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The 20 Best Colleges in New York

What’s Covered:

 

Not surprisingly, New York, the 4th most populous state in the US, is home to a diverse set of highly selective colleges and universities. There are many schools both in the heart of the US’s most populous city – the “big apple,” as well as in rural spots across the state. 

 

Our Ranking Methodology

 

Here are 20 schools in New York to check out. We’ve ranked them based on quality, outcomes, and ROI using data including retention rate, selectivity, endowment per student, student-faculty ratio, median earnings, and cost of attendance. This list is a subset of CollegeVine’s ranked list of more than 1550 schools.

 

The 10 Best Colleges in New York

 

1. Cornell University

 

Location: Ithaca, NY

Acceptance rate: 9%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1450-1560/33-35

Undergraduate enrollment: 15,100

 

Comprising eight undergraduate colleges and schools, this highly-selective Ivy League university in rural, snowy Ithaca offers several distinctive programs to which students apply directly. Undergraduate colleges and schools include: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; College of Architecture, Art and Planning; College of Arts and Sciences; Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration; Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management); College of Engineering; College of Human Ecology; School of Industrial and Labor Relations; Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy. There is also a special-mission faculty unit called the Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science.

 

Learn more about Cornell University and see your chances of acceptance.

 

2. Columbia University

 

Location: New York, NY

Acceptance rate: 6%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1480-1560/33-35

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,182 total (4,461 Columbia College, 1,721 Engineering)

 

This highly selective Ivy League School is located in New York City. Students apply to Columbia College, known for its Core Curriculum, a unique liberal arts program taken by all undergraduates to promote discussion and critical thinking or to Columbia Engineering, a small program grounded in math, fundamental and applied science, and the humanities as part of Columbia’s Core Curriculum.

 

Learn more about Columbia University and see your chances of acceptance.

 

3. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

 

Location: New York, NY

Acceptance rate: 18%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1300-1500/30-34 

Undergraduate enrollment: 800

 

This unique small school was founded in 1859 by inventor, industrialist, and philanthropist Peter Cooper with a commitment to diversity and fair access to education. Cooper Union offers interactive academic programs in architecture, art, and engineering to address the critical challenges and opportunities of the times. Students must apply to a particular school within, but no matter the academic path pursued, during their first two years, all students take a core curriculum in the humanities and social sciences. And every admitted student receives at minimum a half-tuition scholarship.

 

Learn more about Cooper-Union and see your chances of acceptance.

 

4. New York University

 

Location: New York, NY

Acceptance rate: 21%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1390-1510/31-34

Undergraduate enrollment: 25,854

 

Anchored in New York City and with degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai as well as 11 study away sites (Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, Madrid, London, Paris, Prague, Tel Aviv, Sydney, and Washington, DC.), NYU is a leader in global education, with more international students and more students studying abroad than any other US university. NYU takes seriously its role as an engine of social mobility with its representation of low-income and first-generation students within its community.

 

Learn more about NYU and see your chances of acceptance.

 

5. Hamilton College

 

Location: Clinton, NY

Acceptance rate: 18%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1410-1500/32-34

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,000

 

Hamilton is an academically rigorous school with an open curriculum emphasizing the value of critical conversations, meaningful discussions, and excellent writing skills. The school is committed to numerous traditions, which include the Class & Charter Day when afternoon classes are canceled on the last day of the semester so students can celebrate their successes throughout the year. 

 

Learn more about Hamilton and see your chances of acceptance.  

 

6. Vassar College

 

Location: Poughkeepsie, NY

Acceptance rate: 24.5%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1380-1490/32-34

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,435

 

Originally an all-women’s college, today, Vassar is a top coeducational liberal arts college with a highly-inclusive culture. Students can choose among 48 departments and programs and 51 majors or design their own interdisciplinary major option. Vassar is well known for visual and performing arts disciplines.

 

Learn more about Vassar and see your chances of acceptance.

