colleges in New York

New York is a thriving hub for so many sectors such as the film industry, fashion industry, and the music industry. The educational sector is not left out as New York is home to amazing colleges that have great professors, are pro-research, and encourage holistic learning. Applications are currently open for prospective students to apply to any of these colleges, provided they meet the specific criteria.  

We have done all the research to find the 10 best colleges in the state.

2024’s Best Colleges in New York

  1. Columbia University in the City of New York
  2. Cornell University
  3. Barnard College
  4. Hamilton College
  5. New York University
  6. University of Rochester
  7. Marist College
  8. Stony Brook University
  9. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  10. Binghamton University

Columbia University in the City of New York

Columbia University in the City of New York 2
Columbia University in the City of New York

It is a private research university that was founded in 1754 and is currently part of Ivy League schools. Students are prompted to be creative, work in teams and brainstorm on solutions to problems in their fields of interest. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in its prestigious schools and colleges. 

Columbia ranks 1st in the Top 10 best colleges in NY, making it the best university in New York. It is 3rd in National Universities, 6th in Best Value Schools, 30th in Most Innovative Schools, and 61st in Best Undergraduate Teaching.

It has a 5% acceptance rate and a 95% graduation rate. Students usually have an average SAT score of 1530 or ACT score of 34. 

Undergraduate tuition and fees cost an average of $61,788 per year for New York residents and non-New York residents. Students can apply for loans, get grant/scholarship awards or pursue a work-study program to reduce the cost of getting educated at Columbia. 

Columbia graduates have a median starting salary of $67,800 per year. 

Columbia has 3 schools for undergraduates and which are the School of General Studies, Columbia College, and The Fu Foundation of Engineering and Applied Science.

Some course offerings include:

  • Applied Mathematics 
  • Business Management 
  • Dance 
  • Economics 
  • French and Francophone studies 
  • Human Rights
  • Information Science 
  • Jazz Studies 
  • Linguistics 
  • Neuroscience and Behavior 
  • Public Health 
  • Religion
  • Sociology 
  • Urban Studies 
  • Visual Arts 
  • Women’s and Gender Studies 

Cornell University

Cornell University
Cornell University

Cornell university is a private institution that was founded in 1865 and was opened in 1868. It is an Ivy League university and renowned for consistently being among the best universities worldwide. Cornell University has 1000+ student organizations, 60+ fraternity and sorority chapters, and 35 NCAA varsity teams in Division l. Architecture students in the first year build a dragon to celebrate Dragon Day, which is part of the university’s oldest traditions. 

Cornell University is 2nd in best colleges in New York and 18th in National Universities. It ranks 16th in Most Innovative Schools, 4th in Best Colleges for Veterans, and 25th in Best Value Schools. 

Cornell University has an 11% acceptance rate and a 94% graduation rate. Applicants for the 2021/2022 academic year do not need to submit standardized test scores because Cornell has suspended them. 

Students in endowed colleges pay $60,286, New York state residents in State contract colleges pay $40,382 while non-residents in State contract colleges pay $60,286 for tuition. First-year students in the Class of 2021 had an average grant award of $40,686. Some of them had up to $76,996 as a grant award. 

These are some undergraduate majors:

  • Africana Studies 
  • Biology and Society
  • Civil Engineering 
  • Design and Environmental Analysis 
  • Entomology 
  • Fiber Science and Apparel Design 
  • Government 
  • Hotel Management 
  • Landscape Architecture 
  • Mathematics 
  • Operations Research and Engineering 
  • Policy Analysis and Management 
  • Science and Technology Studies 
  • Viticulture and Enology 

Barnard College

Barnard College 1
Barnard College

Barnard College is a private women-only liberal arts college that was founded in 1889. Its transgender policy allows people who were born male but now identify as female to apply. It uses a flexible curriculum and is among the top colleges in New York City. Students receive holistic education in and out of the classroom on academic topics and in areas of sexuality, identity exploration, and mindfulness training. It partners with Columbia University to help students build sustainable networks. 

It ranks 22nd in National Liberal Arts Colleges, 29th in Most Innovative Schools, and 57th in Best Undergraduate Teaching. Barnard College is the 81st in Best Value Schools and in Top Performers on Social Mobility. 

Barnard College has an 11.8% acceptance rate and a 91% graduation rate. Barnard will continue in its temporary test-optional policy for Fall & Spring 2022 and Fall & Spring for 2023 admission. 

Students pay $57,668 for fees and tuition for an academic year. Students who wish to apply for financial aid must meet the eligibility criteria of demonstrated financial need. Barnard does not offer merit, athletic or talent-based financial aid. 

Barnard graduates earn an average starting salary of $53,000 annually. 

Here are some of the courses:

  • Art History 
  • Biological Sciences 
  • Chemistry 
  • Dance 
  • Education 
  • Film Studies 
  • Human Rights 
  • Jewish Studies 
  • Mathematics 
  • Neuroscience and Behavior 
  • Political Science 
  • Science and Public Policy 
  • Theatre 
  • Urban Studies 
  • Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies 

Hamilton College

Hamilton College 1
Hamilton College

It is a private college with liberal arts as its bedrock. It was chartered in 1812. Hamilton focuses on positively affecting all aspects of students’ lives to help them find their interests and pursue their passion. Hamilton gives students time to reassess their options and determine which is will best suit their needs. 

