The Best Colleges in Brooklyn, New York

Most kids who graduate high school can’t wait to leave their hometowns and see the world, often heading to the big city. 

And no big city is bigger than New York City in terms of size and cultural impact. After all, how many times have we followed a character in a movie walking past Rockefeller Center or visiting Madison Square Garden while going to college?

To be sure, New York City offers many amazing colleges. 

But too often, the ones that get all the are in Manhattan, leaving the other four boroughs behind. As a result, students sometimes fail to understand all the great institutions available in New York.

That’s particularly true of Brooklyn, the most populous of the five boroughs. 

In Brooklyn, you’ll find a university and college to meet every need in Brooklyn. There are religious schools from the Catholic and Jewish faiths, a community college, and several four-year universities.

Each of these schools has its own unique character and offerings. And each is perfect for those who want a taste of the big city life without living in one of the glitzier areas. They may not show up on your favorite tv show, but all of these schools will prepare you for future success, no matter what your career plans may be.

Brooklyn College

Brooklyn College
Beyond My Ken, Brooklyn College Boylan Hall, CC BY-SA 4.0

The “poor man’s Harvard.” While one can certainly take offense at the fairly condescending designation, the nickname indicates Brooklyn College’s quality. 

That becomes clearer when one looks at the school’s famed alumni, ranging from well-known Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to Pulitzer-Prize winner Frank McCourt to screen legend Jimmy Smits.

But unlike Harvard, Brooklyn College is far easier to attend. The school has a very high acceptance rate of 50%, making it one of the most welcoming schools among top-level institutions.

Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Since its founding in 1887 by industrialist Charles Pratt, the Pratt Institute has been one of the world’s best schools for engineering, architecture, and the fine arts. People from around the world flock to the school’s Brooklyn campus to enjoy its state-of-the-art resources.

The School of Design at Pratt teaches students the practical skills they need to design beautiful and practical clothes and think about clothing within social frameworks. 

Working under the school’s renowned faculty, students think about clothing as not just covering, but as a means for self-expression.

It’s no wonder that the magazine Vogue called the clothes modeled for the 2018 Pratt fashion show “an impressive show of talent which represented very different worldviews.”

New York City College of Technology

New York City College of Technology
Rhododendrites, New York City College of Technology Voorhees Building, CC BY-SA 4.0

When it was established in 1946 as the New York State Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences, the New York City College of Technology existed to train the waves of GIs returning from World War II.

Today, the school remains an ideal place to gain the technical skills employers crave. With a student body of over 17,000, City Tech specializes in subjects such as engineering, architecture, and various medical fields.

Thanks to its clear mandate, City Tech has trained a variety of important figures. Eric Adams earned his associate’s degree from City Tech while working in the mailroom of a law office. From that achievement, Adams earned a BA and a master’s degree in public education and became the mayor of New York City.

After earning AAS in hotel management from City Tech, Bill Yosses completed his BA and MA studies and eventually became one of the country’s best-known chefs. In addition to penning the bestseller Deserts for Dummies, Yossess served as Executive Pastry Chef at the White House, where he served Presidents and international dignitaries.

Medgar Evers College

Medgar Evers College
Tchassis, Medgar Evers College building A, CC BY-SA 3.0

A senior college in the City University of New York system, Medgar Evers College was founded in 1970, thanks to the work of educators and community leaders who wanted more opportunities for Brooklynites.

Named for the slain Civil Rights leader, Medgar Evers College features several research centers and institutes designed to improve lives within its community.

The Male Development and Empowerment Center strives to bring more men to the school and support Evers’s male student body. With programs that range from study skills and finance to studies on the pressures facing minority men in America, the Center works to make college a reality for more men.

Its counterpart, the Center for Women’s Development, promotes success among women by giving them tools for self-empowerment. With an emphasis on community and mentorship, the Center aids in alleviating the pressures of academic study and supports women with their various life challenges.

St. Francis College

A private college in the Franciscan tradition, St. Francis College traces its roots to 1859, when it was established by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn. The first private school within Brooklyn’s Roman Catholic Diocese, St. Francis was initially an all-boys school. However, it has since become a destination for people of all genders.

While it has become a small liberal arts college, St. Francis continues to draw from its founding principles of service and enlightenment. To that end, the school houses several cutting-edge centers and institutes, including a Woman’s Studies Center and the Center of Excellence in Project Management.