 

7. Colgate University 

 

Location: Hamilton, NY

Acceptance Rate: 27.5%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1300-1460/30-33

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,900

 

Colgate is a liberal arts college with a required five-credit core curriculum designed to ensure students explore history and the challenges of modern life in small-group discussions. The school also boasts its strength as a research university. Colgate’s beautiful campus attracts students who love the outdoors, and it was the first college or university in New York to be carbon neutral. 

 

Learn more about Colgate and see your chances of acceptance. 

  

8. Barnard College

 

Location: New York, NY

Acceptance Rate:  13.6%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1370-1500/31-34

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,744

 

A private women’s liberal arts college, Barnard is one of four undergraduate colleges at  Columbia University. While the school has a separate admissions process and housing, Barnard students enjoy the advantages of a huge university — access to Columbia courses and resources — within a close-knit community at a small liberal arts school. Barnard and Columbia undergrad students may cross-register in courses at both institutions.  Barnard students receive a diploma from both Barnard College and Columbia University. Last, Barnard student athletes compete in NCAA Division 1 athletics through the Columbia-Barnard Athletic Consortium.

 

Learn more about Barnard and see your chances of acceptance.

  

9. Webb Institute

 

Location: Glen Cove, NY

Acceptance Rate:  18.3%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1430-1540/33-35

Undergraduate Enrollment: <200

 

Haven’t heard of the Webb Institute? Likely you are not alone even though it is the oldest school devoted to naval architecture and marine engineering in the US.  Located 25 miles outside of New York City, all students receive a full-tuition scholarship, gain hands-on work experience during an eight-week long “winter work term” between first and second semesters each year, and graduate with a BS in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.

 

Learn more about Webb Institute and see your chances of acceptance. 

 

10. University of Rochester

 

Location: Rochester, NY

Acceptance Rate: 35%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1310-1500/30-34 

Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,568

 

Rochester offers numerous programs across several schools: the School of Arts & Sciences, the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, the Eastman School of Music, Nursing School, and Simon Business School. Students apply to specific schools within the university. The School of Arts & Sciences has an open curriculum with one requirement — mastery of written communications. Students select a major from three broad areas (humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and engineering), and a themed “cluster” of three thematically-related courses in an area outside of their area. Rochester is also known for a variety of unique interdisciplinary opportunities, such as a tuition-free fifth year of study, combined undergraduate and advanced degrees, music lessons at one of the world’s best music conservatories, and research initiatives within the humanities and social sciences.

 

Learn more about University of Rochester and see your chances of acceptance.

 

11. Skidmore College

 

Location: Saratoga Springs, NY

Acceptance Rate: 31%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1250-1390/27-31

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,582

 

Perched on a hill above the quaint town of Saratoga Springs, Skidmore prides itself as a school that values creativity – in the arts, science, business, economics, and the humanities – so that students are prepared to solve problems in a rapidly changing world.

 

Learn more about Skidmore and see your chances of acceptance.

 

12. Union College

 

Location: Schenectady, NY

Acceptance Rate:  41.3%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1210-1400/28-33

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,100

 

Founded in 1795 as the first planned campus in the US, all Union students live on campus and belong to one of seven hubs for academic, social, residential and leadership activities, called “minervas.” The school follows a trimester schedule with a long winter break from Thanksgiving to January.

 

Learn more about Union College and see your chances of acceptance.

 

13. Yeshiva University

 

Location: New York, NY

Acceptance Rate:  67%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1160-1410/24-31 

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,616

 

Located in New York City, Yeshiva is a premier Jewish institution for higher education, offering a unique dual curriculum of Jewish studies and liberal arts and sciences courses. The institution offers four undergraduate schools: Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, Sy Syms School of Business, and Katz School of Science and Health (for an associate degree).

 

Learn more about Yeshiva University and see your chances of acceptance.

 

14. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

 

Location: Troy, NY

Acceptance Rate:  57%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1300-1500/29-34

Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,600

 

RPI prides itself on educating students to solve urgent and emerging issues — from renewable energy to cybersecurity, from biotechnology to materials science, from big data to nanotechnology. The Institute includes a School of Architecture; School of Engineering; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; Lally School of Management; and School of Science. It encourages study across departments and schools. In fact, more than 50% of students in the school of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences pursue dual majors.

