The State University of New York (SUNY) system was established in 1948. It is the country’s largest integrated system of public higher education, located within a notably cosmopolitan state. With over 4,000 undergraduate majors across 64 campuses, there is a lot of competition between the schools.
However, it is important to remember that not every school is a good fit for every person. A ranking list of SUNY schools may not factor in variables like campus culture, clubs, sports, and other qualitative experiences. Therefore, it’s always wise to conduct your own research into your short list of colleges. The SUNY schools ranked list we bring you today only discusses four-year universities with in-person courses, and is based onr the cost of attendance, acceptance rate, location, academic programs, and campus offerings. So, no more need to wonder questions like “Is SUNY Cortland a good school?” or “Is Cornell part of the SUNY system?” Here is everything you need to know about the best SUNY schools.
SUNY Schools Ranked
- Cornell University
Cornell ranks at the top of this list for a few reasons. First, Cornell is a premier Ivy League school. The reason it lands on our SUNY list is that it offers its students four contract colleges that are connected to the State University of New York. The NYS College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, NYS College of Veterinary Medicine, NYS College of Human Ecology, and NYS School of Industrial and Labor Relations each have a lower cost of tuition but have all the same perks of being Ivy League.
On top of high-quality education, Cornell offers over 1000 student organizations, a leadership workshop series, and many campus traditions. The college began in the 1860s and has a robust history and inspiring architecture throughout the campus. It is easily one of the best colleges in New York and one of the best SUNY schools.
- SUNY Cortland
Many ask, “Is SUNY Cortland a good school?” The simple answer is yes. SUNY Cortland is a founding member of the SUNY system, established in 1868. The 191-acre campus features 67 Undergraduate Majors, 27 Departments, and 39 Graduate Programs. Today, 97% of its graduates are employed or continuing their education. The campus site itself has received over $350 million in improvements since 2011. Cortland’s quality teaching staff offers a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio to ensure students are getting the educational attention they deserve.
Students at SUNY Cortland can join nearly 70 clubs, as well as Intramurals and Greek Life. No matter what you are interested in, there is a way to get involved. In addition, students have access to many fantastic internships, co-ops, student teaching placements, environmental fieldwork, and study abroad opportunities.
The campus also has 25 men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletic teams that hold 23 national team championships, 96 individual titles, and the #1 ranking among the New York State Division III Athletics programs. Students love to cheer on their Red Dragons!
With an average cost of $19,000 and a 60.5% acceptance rate, this school is one you should heavily consider. There is no longer a need to question, “Is SUNY Cortland a good school?” – it’s a definite yes!
- University at Buffalo
The University at Buffalo is not only a great SUNY school but it is also a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, and one of the country’s leading public research schools. It offers more than 100 undergraduate degree programs and an opportunity to design your own major.
UB features more than 300 student clubs and organizations as well as 1,000+ study abroad programs. In addition, approximately one in every four incoming freshmen is awarded a merit scholarship for a total of $3.5 million granted.
The acceptance rate at the University of Buffalo is 70.1% and it is home to over 22,000 students. The campus culture, extensive research and internship opportunities, and $19,000 average cost make the University of Buffalo a great option.
- University at Albany
The University at Albany was founded in 1844 and has worked to achieve success ever since. This school offers 50 undergraduate majors and more than 150 graduate programs, including a unique partnership with Albany Law School and early assurance at Albany Medical Center. Whether you are interested in homeland security, digital forensics, computer engineering, or emergency preparedness, there is a major for you.
UAlbany offers over 300 clubs and organizations to its students and features 18 NCAA Division I athletics teams. It is also ranked among the top universities in the Forbes list of America’s Best Public Colleges. University at Albany has a 68% acceptance rate and an average cost of $18,000. Students searching for the ideal place to “unleash greatness” need to check out UAlbany.
- Maritime College
Maritime College is highly ranked among the best SUNY schools specifically because of its uniqueness. It sits just 30 minutes outside of Manhattan and offers education in shipping, engineering, energy, facilities management, finance, the armed forces, and public service.
Maritime offers just 11 undergraduate majors, 5 of which are ABET-accredited engineering programs, and 2 master’s programs—with a total enrollment of 1,545 students. It has been ranked as a Top College in the U.S. by Salary Potential, Best Value College by Forbes, and the #1 Military Friendly College.
Students at Maritime experience a hands-on approach to their learning. They also have access to 40 clubs and organizations, ROTC, and U.S. Coast Guard licensing programs. Maritime College is an excellent option for those considering a marine-based career or those that are interested in the military.
- Stony Brook
Stony Brook is considered New York’s flagship university and the number one public university in the system. It is also a Top 35 public college and a Top 10 national university for diversity and internationalization. The 1,040-acre university offers 200+ undergraduate programs, 100+ master’s programs, and 50+ doctoral programs.
Students at Stony Brook can engage in over 350 student organizations and participate in the Campus Life Time (in which all academic activity pauses between 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm every Wednesday).
The campus is home to over 25,000 students and maintains a 90% rate of graduates that are employed or enrolled in further education. It also boasts year-round recruitment in which more than 350 companies come to campus to find employable students and interns. Stony Brook has a 48.1% acceptance rate and a $16,000 average cost after aid. This picturesque campus is undoubtedly one of the best SUNY schools.
- SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry
The College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is not only a top college in NY but a leading college in the nation for its programs in science, design, engineering, and management of natural resources and the environment. The 25,000-acre campus is also ranked #4 of the Top 50 Green Colleges by The Princeton Review.
ESF features 24 undergraduate programs and 54 graduate specializations. It also offers a partnership with Syracuse University in which students can cooperate to take classes, use computer labs, join clubs, and more. Students also have access to a variety of original intercollegiate athletics including timber sports, and bass fishing.
