New York University, aka NYU is one of the topmost prestigious universities, not just in the United States of America, but the whole world. Some of its fortes are a central location in the greatest city on Earth, massive financial and infrastructural resources, access to one of the world’s best talent pools, and an intellectual network that spans all corners of the globe. 

Consequently, getting into this distinguished university is no easy task, with it having an extremely low acceptance rate of 16% – and this acceptance rate only drops lower each year. Along with the Common Application, NYU also demands a supplemental essay – known colloquially as the ‘Why NYU essay.’ 

In this writeup, we will explore the various unique features of NYU, and also give tips to cracking the Why NYU essay,so keep reading to have all your questions about the NYU admissions process answered. 

WHAT IS NYU KNOWN FOR?

New York University, founded in 1831 and a member of the Association of American Universities, is the largest private university in the United States of America. It has a student population of approximately 50,000, and spread across 17 schools and divisions. 

It’s tuition and fees amounts to approximately $53,308. It does not have a campus, instead it’s infrastructure blends seamlessly with the New York cityscape, making this university certainly very unique.

Students of NYU are guaranteed housing for all 4 years in one of its many residential halls throughout the city. However, many upperclassmen often choose to live off campus in apartments across the city. The university also has an active Greek life, having over 30 fraternity and sorority chapters. 

It also has more than 300 student organizations, such as the WNYU ( the student radio station, which streams online, as well as broadcasts on a local FM Channel to the university’s community).

Besides offering over 150 undergraduate majors in many areas of study, NYU is also known for offering individualized study, which lets you customize your course to fit your needs. This is a burning need in this modern era of specialization and automation – along with this there are also opportunities for double majors, minors, dual degrees and internships.

NYU is divided into a number of schools and colleges, the largest of which is the College of Arts and Sciences. For those interested in Drama or Film, the Tisch School of Arts is one of the best options in the world, offering both undergraduate and graduate programs in dance, dramatic writing, acting, film, television and more; in fact some of the famous alumni of Tisch School of Arts include Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee. All the other colleges under NYU are also highly ranked in their fields.

The colleges under NYU’s umbrella are: 

  • College of Arts & Science
  • School of Law
  • School of Medicine
  • Tandon School of Engineering
  • College of Dentistry
  • Meyers College of Nursing
  • Graduate School of Arts & Science
  • Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development
  • Leonard N. Stern School of Business
  • Institute of Fine Arts
  • School of Professional Studies
  • Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
  • Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
  • Silver School of Social Work
  • Tisch School of the Arts
  • Gallatin School of Individualized Study
  • Liberal Studies Core Program
  • Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
  • College of Global Public Health
  • New York University Abu Dhabi
  • New York University Shanghai

Each of the divisions at NYU’s main New York Campus are renowned in their respective fields, not to mention that apart from this. NYU has 2 branch campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. It also has study-away sites in Berlin, Germany; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Florence, Italy; Accra, Ghana; London, United Kingdom; Madrid, Spain; Paris, France; Tel Aviv, Israel; Prague, Czechia; Sydney, Australia; and Washington DC, US. 

Each of these subsidiary sites maintain the same level of quality and professionalism as the core campus, and this global distribution and reach has helped to spread the fame and renown of NYU all over the globe. But clearing some of these courses might not be easy. To get professional help with problem areas, click here. 

IS NYU A GOOD UNIVERSITY?

Located in the heart of New York, NYU is a selective and prestigious private research university whose campus is intertwined with the city. 

Instead of being a traditional campus, its buildings and lifestyle are integrated around Washington Square Park – to such an extent that it can be tough to tell where the university ends and the city begins. This makes it the epitome of an urban campus – in one of the most thriving, cosmopolitan and sought-after cities in the world. 

Besides its main campus in New York, NYU also has two other degree granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai – two other highly premier world cities. In addition, it has satellite campuses in London, Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv, Sydney and many more. 

This access to global locations, which provide opportunities for a truly global education, along with the ease of studying abroad while under the larger intellectual ambit of NYU make it highly desirable and prestigious. 

NYU offers over 230 areas of study, along with access to many centers and institutes – including an Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Institute for Policy Integrity, not to mention proximity to such hallowed institutions as Wall Street and the United Nations – that are accessible to undergraduates for both academics and research. 

