Check Out the 10 Best Colleges on Long Island

Long Island is home to almost 40% of residents in the entire state of New York. Therefore, it makes sense that an area with so many residents also has several institutes of higher learning to meet the educational needs of the surrounding communities. 

Students who attend college on Long Island can take advantage of the area’s diverse cultural offerings and natural settings. Long Island includes the NYC boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, with many colorful neighborhoods, restaurants, museums, and nightlife. 

However, outside of the NYC metro area, students can also enjoy the beauty of protected wetlands near the South Shore and the sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Small, quiet towns dot the rural landscape and provide a slower pace of life.

The colleges on Long Island range from small, private faith-based liberal arts institutions to large public universities that attract students from across the globe. From the arts to medicine to engineering and every topic in between, students can find a college that meets almost every career goal on Long Island. 

Plus, many of Long Island’s colleges have programs that are rated by major academic ranking publications, including U.S. News and World Report. To help students narrow down their decisions, the editors at College Gazette have compiled this top 10 list of the best colleges on Long Island. 


10. Saint Joseph’s College (Patchogue, NY)

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

Saint Joseph’s College has campuses in Brooklyn and on Long Island near downtown Patchogue. SJC also has online options, too. This private school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the liberal arts, sciences, health administration, and pre-law. 

Moreover, the school tries to keep attendance costs low, with tuition rates about $8,600 less than the national average for private, four-year colleges. Financial aid is generous, too, with about 84% of students receiving some sort of assistance in 2019-2020.

Saint Joseph’s faculty are dedicated to helping students succeed, as demonstrated by the school’s retention rates that are higher than national averages. And because of their students’ success, SJC regularly finds itself on “best of” lists from U.S. News and World Report, which rated it as the #71 regional university in the north. It’s also the #39 best college for veterans. 


9. Five Towns College (Dix Hills, NY)

Five Towns College is a small, private school with undergraduate, graduate, and even doctoral programs in creative fields like music, film, computer graphics, audio recording, and theatre. Business administration and management degrees are offered, too, and students can concentrate in marketing or music management. 

Located just one hour from New York City, students learn from challenging hands-on curricula and seasoned faculty who are prepared to help each student achieve their creative potential. And through the Career Services office, students can find internships and connect with potential employers.

U.S. News places Five Towns College as #41-#53 among the best regional colleges in the north. But the college is ranked even higher at #16 for the social mobility of its students, a ranking that reflects how many economically disadvantaged students graduate from an institution. 


8. New York Institute of Technology (Old Westbury, NY)

New York Institute of Technology
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Although another campus is located in New York City, the New York Institute of Technology also maintains a Long Island campus. Located along the historic North Shore, the campus is considered to be one of the safest in the country. 

Students can choose from over 90 technology-focused fields of study like architecture and engineering, cybersecurity, the sciences, and healthcare. Additionally, NYIT has degrees that are seldomly offered at other Long Island schools, like architecture computational technologies, energy management, supply chain management. Basically, the programs want to reach those who are “do-ers”—students with an entrepreneurial spirit.

U.S. News places NYIY at #34 in its list of the best regional university in the north. Plus, it’s rated as the #15 best college for veterans and the #56 best school for the value.


7. Molloy College (Rockville Center, NY)

As the #26 regional university in the north according to U.S. News, Molloy College has programs in the sciences and liberal arts. This Catholic-based institution offers small class sizes with a student-to-faculty ratio of just 10:1, one of the nation’s lowest ratios. 

In addition, Molloy has developed several online and blended programs that allow students to earn a flexible degree on their own time while balancing their existing personal and professional responsibilities. What’s more, although all of Molloy’s programs are affordable, the college gives specific tuition discounts to law enforcement officers and other first responders.

Although Molloy College has degree options at the undergraduate and doctoral levels, the school has made a particular effort to grow its graduate programs in the last ten years. In fact, the number of Molloy’s graduate students has increased by 64% over the previous decade.


