Oneonta, New York
SUNY Oneonta is a mid-size, four-year, public college offering more than 60 majors and programs on a residential campus in Central New York. The college offers small classes, loads of campus activities, and a wide variety of experiential learning opportunities that help students gain the knowledge and skills they need to prepare for successful careers and further education.
The college is known as a caring campus where people are genuinely friendly and work hard to make everyone feel at home. Three core values support SUNY Oneonta’s mission: inclusivity, service and sustainability.
Get to know SUNY Oneonta
- Campus Ministries
- Choral groups
- Concert band
- International Student Organization
- Jazz band
- Literary magazine
- Marching band
- Model UN
- Music ensembles
- Musical theatre
- Pep band
- Radio station
- Student government
- Student newspaper
- Student-run film society
- Symphony orchestra
- Television station
- First-Year Seminars and Experiences
- Common Intellectual Experiences
- Writing-Intensive Courses
- Collaborative Assignments and Projects
- Undergraduate Research
- Diversity/Global Learning
- Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning
- Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience
- Career Services
- Writing Center
- Academic Advisors
- Library Services
- Disability Services
- Multicultural Engagement Center
- Health Services
- Academic Tutors
- Financial Aid Advisors
- Peer Mentors
- Gender & Sexuality Center
“I chose Oneonta because of the way I felt when I walked on campus. It just felt like this was the right place, the program and the opportunities here—it wasn’t like a cookie cutter. I could do anything I wanted.” – Natalie Costanza ’20, media studies and music industry
SUNY Oneonta students have all kinds of opportunities to make the most of their education by taking an active role in their learning. From internships, volunteer work and research projects to study abroad, faculty-led trips, student leadership roles and club activities, there are all kinds of ways to learn by doing.
Faculty members frequently invite students to participate in research projects. For example, students in Dr. Jacqueline Bennett’s undergraduate research group helped test a green chemistry process that won Bennett a United States patent in 2014. In both 2020 and 2021, teams of student researchers working in collaboration with chemistry and biology faculty won silver medals at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. Students also do independent research on topics of their own choosing and present them each year at the annual Student Research and Creative Activity Day on campus. The college awards more than $100,000 annually in student grants to support research and travel to professional conferences.
STUDY ABROAD, INTERNSHIPS AND FACULTY-LED TRIPS
The Office of Global Education connects students with a wide range of summer, semester-long or full-year study abroad programs. The college also offers short, faculty-led field trips including a geology field course in Southern California every January, a music industry trip to the National Association of Music Merchants trade show in Los Angeles, and many more.
Students explore careers and get resume-worthy experience through internships, which are a requirement for many majors. Opportunities are available in New York City, Washington, D.C., Albany, or Los Angeles – or right in the Oneonta area through the college’s many partnerships with local businesses and nonprofit organizations.
The college offers 23 different scholarships for students who study abroad or participate in faculty-led trips. Special funds are also available to help defray travel, housing and other costs associated with off-campus internships.
Community service is a big part of the Oneonta experience. Many courses incorporate service-learning activities, and more than 20 percent of students volunteer through the Center for Social Responsibility and Community (CSRC). In the spring, the CSRC hosts its signature event, “Into the Streets,” a day of service that brings more than 600 students together with community volunteers to collaborate on projects at local schools, parks, and nonprofit organizations. In addition to volunteering, Oneonta students support a variety of causes through club activities. Even the Harry Potter Club is civic-minded, holding an annual Yule Ball to benefit “Oneonta Reading Is Fundamental,” a non-profit organization that distributes free books to elementary school children.
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Nonresident aliens: 14
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 284
White, non-Hispanic: 3,727
American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 33
Asian, non-Hispanic: 118
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 4
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 125
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 209
“At Oneonta, I learned how to collaborate and work as a team to reach a common goal. Both in theatre and at WIRE-TV, nothing is a one-person show; everyone has a part to play. The biggest thing Oneonta gave me was experience. If I wanted to learn how to be a director, they would make me a director. If I wanted to be an editor, they would have me be an editor. Because of that, I learned the skills not only to get a job, but to do the job well.” – Austin Teitelbaum ‘19, Media Studies and Theatre, working as a production assistant at the Food Network
With small class sizes, accessible faculty, and an emphasis on learning by doing, SUNY Oneonta offers many opportunities for personalized learning. Students get plenty of interaction with faculty members who are not just scholars and teachers, but also club advisers, research partners, and mentors.
