The Top 10 East Coast Universities On the Rise

Too often, we hear the same names for prominent universities showing up again and again on college ranking lists.

The Ivy League universities, Stanford, MIT, and CalTech are household names in higher education. Indeed, these schools are fantastic, producing graduates and leaders into the highest ranks of education.

However, thousands of colleges and universities exist throughout the country and the east coast is no exception.

The east coast is a mecca of higher education. There are more than 250 colleges in New England alone, and many more throughout the New York Tri-State area and southern east coast states like Florida and Georgia.

Today, we talk about 10 of the best east coast universities on the rise. Within the last two decades, these schools have shown a tremendous commitment towards furthering their education, facilities, resources, and faculty appointments.

Here are our picks for the top ten east coast universities on the rise.  


10. William Paterson University (Wayne, NJ)

photo via Wikimedia Commons

Starting our list is a rural New Jersey college that has won many prestigious awards in recent years for its commitment to education. Perhaps its highest-rising program is the Cotsakos College of Business, which has won numerous awards in the last decade. These awards include a listing in the Princeton Review’s Best 295 Business Schools guide, six consecutive listings in Financial Planning Magazine as a top school for financial planners, and recognition in the List of Top University Sales Programs by the Sales Education Foundation of Dayton.

William Paterson has showcased an exemplary commitment to environmental consciousness. Successful sustainable initiatives include a solar panel installation that ranks it among the nation’s top 10 colleges. Within the last decade, William Paterson was named a finalist by Second Nature for sustainability leadership.

William Paterson’s commitment to veteran education is admirable. With over 150 veterans and active service students on campus, William Paterson has been honored as a military-friendly school.


9. Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY)

photo by Paul Berendsen via Wikimedia Commons

Although Hofstra is best known for hosting presidential debates, this university’s commitment to raising the bar is admirable. 

In 2008, which is recent in college university history timelines, Hofstra founded the Zucker School of Medicine, also called the Northwell School of Medicine. By 2019, the school had already ranked among the top 75 medical programs in the entire country by US News.  

Speaking of US News, they also awarded Hofstra a top-35 designation for its undergraduate engineering program

Alumni of Hofstra include Francis Ford Coppola, one of the greatest film directors of all time, David Paterson, the former Governor of New York, and beloved actor Christopher Walken.


8. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (Wilmington, NC)

photo via Wikimedia Commons

Once a junior college, UNC-Wilmington is now a prestigious research institution ranked by the Carnegie Classification as “R2: Doctoral Research Universities – High Research Activity.” It is among the top 5% of schools in the country with its R2 designation.

UNC-Wilmington’s admissions standards have increasingly grown higher and higher. The average incoming student in 2018 had a high school GPA of 4.13! This indicates that the typical student, graded on a weighted average, are A students.

In 2021, UNC-Wilmington will open a new film studies building on campus, strengthening its cinema and entertainment program. UNC-Wilmington does have a strong film program already; they are home to a 150,000(!) square foot studio lot, called EUE/Screen Gems, dedicated to media production.

UNC-Wilmington has recently launched an entrepreneurship initiative in partnership with nearby North Carolina A&T University. 

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