The top 10 colleges in Upstate New York

Posted on June 22nd, 2015

While there are plenty of national college rankings to help students and families make their college choices, rarely do such rankings focus on a specific geographic area.

That’s why we’re excited that Buffalo Business First has put together a list of the top 10 colleges in Upstate New York–the area where College Financing Group is based.

While the area might be more known for its heavy snowfall, it’s home to a bevy of elite, quality colleges, including an Ivy League college in Cornell University.

Upstate New York home to many elite colleges

These top 10 colleges were chosen for being the only Upstate New York colleges to meet the following three criteria:

  • They admit fewer than 50 percent of the high-school seniors who apply.
  • More than 90 percent of their freshmen return for a second year.
  • More than 75 percent of their students stay all the way through graduation.

The colleges are ranked in no particular order, but all fit these standards that are the markers of a top college.

While we don’t necessarily think that this list encompasses all of the great colleges in the area, it’s a great resource for any student considering colleges in Upstate New York during their college search.

You definitely can’t go wrong with any college in the top 10–or even outside of it, particularly at some notable (and affordable) SUNY colleges.

Check out the colleges below, sorted by geographic area.


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)
Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY)
Union College (Schenectady, NY)

Union College, located in Schenectady, NY, is considered one of the top 10 colleges in Upstate New York.

Union College, located in Schenectady, NY, is considered one of the top 10 colleges in Upstate New York. [Image: “Union Library Lane 2” by UpstateNYer – Own work by uploader, released courtesy of Schaffer Library. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.]

Central New York

Binghamton University (Vestal, NY)
Colgate University (Hamilton, NY)
Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
Hamilton College (Clinton, NY)
Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)


SUNY Geneseo (Geneseo, NY)
University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)

While no Western New York area colleges made the top 10, many performed well in two-thirds of the categories, including SUNY Buffalo State, Daemen College, SUNY Fredonia, Houghton College and the University at Buffalo.

Do you agree with this list? Anything to add? Let know your thoughts in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter @CFGCollege.

Category: Choosing a College

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