 

Learn more about RPI and see your chances of acceptance.

 

15. University at Buffalo

 

Location: Buffalo, NY

Acceptance Rate:  67%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1140-1310/23-29

Undergraduate Enrollment: 22,360

 

New York’s largest public university, UB offers the largest selection of academic programs, with more than 140 for undergraduate students from the School of Management, Engineering & Applied Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences, Architecture and Planning, Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Public Health, Law, Nursing, and Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Science.

 

Learn more about University at Buffalo and see your chances of acceptance.

 

16. Syracuse University

 

Location: Syracuse, NY

Acceptance Rate: 69%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: not public 

Undergraduate Enrollment: 14,778

Syracuse, a private research university,  offers coursework in 13 different schools and colleges: The School of Architecture, The College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, The College of Engineering and Computer Science, The David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, School of Information Studies, College of Law, The Martin J. Whitman School of Management, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs,  S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, College of Visual and Performing Arts, and College of Professional Studies. 

 

Learn more about Syracuse University and see your chances of acceptance.

 

17. St. Lawrence University

 

Location: Canton, NY

Acceptance Rate: 47.3%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1190-1350/28-32

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,280

 

The oldest continuously co-educational institution of higher learning in New York State, St. Lawrence is a private college located 20 miles from the Canadian border and home to one of the oldest environmental studies programs in the country.  The school is proud of its more than 25 traditions that bring the community together.

 

Learn more about St. Lawrence University and see your chances of acceptance.

 

18. Fordham University

 

Location: Bronx, NY

Acceptance Rate: 45.9%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1240-1450/28-32

Undergraduate Enrollment: 9,767

 

A Catholic Jesuit University, Fordham’s mission revolves around three ideas: strive for excellence, care for others, and fight for justice. Fordham’s undergraduate schools and colleges include the 85-acre Fordham College at Rose Hill in the Bronx, the Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill, and 8-acre Fordham College at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. 

 

Learn more about Fordham University and see your chances of acceptance.

 

19. The State University of New York at Stony Brook | SUNY Stony Brook

 

Location: Stony Brook, NY

Acceptance Rate: 48.1%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1320 -1460/29-32

Undergraduate Enrollment: 18,010

 

Located on 1,039 acres on Long Island 60 miles east of New York City, SUNY Stony Brook offers more than 200 undergraduate programs, with the most popular majors: biology, psychology, health science, business management, computer science, economics, applied mathematics and statistics, biochemistry, mathematics, and political science. 

 

Learn more about SUNY Stony Brook and see your chances of acceptance.

 

20. Baruch College | CUNY Baruch

 

Location: New York, NY

Acceptance Rate: 43.4%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1130-1330/25-29

Undergraduate Enrollment: 15,774

 

The college dates to the founding in 1847 of the Free Academy, the first free public college in the nation, and has carried on a tradition of academic excellence, accessibility, and opportunity for one of the most diverse student populations in the US.  The school’s mission is to provide an inclusive, transformational education in the arts and sciences, business, and public and international affairs. The most popular undergraduate majors include finance, accounting, marketing, computer information systems, business communication, and management at the Zicklin School of Business, The George and Mildred Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, and The Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.

 

Learn more about CUNY Baruch and see your chances of acceptance.

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

 

Each of these New York-based schools listed is highly selective. Your personal odds of admission, however, depend on your unique profile. To better understand your chances of acceptance to any of these 20 schools, check out CollegeVine’s chancing engine, which takes into account your specific information and profile.

 

Remember, too, that it’s important to build a balanced school list, including safety, reach, and target schools. The CollegeVine chancing engine can also help you determine which schools fall into which category for you. 

 

 


Short Bio
Elizabeth graduated from Brown University with a degree in American Studies and has used the analytic and writing skills she developed in college in various marketing management positions, freelance writing gigs, and as an author of children's books and magazine articles. She has written for a range of clients serving college-age students, including several universities and publications. And she has supported a son and a daughter through the college and graduate school application and selection process.