Hello everyone. SJU in Philly (outside) has been recommended as a school to tour/possibly apply to for next fall. Would love to hear experiences (student or parent) about the university regarding academics, social aspect, diversity, (economically, ethnically, racially, etc), the reason you chose SJU. Please mention the great things about the university and not so great. Are there opportunities for internships, etc, and how is the job placement center once students are ready for graduation? How strong are the alumni? Is it a commuter/suitcase school? How generous is the university with merit aid? Even though we are Catholic my child is not religous at all. Will that be an issue?

A little about my child who attends a large urban public high school, is quiet but social, loves sports, runs all three seasons (not good enough for college though), and is a good student. Wants to be in the Northeast and near an urban area. He is Latino(if that matters in terms of diversity of school) and wants a great college experience but not a huge school. Thanks in advance.

I don’t know much about it, but my daughter applied to 20 colleges, most in the northeast, and SJU gave her the best financial package out of all of them, cost was $10,000 under the next best offer, with merit, we are not eligible for FA.

I can’t speak to St. Joe’s in particular but my S went to Fordham (had a fantastic experience) which is also a Jesuit university. He had friends of different religious as well as atheists/agnostics who were happy there. The Jesuits are educators first and foremost and do not force religion on anyone. That said, to be comfortable at a Jesuit university I think one should; 1) be respectful of religion; 2) have no issue with seeing some religious symbols on campus (ex. crucifix); and 3) look at the core curriculum and be fine with the idea of taking any required philosophy/theology courses.

FWIW and a bit off topic my S also liked mid-sized urban (or close to an urban area) northeast colleges and many options happened to be Catholic colleges – in addition to St. Joe’s there are Fordham, UScranton, Loyola MD, and Providence to name a few


St Joe’s recently bought University of the Sciences. Which adds to opportunitues there.


Hi @nidaco After two or so years away, I’m back on CC and saw your post. Did you ever visit SJU? My son is a junior there; I’m happy to answer your questions if you’re still interested.


No, unfortunately, he did not. He is concentrating on schools in New England. SJU seemed like such a great school but it is his journey.

Best to you!

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You may want to consider Manhattan College. Yes, it’s not in New England. And no, it’s not in Manhattan either - although it once was. As Boston College once did, MC moved out to the edge of the city 100+ years ago when it needed room to expand.

It’s not in New England but it’s only 1/2 hour from the Connecticut border and in every other way it matches a number of the factors you mentioned:

  1. It is 25% Latino. When Justice Sonia Sotomayor was their commencement speaker a few years ago (2019), she spoke directly to the Latino students and families in the audience when she described her family’s value on education, “a background I share with many of you.”

  2. MC is located in the charming Fieldston/Riverdale neighborhood on the Bronx border with Westchester County. The campus is lovely and relatively compact (25 acres), but Van Cortlandt Park (1100 acre) provides lots of open space for students. It is twice the size of Central Park, has the best cross country track in NYC, and is right across Broadway. (It’s where they hold the NYC high school cross country championships). Because they have outstanding track and cross country teams year in and year out, they attract a lot of students like your son who like to run even if they’re not on the school team. He can walk out the front door of his dorm and have miles to run in the park right across the street.

  3. It is not a huge school (enrollment: 3200 full time undergrads). But it has a wider range of majors than would be expected for a college of this size with Schools of Arts & Science, Engineering, Business, and Education & Health.

  4. The first stop on the subway to The City (1/2 hour to Times Square) is at the edge of campus, providing easy access to all that NY has to offer, including internships (73% of students participate in internships or field experience). With 170 years of history as a college, they have an extensive alumni network in The City & tri-state area especially in the business and engineering communities.

  5. On campus housing is guaranteed for all 4 years. 62% of students live on campus housing and as with any college, a number of students choose to move off campus to nearby private apartments.

  6. Will Manhattan provide your family with the financial package you need? The best way to determine that is to run the net price calculator with your specific information entered and/or to talk with admissions and financial aid officers.

Best of luck with your applications.


Thanks for all the info. Actually, my husband received one of his MA from MC. My husband grew up in Queens and I grew up in Westchester so familiar with MC. We mentioned it to him earlier on but unfortunately no interest. ugh

Best of luck with the process. Just out of curiosity and if you don’t mind sharing, where is he considering?

No, I don’t mind. He just applied to the University of Vermont, the University of Rhode Island, Emmanual College (Boston), the University of Maine (Orono), Xavier University (Ohio which we visited a few years ago and made him apply), and UMASS Dartmouth. We would like him to apply to a few more state schools.