As we can see, the school’s amazing location, along with its tremendous resources has made getting into NYU a highly prestigious and difficult task; in fact, in the admissions cycle for the year 2018 – 2019, NYU received over 84,000 applications, and accepted only 12,307, which translates to an acceptance rate of just 16% and a median SAT score of 1480 (which is the most selective NYU has ever been.) The median starting salary of NYU alumni is $59,100!

Thus, we can safely conclude that NYU is not just a good university, it is one of the best in America and the world. In fact, New York University’s ranking in the 2020 edition of The Best Colleges & National Universities is #29, which is extremely high. 

DOES NYU OFFER SCHOLARSHIPS?

Indeed, New York University offers and recognises a wide variety of scholarship options, including programs for new students, current NYU undergraduates, and scholarships from outside sources. In addition, the NYU schools and colleges offer their own scholarships too. 

NYU tries to consider both the academic merit and individual financial need of each applicant during the review process, and thus to this end, all undergraduate applicants to NYU are automatically considered for merit based scholarship, subject to the on time submission of the admissions application and related documents.

It is important to remember that only 1-2% of all undergraduate scholarships are based solely on merit – a majority of undergraduate scholarships provided by NYU are based on a combination of need and merit, and thus require filing of all financial aid applications by the given deadline. 

Also note that each round of admissions has its own specific deadline for aid applications, and so it is absolutely imperative that you file all necessary applications and submit all relevant documents before the deadline if you want to be considered for financial aid. It is recommended that you complete all the necessary paperwork well before the deadline to be on the safe side. 

NYU’s process for first-year applicants to apply for need-based scholarships and grants is quite straightforward. Find below the required steps:

PROCESS FOR APPLYING TO NYU SCHOLARSHIPS

If you are either a US citizen, a US permanent resident, or an eligible non-citizen, you will be automatically considered if you complete the following by the due date:

  • Common Application
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)*
  • College Board’s CSS Profile

* Applicant applying ONLY to NYU Abu Dhabi do not need to complete the FAFSA

If you are an international student, you will need to complete the following:

  • Common Application
  • CSS Profile*

*CSS Profile not required for Chinese nationals applying to NYU Shanghai and UAE nationals applying to NYU Abu Dhabi.

If you are an undocumented student, you need to complete the following:

  • Common Application
  • CSS Profile
  • Undocumented Student Financial Aid Application

All students are considered for merit-based scholarships that are NOT dependent on demonstrated financial need upon successful submission of the Common Application.

LIST OF NYU SCHOLARSHIPS

Here is a table detailing the various scholarships offered by NYU and its subsidiaries, along with the relevant information: 

NAMETYPEOFFERED BYDETAILS
AnBryce ScholarshipNeedNYUFor first generation in family to attend college
Arch ScholarshipNeedNYURenewable over 4 years of undergraduate study
Lewis Rudin City ScholarshipMeritNYUSelected from public high schools in New York City
Martin Luther King Jr. ScholarshipMeritNYUOutstanding achievement and community service
Phi Theta Kappa ScholarshipMeritNYUCommunity College transfer students who are members of Phi Theta Kappa
Yellow Ribbon ScholarshipNeedNYUFor military or veteran students to supplement GI Bill
Global Pathways ScholarshipNeedNYUFor current students, to help with costs of studying away in overseas campuses.
P.O.I.S.E. ScholarsNeedCollege of Arts & ScienceFor Borough of Manhattan community college students to pursue STEM fields
Presidential Honors Scholars MeritCollege of Arts & ScienceFor meritorious student leaders who are expected to get honours and study abroad part-time 
Women in Science ProgramMeritCollege of Arts & ScienceFor meritorious women interested in a career in science or math research
Gallatin ScholarsNeedGallatin SchoolCarefully planned program of cultural and intellectual activities, and study trips abroad
Meyers Nursing ScholarsNeedRory Meyers CollegeFor two incoming students who are the first generation in their family to attend college
University Scholars ProgramNeedRory Meyers CollegeProgram dedicated to exploring New York City and taking full advantage of its intellectual resources
Community College Transfer Opportunity SilverNeedSilver SchoolFor qualified students transferring from community colleges who were nominated by their dean, professor or counsellor 
Steinhardt ScholarsMerit Steinhardt SchoolHonours program to promote academic excellence and leadership
Community College Transfer Opportunity

