Local Community Colleges - Experiences? Opinions? Suggestions?

My college age child completed freshman year at a four year and is taking time off to consider options. However we all agree that continuing the education process is important so we are looking into community colleges. I know nothing about the local schools (Essex CCC, Union CCC) other than external appearances and websites. We will make our own inquiries but I am wondering if anyone or their child has had experiences at either and can comment on



Campus life/student body


My biggest concern with Essex County is the location.....they do have some classes in West Essex I believe

The problem with Union County is that you have to pay out of county tuition I believe (at least you used to).

If s/he had been living away, did you look into local 4 year universities? When I went to college there was not much difference in coursework between the county college and places like Kean and Montclair.

But I would not recommend Kean at this time...the President is doing bizarre things and they've been at risk for losing accreditation in the recent past.

I don't know how tuition at Montclair would compare to out if county tuition for Union (assuming you live in Essex County)

I grew up in suburban Essex county. At my high school more kids ended up choosing Morris county college over Essex county college. Not sure what the tuition differential is but I know a few people were able to successfully transfer to NYU and Rutgers from MCC.

Kean is not losing accreditation. They cleared that mess up a few years ago. That said, the president is controversial. The education is OK, and some people love it there. I went for a graduate certification program and was not thrilled. I think Montcliar is a much better school, but Kean is close, has classes at convenient times (maybe not for undergrad though) and will take almost anyone. The campus is also nicer than the community colleges.

County College of Morris has an excellent reputation (perhaps the best in the state) but plenty of local students have had good experiences at Union CC and Essex CC. My daughter went to ECC and is now excelling at Rutgers, so she apparently got good preparation at the county college. Also, tuition is lower at your 'home' county college although even the 'double' tuition at other counties' colleges is still very reasonable compared to the 4-year schools. (If you choose to go out of county for a specific program not offered at your 'home' county college, I believe there is a rebate of the extra cost, but I don't know the details.)

Also, she never had any problems or concerns with attending school in Newark. When she lived at home she sometimes took the train and sometimes drove (and had a permit for the parking garage there.) Later on she moved to an apartment near campus on a street full of brownstone-typeapartment buildings. Newark has varying neighborhoods and there are a number of colleges and universities with lots of students (as well as medical residents and staff) in that area.

jmitw said:
My biggest concern with Essex County is the location

What's your concern? It's in the University Heights area and surrounded by NJIT, Rutgers-Newark, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, and lots of student on-campus and off-campus housing. It's a short walk from Broad Street Station and there is a student parking garage if you drive.

luigi said:
My college age child completed freshman year at a four year and is taking time off to consider options.

If your child is only taking classes to continue the education process and not looking into a specific major, I'd recommend ECC. It's not worth it to pay out-of-county tuition when Essex has good classes that will transfer to any 4 year school. If your child has a specific Degree Program in mind then look into the programs at ECC and at each of the surrounding county colleges and make a decision from there. You'll most likely land at County College of Morris which is the best in the state and one of the best in the country. However, reiterating my original point, you'll be perfectly happy with ECC.

Only adding a vote here, in that I have also heard that the best classes (who knows how that is determined?) are at Morris County.

re ECC location, some people are just afraid because ... Newark. They really don't know about the different neighborhoods and areas of the city.

Sort of like people who never use NY subways.

In both cases, they are missing out. Their loss.

Very happy with CCM for my kid. The older one did a stint at Bridgewater - I liked it very much

A couple classmates of my son's took classes during senior year at Union County, and that was a very positive experience for them

its a bit of a drive but Brookdale down in lincroft NJ has a nice campus and reputation and many credits are transferable they call themselves a communiversity

There are times when learning outside a classroom can be more important than learning inside a classroom. This may be one of those times.

Take a look at this: http://www.unitedplanet.org/volunteer-abroad

Colleges are re accredited every so many years...they just squeaked through last time...and to me being so bad that you are at risk does not say much for a college....and as I said. The president is continuing to do bizarre things--there is a lot of ongoing controversy and poor morale. There are still serious deficiencies that will likely put then at risk the next time they are evaluated. The mess has not been completely cleared up.

I've driven in and out of the area where the college is...the area is not immune to the problems in the rest of Newark.....I have not 'missed out' I have been there. In fact, I have worked in Newark in various neighborhoods.

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