Elon University gets on quite a few lists in Central New Jersey. There are good reasons why. Elon has a beautiful campus and as you will read further, it has some impressive student services. Currently, just over ten percent of Elon undergrads come from the Garden State, second only to the numbers who come from North Carolina.
Whenever I update my profile about The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) I always consider Elon University among the most similar schools. Both schools take similar approaches to undergraduate academics and student programs. Elon University has 6,300 undergrads, about 1,000 less than my local Public Ivy. Like TCNJ, Elon frequently topped lists of regional colleges in the US News rankings. But now, Elon is ranked among the top 100 National Research Universities. It’s tied for 88th with Colorado School of Mines and Binghamton University. I have had Binghamton on Public Ivy lists for some time, so the ranking could be considered a positive.
I can understand why Elon University gets on several lists, despite being far from a major city. It currently ranks seventh in US News for helping students find internships on US News, just ahead of Duke and Stanford. Elon also ranks second for service learning. Rankings should not mean everything in choosing a college. However, I felt obligated to check out Elon’s support for career development and service. Those ratings really do matter. They reflect how a college helps the students it attracts.
Not only can Elon University students do internships or co-ops, depending on their major; they can also do Micro-Internships. These short-term paid positions run from five to 40 hours–total. Essentially, the university provides an online market place for short-term projects for businesses and non-profit organizations. Another thing that I have never seen on a career development Web site: a directory of employers who hire graduating students for rotational or leadership development positions. This is great to know, especially if you want to go to work after graduation, and hope to find an employer who is willing to invest in your success.
This center has many programs as well as a strategic plan that goes up to 2027. Many colleges have an office that helps students to become engaged in community service projects. But I have not seen one post an expansion plan to add and upgrade their offerings for students who are currently in the tenth grade. It’s nice to see a school that is looking forward, versus trying to keep from slipping backward.
A fifth school, the School of Health Sciences, offers accelerated paths to graduate degrees in health professions. It will soon offer a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. The sixth school is the law school. Among the majors that are hard to find at other colleges: Arts Administration. Bio-Physics/Bio-medical Engineering, Digital Art, Game Design. Middle Grades Education and Theatrical Design and Technology. Elon appears to be a very good school to do a business or communications major with a liberal arts minor or vice versa. I would advise incoming freshmen who deposit to learn about the university’s resources as early as possible to make an academic plan and find a direction towards a major and career.
Seventy-one percent of the applicants for the Class of 2024 were accepted. While the overall acceptance rate is high, Elon attracts large pools who apply Early Action and Early Decision. This school attracts an A-/A student who would typically have an SAT score of 1250 or better, or a 27 or better on the ACT. If you live in New Jersey, those numbers are about the same as a freshman class at TCNJ.
Elon’s direct charges (tuition and fees, room and board) for next year will be around $51,000. Elon is actually price competitive for a New Jersey resident who might also be looking at Clemson, Penn State, the University of Delaware or the University of South Carolina. It’s wise to apply early to be considered for scholarships. While the university fulfilled, on average, less than 60 percent of need for the freshmen who arrived this fall, it awarded merit scholarships that averaged over $9,000. Two-thirds of the Class of 2019 graduated with no student loan debt. However, those who had to borrow owed, on average, over $34,000. That’s quite high, considering that the maximum a student can borrow only $27,000 over four years. However, the fact that two thirds left with no debt tells me that Elon does a good job at targeting a market that can pay.
Over 10,000 Elon alumni registered in LinkedIn.com are in the Greenville-Winston-Salem, Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill and Charlotte metro areas. But there are also over 3,600 Elon alumni in and around New York City, nearly 2,700 within Washington DC and nearly 1,700 around Boston. Those are sizable blocs considering the distance from Elon’s campus.
The university has garnered acclaim for its experiential learning programs, and its students appear to relatively happy. The university retains 90 percent of a freshman class, which is quite good. It has graduated over 75 percent of every freshman class that has entered since 2012, which is excellent. However, it helps to visit the school.
Elon, North Carolina is not close to any of the major cities in the Tar Heel State. The social life is going to be more campus-based. Over 60 percent of Elon students live on campus. Greek life is relatively important here, attracting a fifth of the men and nearly 40 percent of the women. Elon has competed well in football in a competitive Colonial Athletic Association versus schools such as Villanova, Richmond and James Madison, but not as well in other sports.
Elon is not a school that New Jersey residents should cross shop against city schools such as BU, GW or NYU. It might not be a school that you shop against a larger university that competes in a Power Five sports conference. Nor is it a highly selective, religiously affiliated school like Villanova. However, when it comes to helping students to graduate, find a direction, and even build a network in the Northeast, Elon could rightfully be considered one of the best mid-sized schools in the country.
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