His stats:
Unweighted 3.6
SAT 1250 (one and done/had no interest in studying, taking a prep class or a practice test ugh)
5 AP classes throughout his hs years and the rest Honors
a little volunteering always had a part-time job, XC/track

Just a regular kid who has his own agenda. Disappointed he won’t even consider applying to Saint Joseph’s University in Philly.

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That’s a pretty wide spectrum. What state are you from ? Where else do you want him to apply ? Or what is he seeking ?

He’ll certainly have acceptances with that list.

There are plenty of schools with no extra essays so that could make it easier for him to add a few.

Thanks for sharing.

U Maine is a great school for any kid from the Northeast to include on his list because of its high acceptance rate and because applicants from all New England + 3 Middle Atlantic states pay their in state tuition at Maine. Room & Board costs are normally cheaper than in your home state because of lower cost of living in Orono, so a student can typically attend fir cheaper cost than at their flagship university. Add to that the fact that Maine has only about 8000 full time undergrads, so students get a medium size college but with a flagships resources and range of majors.

I was chatting with a U Maine Shakespeare professor at a soccer game this weekend and she made me promise to spread the word, so there you have the benefits of attending the University of Maine. Truth be told, UVM and URI offer many of the same benefits of a smaller flagship - although not quite as small as Maine - but at a much higher cost unless you can take advantage of the New England Regional Tuition Program which is available to students only in certain specific majors. It’s worth looking closely at the list because some may be very close to what your son is interested in. You can save a lot of money if you work the course selection process carefully and your choice of electives properly to get what you want but under a major with a slightly different name. See Tuition Break | New England Board of Higher Education .

Your son sounds like a very good kid and I wish you and him the best. I’m always partial to long distance runners because it takes such discipline.


would love more thoughts on SJU. My daughter applied even though it wasn’t in her “top”. Now that the acceptance and financial package came in, it’s by far the cheapest out of all the schools so far. She accidentally applied regular decision to a bunch of schools and SJU was the ONLY one who reached out to her and asked her if she meant to do that and added her to the EA pool. She also recently got an email telling her she was selected to apply for some leadership program. Its now on our radar and we are going to do a tour there next week.


My neighbor went. Then Vandy Med. tried to get his kid to go but ended up at Hillsdale. He had nothing but wonderful things to say.

St Joe has come up on other cc chats if you go review them.

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St. Joe’s acquisition of the University of .sciences offers many more options for kids academically.


Congrats to your daughter. My son is a junior at St. Joe’s, though he is actually studying abroad at the moment.

Affordability is so important!! We almost stretched to send him to Lehigh, which would have cost us @ $80k per year all in. At the time, I was really caught up in Lehigh’s superior ranking and as an alumna, I wanted to share the Lehigh experience with him.

Looking back, I am so thankful he went to SJU instead. Not only do we have much more financial breathing room, but SJU is actually a really nice school with a great community, and my son has thrived there.

There are many aspects I didn’t fully appreciate early on, such as the fact that students all have an assigned advisor. At many of the large publics, students have to wait until junior year to meet with an advisor!

Do you have any specific questions? Happy to help however I can.


One of the things I like about a school like St. Joe’s vs a school like Lehigh is that St. Joe’s has much a much lower fraternity/sorority presence on campus, i.e. no frat houses. Lehigh, for example, has had problems with fraternities which were widely publicized a few years ago. @1stTimeThruMom, I wonder if you can compare & contrast the social life and social networks at the two school, given that you have experience with both.

So my husbands main concern is safety with it being Philadelphia. How about extracurriculars? Is there a lot to offer? I am growing more impressed with them and this leadership thing they offered her to apply to sounds exactly like something she’d enjoy. There seems to be a level of personalized attention that we aren’t seeing from many of her other school choices, like she seems more than just a number. Granted I know its smaller so that could be why but it does make you feel more “wanted”

Hi Bill, Sorry it took me a few days to get back to you. I know precious little about my son’s social life and he likes it that way! I can make a few generalizations, but I feel wholly unqualified to do so given how long ago I was in college.

At SJU, kids do go into Philadelphia Center City for formals and they also hang in Manyyunk, where many live off-campus. For example, when the Eagles were in the playoffs, the streets were filled with kids, and big screen TVs were set up for watching.

As far as I know, Lehigh kids still go to some old stand bys in Bethlehem like the Tally Ho, but they are more likely to have parties in the basements of off-campus houses because of alcohol enforcement actions by the Lehigh campus police.

Both have regular sorority and fraternity dances. My son has sent me photos of him and a date at Center City hotels and even on a Delaware River cruise.

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