New York is renowned for its prestigious colleges and universities. Our blog serves as your ultimate guide to the best institutions in the Empire State. From Ivy League powerhouses to specialized schools, we highlight their academic programs, campus culture, and unique offerings. Discover the vibrant academic environment and countless opportunities that await you in New York. Whether you’re interested in arts, sciences, or business, our blog will help you make an informed decision about the best colleges in New York that align with your aspirations and provide a solid foundation for your future success.
Higher Education In The Big Apple!
New York is the fourth-most populous state in the U.S. – and with two of the country’s eight Ivy Leagues (and the global cultural hub that is New York City at its heart), students all over the world have their eyes on the Empire State for their college destination.
If you’re on the hunt for the best colleges in New York, you’ve come to the right place. Empowerly is recognized for helping high school students achieve the college admissions of their dreams – and between the best public colleges in New York and the best private colleges in New York, we have tons of tips when it comes to getting in at your top choices.
This article explores college life in New York City and New York State alike, covering which locations appeal to different types of students and desired college experiences. We’ll also highlight all of the best public colleges in New York and all of the best private colleges in New York to help you narrow down your list of options and tailor those choices specifically to your needs.
Why should I go to one of the best colleges in New York?
New York City is an international destination for those looking to further their education, establish their careers, or expose themselves to a wide variety of cultures all coexisting in one ever-buzzing metropolis.
The rest of the state is slower-paced than “the City,” but still a popular destination for students interested in pursuing a highly-acclaimed education. Whether you’re looking to attend college in Manhattan, upstate New York, or some other region in the country’s fourth-most populous state, there are plenty of reasons to have the Empire State on your collegiate radar.
- Two of the country’s eight Ivy League institutions are located in New York.
Ivy Leagues Columbia University and Cornell University are both located in New York – Columbia in New York City and Cornell in Ithaca.
Beyond these two esteemed universities, the state boasts many of the nation’s top-rated schools in its region, like New York University and Vassar College. Overall, the Empire State offers over 200 four-year institutions to students looking for the best colleges in New York. No matter what you’re looking to get out of your college education, New York has an option for you.
- Over 50 of the country’s Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in New York.
New York closely rivals California for the highest number of employment opportunities in the country – another reason to search for one of the best colleges in New York as a budding undergraduate.
The plethora of jobs available means you’ll have tons of options to choose from: both as a college student looking for part-time income or a post-graduate searching for fresh career opportunities.
- New York is ripe with incredible internship opportunities for college students.
For as many job opportunities as New York has, there are internships for college students to explore as they figure out what they want to pursue as a long-term career.
From fashion and retail to advertising, marketing, and finance, New York is home to some of the country’s most widespread and profitable industries, and internship spots exist in all of these sectors for lucky and qualifying candidates.
- If you attend college in New York City, you’ll gain exposure to unique networking opportunities you can’t find elsewhere.
College is a prime place to establish networking skills, which are essential to hone in any career or industry.
New York is known for hosting a wide variety of networking opportunities for college students and careerists alike, so you’ll have plenty of ways to connect with like-minded individuals in your field of choice.
- New York is a hub for diverse, delicious cuisine – especially New York City.
While it’s important to review your schools of choice for their academic programs, internship opportunities, and extracurriculars, it’s just as important to check out the surroundings. After all, that’s where you’ll be spending all of your time outside of the classroom or library.
New York City is one of the most populated metropolises in the world, and as a result, it’s also home to a wide variety of cuisine. If you’re a foodie or someone who likes to eat out a lot, it’s essential to ensure the city you live in has some quality grub – and New York will definitely live up to that challenge.
- New York City is a globally-recognized cultural hub.
Beyond the delicious and varied food options, New York is globally recognized for its diversity. From museums and art galleries to historical landmarks and entertainment, the City (and overall state) is flooded with culture.
Again, you won’t be spending all of your time on campus, so if engaging with art, fashion, sports, history, and other forms of culture is important to you, you’ll definitely want to consider that when searching for the best colleges in New York.
- New York City boasts the country’s most convenient and navigable transportation systems.
Getting around is another important thing to consider – especially if you’re attending school out of your state or country and are without a car or bike.
Thankfully, New York has some incredibly convenient and reliable transportation options available to residents – especially in the City, where millions of people are navigating themselves around one another at all times.
These are just a few major reasons people flock to New York when the time comes for college, but the state is easily one of the highest-rated locations for continued education in the country.
If you’re interested in exploring one of the best public colleges in New York or one of the best private colleges in New York, keep reading to check out our list of top-rated institutions from each category.
