Finding a college right for you can be overwhelming, especially if you haven't visited one in person. The way to determine, officially, if a college is a good fit is by taking a campus tour. So if you're looking at some of New York's best and brightest universities, maybe take a road trip this summer and explore a few more in-depth and imagine yourself walking the quad, the corridors, and learning in their classrooms.
Columbia University - New York City
6,170 enrolled - #4 for National Universities
Established in 1754 by a charter from King George II, New York's Columbia University is a giant of academia. Though the university is set in the middle of Manhattan's Morningside Heights neighborhood, students have a total of 36 lush acres of beautifully manicured lawns and arbors on which to relax and learn. Their athletic teams, the Columbia Lions, are among the top in the Ivy League but that's not all that makes Columbia special. Undergraduates have the option of attending three distinct schools depending on their major(s), the most popular being engineering, social sciences, and biological and biomedical sciences. The low acceptance rate coupled with the university's high standards grants a 6:1 student-faculty ratio and 82% of classes with fewer than 20 students. If this sounds like a good fit for you, visit and tour with the general crowd or try the engineering or science-based campus tours.
New York University - New York City
24,985 enrolled - #32 for National Universities
With over 20 colleges and institutes spread throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn in six total centers, New York University is one of the largest academic institutions in the country. Founded in 1831, the university's primary campus is set in Greenwich Village, a beautiful spot though there are no green gardens or arboretums in this university. Instead, the students are truly a part of the city. For all four years, the students are guaranteed housing on-campus and while the Greek system is alive at NYU, it remains small and many students opt for abundant student organizations like NYU-TV. While NYU has pretty much every subject in its major's system, the most popular has to be the College of Arts and Sciences with the Tisch School of the Arts being the creme de la creme for acting, drama, dance, and dramatic writing.
Cornell University - Ithaca
14,453 enrolled - #15 for National Universities
Founded in 1865 by an idealistic academic, Ezra Cornell, the Cornell University motto reads, "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study." This Ivy League college set out to teach everyone about anything, starting with seven undergraduate colleges, each of which has its own admissions board and provides its own faculty. Even as its academics are impeccable, Cornell's campus life is socially rich with a Greek system of over 60 houses, more than 1,000 student social organizations, and more than 30 NCAA Division I varsity sports teams, including the Cornell Big Red men's lacrosse team. Some notable alumni of Cornell include Charlotte's Web author E.B. White, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Superman Christopher Reeve, and Bill Nye "The Science Guy."
Vassar College - Poughkeepsie
2,418 enrolled - #12 for National Liberal Arts Colleges
Founded in 1861 by merchant and philanthropist Matthew Vassar, Vassar College was a premier educational facility for women as one of the Seven Sisters. Alongside other fabulous private female-only colleges like Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, and Radcliffe, Vassar eventually became co-ed in 1969. Vassar offers more than 50 major programs for BA degrees, the most popular of which are social sciences and the visual and performing arts. What's truly spectacular about the Vassar College campus is that it sits on over 1,000 acres of prime Hudson River Valley green. The grounds are so beautiful and well kept that they've been designated an official arboretum and also include a 400-acre natural preserve. Friends actress Lisa Kudrow and Academy Award winner Meryl Streep is among Vassar's top alumni.
Syracuse University - Syracuse
15,224 enrolled - #61 for National Universities
Originally founded as a seminary in the early 1800s, Syracuse University was officially opened in 1870. Though it has roots in the United Methodist Church, Syracuse does not identify officially with the religion and welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds to enjoy their campus and learn within their historic walls. Located on 708 acres in Syracuse's University Hill neighborhood, the Romanesque style buildings which stand grand and imposing offer a myriad of undergraduate and graduate programs. Students are encouraged to study for a semester or year abroad at Syracuse's sister school in Florence, Italy, to broaden the spirit, mind, and find new inspirations. If that wasn't enough, Syracuse's social community is a fantastic addition to the overall beauty of the school. The campus supports a plethora of student organizations, Greek life, athletics, and yearly events as well as grants transportation to students who wish to participate in festivals in the city of Syracuse.
Colgate University - Hamilton
2,875 enrolled - #19 for National Liberal Arts Colleges
Founded in 1819 in the small township of Hamilton, New York, Colgate University has a grand total of 54 major programs for BA degrees. Like Syracuse, Colgate University had its roots in a seminary. Over the years, the university gradually opened itself up to more and more academic programs until it changed its name to the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution. It wasn't until 1890 that the name Colgate University was adopted and in 1970 the campus became co-ed, inviting in more students than ever. Though it's now recognized as non-denominational, Colgate offers religious services and organizations for its students alongside the fabulous Outdoor Education Program, Greek life, and sports teams. The campus's Seven Oaks Golf Course is ranked as one of the top five college courses in the country by Golf Digest.