homework on the school districts you are considering.</p>

<p>Do you want your D to continue in private school? That may be a challenge at the end of tenth grade but as others have noted there are a number of excellent public districts in Somerset County. Watching and Warren are both really pleasant communities with good schools. Basking Ridge and Bernards Township are also lovely and has a good high school. NJ is facing a massive budget crunch in education and everything else, though.</p>

<p>Everyone's experience is different, but I have two anecdotes:
1) In our case things worked out fine. Our son has made a great adjustment to his new school, has lots of friends, and as I mentioned he did quite well in college admissions. It might have helped that as a family we have moved a number of times, and both his older sibs had to move in the middle of their schooling. In addition, I made the argument (prescient as it turned out) that if we didn't move then, we'd probably have to move in a year or two as my job would likely be eliminated -- and it would have been.</p>

<p>2) In my previous job we had a fellow join my group who had a son just starting his senior year in HS. Son was star baseball player, so the Dad worked on the west coast while mom and kids stayed on the east coast for a year. I don't know how much this contributed to the job performance and satisfaction, but the fellow ended up leaving after 18 months and going back to the east coast, despite all the good intentions, visits back and forth, etc.</p>

<p>I'm sure some families can make it work living on different coasts for an extended period of time, and I might have considered it for 6 months, but in my view 2 years is too much. But every family is different.</p>

<p>Here's a story about a kid who moved to a new house in Aug, and began 11th grade in a new high school. I met him in my homeroom at the begining of that school year. After 30 years, we are still together. So yeah, moving mid high school turned out to the best thing for this guy!! And boy am I glad his parents chose to move then instead of waiting until he'd finished high school at his old high school. Had they waited 2 years, we would never have met. </p>

<p>BTW,that was at Watching Hills Reg High School which is in Somerset County. It was an excellent high school back in the day and still is. And it's a great place to meet cute guys!! LOL</p>

<p>bookreader- Watchung</p>

<p>I am currently enrolled in high school in New Jersey (Essex County), and although this thread is geared toward parents, I hope you don't mind me adding my two cents! </p>

<p>New Jersey is a wonderful state! The mountains are just as accessible as the beach, an apple orchard is as accessible as New York City; everything is convenient, and- barring the Parkway, perhaps- this state is very pretty all year round. I think that your daughter would be perfectly fine adjusting to a new high school here, and being that she is already headed toward valedictorian, I'm sure she won't have trouble adapting to the academic pace! As for specific schools, I am familiar only with Ridge (I think that's in Somerset, at least?) and have heard very good things about it. </p>

<p>I am biased, of course, but I think you should absolutely bring your daughter to New Jersey! I've had a great high school experience so far, and I think it would be quite easy to find a social niche among NJ students. Best of luck with your decision!</p>

<p>If you can hack the high housing costs and property taxes, NJ is great.
We can be in NYC on Midtown direct within an hour by train, or to the Delaware Water Gap in the same time, opposite direction.</p>

<p>I grew up in Monmouth county, DH in Middlesex.
We have lived in Morris County for last 32 years and raised two children in the public schools here. One, a high acheiving, musically driven kid now doing grad work in music and the other a special needs kid just graduating from high school.
Both were well served by our public schools. So, we do believe we get return on the outrageously high taxes.</p>

<p>Tom1944 - Good catch.
Definitely bad proofreading on my part. </p>

<p>Travelbug is correct about Ridge High School (Basking Ridge, NJ). It has an excellent reputation.</p>

<p>i think I'm the one guilty of the "Watching" typo and the careless grammar that resulted when I remembered (correctly I hope) that Bernards Twp and Basking Ridge have a single high school. But I'm glad there's agreement on the substance at any rate:)</p>

<p>Check out the following private schools. There may be a spot for her at this time of year, in this economy, and with her credentials:</p>

<p>Lawrenceville
Pingry
Peddie
Princeton Day School
Hun
Stuart Country Day (for girls)</p>

<p>Consider the NYC schools as well such as Brearley, Spence, Dalton, and Trinity. I would live in there though and do a reverse commute. However, it is much easier to go to school in NJ if a parent is working there, but I mention this in case you have a jones for NYC.</p>

<p>I think that the nicest towns in New Jersey are Summit and Ridgewood (the latter being my first pick). Both also offer a a train into NYC. Princeton is very pretty, although farther out. Millburn always has an excellent high school, although I do not like the town as much.</p>

<p>I probably would not make a change like this when a kid is so well positioned already. Why upset the apple cart? Also to be considered: You will find the most competitive students in the tri-state area. It is a bees nest there. Tough for kids who have been there all along. For someone coming in midstream? The thought scares me a little. Sounds like she is such a winner that she will do well anywhere, but just know that top NJ schools are high stress (academically, athletically, socially - in every possible way).</p>

<p>Wanna check out what a big portion of NJ is really like? Watch Housewives of New Jersey on Bravo. Not everyone is like these people. But enough are!</p>

<p>Ouch, spideygirl!!! </p>

<p>Just because they slander all of us with a show like that is not a reason to stay away.</p>

<p>Somerset County has some beautiful places to live, as do some of the neighboring areas (Hunterdon and Mercer). Taxes do vary greatly from area to area, but are generally HIGH!!! Even if you decide on a private school, buy in a good area with a good public HS, because values are impacted very much by the HS. Not to slander Union or Essex counties, but they don't hold a candle to the best parts of Somerset, Morris, Hunterdon or Mercer. These are truly the "other" NJ. It is a bit exurban in that you drive further to the supermarket, etc., and it is harder to get to NYC, but there are fabulous places to live. If you like a lot of land, don't forget about Harding, Mendham and Bernardsville, some of which is "horse country". </p>

<p>I think it is hard to switch for Junior year, but there are alot of issues in splitting up the family. My H's Dad worked out of state during HS, and this was not that great for H at the time.</p>

<p>Besides all of the places already mentioned, Montgomery HS in Montgomery is not as well known as a place like Millburn High, but it is highly rated, and in a beautiful area. I mention this, as it is a more recent discovery to me.</p>

<p>I second Montgomery. Cheaper houses as well. I would never live that far out, however. Never.</p>

<p>Hey sorry about the Jersey shows, but you have to admit they do represent a good portion of the state. However, there are enough people in Jersey to represent every type. I think Jackie O rode to the hounds in Bernardsville. Of course, at the other end of the spectrum, you have the young people in the show Jersey Shore. You will find more of that type in Jersey than Jackie O's. Really, though, most folks are somewhere in the middle.</p>