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College Ready Resources: Home


This LibGuide offers several resources for all college ready students who want to start college careers in the United States. College ready adults among the refugee population in Rochester will find this resource especially pertinent.

U.S. Colleges and Universities

Applying to Colleges and Universities

Understanding How They Differ

One of the most important initial steps in figuring out where and how to attend a college is to understand the different categories and types of higher institutions.   Below is a simplified and brief definition and description of the major types of higher education institutes.   

4 year college: This popular type of institution is what most people refer to when they use the word “college” and confers “Bachelors” degrees—a BA for non-science degrees or a BS for a science oriented degree.  These schools are almost always harder to get admitted to than a 2 year, community college—see below.

Q. What is the difference between a college and a university? A university not only offers BA/BS degrees, but also includes “graduate schools” for students that want to further their education and skills with “masters degrees” (MA) or PhDs. Normally, to be admitted to a masters program you must already have earned a BA or BS degree.

Examples of 4 year colleges and Universities in Rochester include:  Nazareth, St. John Fisher, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester

2 year college: These institutions offer “Associates”  or AA degrees. Most 2 year institutions or “community colleges” as they are typically called, will admit virtually anyone that applies. These are geared for students who either feel they are not yet prepared for the greater rigor of studies of a 4 year degree granting institution, or for those who want a more technical based career that does not require a BA or BS. Many students who obtain their AA degree continue on to a 4 year college to complete their studies and get their Bachelors degree.

Example of a 2 year college in Rochester: Monroe Community College

Religious School. There are some institutions that have either a formal or more just a traditional or historical association with a religious affiliation.

Example of a Religious School in Rochester: Roberts Wesleyan University

Alternative School. Some institutes of higher education offers special types of programs geared for students with more specific needs. So, for example, some may offer flexible schedules for working adults, including the ability to take most classes online.

Example of an Alternative School in Rochester: Empire State University

Public vs. Private vs. For-Profit

Another distinction you will likely hear about are colleges that are public, private, for-profit or online. Here’s what you need to know about the differences. Public colleges and universities are financially supported and run by the government. This means that typically the tuition is lower too. In New York, the major public higher education institutes are called “SUNY” schools, which stands for “State University of New York” and there are many throughout the state. In the Rochester area, for example, there is SUNY Brockport and SUNY Geneseo. Private colleges and universities operate independently from the government and do not receive public (taxpayer) money. They are typically more expensive than public colleges and universities. In Rochester, for example, Rochester Institute of Technology is a private institution. For-profit colleges.  are established as a money making business venture and work to make a profit for its owners. An example of a for-profit college in Rochester is the technical institute Bryant & Stratton

Then there are Online Universities. Many colleges offer students the ability to take one or more classes online to provide flexibility of scheduling. But you may also hear about fully online universities like the University of Phoenix. These institutions permit anyone no matter where they live to take classes and even earn degrees completely online.  Be sure to research the reputation of these institutions carefully, since while many are legitimate and perfectly fine, others are less scrupulous. You can check the “accreditation” of the institution, which means that a key state and/or professional bodies have reviewed and approved the school.

Rochester - Colleges and Universities

 Colleges and Universities in Rochester


Empire State College
Rochester, NY 14609

Undergraduate Enrollment: 11,000; 82% acceptance rate

SUNY Empire State College was created to provide flexible education options for students, particularly adults, with busy schedules due to work and family responsibilities.  Popular programs include Business/Marketing and Public Administration.

Community Colleges

Finger Lakes Community College

Canandaigua, NY

Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,500; 100% acceptance rate.

Located in Canandaigua with a satellite campus in Victor, FLCC offers more than 40 academic and certificate programs in 16 different fields. The most popular programs at FLCC are: Liberal Arts, Business/Marketing, Health Professions, and Environmental Science

Monroe Community College

Rochester, N.Y.

Undergraduate Enrollment: 16,000

MCC is the higher education destination for the majority of students graduating from the Rochester City School District. MCC offers over 90 programs and provides students with a wide variety of degree options. The school's most popular programs are: General Studies, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Nursing

4 year Colleges and Universities (General/Liberal Arts)

Nazareth College
Rochester, NY 14618

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,000; Acceptance Rate: 68%

A small private college, Nazareth offers a broad spectrum of majors in the fields of education, health and human services, math and science, business management, and the visual and performing arts. The most popular programs at Nazareth are: Education, Health Professions, Business/Marketing, Psychology, and Visual and Performing Arts.  

Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, NY

Undergraduate Enrollment: 14,000

RIT is one of the Northeast's premier tech schools- but there's a lot more to RIT than just computer science. RIT offers a wide variety of academic programs from Game Design and Development to Journalism to Economics. RIT's most popular majors are: Computer and Information Sciences, Engineering, Visual and Performing arts, Engineering Technologies, and Business/Marketing.  

St. John Fisher College
Rochester, NY

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,900; Acceptance Rate: 63%

St. John Fisher is a small, Catholic university that offers a tight-knit community feel on its campus.  The most popular majors on campus are: Business/Marketing, Education, Health Professions, and Social Sciences

SUNY: Brockport
Brockport, NY

Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,000; Acceptance Rate: 48%

SUNY Brockport offers 49 undergraduate majors, over 50 master's degree programs, and teacher certification in 26 areas.  The school's most popular majors are: Business/Marketing, Health Professions, Psychology, Security and Protective Services, Parks and Recreation, and Education.

SUNY: Geneseo
Geneseo, NY 14454

Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,000; Acceptance Rate: 53%

The State University of New York at Geneseo is a rigorous liberal arts focused college in the historic village of Geneseo, south of Rochester. Geneseo offers 39 undergraduate degrees and 21 interdisciplinary minors- with the most popular programs being: Education, Social Sciences, Biology, Business/Marketing, and Psychology

University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627

Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,200; Acceptance Rate: 36%

A selective school ranked among the nation's top 35 universities, the U of R offers a mix of liberal arts education and scientific research. The school offers 75 undergraduate major programs and 50 graduate degree programs. The most popular are: Social Sciences, Biology, Health Professions, Visual and Performing Arts, and Psychology


Roberts Wesleyan
Rochester, NY 14624

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,400; Acceptance Rate: 73%

Roberts Wesleyan is a small school with a strong Christian component.  Popular programs include: Health Professions, Business/Marketing, and Education

Technical/Career Oriented

Bryant and Stratton
Rochester, NY 14623

Enrollment: 1,000

Bryant & Stratton, a for-profit institution, offers programs in criminal justice, business, accounting, and graphic design. The most popular programs at the two campuses are: Health Professions, Business, Security and Protective Services, and Legal Professions and studies.  

For more information on colleges in the area, including a listing and description of other colleges that are within a 2 hour radius of Rochester, link to:

Social Sciences Librarian

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Joe Easterly
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