First-year students are engaged in their learning before classes even begin. Faculty and peer mentors from the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department lead GEOFYRST, a six-day, pre-semester field trip exploring the geology of New York and the Northeast. Through the annual Common Read, incoming students read the same diversity-related book, which is then discussed in fall courses across several disciplines. As part of the program, the author of this book visits the campus to present the Mills Distinguished Lecture and interact with students.
Students put their learning into practice during hands-on field experiences across many disciplines. For example, every other summer, anthropology students spend a month searching for evidence of ancient hunter-gatherer communities during the Pine Lake Archeological Field School, which is offered in collaboration with neighboring Hartwick College. The Biological Field Station, which is located on the shores of Otsego Lake at the college’s Cooperstown Campus, is a learning laboratory for field research on topics such as parasitology, entomology, and lake management. Political Science and International Studies students compete each year at the National Model UN event in New York City, and Economics students put their knowledge of economic policy to the test at the annual College Fed Challenge competition.
Under the mentorship of faculty members, students have a variety of opportunities to apply their learning through co-curricular clubs. For example, the Mask & Hammer theatre club produces two student-directed shows each year; art students mount solo and group exhibitions in the college’s art galleries; student and faculty musicians practice and perform together in a variety of ensembles; and the WIRE-TV club produces weekly programming and live-streams of college events.
SPECIAL STUDY OPTIONS
English as a Second Language (ESL)
Liberal arts/career combination
Teacher certification program
“Hands-down, one of my best experiences at SUNY Oneonta has been being part of the Student Association. It has given me such a great opportunity to meet people and have conversations with professors and administrators and learn things about the college I never would have known otherwise. Being part of SA has really made me love this campus and helped me get involved after COVID. I have met most of my friends through SA. It’s something I’m really excited about. If I had to give one piece of advice to students, it would be to get involved. Just joining one club can go a long way in meeting people and finding your place here.” – Amelia Verderosa ’24, Human Development and Family Studies
There’s plenty to do on campus when classes are over! SUNY Oneonta offers hundreds of hours of entertainment, athletic events, and social programming every semester. And with more than 150 student clubs and organizations—ranging from the A/C Activities Council to the Young Americans for Liberty—there’s an activity for every interest.
Students are involved in a variety of activities to protect the natural environment. Several clubs have a sustainability focus, and students work as volunteers at the Red Closet Thrift Shop on campus, which raises money for scholarships awarded to students interested in sustainability.. Each year around Earth Day, the college’s Green Dragon Week features activities such as film screenings, speakers, clothing swaps, a local food dinner, bicycle repair stations, and composting demonstrations.
LEADERSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Through the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program, students have the opportunity to achieve recognition in three leadership levels (silver, gold, and platinum). Each level requires a mix of programmatic and experiential leadership opportunities. More than a dozen clubs have a multicultural- or diversity-related focus, and a variety of programming—including speakers, films, readings, plays, festivals, and leadership conferences—is offered each semester. The college’s Center for Racial Justice and Inclusive Excellence is a gathering place and home to an array of social and academic events.
Student scholars from throughout New York state and across the country come to Oneonta for the annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, Undergraduate Political Science Conference, and New Critics Literature and Composition Conference. All three conferences are organized by students and feature keynote speakers in addition to student presenters and panelists. Students also organize the annual SUNY Pride Conference, which brings students, faculty, and staff from SUNY campuses throughout the state to Oneonta for a weekend of workshops and activities. The conference aims to create a more inclusive SUNY environment through education, collaboration, and networking.
- Pass Through the Pillars: New students officially join the “Oney” family at the “Pass Through the Pillars” event on the night before fall classes begin. After donning red T-shirts and gathering for a class photo, the students walk through the pillars of Old Main, the college’s first building, to the beat of the Drag’n Rolls Drumline. Faculty, staff, and students gather near the pillars to clap, cheer, and high-five the new students as they make their way down to the quad. The day before graduation, SUNY Oneonta seniors pass through those same pillars in the opposite direction, and the class president leads a champagne toast to their success.
- Red Day: The college celebrates school spirit in style on the first Friday of the school year. Decked out in red, students, faculty, and staff gather on the academic quad for food, giveaways, carnival activities, and photos with Red the Dragon, the college mascot.