Since 1998, the Institute for International and Cross-Cultural Psychology has worked to increase our understanding of psychology in a global context. St. Francis faculty members team with a board of psychologists from six different countries to host conferences, publish papers, and create new curricula.

LIU Brooklyn

LIU Brooklyn
Residency building at LIU Brooklyn – Public domain photo by Thomson200 via Wikimedia Commons

Part of the Long Island University system, LIU Brooklyn offers a wide range of unique degrees for a much lower tuition cost than many others of the same quality.

LIU Global is one of the only schools in Brooklyn to offer a global studies degree. Through the four-year program, students not only learn from accomplished faculty members from across the globe, but they also spend time studying abroad in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and more. 

During their freshmen year, students in LIU Global study at the Costa Rica Center, getting hands-on experience working with other cultures.

LIU Brooklyn also features the TV Writer Studio, a unique program created by Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Norman Steinberg. 

Participants in the Studio work under experienced television writers to develop their own pitches and portfolios, preparing for a career in the entertainment industry.

Kingsborough Community College

Kingsborough Community College
Public domain photo by Jim.Henderson via Wikimedia Commons

As Brooklyn’s only community college, Kingsborough Community College has a unique opportunity to offer accessible and affordable training and education to the community. And it has been incredibly successful in that goal. 

The Aspen Institute regularly includes Kingsborough among its list of the top ten community colleges in the United States.

As such a great school, Kingsborough has been able to train people who have gone on to success in a variety of fields.

Before becoming a world-champion heavyweight boxer, Riddick Bowe studied acting and business administration at Kingsborough. After earning an associate’s degree from Kingsborough in 1976, Barbara Patton went on to hold several political seats in the New York government, serving from 1986 to 1994.

With such a proud group of alumni, it’s no wonder that Kingsborough has won awards from the Center for Digital Education, the National Two-Year College English Association, and other respected bodies.

Touro University Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Part of the Touro University system, one of the largest private Jewish school systems, the Lander College of Arts and Sciences combines career-focused education with time-honored religious training. Although the school serves a diverse student body, it does maintain separate colleges for men and women.

The Lander School for Women not only provides the best in career prep and educational inquiry, but it does so on a campus that supports and respects Jewish traditions. 

With an emphasis on community, the Women’s School encourages collaboration between students. Offering more than 20 professional programs and several joint-degree programs, the Landers School for Women is sure to equip students with the skills they need.

In the Lander School for Men, students gain knowledge while finding ways to become responsible citizens by adhering to Jewish customs. 

In addition to the 20-degree majors provided on campus, the Men’s School also features online courses in the subjects of cybersecurity,  management/marketing, and psychology.

St. Joseph’s University

St. Joseph's University
Beyond My Ken, 245 Clinton Avenue Burns Hall St. Joseph’s College, CC BY-SA 4.0

St. Joseph’s University is Brooklyn’s only historic women’s college, a private Catholic institution. Today, the school serves students of all genders, enjoying both a well-respected academic reputation and an active athletics program.

With a focus on student experience, St. Joseph’s emphasizes small classes, averaging a faculty-to-student ratio of 12:1. And with the school’s partnership with Suffolk County Community College, students can easily transfer to St. Joseph’s to complete their degrees and enter the workforce.

Thanks to these qualities, St. Joseph’s enjoys high rankings from many major outlets. According to U.S. News & World Report, the school is among the 100 best regional universities in the north and ranks among the top 50 schools for veterans and top performers in social mobility.

Thanks to its excellent education and support for students, St. Joseph’s is one of the best ways for working Brooklynites to earn their degrees.

Brooklyn Law School

Brooklyn Law School may be the only law school in the neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean it deserves sympathy. It is also one of the most respected law schools in the state. It has ranked high on lists from several outlets, with the New York Law Journal ranking it the #2 Best Overall Law School in 2017 and 2018 and the Leiter Report giving the school’s faculty 30th place on its 2017 rankings of scholarly excellence.

Brooklyn Law earns special praise for its unique entertainment law program, which The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard Magazine have hailed. 

Those accolades should be no surprise, given that Brooklyn Law alumni include super-agent Allen Grubman, who has represented Mariah Carey and Bruce Springsteen.