I commend you on your new feature, Getting In. As a mother of four and grandmother of 14, I know the urgency of getting our kids into the right colleges. To me this means schools with serious Jewish populations — serious in size and serious in the quality of Jewish experiences available.
We all hope our children are on a trajectory which includes rich Jewish learning, meaningful summer camping, and a lifetime of exposure and involvement with Israel. But these steps must include college educations at schools that can perpetuate and build upon what the kids enter with. So my “serious” checklist includes: kosher meal plan, active Hillel or Chabad, Jewish study courses, and regular minyanim. Conversely, sending a child to a school where his Judaism becomes less relevant is a threat to our collective Jewish future.
Unfortunately, there are not many schools that meet these criteria. On the other hand, there are indeed some which do and those are where we should see our children applying. A partial list includes Penn State, Maryland, Columbia, Washington University, Barnard, Yeshiva University, Stern, Binghamton, Rutgers, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Any university in Israel is also a good choice, and lots less expensive than U.S. schools. Of course this list is not all-inclusive but it is a pretty reliable starting point.
I trust future articles will focus on individual colleges and universities. I hope that a Jewish thrust will be an important part of the series.