Steinhardt

MeritSteinhardt SchoolFor qualified students transferring from community colleges who were nominated by their dean, professor or counsellor 
Steinhardt Education ScholarshipMeritSteinhardt SchoolFor qualified freshmen and transfer students who are majoring in education
Steinhardt Artistic ScholarshipMeritSteinhardt SchoolFor entering freshmen who show exceptional promise in music or studio art
Gateway Mathematics Education ScholarshipNeedSteinhardt SchoolFor community college transfer students intending to become mathematics teachers in New York City
NYU Breakthrough Leadership ScholarsNeedStern SchoolTo equip full-need students with the skills and relations to excel academically and professionally
Advancement for Women in Business ScholarshipNeedStern SchoolQualified undergraduates who possess a deep and abiding commitment to women in business
Community College Transfer Opportunity

Stern 

NeedStern SchoolFor qualified students transferring from community colleges who were nominated by their dean, professor or counsellor 
Dean’s ScholarshipNeedStern SchoolOne meritorious and needy undergraduate
Martin Cohen ScholarshipNeedStern SchoolTwo transfer students who completed 2 years at the City University of New York
Pamela Craig ScholarshipMerit Stern SchoolSocioeconomically disadvantaged students who have completed 2 years of community college
Philip & Cheryl Milstein Opportunity ScholarshipNeedStern SchoolFull cost of attendance for undergraduates from the New York metropolitan area
Stern New York City ScholarshipNeedStern SchoolFull cost of attendance for qualified freshers coming from high schools in New York City
Nicholas & Angelica Romanelli Endowed ScholarshipNeed+ MeritTandon SchoolFor one qualified and needy fresher who demonstrates a connection to Italy

Both the NYU Campuses at Abu Dhabi and Shanghai also offer their own scholarship programs. 

In addition to the gift aid programs enumerated above, NYU also honors private scholarships and grants from external agencies or organizations. Some good sources to explore are employers, unions, professional organizations, and community and special interest groups. Keep in mind that these scholarships and the information presented by such services are not verified or endorsed by NYU. 

You must notify the Office of Financial Aid if you receive financial aid from any outside organization. If you have been awarded an external scholarship, NYU may be required to reduce the amount of any loan you were initially allocated, allowing you to apply your scholarship or grant to the cost of attending NYU. 

DOES NYU REQUIRE AN ESSAY?

There are several admissions options offered by NYU, including binding Early Decision I (deadline is November 1st) and Early Decision II (deadline is January 1st), along with non-binding Regular Decision (deadline is also January 1st). In addition to the main Common Application essay, NYU also requires one supplemental essay response. (often referred to as the Why NYU essay.)

NYU’s terrific location, along with its long-held ranking as one of the USA’s leading universities, makes admission in NYU quite a challenging and daunting task, so challenging, in fact, that admission rates in the last year dropped to an all-time low, an extraordinary 9% less than the previous year cycle. 

This ultra-competitive environment makes it all the more necessary for any prospective student to ensure they stand out from the crowd and get noticed, and this is where the Why NYU essay can work in your favour as a perfect vehicle to get yourself noticed – provided it is written properly. Keep reading to learn how to write a great ‘Why NYU’ essay that will give your admission chances a boost by showing you in the best possible light. 

You should keep in mind that the admissions committee is already well aware of your grades, test scores, letters of recommendation, honors, awards, extracurricular activities, and whatever else you may have written about in your Common Application essay. So instead seize this chance to share your passion and interest for NYU! 

Instead of repeating information you already shared in your main essay, use the ‘Why NYU’ essay to persuade the admissions committee that NYU is the best fit for you, and that you are the best fit for NYU. Try convincing the committee how you would benefit from studying at NYU, and how NYU would benefit from having you as a student. 

NYU ESSAY PROMPT

Here is the exact verbatim prompt for the ‘Why NYU essay’

“ We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. We are particularly interested in knowing what motivated you to apply to NYU, and, more specifically, why you have applied or expressed interest in a particular campus, school, college, program, and/or area of study? If you have applied to more than one, please tell us why you are interested in each of the campuses, schools, colleges, or programs to which you have applied. You may be focused or undecided, or simply open to the options within NYU’s global network; regardless, we want to understand – Why NYU? <400 words maximum>”

At first glance, this supplemental essay prompt can seem quite daunting but don’t be intimidated. The essay prompt is lengthy with a lot of details and questions, and with you only having 400 words to address all points and answer all questions, it is imperative for you to be concise and direct. Read the prompt a couple of times first – understand the underlying information they want to know. 

