Our alumni and those in the know about higher education get why TCNJ is so special, but some in the general public don’t fully understand how outstanding TCNJ and its graduates are. So, let’s do something about that!
First, the good news: a recent survey confirmed that TCNJ alumni across New Jersey rate your alma mater on par with other top schools, such as Boston College and NYU. Regardless of whether they consider themselves STC, TSC, or TCNJ graduates, these alumni reported having positive experiences as students and said they would recommend the College to both friends and family. So, congratulations! You and your alumni brethren understand that your alma mater is one of the top public colleges in the country.
Now get ready to help make that fact known to everyone.
The same survey also revealed disconnect between what alumni know about TCNJ and what non-alumni New Jerseyans think about your alma mater. The latter group still perceives TCNJ as offering a good academic experience, but rated the College below the above-mentioned competitor schools.
Let’s put an end to the lack of understanding the general public has about your alma mater. After reading the information that follows, get out there and tell everyone how great TCNJ is—and how proud you are to call yourself an alumnus!
Nearly all alumni surveyed (99%) rated their educational experience at TCNJ as a “high” or “good” value. Alumni also overwhelmingly expressed satisfaction with the education they received at TCNJ, saying the College offered high-quality academic programs taught by the best professors. The alumni respondents also said they felt well prepared for graduate school or the workplace upon graduation.
Thanks for your support
Forty percent of the alumni polled said they had donated to the College at some point, and for that we say, “Thank you!” Of those who gave, 96 percent said they felt that TCNJ was a “good steward” of their gift.
TCNJ students want to say thanks, too. Watch the video here.
Come back and see us sometime
Close to 90% of the alumni polled think it is “very important,” “important,” or “somewhat important” to remain connected with their alma mater; however, only 63 percent reported feeling connected. Perhaps related to this stat is that 29 percent of the alumni group said they hadn’t been to campus in five years or more, while 10 percent said they had not visited since their own graduation.
There is no better way to stay connected than attending one of the many events hosted by the alumni office. Visit www.tcnjalumni.org for a schedule of upcoming events. But even if you can’t make it to an event, you can always stay connected to your alma mater by logging onto the Lions’ Online Community and the College’s facebook® page. Both are accessible from www.tcnj.edu/~alumni.
You like us! You really like us!
Nearly two thirds of alumni respondents said their preferred method of receiving news about the College was via TCNJ Magazine. That same group also said the stories they most want to read in these pages are those about innovative academic programs, what their fellow alumni are doing, and what TCNJ’s talented students and faculty/staff are doing.
Perception vs. reality
Both alumni and general public respondents were asked to rank TCNJ against several of its competitor schools based on the following key attributes: positive overall reputation, high overall academic quality, campus environment and facilities, and third-party rankings. Alumni respondents ranked TCNJ equal to Boston College in terms of overall quality, putting their alma mater ahead of such schools as NYU, Villanova, and Rutgers. They also gave TCNJ high marks for delivering superior academics at an affordable price.
The general public’s perception of TCNJ was somewhat different. While non-alumni respondents said they thought TCNJ provides an affordable education, in terms of academics, the group rated TCNJ below the above-mentioned schools.
As alumni, you are undoubtedly aware of the many third-party accolades TCNJ has received naming it a top value both academically and in terms of affordability. Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges ranked the College as one of the 75 “Most Competitive” schools in the country, putting it on a list that includes Duke University, Stanford University, and the eight Ivy League schools. (TCNJ is New Jersey’s only state-supported school to make that list.) Barron’s also named TCNJ a “best buy in college education,” making it one of only 247 colleges/universities nationwide to earn such a distinction. The Princeton Review and USA Today named TCNJ the No. 10 “best value” in the country among public colleges. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance rated TCNJ the No. 1 “best value” in New Jersey among public colleges and universities.
We’re not sure why the general public hasn’t gotten the message yet about how special your alma mater is. But perhaps this next piece of information can shed some light on the reason.
Word of mouth is key
When asked what source of information most influenced their opinion about a college or university, respondents from the general public said “word of mouth” was the most important factor. It’s time to start telling everyone you know that your alma mater is one of the best colleges in the country.
Not always on their mind
General public (non-alumni) respondents were asked what school came to mind when the words college or university were mentioned. TCNJ was only third on the list, falling below Rutgers and Princeton Universities and only slightly higher than Rider University (4th). We are working to change that with a new campaign that will increase the general public’s awareness of TCNJ’s unique value. We want everyone to know that one of the best public colleges in the nation is right here in New Jersey. You’ll soon see ads highlighting some of your alma mater’s many accolades and showcasing its beautiful campus.
You can help too, by sharing information about TCNJ with your non-alumni friends and neighbors.
Brag after reading
We admit it: We want you to take it personally that the general public doesn’t quite recognize just how special your alma mater is. As alumni, you are the foundation upon which TCNJ continues to grow and flourish—and you are also the most important resource for promoting the College. You should take pride in the fact you graduated from one of the top public colleges in the nation—and you shouldn’t be reluctant to brag about your school to family members, friends, neighbors, and anyone else who will listen. Check out the new Web site at www.tcnj.edu/seewhy to discover even more about your alma mater, and then get out there and start telling everyone how special a place this college is.
A note about the survey from John Marcy, vice president for college advancement
TCNJ is committed to increasing the public’s knowledge about the first-rate educational experience it offers students and the outstanding alumni it graduates. As the first step in a new awareness campaign, the College, together with the Wellyn Group, conducted this survey to measure the awareness, perceptions, and attitudes toward TCNJ among alumni and the general public. The telephone-based research was conducted last fall. Respondents from the general public were contacted using random digit dialing, while alumni were randomly selected from the Office of Alumni Affairs’ mailing list.
Having confirmation that our alumni “get” what makes their alma mater so special, we want to encourage you to do a little bragging about your college. An ambassador corps of 65,000 can deliver a powerful message that benefits us all. So, be proud and tell others why you are.
Posted on June 8, 2009