New York is home to nearly 300 colleges and universities. From private schools to state institutions, there is no shortage of reputable universities. With a mix of large research universities and small to midsize campuses, New York has much to offer in educational value and campus community. Because of New York’s commitment to higher education, many of its schools are ranked among the best in the country.
Located in Loudonville and just a few miles from the state capital of Albany, this private Roman Catholic liberal arts college, founded in 1937, focuses on providing a versatile education centering on the values of St. Francis of Assisi. The campus supports eight residential living areas for students. Students can customize their curriculum and participate in undergraduate research, internships, and study abroad courses.
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPH)
Founded in 1881 in the capital city of Albany, this private not-for-profit school offers bachelors, masters, and doctorates concentrated in pharmacy and medical studies. ACPH’s core program is Doctor of Pharmacy. The school provides opportunities for students to work alongside faculty in groundbreaking research areas, such as cancer and infectious disease. Other perks that keep students coming back include a writing center, science assistance center, and tutoring services.
St. Lawrence University
St. Lawrence University, founded in 1856 in Canton, is a private, not-for-profit school rooted in the liberal wing of Protestantism. The university promotes critical thinking and gender equality, ideas that are still advocated today. To assists students in making a successful transition from high school to college, the university’s First Year program encourages both academic and social objectives. St. Lawrence boasts more than 100 student activity groups on campus. Theme Cottages are popular residential choices for students.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Located in New York’s Finger Lakes region, Hobart and William Smith Colleges originated in 1797, founded as Geneva Academy, William Smith College for Women, and Hobart College coordinate liberal arts colleges. The colleges are separated by gender, women attend William Smith and men attend Hobart. The schools maintain separate identities, while working together as one entity. Fraternities are popular at Hobart College, but there are no sororities at William Smith. The colleges have strong interdisciplinary programs, including psychology, architecture, economics, and environmental studies.
Skidmore College is an independent and private college located in Saratoga Springs. Founded as a women’s college in 1903, the college began admitting men in 1971. There is no Greek system at Skidmore, but there are more than 100 student clubs and organizations. Students pair with faculty members for research programs, and the school has its own laboratory in the North Woods. First-year students can take advantage of Skidmore’s First-Year Experience program that allows students to study abroad for a semester in London.
Fordham University is a private university in New York City founded in 1841. The school boasts three campuses: Rose Hill in the Bronx, Lincoln Center close to Central Park, and Westchester in West Harrison. Students travel among the three campuses on the Ram Van, a shuttle that runs every half hour. The Jesuit tradition of excellence in the development of each student infuses a Fordham education. Fordham’s Louis Calder Center is a biological field station that allows students of environmental studies to be close to research.
Barnard College is a private women’s college founded in 1889. Located in New York City, it is one of the oldest women’s colleges. [https://www.liberalartscolleges.com/how-do-womens-colleges-compare/] Students at Barnard enjoy the small liberal arts experience, and they can pursue co educational studies offered by Ivy League institutions because of the school’s affiliation with Columbia University. The school’s Urban New York program offers first-semester students free events in the city. Barnard is part of the Seven Sisters, and its affiliation with other elite universities allows students access to outstanding research studies, libraries, and faculty resources.
New York University
Founded in 1831, New York University (NYU) is a private nonprofit research university centered in Manhattan. Between 1967 and 1972, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library was built and is one of the largest academic libraries in the United States. It is home to the Fales Collection of English and American fiction and the Downtown Collection that documents New York’s avant-garde arts history from the 1970s to present. The Global Academics Center at NYU allows students to study abroad in 14 academic locations across the world.
Located in Schenectady and founded in 1795, Union College is the first institution of higher learning chartered by the state of New York. Union College is the first non-denominational university in the United States. The college offers accelerated professional degree programs with affiliates at other universities. Students can graduate with a law degree in six years from Albany Law School or obtain a medical degree in eight years from Albany Medical School. Union offers study abroad in 22 countries through their Terms Abroad Program.
State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY New Paltz)
SUNY New Paltz is a public university and is one of four SUNY institutions in New York. Founded in 1828, New Paltz resides in the Hudson River Valley of New York City and offers diverse academic studies in liberal arts, social sciences, communications, and teacher education. Both independent and mentored research opportunities provide challenging fieldwork and internships. Students appreciate the cultural diversity and the friendly, goal-oriented environment at SUNY New Paltz.
State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNY Binghamton)
SUNY Binghamton is a public research university founded in 1946. First established as Triple Cities College, Binghamton became part of the SUNY university systems in 1965. Highly esteemed graduate programs at SUNY Binghamton include the Departments of History, Public Administration, and Psychology. First-year students interested in research can obtain experience in science and engineering through the Freshman Research Immersion program. Students can also participate in Languages Across the Curriculum which promotes taking courses taught in a language other than English, thereby enabling students to apply their foreign language skills on a regular basis.