Student life at ESF is all about learning the Mighty Oak way. Hang out at the campus hammock farm or join one of the 40 campus organizations. The tight-knit community of 1,625 undergraduate students is perfect for those interested in nature and the environment. ESF has a 65% acceptance rate and is an average of $21,000 after aid.
If you want to make a difference in the world, join The Princeton Reviews’ #1 pick for Best Public School for Making an Impact, and check out SUNYs College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
- Binghamton University
Binghamton University proudly carries the motto of “public ivy” and is one of the “Nation’s Top 50 Public Universities” (U.S. News & World Report). It offers 6 living-and-learning residential communities, 130+ undergraduate programs, and 80+ graduate programs.
Students at Binghamton can engage in the small college atmosphere by joining one of the 250 clubs and organizations or cheering on the 21 NCAA Division I athletic teams. Students can also check out the 1,000+ study abroad programs.
The campus is home to over 14,000 undergraduate students and boasts a freshman return rate of 91% (compared to the national average of 67%). The acceptance rate at Binghamton University is 37.5% so students will need to be a bit more competitive than many of the other SUNY schools. Overall, Binghamton’s high rankings and offerings easily make it one of the best SUNY schools. It’s a fantastic choice for those looking for a small college feeling with all the perks of a big-name university.
How A SUNY School Can Help Students Succeed
SUNY (State University of New York) schools are renowned for their commitment to student success and comprehensive support systems. With a vast network of campuses across New York State, SUNY schools offer a range of resources and initiatives designed to empower students and facilitate their academic and personal growth. From academic advising to career development services, SUNY schools prioritize student success and provide a nurturing environment that fosters achievement. One of the ways SUNY schools help students succeed is through personalized academic support. Dedicated academic advisors are available to guide students in choosing the right courses, creating academic plans, and ensuring progress toward graduation. These advisors offer valuable insights, helping students navigate academic challenges, select majors, and explore opportunities for research, internships, and study abroad experiences. By providing individualized attention, SUNY schools ensure students receive the guidance they need to thrive academically.
SUNY schools also prioritize student engagement and foster a vibrant campus life. They offer numerous extracurricular activities, clubs, and organizations that cater to diverse interests and passions. Engaging in these activities allows students to develop leadership skills, build social connections, and explore their interests outside the classroom. The inclusive and dynamic campus communities at SUNY schools provide a supportive and enriching environment that enhances the overall student experience and contributes to their personal growth and success.
SUNY schools have robust career development services to support students in their transition to the workforce. These services include career counseling, job search assistance, resume building, and interview preparation. SUNY schools often host career fairs and networking events, connecting students with employers and internship opportunities. By equipping students with the necessary skills and resources to succeed in their chosen career paths, SUNY schools ensure graduates are well-prepared to make a positive impact in the professional world. SUNY schools go above and beyond to help students succeed by providing personalized academic support, fostering student engagement, and offering comprehensive career development services. Through a combination of academic advising, vibrant campus communities, and career-focused initiatives, SUNY schools empower students to achieve their goals and thrive in their academic and professional pursuits. The commitment to student success is a cornerstone of SUNY’s educational philosophy, ensuring that students receive the necessary support and opportunities to maximize their potential and succeed in their chosen fields.
Differences Between SUNY Schools and UC Schools
SUNY (State University of New York) schools and UC (University of California) schools are both prestigious public university systems in the United States, but they differ in several key aspects. One significant distinction lies in their geographical locations. SUNY schools are located in New York State, offering a diverse range of campuses across the state. On the other hand, UC schools are primarily located in California, providing access to the vibrant and innovative hub of the West Coast.
Another notable difference between SUNY schools and UC schools is their academic structure and organization. SUNY schools operate on a decentralized model, with individual campuses having a considerable degree of autonomy in decision-making and program offerings. In contrast, UC schools operate under a more centralized structure, with overarching policies and coordination across the entire UC system. This difference in governance can lead to variations in academic programs, campus culture, and administrative processes.
Tuition and affordability also distinguish SUNY schools from UC schools. SUNY schools tend to offer more affordable tuition options, especially for in-state students, making higher education accessible to a broader range of individuals. UC schools, while renowned for their academic excellence, often have higher tuition fees, although they also provide financial aid and scholarship opportunities to support students in managing their educational expenses.
Lastly, the size and scope of the two university systems differ. SUNY is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, comprising 64 institutions across various locations and offering a wide range of degree programs. UC, on the other hand, is a smaller system with ten campuses but is known for its world-class research and academic rigor. Both systems offer students unique opportunities for academic and personal growth, but the size and scale of the institutions within each system may influence the campus culture and student experience. While both SUNY schools and UC schools provide quality education and a wealth of opportunities, they differ in terms of geographical locations, academic structure, affordability, and size. These distinctions contribute to the unique experiences and opportunities available to students within each system. Whether students choose a SUNY school or a UC school, they can expect to receive an excellent education and be part of a vibrant academic community that prepares them for future success.
The best SUNY schools each offer their students different educational opportunities. Every future college student must decide what universities offer the major(s), minors, programs, and campus activities they would like to be involved in. Whether you decide to go Greek, play intramural sports, or take advantage of a variety of internships, it’s important to choose the right university for what interests you. There is a college out there that is a great fit for you and your preferences. From campus culture to location, it’s critical to consider all elements of your potential schools.
Once you have narrowed down your ideal list of schools and considered the SUNY schools ranked list, it’s important to research what the schools’ college admissions team is looking for. Each university within the SUNY system has varying acceptance rates, programs, and student populations. If you want one of the coveted spots at the best SUNY schools, it’s time to get serious about your college applications.