Top New York Colleges

New York State has some of the best colleges in the country. The State University of New York system is strong, and New York has both strong liberal arts colleges and large research universities. The top New York State colleges listed below vary so much in size and type of school that I have simply listed them alphabetically rather than force them into any sort of artificial ranking. The colleges were chosen based on 4 and 6-year graduation rates, retention rates, value, and academic strengths and innovations.

Barnard College from Broadway
Barnard College from Broadway. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
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Binghamton University
Binghamton University. unforth / Flickr
  • Location: Vestal, New York
  • Enrollment: 14,882 (11,805 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public research university
  • Distinctions: Highly ranked public university; 887-acre campus features a 190-acre nature preserve; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; NCAA Division I athletics in the America East Conference
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Binghamton University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Binghamton
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James B. Colgate Hall
James B. Colgate Hall. bronayur / Flickr
  • Location: Hamilton, New York
  • Enrollment: 2,841 (2,831 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: High ranking liberal arts college; picturesque location; high graduation rate; high percentage of students go on to graduate school; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa; NCAA Division I athletics in the Patriot League
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Colgate University profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Colgate
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Low Library at Columbia University
Low Library at Columbia University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
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Cooper Union
Cooper Union. moacirpdsp / Flickr
  • Location: Manhattan, New York
  • Enrollment: 957 (906 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: small engineering and art school
  • Distinctions: Specialized curriculum in engineering and art; historic building where Abraham Lincoln gave a famous speech on limiting slavery; Manhattan location provides students with many cultural and educational opportunities; highly ranked engineering program; free tuition for all students
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Cooper Union profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Cooper Union
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Cornell University Sage Hall
Cornell University Sage Hall. Photo Credit: Allen Grove
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Hamilton College
Hamilton College. EAWB / Flickr
  • Location: Clinton, New York
  • Enrollment: 1,842 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: Highly ranked liberal arts college; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa; emphasis on individualized instruction and independent research; picturesque location in upstate, New York
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Hamilton College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Hamilton
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New York University Bobst Library
New York University Bobst Library. davidsilver / Flickr
  • Location: Manhattan, New York
  • Enrollment: 42,189 (21,269 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private research university
  • Distinctions: Member of the Association of American Universities; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa; located in Manhattan's Greenwich Village; 16 schools and centers with law, business, art, public service and education all placing high in national rankings
  • Explore the Campus: NYU Photo Tour
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the NYU profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for NYU
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RPI - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
RPI - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. DannoHung / Flickr
  • Location: Troy, New York
  • Enrollment: 6,566 (5,164 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: technology-focused private university
  • Distinctions: Engineering school with a strong undergraduate focus; near the state capital in Albany; good financial aid; competitive Division I hockey team
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the RPI profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for RPI
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SUNY Geneseo
SUNY Geneseo. bdesham / Flickr
  • Location: Geneseo, New York
  • Enrollment: 5,548 (5,395 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: Good value for both in-state and out-of-state students; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; located on the western edge of the Finger Lakes region
  • Explore the Campus: SUNY Geneseo Photo Tour
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the SUNY Geneseo profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Geneseo
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University of Rochester
University of Rochester. daniel.green / Flickr
  • Location: Rochester, New York
  • Enrollment: 9,334 (5,131 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private research university
  • Distinctions: Member of the Association of American Universities for strong research; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; top-ranked programs in music and optics
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the University of Rochester profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for U of R
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Vassar College
Vassar College. samuenzinger / Flickr
  • Location: Poughkeepsie, New York
  • Enrollment: 2,451 (2,450 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 9 to 1 student/faculty ratio; average class size of 17; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; 1,000-acre campus includes over 100 buildings, picturesque gardens and a farm; located 75 miles from NYC in the Hudson Valley
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Vassar College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Vassar
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Your Citation
Grove, Allen. "Top New York Colleges." ThoughtCo, Feb. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/top-new-york-colleges-788323. Grove, Allen. (2017, February 7). Top New York Colleges. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-new-york-colleges-788323 Grove, Allen. "Top New York Colleges." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-new-york-colleges-788323 (accessed December 15, 2017).