The Northeast is home to many excellent colleges. Whether you’re from the Northeast and want to stick close to home, or you’re ready to see what the region has to offer, read on to learn more about the best colleges in the Northeast!
The Northeast has many top colleges, attracting students from all parts of the country. After all, the Northeast is the birthplace of the Ivy League. Although these 10 schools are splendid additions to your college list, there are also other schools to consider.
We’ll walk you through the top 10 colleges in the region, including general information about admitted students and each school so you can decide which school is best for you!
Choosing between the best universities in the Northeast starts with learning more about each school. Class profile data, admissions statistics, and general school info can help you make an informed choice. Our list is based on U.S. News World and Report’s best national universities ranking.
Princeton is the country’s fourth-oldest college. As a world-renowned research university, the school is “distinctive among research universities in its commitment to undergraduate teaching.” The school’s curriculum encourages undergraduates to explore different subject areas.
Princeton’s informal motto is “In Service of Humanity.” This motto is meant to demonstrate the contributions Princetonians make in their communities and the world!
MIT’s community strives to make the world a better place through high-quality education, research, and innovation. The school describes itself as “fun and quirky, elite but not elitist, inventive and artistic, obsessed with numbers, and welcoming to talented people regardless of where they come from.”
In terms of undergraduate education, MIT emphasizes a hands-on approach to learning.
If you’re someone who loves collaboration and learning by doing, MIT’s educational model will certainly align with your passions.
Harvard College boasts that it provides an undergraduate experience unlike any other school. Harvard’s close-knit community offers world-class faculty, cutting-edge research opportunities, and a diverse campus.
Students who want to be challenged by difficult questions, unfamiliar concepts, and new interdisciplinary ideas will thrive at Harvard College.
Yet another Ivy League school on our list, Yale, was founded in 1701. Today, Yale is “committed to improving the world today and for future generations through outstanding research and scholarship, education, preservation, and practice.”
All undergraduate students attend Yale College, where they can choose from various majors, participate in extensive research, and gain international experience by studying abroad or participating in internships!
Seventh on our list is John Hopkins University, located in Baltimore, Maryland. The university’s prestige is evident based on its recent admissions statistics:
John Hopkins University’s mission statement is “To educate its students and cultivate their capacity for lifelong learning, to foster independent and original research, and to bring the benefits of discovery to the world.” In more than 140 years since the school’s inception, research and teaching are crucial to America’s first research university.
The school places itself at the intersection of “drive and creativity," with more than 50 majors and 40 minors for undergraduate students to choose from. Classroom sizes tend to be relatively intimate at JHU, with 74% of classes made up of fewer than 20 students.
JHU seeks students with insatiable curiosities and has more research funding than any other school in the country! If you’re interested in conducting or assisting in research, or you’re pursuing a pre-med major to prepare for medical school, JHU is a great school to consider.
Many Penn students engage in interdisciplinary studies, with almost 100 majors to choose from among the four schools. Most undergraduate students study at the College of Arts & Sciences.
As an Ivy League school, Dartmouth is highly prestigious and offers extensive research and networking opportunities to its students. It also boasts of having a small student-to-faculty ratio to provide its students with personalized support.
One of Brown's most distinctive features is its open curriculum, which allows students a high degree of flexibility in designing their own academic paths, giving students the freedom to explore diverse subjects without being tied to strict course requirements!
If you choose this Ithaca-based school, you can feel confident that you will have options and opportunities for exploration.
With over 100 undergraduate majors, Cornell offers a comprehensive and diverse array of academic pathways, ensuring that students can cultivate a well-rounded education that aligns with their individual interests and aspirations.
While getting into this university will be challenging, doing so will open a world of possibilities for you! With over 500 student-run organizations, students can pursue diverse extracurriculars to help them develop skills that will be valuable in their academic, personal, and professional lives!
Columbia is also home to over 150 research centers, which can foster your interdisciplinary exploration and innovation!