- O-Fest: One of the most popular social events at SUNY Oneonta is O-Fest, a spring carnival and concert..Past headliners for the concert have included Blues Traveler, Pitbull, MacMiller, Panic! at the Disco and Flo Rida.
SUNY Oneonta is located in Oneonta, New York, a safe, friendly city known for its small-town ambiance and genuine sense of community. The college’s 250-acre campus overlooks the scenic Susquehanna River Valley, about halfway between Albany and Binghamton and 3.5 hours from New York City. On nearby Otsego Lake in Cooperstown—home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum—the college maintains a complex that houses its Biological Field Station and graduate program in History Museum Studies.
The Oneonta Red Dragons compete at the NCAA Division III level in the State University of New York Athletic Conference and the Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference.
Oneonta has 21 varsity sports:
- 10 men’s-–baseball, basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field, and wrestling
- 11 women’s–-basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field, and volleyball
Red the Dragon is the college mascot.
Percentage of students that live on campus.
First-time, first-year (freshman) students: 95%
Apartments for single students
Special housing for disabled students
Special housing for international students
“I’m very excited and happy to be fulfilling my goal of becoming an NYPD officer! And it’s all thanks to the experience I got at Oneonta in criminal justice classes and clubs. The Criminal Justice program prepared me for the law enforcement field by giving me real-life experience through ride-alongs with the Otsego County Deputy Sheriffs, in which I got to see the many types of interactions between officers and civilians. I also learned the different processes and steps in how to arrest, process, arraign and book a suspected criminal. I even learned how to handle and deal with potential active shooter threats through the Oneonta Criminal Justice Club and Delhi Police Department, another great asset to my career.” – Jamal Wiltshire ’18, NYPD officer
PREPARING STUDENTS FOR SUCCESS
At 74.3%, the college’s six-year graduation rate is well above the national average for public institutions. SUNY Oneonta students are well prepared for life after college. According to a survey of 2021 graduates six months after graduation, 81% were employed and/or continuing their education, and 84% said their current occupation was related to their SUNY Oneonta major.
SUNY Oneonta’s strong alumni network helps students find and land jobs. Each year, successful alumni return to campus to speak to classes and share their career experience and advice with students.Through the college’s Campus to Careers programs, students interested in theatre, business, music industry and political science travel to New York City or Washington, D.C., to network with successful alumni at their places of business.
Students participate in service-learning activities close to campus and further afield. Recent projects have ranged from wetlands restoration in New Orleans to work with poor children in Ecuador. In the Human Ecology Department, event-planning students have collaborated with food and restaurant administration majors to put on fundraising dinners for college scholarships and local charities.
SUNY Oneonta welcomes a freshman class of over 1,000 students each year. The college seeks well-rounded applicants who show the potential to succeed academically and the desire to get involved in the campus community. SUNY Oneonta is now test optional, which means the college will consider test scores if submitted, but they aren’t required for students applying for admission in Spring or Fall 2023.Successful applicants will have completed four units of English and social studies, and three to four units of math, science and the same foreign language during high school. All students wishing to declare education as a major will need a grade-point average of at least 3.0 or they must rank in the top 30 percent of their high school graduating class.
Rigor of secondary school record | Academic GPA
Application Essay | Recommendation(s) | Talent/ability
Character/personal qualities | Volunteer work | Work experience
Class rank | Standardized test scores | Interview | Extracurricular activities
First generation | Racial/ethnic status | Level of applicant’s interest
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
25th Percentile: 485 | 75th Percentile: 579
25th Percentile: 474 | 75th Percentile: 578
25th Percentile: 18 | 75th Percentile: 26
Tuition & Cost
Tuition (in-state): $7,070
Tuition (out-of-state): $16,980
Room & Board: $14,580
SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID
SUNY Oneonta is committed to offering students an excellent college experience at an affordable price. In 2020-21, 84% of first-year students and 79% of all undergraduate students received financial assistance, and on average, 2020 SUNY Oneonta graduates had $3,800 less student loan debt than the national average.
SUNY Oneonta awarded $5.7 million in scholarships in 2020-21. Qualified applicants are automatically considered for merit and need-based scholarships, which are awarded during the application review process. Funds are limited, and priority is given to students who complete their application, with all required supporting documentation, by Jan. 15.