SUNY College at Geneseo (SUNY Geneseo)
Founded in 1871, SUNY Geneseo is a public university located in the village of Geneseo close to Buffalo and Rochester. Geneseo offers graduate programs in accounting and education and a variety of dual degree and international study programs. SUNY Geneseo requires all students to take a survey course in Western humanities. The research-based learning community and academic curriculum offer students a strong focus on humanities, languages, and sciences.
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF)
Located in Syracuse and founded within Syracuse University (SUN), SUNY-ESF is a specialized, doctoral-granting university. Founded in 1911, the SUNY-ESF mission statement is “to advance knowledge and skills and to promote the leadership necessary for stewardship of both the natural and designed environments.” Focusing primarily on the field of environmental management, students may take courses in chemistry, environmental biology, landscape architecture, and natural resources management. Students can supplement their education by taking additional courses and joining any SUNY organization except NCAA sports teams.
University of Rochester (UR)
The University of Rochester is a private, nonsectarian research university. Founded in 1850, the school’s graduate programs include the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, the Department of Political Science, the Medical Center, and the highly-regarded Eastman School of Music. Students and faculty pursue fellowships and internships all around the world. The curriculum allows students to design individual programs based on their own strengths and interests. The school’s Take Five Scholars Program provides free tuition for an extra year of study, allowing students to explore additional interests.
Colgate University is a private college founded in 1820 in rural Hamilton Village, forty-five minutes south of Syracuse. Colgate is a highly selective school with no graduate programs, focusing strongly, as stated on the school’s website, on “student-faculty interaction.” Most students at Colgate live on campus, and new students reside in residence halls led by upper-class students and supervised by campus staff members who live in the residence halls. Greek life is significant at Colgate, with nearly half of all upper-class students belonging to sororities and fraternities. Students appreciate the wide array of resources at Colgate, from the library and food services to the museum at the Ho Science Center.
Founded in 1861, Vassar College is a private institution located in Poughkeepsie. Student resources include one of the largest undergraduate library collections in the United States. The Maria Mitchell Observatory and Main Building are registered as National History Landmarks. The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center displays the ancient world through contemporary art works. Vassar does not have a core curriculum. The college instead encourages students to be free-thinkers, allowing them to declare a major by focusing on a department, interdepartmental programs, or multidisciplinary programs. They also offer an Independent Program in which the student creates an individually-tailored field of study.
Cornell University is a private Ivy League research college and the federal land-grant institution of New York. Founded in 1865, Cornell is a coeducational and nonsectarian institution. Fourteen schools make up the university, seven undergraduate and seven graduate. The two largest undergraduate colleges are the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Its graduate schools include the Cornell Law School, the College of Engineering, and the Weill Cornell Medical College. Cornell supports more than 1,000 student organizations and enjoys a Greek life with more than 60 fraternity and sorority chapters.
Founded in 1812, Hamilton College is in the village of Clinton. Hamilton has an open curriculum, offering students the freedom to pick courses and create their own major. The school encourages students to be independent thinkers and to take responsibility for their own futures. Hamilton places trust in the student body with their Honor Code, a pledge that each student must sign, promising to abstain from dishonesty in all academic work. The college allows students to study abroad, managing programs in Spain, France, India, and China. Hamilton practices need-blind in its admission policies. Before admitting or wait-listing them, Hamilton considers students based on merit and not their financial situation.
Columbia University in the City of New York
Established in 1754, Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university located in Upper Manhattan. Columbia is comprised of 20 schools, including three undergraduate schools: Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of General Studies. Its graduate schools are Columbia Law School, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Columbia Business School. Columbia’s Core Curriculum caps classes at 22 students to provide close interaction with the college’s renowned faculty. Students can choose from over 100 majors and thousands of research and internship opportunities. Columbia is proud to offer extensive need-based financial aid, providing grants, not loans to every first-year student who meets its criteria.
Sarah Lawrence College
Sarah Lawrence College was founded in 1926 and is a private institution located in Yonkers. The college offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, history, and social sciences. With the goal of creating lifelong intellectual curiosity, the school approaches education with a one-on-one student-faculty equation, creating a highly individualized course of study. The college does not restrict students to a major but instead allows them the option of choosing the courses they want. Sarah Lawrence encourages students to select varied courses and explore disciplines they would not otherwise pursue. Students say that rather than simply teaching course topics, Sarah Lawrence helps teach students how to think.