Binghamton University evolved from a small liberal arts college in upstate NY to a full-fledged, top-tier research university. Harpur College of Arts and Sciences is the heart of the school, but the Watson School of Engineering, School of Management, and Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences have been putting BU on the map in recent years, with programs that are highly ranked nationally.
Binghamton University is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system and it is the flagship SUNY school. The main campus, spread out over 930 acres, is nestled in the verdant hills of Vestal, NY and overlooks the Susquehanna River.
The school offers no shortage of recreational and social opportunities. BU’s athletics program is part of the NCAA Division 1 program and comprises more than 21 sports teams. The Events Center is host to a large number of games throughout the year. The school boasts hundreds of student-run clubs and organizations, offering a little bit of something to everyone.
For years, BU has earned the moniker as a “Public Ivy.” Find out what this “Public Ivy” has to offer and what it takes to become a Bearcat.
BU is the most selective of the SUNY schools, with an acceptance rate of around 41% each year. According to the latest snapshot, the admissions committee received over 42,000 applications. Just imagine sifting through thousands and thousands of applications each year. Better yet, imagine what it takes to stand out among those 40k other applicants!
BU is not as selective as some of the other, more well-known “Public Ivies” such as the College of William and Mary or UC Berkeley. Nevertheless, it is a worthy runner-up due to its very high-quality academics and research. In terms of selection rate and academic quality, a comparable school is the University of Florida, which PrepScholar ranks as one of the top “Public Ivies” in the country.
BU will likely rise among the ranks and become increasingly selective over time.
Requirements & Admission Tips
What does it take to get accepted at Binghamton? BU is not a “safety school.” As we have seen, it is quite selective, though not as exclusive as some other prestigious public universities in the country. Overall, admitted applicants are academically solid and well-rounded individuals with a demonstrated passion for learning and leadership.
According to College Vine, New York state residents are given preferential treatment by the admissions committee. But do not let this deter you from applying to become a Bearcat. While a majority of BU students hail from New York, out-of-state students and international students find a home here.
Given the school’s selectivity, it is not surprising that the applicant pool is quite competitive. In 2020, over half of the admitted applicants had an overall high school GPA of 3.75 or higher and combined SAT scores between 1280-1440, on average. The ACT score range for those who matriculated in 2020 was 29-32. The school prides itself in having a socially engaged student body, embodying great leadership qualities. With that said, impressive SAT scores and a high GPA will not be enough to get you into BU. It is crucial that you highlight other aspects of your profile, such as interests, extra-curriculars, and community involvement.
The achievements of Bearcat alumni span a wide variety of fields. Notable alumni include political commentator Dave Rubin and television host, Sunni Hostin. Actor, comedian, and television writer Paul Reiser is another famous BU alumnus, starring in the critically acclaimed Stranger Things.
BU alumni’s accomplishments are not limited to television and entertainment. Alumni are as accomplished in athletics as they are in television. A notable Bearcat who is accomplished in professional sports is Jake Keegan, a soccer player who played NCAA Division 1 soccer as an undergraduate. According to Wikipedia, Keegan was BU’s all-time leading division goal scorer. Keegan has garnered numerous professional honors.
In the field of medical research and innovative entrepreneurship is Dr. Mona Jhaveri, a biotech scientist and entrepreneur known for her unique contributions to cancer research. In 2001, she earned the SPORE Fellowship Award for Breast Cancer Research and the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award in 2008. Dr. Javeri appeared in the 2018 SXSW lineup for her entrepreneurial work.
BU faculty are top-notch educators and researchers, with an ever-expanding list of accomplishments. Some of the most famous names that jump out include David Sloan Wilson, Immanuel Wallerstein, and M. Stanley Whittingham.
David Sloan Wilson is a Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology and an internationally renowned evolutionary biologist. His notable contribution to the field is the multilevel selection theory, which proposes that evolutionary adaptations can occur on a group level. One of Dr. Wilson’s most unique publications is the book Darwin’s Cathedral, in which he argues that religion is a multilevel adaptation. He is a founder of the interdisciplinary Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program at BU.
Dr. Immanuel Wallerstein was among the most prolific scholars at BU. He developed a new framework within the field of sociology, the world-systems theory. According to this theory, the modern world is dominated by a capitalist economic core that serves as how developed countries control developing countries.
BU counts a recent Nobel Prize laureate among its faculty. M. Stanley Whittingham was the recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for the development of lithium-ion batteries. This rechargeable battery has found its way into many of our everyday devices such as mobile phones and laptops.
Similar Schools & Ranking
With world-famous alumni and Nobel prize-winning faculty, how does BU compare to other schools?
BU ranks within the top 100 list of “National Universities,” on the latest edition of the US News & World Report. USNWR has also given the school a prominent place on its list of top public schools in the nation, ranking it at #34 for the current year. Niche.com assigns BU even higher marks, giving the school an overall grade of A- and an A in multiple categories, specifically in academics, diversity, value, and social life.
Rankings for schools overall often differ from the rankings of programs and departments within the school. To be sure, BU is an impressive school overall. However, it turns out that it boasts some of the best programs across the country. Case in point, BU’s accounting program, housed in the School of Management, was ranked by Discover Accounting as the 2nd best in the nation! The Nursing program was ranked as the 3rd best in the state of New York.
BU is often compared to its other SUNY counterparts, such as Stony Brook and SUNY Buffalo. SUNY schools are also compared to schools within the City University of New York (CUNY systems). Both SUNY and CUNY schools are noted for high levels of academic achievement and high caliber faculty.
Tuition & Scholarships
You can expect to graduate with no debt or less debt than the national average. BU consistently ranks at the top for best value public universities, offering rigorous education at a reasonable price and a high return on investment.
In-state students can expect to pay around $27k a year for tuition, fees, room, and board. As with many public schools, the price gap between in-state and out-of-state students can be wide. Out-of-state and international students can expect to pay between $44k-46k a year. That is still significantly less than what you would pay at a four-year private college.
Thankfully, BU offers competitive merit-based scholarships to domestic and international students to offset much, if not all, of the costs of attendance. Students with exceptional records of academic achievement are considered for three four-year scholarships: President’s Scholarship, Provost’s Scholarship, and Dean’s Scholarship.
The university offers a slew of other scholarships, many of which are awarded to students in specific disciplines and have varying eligibility requirements.
Residents of NYS from families who make less than $125K a year can qualify for an Excelsior Scholarship.
Is Binghamton University Right For You?
We cannot understate the importance of this question. A school might have everything you’re looking for: a robust social life, stellar academics, and a great location. A school that looks great on paper may not be an excellent fit for you in real life. With that in mind, what kinds of students thrive at BU?
First, BU is a large school with an undergraduate population of roughly 14k students. The school has a large number of academic offerings and over 450+ clubs and organizations to choose from. There are many ways to become actively involved in campus life, and you are free to be yourself and find individuals who share your interests.
According to College Factual, BU is quite diverse, with roughly 46% of students representing non-white groups. This is way above the national average. Though it is quite ethnically and culturally diverse, it is not very geographically diverse. In fact, close to 80% of students are from New York, mostly from NYC or counties near NYC. This by no means detracts from the quality of the school or the vibrancy of its social life.
BU students are academically talented and love to be actively involved in campus life. Everyone can find their niche.
In sum, if you love the idea of meeting students from a variety of backgrounds, love to work hard, and envision an active campus life, you will find a home at BU. Current and former students describe their classmates as bright, accepting, and down-to-earth.