Hamilton ranks 9th in National Liberal Arts Colleges and 17th in Best Value Schools. It is 59th in Forbes 2019 rankings of America’s Top Colleges. 

Hamilton College has a 16% acceptance rate and a 91% graduation rate. Hamilton college is test-optional for 2021, 2022, and 2023 academic years and the admissions will be fully based on other criteria. Test scores can only be considered if students submit them.

Students have to pay $59,380 for tuition and $590 for student activities fees. First-year students cannot receive more than $3,500 in subsidized student loans. Other forms of aid are scholarships and student employment. 

These are some majors:

  • Africana Studies 
  • Biochemistry/Molecular Biology 
  • Cinema and Media Studies 
  • Dance and Movement Studies 
  • English 
  • Geoarchaeology 
  • Hispanic Studies 
  • Literature and Creative Writing 
  • Mathematics and Statistics 
  • Psychology 
  • Religious Studies 
  • Theatre 
  • Women’s and Gender Studies 

New York University

New York University
New York University

NYU is the largest private university in the US and it was founded in 1831. It has 10 libraries, 3 campuses that grant degrees, and 11 global academic centers. Other NYU branches are in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. $974 million was set aside for research in 2020. NYU awarded more than $2.7 million in research scholarships to over 3000 student projects. 

NYU is one of the top NY colleges making it one of the best colleges in New York, Manhattan. It ranks 30th in National Universities. It ranks 30th in Most Innovative Schools, 13th in Best Colleges for Veterans, and 66th in Best Value Schools. 

NYU has a 16% acceptance rate and an 85% graduation rate. First-year and transfer students are not compelled to submit standardized test scores because NYU is extending its test-optional policy.

Undergraduate tuition fees for the 2020/2021 academic year cost $54,880. NYU distributed $771 million in financial aid in 2020. 20% of students in their first year receive Pell grants. 

95% of NYU graduates are either in graduate school or employed. 

These are some courses:

  • Anthropology and Linguistics 
  • Chemistry 
  • Computer Science 
  • Dramatic Literature 
  • Environmental Studies 
  • Global Public Health and Biology 
  • Language and Mind 
  • Neural Science 
  • International Relations 
  • Public Policy 
  • Romance Languages 
  • Social and Cultural Analysis 

University of Rochester

University of Rochester
University of Rochester

The University of Rochester is a private research university that was founded in 1850. It is renowned for high academic standards, well-equipped faculty with some of the best lecturers in the US. The curriculum gives students autonomy and they have only one compulsory course. There are 23 varsity teams, over 900 concerts, and over 275 student organizations and clubs. 

It ranks 34th in National Universities and is one of the best colleges according to New York state school rankings. It ranks 29th in Best Value Schools and 79th in best Undergraduate Engineering Programs. 

Entry is highly competitive as it has a 30% acceptance rate and an 85% graduation rate. The University of Rochester has a test-optional policy. However, it will review and consider the test scores of students who submit them. 

Tuition costs $56,030, and students can apply for financial aid. Students who are eligible for merit-based scholarships need not apply for aid. The University of Rochester also offers military benefits and outside scholarships. 

Over 75% of undergraduate students carry out research independently, in groups, or as a part of projects that are directed by the faculty. 

Here are a few courses out of over 200 bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs offers: 

  • Applied Mathematics 
  • Biological Sciences: Microbiology 
  • Data Science 
  • Environmental Studies 
  • Geomechanics 
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Physics and Astronomy 
  • Interdepartmental Engineering 
  • Music Leadership 
  • Immunology, Microbiology, and Virology 

Marist College

Marist College 1
Marist College

Marist College is a private comprehensive liberal arts institution that was founded in 1905. Its historic riverfront campus has a futuristic design to prompt innovation, discovery, and synergy. Its non-academic activities are boost development and personal growth, which improves students’ academic performance. Students have a host of activities to keep them upbeat such as volunteerism, participating in sports, joining a club, or hosting the Marist weekly video series. Marist has 20+ varsity teams, and 80+ student clubs/organizations. 

Marist College is one of the top colleges in NY state and it ranks 11th in Regional Universities North, 16th in Best Undergraduate Teaching, and 3rd in Most Innovative Schools. 

Marist College has a 49% acceptance rate and an 83% graduation rate. It has a test-optional policy because Marist uses a holistic approach to analyze applications. 

Freshmen have to pay $43,410 for tuition and fees for the 2021/2022 academic year. Students can get financial aid as grants, scholarships, loans, or student employment to help them with the costs. 

98% of Marist graduates are either in grad school or employed within 6 months of graduating. 