Carnegie Mellon University, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a top-tier research institution with a reputation for excellence in various fields like arts, business, computing, engineering, and the humanities.
What makes it even more exciting is the diverse campus life, buzzing with over 400 student organizations. It's a place where you can pursue your academic interests while also enjoying a vibrant and dynamic community.
NYU, in New York City, New York, is a melting pot of students from all over the U.S. and 133 countries, creating a diverse and inclusive academic environment. It's also a champion of social mobility, with a significant presence of low-income and first-generation students.
As the largest private research university in the U.S., NYU is a hub of innovation and scholarship, conducting $1.27 billion in annual research. Its faculty includes top scholars, and it's a leader in patent production and revenue from licensing among American universities.
Tufts University, located in Medford, Massachusetts, offers a unique education with 90+ academic programs.
With a student-faculty ratio of 10:1 and small class sizes averaging 20, students benefit from the best of both worlds: the resources of a major research university and the personal attention of a liberal arts college.
Rochester University, nestled in Rochester, New York, is unique among top research universities for its smaller, more close-knit community of just over 4500 undergraduates.
It's also recognized as the 30th Best Value School in the nation for 2023 by U.S. News & World Report, making it a smart choice for quality education. What's even more impressive is that the university awards a substantial $300 million in scholarships and grants each year, ensuring accessibility for students.
Boston College, in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, is Boston's first higher education institution. It’s grown into a leading university nationally, known for its excellence in liberal arts, scientific research, and student development.
Inspired by the values of its Jesuit founders, the campus is bustling with over 300 diverse organizations, programs, and offices, offering students a rich and dynamic experience.
Syracuse University, in Syracuse, New York, offers a world of choices with 200 majors, 100 minors, and 13 schools.
They prepare you well, too – 92% of graduates find jobs aligned with their career goals. The university also explores cutting-edge fields like social justice and AI, all while providing numerous study-abroad options in 60 countries for a truly global education.
Colgate University, located in Hamilton, New York, is known for its modern liberal arts education, blending tradition with innovation.
They offer 56 different majors and minors, providing students with diverse academic options. The campus is also wonderfully diverse, with students coming from 87 different countries, creating a global and inclusive community.
Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, Maine, is a respected private liberal arts college, has a storied past and is known for its selective and challenging academics.
Its alumni are an impressive bunch, with successful individuals in fields ranging from entrepreneurship to conservation. Plus, with 199 full-time faculty members, 98 percent of whom hold the highest degrees in their fields, you're in good hands when it comes to learning from experts.
Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, is all about empowering students to make a positive impact on the world.
With one of the nation's most robust financial aid programs and a remarkably diverse student body, Amherst provides an inclusive and supportive community. Here, you'll be part of a dynamic and inquisitive group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who constantly inspire each other through the joy of learning.
Fordham University, located in bustling New York City, is known as a prestigious Catholic institution with approximately 15,000 students enrolled across nine schools.
Embracing the Jesuit tradition, Fordham places a strong emphasis on fostering a close-knit community in the heart of the city. Its mission is guided by three fundamental principles: the pursuit of excellence, genuine care for others, and unwavering commitment to justice.
Nestled in New York's picturesque Hudson Valley, Vassar College is a coeducational liberal arts institution known for its rich academic offerings.
Originally established in 1861 to provide women with an education on par with men's colleges, Vassar became one of the first women's colleges in the nation to embrace coeducation in 1969.
With 30 departments, 50 majors, and over 1,000 courses to choose from, Vassar offers students a diverse and intellectually stimulating environment.
Bard College, situated in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, places a strong emphasis on academic exploration both inside and outside the classroom.
At Bard College, undergraduate programs start with a strong core curriculum to build a solid academic foundation. Students are then encouraged to explore their specific interests.
Bard also offers various dual-degree programs in the U.S. and abroad, allowing students to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees offering a flexible and diverse educational experience.
