BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ New Jersey colleges drew increased attention from Ridge High School seniors in 2019, the Bernards Township Board of Education heard on Monday night.

Nearly the entire class _ more than 96 percent _ of 462 of last June's graduates from Ridge planned to seek post-secondary education, according to a presentation at the Jan. 27 school board meeting. 

Of those, 91.3 percent were accepted at four-year schools, and 5.4 percent were opting to head to a two-year school, figures showed.

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New Jersey schools welcomed one-quarter of the Class of 2019.

Rutgers University received the largest number of Ridge students, with nearly 12 percent (55 students) of the class attending. The local Raritan Valley Community College was the choice of nearly four percent of the class, according to figures. The College of New Jersey was also in the top 10 of schools chosen by Ridge seniors.

Last year's Ridge seniors sent out an average of more than seven college applications per student, said Kristin Fox, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. As a class, there were 3,669 applications sent out _ about 340 more than the previous year _ with the per-student average of 7.8 applications the highest in at least the last six years, she told the school board.

Only six percent of graduates were accepted at Ivy League schools, compared to 15 percent in 2018, Fox said. Cornell drew the most applications (61) and issued the most acceptances (six) of Ridge students. The eight Ivy League schools accepted 13 members of the class, with 21 on waiting lists and 15 deferred, she said.

Fox said 65 Ridge teachers wrote a total of 689 letters of recommendation. Most were in science (201), English language arts (159) and social studies (140).

She noted that early decision and early action activity by colleges continues to increase, as do wait lists.

College admission offices identified grades, high school curriculum and test scores as top factors in considering applications, she said.