As I entered the gated campus of Stevens Institute of Technology on a crystal clear day I stopped the car to admire the breathtaking, million-dollar view of Manhattan. I was immediately reminded what makes Stevens standout from other STEM and business focused medium-sized colleges — its close proximity to Manhattan. Stevens is located in the vibrant, small city of Hoboken, NJ, which is just five minutes from Manhattan via the Lincoln Tunnel. Its location makes it easy for students to work, learn and play in the Big Apple.
Stevens began as an engineering school. Today engineering is just one of the many outstanding disciplines offered. Many standout academic programs are housed in its five schools: business, computer science, humanities and arts, sciences and engineering. Students who want to major in engineering can come in undecided and later choose from 10 disciplines. Outside of engineering, other specialty programs include: game development, cyber security, music technology and arts technology. The innovation minor is popular among students who have a product development idea. An advisor helps students develop a plan to trademark their original products. Many students double major or minor across disciplines. Combined bachelor/master programs are available. Overall, Stevens’ students are driven and professional minded.
Our tour guide was a senior accounting major and told us that she selected Stevens because of its co-op program. She credits her co-op experiences in helping her secure a post graduation job at a big NYC accounting firm. Thirty-percent of students choose the co-op track and begin their co-op experiences sophomore year. Co-op students work a 40-hour workweek during their co-op semesters and are paid for their work (averaging $17-$24 an hour). Students work closely with their academic advisor to coordinate their academic schedule with their work experiences. Students who opt for the co-op track usually complete their programs in five years, but only pay tuition for semesters of coursework.
Students who do not select the co-op track generally opt to take advantage of other experiential learning opportunities. Nearly forty-percent of all students intern during the school year and summers. Not all internship opportunities are paid but many offer stipends to help defray housing and/or transportation costs. Still other students seek research opportunities. Each year many students take part in the Stevens summer research program. Students who are selected for the program receive a stipend of up to $4,000 plus room and board.
With so many students busy with co-ops and internships it’s not surprising that only 10-percent of students study abroad. There is little time to study oversees without careful academic planning.
As we toured the school, the compact campus footprint surprised me. Most academics are housed in a handful of tall buildings. The 30-floor Wesley J. Howe Center is the largest building on campus. The relatively new business building is by far the most attractive inside and out, with a large glass wall facing the Manhattan skyline.
Nearly 93-percent of all students live in one of the seven campus dorms or school leased condos. Some of the dorms are a bit tired and there are no plans in place to build new ones. Instead, Stevens plans to continue leasing area condos for the purpose of student housing.
We entered the dining hall during the lunchtime rush. The tables were packed with students and faculty eating, chatting and working on their laptops. The student body is diverse ethnically and racially. Like most STEM institutions, there are far more men than women. Our tour guide was from New Hampshire and told us that most students hail from New England and the Northeast. Students we saw were dressed in jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts and North Face jackets.
A shuttle service transports students to the nearby Path Train, which allows for easy access to Manhattan. Although many students travel to NYC for concerts, sporting events, and museums, many students stay in Hoboken and take advantage of the many restaurants and shops that are an easy walk from campus. Approximately 30-percent of all students are involved in Greek life. Many of the sorority and fraternities are housed in beautiful brownstones just a block away from campus. Stevens’ athletes participate in division III sports. Our tour guide was a softball player, and she told us that being an athlete at Stevens can be challenging if a student chooses the co-op track, since it must be carefully coordinated with a co-op plan. She also said that there is no need for students to have cars, and those who do often find them a hassle.
Admissions There was a 12-percent increase in the number of applications in 2015. Computer Science had the largest growth of 20-percent. Stevens plans to increase its undergraduate enrollment from 3,000 to 4,000 over the next ten years but will not compromise its selectivity. Admissions super scores both the SAT and ACT. SAT Subject tests are not considered. Demonstrated interest is important and students are advised to take advantage of interviews. Students interested in the visual arts and music technology must submit a portfolio. All students are reviewed for merit awards.
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