New Jersey is known for having some of the top high schools, prep schools, colleges and universities in the nation. For many students, community college is a smart pathway to a four-year college degree. The good news is that our state also have some of the highest ranking community colleges in the US.

Brookdale Community College in Lincroft was recently ranked in the top three percent of community colleges in the US  by Brookdale’s graduates have been influential in the areas of communications, criminal justice, medicine, social work, business and more. News anchor Brian Williams is one of their famous graduates! Runner Ajeé Wilson and sportscaster Jim Hunter were also listed as notable alumni. It just goes to show that the smart route to a bachelor’s degree may start at a two-year community college for some students.

“In higher education, we have opportunities to learn, research, teach, shape the future of our academic disciplines, and influence the larger world, said Dr. David Stout, Brookdale Community College President in a press release.  “This honor is a tribute to the faculty and staff of Brookdale Community College for the scholarly work they do with passion every day,” looked at schools with a minimum of 1,000 enrolled students, full accreditation and exclusively two-year (or associate) degree programs. They state in their 50 Best Community Colleges of 2021 release, “the best community colleges provide an effective springboard into higher education, offering students high-quality two-year degree programs in a wide range of disciplines.”

The hallmark of a great community college is a good transfer program and Brookdale Community College boasts one of the best in the nation, as they maintain formal agreements with many universities and have close ties with many institutions throughout New Jersey.

Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of and professor of physics at Wake Forest University pointed out that a community college’s success is linked to its neighborhood and the students who attend there. “Because students often choose to attend a school nearby, this kind of illumination provides a truer view of how influential their neighborhood community college may actually be, regardless of its size.”

And although college may seem far off for your kids, it’s never too early to start thinking about the pathways to success. Students who graduate community college can often get a leg up in the job market and attending one can help defray some of the expense of a four-year school. Still others will be good to go with an associate degree.  It’s great to know that New Jersey is a hub for excellent education, no matter what path your student takes.