Here is a list of some available majors:

  • Accounting 
  • Business Administration 
  • Communication 
  • Data Science and Analytics 
  • Environmental Science 
  • Fashion Merchandising 
  • Games and Emerging Media 
  • Information Technology and Systems 
  • Media Studies and Production 
  • Public Administration 
  • Social Work 
  • Spanish

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University

Stony Brook is a public university that is internationally recognized for its research work. It was founded in 1957 and it currently has 2,495 inventions. It has over 300 student organizations, clubs, fraternities, and sororities. SBU has annual events like the Shirley Strum Kenny Students Arts festival and the Roth Pond Regatta. 

It ranks 88th in National Universities and is among the top 1% universities globally. SBU ranks in the top 15 of Best Value Colleges in the US and the top 40 in public universities. 

It is a top college in NY with a 44% acceptance rate and a 72% graduation rate. Submitting test scores will not be compulsory for Spring & Fall 2022 and Spring 2023. 

New York state residents pay $7,070 while non-New York state residents pay $24,740 for tuition. 71% of full-time first-year students received grants or scholarship aid. 78% of all full-time freshmen received financial aid, and the average is $13,100. 42% of freshmen who are enrolled full-time received federal government loan aid. 

94% of Stony Brook graduates are either enrolled in a professional/graduate school or are employed. 

Here are some majors:

  • Art History and Criticism 
  • Biomedical Engineering 
  • Coastal Environmental Studies 
  • Ecosystems and Human Impact 
  • French Language and Literature
  • Globalization Studies and International Relations 
  • Health Science 
  • Italian Studies 
  • Liberal Arts 
  • Marine Vertebrate Biology 
  • Nursing 
  • Political Science 
  • Respiratory Care 
  • Social Work 
  • Technology Systems Management 
  • Women’s and Gender Studies 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 1 1
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

RPI is a private university with an impressive research portfolio in areas such as material science, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. It has one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world that is located in a university. 80% of enrolled students play either club sports, varsity, or intramural. RPI believes in preparing students for leadership and potential. It encourages far-reaching intellectual exploration in academics and fosters the spirit of volunteerism students. 

RPI ranks 49th in US research universities and it is one of the best colleges in NYC. It ranks 6th in Top US engineering colleges and 53rd in National Universities. It is the 5th among New York State Colleges that have the highest return on investment (ROI) payscale. 

Undergraduate students have to pay $57,100 for tuition and $1,426 for fees. RPI has set aside $102 million to fund merit and need-based scholarships. 

RPI has a 47% acceptance rate and an 83% graduation rate. Students go on internships to gain leadership opportunities and have real-life experiences.

Some undergraduate  majors include: 

  • Applied Physics 
  • Building Science 
  • Business and Management 
  • Computer Science 
  • Environmental Science 
  • Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences 
  • Hydrogeology 
  • Information Technology 
  • Mathematics 
  • Nuclear Engineering 
  • Philosophy
  • Science, Technology, and Society

Binghamton University

Binghamton University
Binghamton University

It is a public research university that was founded in 1941. It has a beautiful nature reserve where students can bike and hike on the trails. Binghamton University has over 300 student clubs and organizations. It also has about 60 sororities and fraternities that are recognized. All first-year students must live on the college campus, while other students can decide to live on campus or not. 

It is one of the good colleges in NY and ranks 1st in Top Public College in NY in 2020. It is the 3rd Best College for Nursing in New York and the 31st in Best Colleges for Nursing in America. It is 61st in Best Value Schools, 34th in Top Public Schools and it is among the top 50 colleges that create futures.

It has a 41% acceptance rate and an 82% graduation rate. It is test-optional for Spring and Fall of 2022 and Spring 2023. 

New York State residents pay $7,070, non-residents and international students pay $24,910 for tuition. Fees cost $3,249 for residents and non-residents while international students pay 5,770. Eligible students can get scholarship/grant awards and loans. 

Graduates earn an average starting salary of about $48,000. 

These are some majors:

  • Anthropology 
  • Biological Sciences 
  • Chinese Studies 
  • Environmental Science: Earth Systems 
  • French: Language and Literature 
  • Geography: Urban and Regional Planning 
  • Human Development 
  • Linguistics 
  • Medieval and Early Modern Studies 
  • Nursing 
  • Psychology 
  • Russian Studies: Literary and Cultural Studies 
  • Spanish 
  • Theatre: Design/Technical 
  • Women Gender and Sexuality Studies 

Why Study in New York?

New York has hundreds of colleges that are offering numerous programs at different study levels. It is a hub for students as was demonstrated in 2017 when 11% of international students to the US studied in New York. It has unlimited entertainment options, is culturally diverse, and is home to multi-billion dollar industries. Students can seek internship opportunities at these companies to improve their skills and widen their scope of knowledge. New York is easily accessible and the subway system is a fast and affordable means of commuting. 


Students who want to study in New York usually want to study in the best college in New York. However, these colleges have high standards, which makes it difficult for most students to get enrolled in them. These are prestigious colleges that are known for academic excellence, groundbreaking research, and unique study methods. They produce top-tier students each year who go in o the world with a more advanced mindset than their peers from other colleges. 


Helen Vlasova
Helen is the co-founder of, a career guidance website for students and young professionals. She has a degree in English from the University of Michigan. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling.

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