The essay prompt itself provides you with a lot of details to help you brainstorm your response. Many of your points will overlap, and will help you get to the core of why NYU is the best place for you to pursue your studies and other interests. 

First and foremost, this essay prompt is asking you why you are a good match for NYU- so instead of writing 400 words about the prime location and prestige of the university (which is what most others will also do), pay attention to how the essay prompt practically begs for specificity. What is being expected is a response that is specific to you and specific to NYU. 

HINTS FOR THE WHY NYU ESSAY

Here’s a helpful hint: If you can substitute the name of some other college for every instance where you have written ‘NYU’, then it is highly probable that your essay isn’t up to the mark – because it isn’t specific enough. The good news is that the essay prompt itself offers myriad ideas for how you can achieve that required specificity: campus, school, college, program and area of study. Lets break down each of these one by one: 

Campus:

NYU has 3 degree granting campuses, each in a world class city – New York, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. Applicants can choose to apply specifically to one of them, or rank them in preferred order.

If you are applying to a specific campus, what  is the reason? What made you decide to choose one location over the others? What was the motivation and draws. Try to include reasons specific to that campus location. For example – students of Arabic or Mandarin have a good reason to apply to the campuses at Abu Dhabi or Shanghai respectively. 

There are scores of reasons why someone would choose one of these campus locations over the others, including culture, networking opportunities, experience or city-specific institutions, so go ahead and list all your reasons. 

College:

On the New York campus, NYU several schools and colleges, giving potential students a broad range of options for their undergraduate studies. Even those students who are undecided about their major must pick a specific school or college to apply to. See above for the options.

Picking a specific school to apply to is akin to deciding which field of study you want to build your career in. Other things you can talk about to clarify your college choice is the specific faculty, facilities or events offered by that school, so your research well! 

Course:

The most important choice –  not just for your admission to NYU, but also for the rest of your life! So make sure you choose wisely! Elaborate on what led you to this choice – any specific experiences, interests or hobbies should be included. Also discuss what your future plans in that field are. But mind the 400 word limit! 

SOME FINAL WORDS OF ADVICE

To tie all these disparate points together into one 400 word ‘Why NYU essay’, you will need a focal point. Take a long, hard look at the rest of your application, and try to pinpoint what’s missing and what you should emphasize. Whatever that focus is that you are highlighting, how does it connect to NYU? That is the point you will want to emphasize. 

Some more general tips to help you out:

  • Properly go through the descriptions of the different schools and programs, so this will help you in making your choice, as well as finding specific details to talk about in your essay.
  • Read through your course catalog, and look up professors who work in the department you’re interested in as this will showcase your research and awareness. 
  • Find out if there are any NYU-specific extracurricular activities or traditions that particularly appeal to you – and explain why they matter to you.
  • Avoid talking about things like NYU’s reputation or the appeal of New York City – invariably most applications will mention these, and you want to stand out. 
  • While your essay should make it clear why you want to attend NYU, also remember that other parts of your application (like your test scores, letters of recommendation and personal statement) are also critical factors. So don’t agonize for weeks over it – you just need to show that you’ve done your research, and are clear about your reasons for why NYU is the place for you.
  • Remember to adhere to the word limit – conciseness is important too!

SOME FINAL TIPS

Remember that NYU will try to assemble a first year class that accurately represents regional, global and cultural diversity. Differences in identities and backgrounds are valued, so don’t undersell yourself and your personal story. Each and every applicant has something unique to offer to enrich NYU, so talk about how you might utilize this opportunity to grow, not just as a person, but also as a citizen of the world. NYU wants to know what they will gain from letting you in, so make them an offer they can’t refuse!

Be wise and take time to relax and plan- and make sure you meet all deadlines and give yourself ample time for revisions. Consider the best way to reflect your individual identity, interests and motivations. If you would like to know more, get a look at the official NYU website.

Applying to NYU means that you will be up against some tight competition, but don’t get overwhelmed. Also remember that admission is just the beginning, as you will also have to complete the academically rigorous course that NYU offers! 

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog and found it interesting and informative. Keep visiting this space for more regular posts aimed at helping students and making their lives easier!