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10 Best Universities & Colleges in New York State


New York state has more than 120 institutions of higher learning. There are also about 1 million students enrolled in these colleges and universities.

New York holds the record as the city with the highest number of educational institutions in the entire world.

One of the institutions with the highest enrolment in New York is the City University of New York (CUNY).

On average, New York City has the best higher education institutions of any global city.

The institutions in this state offer four-year degrees and other professional programs. Two of the largest public universities in the United States are located in New York.

This then makes New York the best place to choose an institution of higher learning. You can choose from several specialized institutions in urban, suburban and rural environments.

Here are the 10 best universities and colleges in New York State.

1. Cornell University – Ithaca

This is an Ivy-league private university and has an enrolment of about 15,000 undergraduate students.

Cornell’s admission is very competitive with about an 11% acceptance rate. It has been ranked 7th in the Best Colleges and National universities list of 2021.

There are 7 undergraduate colleges and schools at Cornell University.

The most popular majors at Cornell are Biology, Computer Science, and Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Two of the largest undergraduate colleges at Cornell are the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

If you are planning to join Cornell graduate school, then this is the institution for you. Its graduate schools, S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, College of Engineering, Law School and Weill Cornell Medical College, are highly ranked.

Student activities: basketball, tennis, swimming, golf, rock climbing, canoeing spinning, yoga, Zumba, and other wellness activities.

Financial Aid: available

Notable alumni: Mae Jemison, Bill Nye, Christopher Reeve


2. New York University – New York City

Photo by Ajay Suresh – Wikimedia

New York University (NYU) is another of the top universities in New York City. It is a private university that is ranked among the world’s best. Among the universities in the United State, it is ranked 9th.

The university was chartered in 1831 by the New York State Legislature. Today, NYU has branch campuses in several other states as well as abroad.

Study programs in this private institution have attracted students from all over the United States along with international students.

The main campus, the Washington Square campus, is located in Greenwich Village. Several students and faculty refer to it as The Village.

There are different schools and colleges at NYU, the largest being the College of Arts and Sciences.

Other highly ranked schools at NYU include School of Business; Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; School of Law; School of Medicine; Silver School of Social Work; and Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Student activities: fraternity and sorority chapters, 00 clubs and organizations, 21 varsity sports, 21 club sports.

Financial aid: Available

Notable alumni: Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorcese, Regina Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman


3. Fordham University – New York City

Fordham was ranked 121out of 130 universities in the World University Rankings, USA 2021.

It is a private university also known as the Jesuit University of New York. The university’s popular majors are liberal arts, sciences and business.

There are 10 colleges, 4 for undergraduate studies and 6 for postgraduates.

The university has more than 15,000 students on its two campuses, main campuses in New York City and the Rose Hill campus in the Bronx and Lincoln Centre in Manhattan.

Once one gets accommodation during their freshman year at Fordham University, they are guaranteed the same for the entire 4 years of education.

 Student activities: baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, indoor and outdoor track, etc.

Funding: Available

Notable alumni: Denzel Washington, Amanda Seyfried, Dylan McDermott, Faith Evans, David Copperfield


4. Pace University-New York

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Pace was Ranked 161 out of 170 Universities in the United States. It was founded in 1906 and has since grown to have 3 more campuses located in New York City and Westchester County.

There are around 13,000 students enrolled in the different 150 majors and programmes.

This university main focus is on liberal arts and sciences. Additionally, it emphasizes more on combining theory and practice.  

Popular majors among students include Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Nursing, Computer Science, Childhood Education, Psychology, and Communications.

At Pace University, one will find a state of the art facilities and well-stocked libraries.   

Other than insightful lectures, Pace University has internship opportunities and connections with employers.

Furthermore, it has shuttle services between New York City and Pleasantville campuses.

Student activities: several to choose from

Funding: Available

Notable alumni: Ailee, Trevor Braun, Kate Bristol, Paul Dano


5. Yeshiva University – New York City

Yeshiva University is a private Jewish institution that was founded in 1886. There are a total of 2,017 undergraduate students enrolled in the main campus sprawling on 300 acres.

This university uses a semester-based academic calendar. The university is divided into 3 undergraduate colleges: Yeshiva College, the Stern College for Women and the Sy Syms School of Business.

One of its campuses is located in Israel and has 600 students enrolled in the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program.

When joining Yeshiva University as a freshman, you will be required to live on campus.

Yeshiva was ranked among the best research universities in the United States. Other special programs at Yeshiva include Medieval Jewish History and Jewish Philosophy.

Student activities: religious and sports clubs available.

Funding: Available

Notable Alumni: Chaim Potok, Daniel C. Kurtzer, Herman Wouk


6. CUNY Hunter College – New York City

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This college was founded in 1870 as a women’s college. The first male student to be admitted I this college was in 1946.

Hunter’s main campus has been located on Park Avenue since 1873. Furthermore, Hunter College is one of the constituent colleges of the City University of New York.

At Hunter College, one is able to choose a program from the more than 170 programs. There are 5 schools that offer both undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Currently, Hunter college has an enrolment of about 23,000 students. Some of the majors offered here include adolescence education and anthropology to nursing, urban affairs, women’s studies, and the Arabic language.

Student activities: sports and wellness clubs available

Funding: Available

Notable alumni:  Vin Diesel, Rhea Perlman, Edward Burns, Natasha Leggero


7. Baruch College – New York City

Baruch College was ranked 6th best college in New York City and the 151st in the USA ranking. There are more than 19,500 active students enrolled at Baruch College.    

This is one of the colleges in the city with the most ethnically diverse student population in the United States.

As a student, you can choose a program from the several majors in the undergraduate or postgraduate program.

Some of the popular programs include business, arts, sciences, Public and International Affairs.

One advantage of this college is its central location which can be easily reached from Midtown and Wall Street.

Student activities: more than 130 clubs and student organizations

Funding: available

Notable alumni: Abraham Beame, Ralph Lauren, Jennifer Lopez, Melissa Mark-Viverito


8. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Troy

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private institution founded in 1824. The founders were driven by the need to involve science in everyday living.

Its total student population is 6,283. The campus is located in the suburban region of Troy on 296 acres. Its academic calendar is semester-based.

This college is one of the best that offers engineering and science programs. These programs are architecture, Physician-Scientist Program and Technology and Society Law.

Troy campus offers a total of 746 labs, studios, and technology spaces used for research.

Student activities: several sports clubs and student associations

Funding: available

Notable alumni: George W. G. Ferris, Howard P. Isermann, Myles Brand


9. Union College – Schenectady

This college was established in 1795 and continues to be the leader in providing liberal arts education.

Union college mission is to disrupt traditional thinking while challenging the status quo. Students at Union College get acquisition with wisdom, empathy and college.

As a private college, it is ranked among the most competitive in terms of student admission. 

Located in Schenectady on 100 acres, the campus is close to New York City, Boston, Montreal and several outdoor recreation facilities.

Student activities: several sports and student union clubs

Funding: Available

Notable alumni: Chester A. Arthur, William H. Seward, Robert A. Toombs, Henry James,


10. Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (ACPHS) – Albany

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This is a private, independent college with campuses in Albany, New York and Colchester, Vermont.

The academic programs in ACPHS offer extraordinary focus and dedication to students. Its main focus is health science, which has several students succeed in their careers.

This college was ranked 1st as a Value-Added college in the United States in 2019 by The Wall Street Journal.

Should you want to pursue a degree program, there are affiliate colleges and universities to choose from.

Student activities: soccer, basketball, cross country, and track and field

Funding: available