The top ten best public colleges in New York
Attending a public university is a great option for anyone with a tight budget – but beyond the lower tuition rates, there are plenty of reasons to opt for state-funded schools.
These schools tend to have more of a campus culture, a wider variety of majors and focus available for students, and tons of extracurriculars and direct tracts to viable employment opportunities.
Here are some of the top-rated and best public colleges in New York, along with their acceptance rates and the most popular majors selected by current students:
- SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Acceptance Rate: 60 percent
Most Popular Majors: Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
- Binghamton University – SUNY
Acceptance Rate: 43 percent
Most Popular Majors: Biology, Economics, Psychology
- CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Acceptance Rate: 37 percent
Most Popular Majors: Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration, Police and Criminal Science, Psychology
- University at Buffalo – SUNY
Acceptance Rate: 67 percent
Most Popular Majors: Business Management, Engineering, Marketing
- Stony Brook University – SUNY
Acceptance Rate: 49 percent
Most Popular Majors: Biology, Health Professions, Psychology
- CUNY Baruch College
Acceptance Rate: 41 percent
Most Popular Majors: Accounting, Finance, Merchandising and Buying Operations
- Fashion Institute of Technology
Acceptance Rate: 59 percent
Most Popular Majors: Communications, Fashion and Apparel Merchandising, Fashion and Apparel Design
- CUNY Lehman College
Acceptance Rate: 47 percent
Most Popular Majors: Business, Psychology, Sociology
- Farmingdale State College – SUNY
Acceptance Rate: 60 percent
Most Popular Majors: Business, Management, Marketing
- SUNY New Paltz
Acceptance Rate: 62 percent
Most Popular Majors: Communications, Psychology, Sociology
The top ten best private colleges in New York
Private four-year colleges in New York offer some of the country’s highest-rated professors, incredible networking opportunities, and a rigorous academic curriculum. Because of this, they’re highly sought out by competitive students – and make for covetable additions to one’s resume.
Here are some of the highest acclaimed and best private colleges in New York, along with their acceptance rates and the most popular majors selected by current students:
- Columbia University
Acceptance Rate: 7 percent
Most Popular Majors: Computer Science, Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, Political Science and Government
- Cornell University
Acceptance Rate: 11 percent
Most Popular Majors: Business, Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Engineering
- Barnard College
Acceptance Rate: 14 percent
Most Popular Majors: Economics, Political Science and Government, Research and Experimental Psychology
- New York University
Acceptance Rate: 21 percent
Most Popular Majors: Business, Management, Visual and Performing Arts
- Colgate University
Acceptance Rate: 27 percent
Most Popular Majors: Computer, Economics, Political Science and Government
- Hamilton College
Acceptance Rate: 18 percent
Most Popular Majors: Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Social Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts
- University of Rochester
Acceptance Rate: 35 percent
Most Popular Majors: Biology, Management Sciences and Information Systems, Nursing
- Vassar College
Acceptance Rate: 25 percent
Most Popular Majors: Biology, Economics, Mathematics
- The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Acceptance Rate: 18 percent
Most Popular Majors: Architecture, Art, Engineering
- Skidmore College
Acceptance Rate: 32 percent
Most Popular Majors: Business Management, Marketing, Social Sciences
Navigating the best colleges in New York
Whether you want to attend one of the best private colleges in New York or one of the best public colleges in New York, you have tons of incredible, world-renowned options to choose from.
Here are some of the most important things to consider when navigating your way through the best private colleges in New York and the best public colleges in New York:
- It’s best to have a major or area of focus in mind.
Selecting one of the best colleges in New York for your college applications will be a lot easier if you know what you want to study. For example: if you know fashion is your passion, then the Fashion Institute of Technology will make a lot more sense for you to apply to than the CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Of course, you don’t have to have your area of focus hammered down as an undergraduate. For many students, exploring options and interests is a big part of the first- or second-year fun. However, it does make applications a little easier to wade through if you have a general idea of where you’ll want to be spending most of your time.
- Think about where in the state you want to spend years studying.
Whether or not you have your major of interest in mind, you might want to think about where in the state you’d like to study. For instance, upstate, where things are a little more rural and spaced out? Or the heart of the City, where you’ll be immersed in diverse culture and a consistent mass of people?
Knowing what sort of environment you want to spend your college years in can help you figure out where you want to apply, so think about what sort of pace you’re most comfortable with and take it from there.
- Take your time.
Finally, the best piece of advice we can offer you when perusing the best colleges in New York is to take all the time you need.
The application process is a meticulous one, and it’s important to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward when being considered as a prospective student.
Keep calm, take deep breaths, and start early. And remember: Empowerly is here to help you along every step of the way when it comes to college applications.
We wish you the best of luck in your pursuit!