First Impressions: Ithaca College (NY)

Ithaca College is more than just the “other” private college in Ithaca, New York. It is also one of the best places in our country to study Accounting, Film, Communications, Marketing, Music and Theatre as well as several of the health professions. I stopped by on my way home from the Buffalo area in late July to gather First Impressions. I have also assembled a Pinterest page.

Ithaca College was founded as a music conservatory in 1892. But a visit to this campus will make you think that the school was founded in 1962 or 1972. While the original college buildings were located downtown, the Ithaca College campus has grown up the city’s South Hill over the last half century. The campus faces Cayuga Lake, opposite from Cornell. Few schools use water, light and public art to enhance the appearance of their campus better than this one. The academic facilities for the arts, communications and the health professions are among the best that you will find at any school of any size.

With around 6,200 undergraduates, but fewer than 600 graduate students, Ithaca would be considered a mid-sized school. While the majority of the college’s 98 majors are in pre-professional subjects or the performing arts, there are also excellent opportunities to combine a liberal arts major with skills-oriented courses in Business, Communications or the Health Sciences. There are also blended majors such as Integrated Marketing Communications that you will rarely see at other colleges.  Ithaca’s curriculum is more flexible than larger schools, though all students must complete a Portfolio and a Capstone project to earn their degrees.

Interestingly, while Ithaca College has over 5,000 alumni located in Ithaca or Syracuse, over 12,000 alumni are based in or around New York City. The college aids students who want to build a New York network by offering ICNYC, a semester-long program of work and study. It also offers a similar opportunity for students who want to spend a semester in Los Angeles.

Ithaca College has two downsides. For one, the community is quite isolated. You are at least an hour from Syracuse, the nearest city. While the area often appears on lists of “best college towns,” it might not be the best place for students who are not into the outdoors or would greatly miss access to city life. The second is that the college is quite expensive, unless you can qualify for one of the more generous scholarships.

Report Card: Ithaca College

  • Four-Year/Six-Year Graduation Rates: B/B
  • Freshman Retention: B
  • Costs: B
  • Curriculum: A
  • Community: B+
  • Comforts: B+
  • Connections: B+ (A for New York City and New York State)

Check out my First Impressions of Ithaca College!

Check out my Ithaca College Pinterest Page!

Visiting colleges? Daytripper University’s travel guides highlight the best restaurants and hotels as well as the most interesting attractions near Ithaca College. Founded by Liora Yalof and Bonnie Klein and relying on a network of parents, locals and current students, this comprehensive website features guides to over 100 campuses and resources to help you navigate the college process.

Need help building your college list, and comparing schools? Contact me at or call me at 609-406-0062. 

Sharing is caring!