6. SUNY Old Westbury (Old Westbury, NY)

SUNY’s Old Westbury campus offers almost 60 bachelor’s and master’s fields of study at this public institution. All undergraduates must take the core Liberal Education Curriculum, which gives students a broad understanding of the world through courses in diversity, the American experience, culture, and the social sciences. 

Freshmen receive special support through the First-Year Experience Program that is designed to give students the skills they need in study skills and time management to succeed in college. Freshmen as well as upperclassmen can also apply to be a part of the Honors College, a talented group of students who can benefit from academically advanced classes.

In a list of the top public schools, U.S. News and World Report ranks SUNY-Old Westbury at #50-62. Moreover, it’s the #7 school for students’ social mobility. 


5. Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY)

Hofstra University
Antony-22, Hofstra Axinn Library, CC BY-SA 4.0

Hofstra University is a private college that offers bachelor’s through doctorate degrees in the health sciences, arts, STEM fields, business, law, education, and more. And for students who want to meet niche career goals, specialized tailored programs are available, too.

Hofstra’s education model follows three basic principles: participation, investigation, and collaboration. Students are encouraged to be active participants in their own education and become involved in campus activities. They are also urged to be curious and engage in research with groups of fellow students.

Hofstra appears on many rankings, including U.S. News’s list of best national universities, best colleges of veterans, and best value schools. In addition, several individual programs are also nationally ranked; the undergraduate engineering program, for example, is ranked as the #33 in the United States.


4. Webb Institute (Glen Cove, NY)

Unlike the other schools in this top 10 list, the Webb Institute is solely devoted to a single field of study: navel engineering. In fact, the only degree that is offered is a dual bachelor’s of science in naval architecture and marine engineering. However, because of this niche emphasis, the faculty can focus on helping students be the very best in this field. 

With this rigorous curriculum, students learn marine, electrical, and civil engineering through classroom instruction coupled with authentic hands-on work experiences with this rigorous curriculum.

What’s more, all students who are U.S. citizens receive a full-tuition scholarship, making Webb an extremely affordable option and landing it in the top 10 best-valued colleges according to Payscale.com. 

Even more importantly, 100% of graduates find jobs after leaving Webb.


3. Long Island University (Brookville, NY)

At Long Island University, students can choose from over 275 programs at all levels of study, from bachelor’s to doctoral degrees. Furthermore, LIU has more healthcare professional programs than any other school in the NYC area, making it a popular place to study nursing, pharmacy, and health sciences. 

And because of its proximity to the art centers of New York City, LIU has also become known for its program in theatre and music, with degrees in music performance, technology and productions, and even music entrepreneurship.

The LIU-Post campus in Brookville has a small student-to-faculty ratio of just 10:1. So it’s no surprise that LIU makes so many “best of” lists each year. For example, The Princeton Review ranks it as one of the best northeastern regional colleges, and it’s also on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of the best national universities


2. SUNY Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY)

SUNY Stony Brook
Danski14, Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, CC BY-SA 3.0

SUNY has a simple yet bold mission: to change the world through research and intellectual discovery. Students can choose from over 200 majors and dual-degree programs, and research is integrated throughout the curriculum. For instance, the URECA program (Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities) supports research at the bachelor’s level through grants and travel funding.

And because of the dedication of the faculty and staff to their mission, this public university has been ranked in the top 1% among universities across the globe, accounting to QS World University Rankings. U.S. News also puts it in the top 40 public universities in the country. 

Still, the school’s programs remain relatively affordable, and Forbes has even listed SUNY as one of the top 15 best-valued colleges in America. 


1. Adelphi University (Garden City, NY)

And finally, as the #1 college on Long Island, Adelphi University is the island’s oldest institution for bachelor’s and master’s degrees; it offers doctoral programs, too. The curriculum focuses on four core areas: healthcare, professional studies, STEM fields, and the arts and humanities, and both on-campus and online options are available. Adelphi is especially known for its graduate nursing program, landing it among the top nursing programs in the country.

In addition to other rankings like placement on U.S. News’s “best national universities” list, Adelphi also won a prestigious 2020 award from the American Association of University Administrators. Specifically, the award was given for the school’s innovative Prep for Success program, which helps students find paid internships and assists with job placement after graduation.

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