Skidmore College, nestled in Saratoga Springs, New York, is a private, coeducational institution offering a four-year undergraduate program.
With 44 majors, 19 varsity athletics teams, and over 100 student clubs, there's no shortage of opportunities there.
On top of that, students benefit from award-winning dining and residence halls and have the privilege of learning from some of the most dedicated and brilliant faculty in the field. It's a place where connections and learning flourish.
Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, provides a unique and comprehensive education rooted in the liberal arts and sciences.
Their approach to learning is responsive to the ever-changing world we live in. At Middlebury, education extends far beyond the classroom or lab. They offer a diverse range of majors, minors, and academic programs that are designed to work together, encouraging collaboration across disciplines.
Rutgers University–New Brunswick is a top-tier institution, ranked among the top 15 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
It also stands at #13 in employability according to the Times Higher Education Global University Employability Ranking and is recognized as one of the top 100 most innovative universities by Reuters.
With over 120 undergraduate majors available, Rutgers University–New Brunswick offers a diverse array of academic opportunities across various schools and colleges, both on-campus and in partnership with institutions throughout New Jersey.
So, why should you consider choosing one of these top Northeastern schools? There are benefits to attending a Northeastern college, whether you’re from the region or relocating.
The Northeast is the home of the eight Ivy League schools. There are also many other top-ranked non-Ivy League schools in the Northeast. In fact, the Northeast has the highest number of top-ranked colleges based on its density compared to any other part of the country.
The Northeast is home to some of the nation’s major cities, including:
These major cities may be major tourist destinations, but there are many things to see and do for the college crowd.
The proximity to these major cities can be helpful for undergraduate students looking for work post-graduation. Bigger cities typically mean more opportunities for graduates. Some major companies regularly look for Northeastern college graduates!
If bustling cities aren’t your bag, the Northeast is home to some of the most scenic views in the country. You can:
Along with these stunning places to visit, the Northeast has many spots to kayak, canoe, cycle, hike, and even horseback ride.
As one of the oldest parts of America, there is no shortage of landmarks to visit. While you’re in the Northeast, you can visit:
If you’re a history buff, the Northeast is also home to many museums and historical sites!
Consider these tips to increase your chances of getting into these high-ranking schools in the Northeast:
Remember, each school is unique, so you should tailor your application according to the traits they seek in students and your own interests!
Do you still have questions about attending the best Northeast colleges? These FAQs answer some of the most common questions.
Yes, the Northeast is home to some of the most prestigious Ivy League in the nation, such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton!
According to U.S. News World and Report, Williams College is the best liberal arts college in the Northeast.
Students (and parents) care about affordability, especially when tuition costs seem to rise each year. Based only on tuition fees, as reported by U.S. News, Harvard University is the best affordable college in the Northeast. In fact, more than 24% of students pay nothing to attend Harvard College, and over half receive need-based scholarships.
According to acceptance rate data, some of the most selective colleges in the region include Columbia University, Harvard University, MIT, and Yale University.
If you want to boost your chances of acceptance, a good place to start is boosting your SAT or ACT scores and ensuring you strive for a high GPA. Good grades and high scores can lay the foundation for a successful application.
However, you’ll also need to craft compelling narratives and ensure your college applications are well-rounded. If you’re unsure how to boost your profile, consider seeking an admissions consultant’s help.
If you prefer smaller schools, here are some options to consider:
All of these schools have fewer than 3,000 undergraduate students!
Boricua College is one of the least expensive colleges in the region, with tuition costs of $6,025 a year.
Attending school in the Northeast means you can enjoy a high-quality education surrounded by bustling cities, scenic views, and fascinating historical sites.
Ultimately, the Northeastern colleges you choose to apply to depend on your preferences, including location, class and campus size, and whether or not the school offers programs that spark your interest.
Getting into the best colleges in the Northeast may not be easy, but you can boost your chances with perfected college applications, time, and effort!