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These Are the Best Colleges in the Hudson Valley and New York State

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Wikimedia Commons / Dan OBrien

While Columbia and Cornell top Niche’s annual list, a number of Hudson Valley universities earn A+ rankings, too.

Hello, back-to-school season! As the scents of fresh loose leaf and newly sharpened pencils float through the air, Niche reveals its annual list of the best colleges in New York State.

With the number of leading academic institutions in the region, it’s no surprise that competition was fierce. To determine which schools deserved the top spots, Niche took a look at everything from academics and professors to campus quality, diversity, student life, surrounding communities, and safety.

For the 2021 ranking, Columbia University in New York City took home first place, followed closely by Cornell University in Ithaca. Of course, quite a number of Hudson Valley colleges made their mark, too. In fact, an impressive total of eight local schools appear on Niche’s list of the 50 best colleges in the region.

Can you guess the number one Hudson Valley school that leads the way locally?

It’s West Point!

Coming in at number three on the list, and moving up one spot from last year, the United States Military Academy at West Point earned an A+ ranking for its academics and value for money. The public military school, which is a comparatively small operation with under 5,000 undergraduate students, maintains a selective 11-percent acceptance rate and graduates approximately 85 percent of its students each year. In addition to ranking highly on the statewide report, West Point also earned second place for Best Colleges with No Application Fee in America, fifth place for Top Public Universities in America, and fifth place for Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America. And did we mention it’s number five on Niche’s list of the Top Public Universities in America?

West Point isn’t the only Hudson Valley institution to earn top marks. Next up, Vassar College in Poughkeepsie comes in eighth place, just as it did last year, earning an overall A+ for its strong academics and financial value. The private school’s acceptance rate stands at 25 percent, with just over 2,400 undergraduate students enrolled. A standout for creatives, Vassar ranks highly on Niche’s reports for best liberal arts, film and photography, and small colleges in America.

Rounding out the top three for the Hudson Valley on Niche’s ranking of the top schools in New York is Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy’s private college that focuses on tech and engineering. RPI garnered 11th place and an A+ for its academic programming and value and ranked number four overall on Niche’s list of the Best Colleges for Information Technology in America.

Want to read up on all the Hudson Valley colleges that appear on Niche’s top 50 list? Look no further!

23 – Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Albany

27 – Marist College, Poughkeepsie

34 – SUNY New Paltz, New Paltz

38 – Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville

42 – University at Albany, SUNY, Albany

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