The Best Colleges in the Hudson Valley and New York State

With Princeton and Harvard topping the national rankings (again), a handful of Hudson Valley colleges receive high rankings in their respective categories

Adobe Stock / Jacob Lund

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 2023 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.

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

It’s West Point!

Coming in at number four on the list, 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 single-digit 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 fifth place for Top Public Universities in America and eighth place for Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America.


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West Point isn’t the only Hudson Valley institution to earn top marks. Next up, Vassar College in Poughkeepsie comes in ninth place (up from last year), earning an overall A+ for its strong academics. The private school’s acceptance rate stands at 20 percent, with just over 2,400 undergraduate students enrolled. A standout for creatives, Vassar ranks highly on Niche’s reports for best liberal arts, performing arts, and public policy programs.


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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 12th place and an A for its academic programming, value, and diversity, and ranked inside the top 25 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!

29 – Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Albany

36 – Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson

41 – SUNY New Paltz, New Paltz

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42 – Marist College, Poughkeepsie

49 – SUNY University at Albany, Albany

Related: Looking Back on the Origins of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie

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