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How to Write the NYU Essays 2022-2023

 

New York University asks all applicants to answer one prompt about what makes them unique and how they’ll contribute to the NYU community. Applicants to the Tisch School of the Arts will be required to submit two additional essays, and applicants to the MLK Scholars Program are invited to submit one additional essay.

 

As a highly competitive school, NYU gets thousands of applicants each year with the same GPAs and test scores. Admissions officers place a large weight on essays as one of the chief ways of truly getting to know applicants and deciding what students they want at their school. In this post, we’ll share how you can write essays worthy of admission to a school like NYU.

 

Read this NYU essay example to inspire your writing.

 

New York University Supplemental Essay Prompts

All Applicants

 

NYU was founded on the belief that a student’s identity should not dictate the ability for them to access higher education. That sense of opportunity for all students, of all backgrounds, remains a part of who we are today and a critical part of what makes us a world class university. Our community embraces diversity, in all its forms, as a cornerstone of the NYU experience.

 

We would like to better understand how your experiences would help us to shape and grow our diverse community. Please respond in 250 words or less.

 

Tisch School of the Arts – Cinema Studies Major

 

Prompt 1: An essay on a film, director, or any other film-related topic that you choose. (Page limit: 5-10 pages)

 

Prompt 2: A statement that answers the following questions: Have you taken any cinema-related classes? What areas of cinema studies most interest you (film genres, directors, theory, etc.)? What are your career aspirations (film journalism/criticism, film curating, filmmaking, etc.)? (Page limit: 1 page)

 

MLK Scholars Program

 

In what ways have you enacted change in your community and what has been your motivation for doing so? This can include enacting change globally, locally, or within your family. (200 words, optional)

 

All Applicants

 

NYU was founded on the belief that a student’s identity should not dictate the ability for them to access higher education. That sense of opportunity for all students, of all backgrounds, remains a part of who we are today and a critical part of what makes us a world class university. Our community embraces diversity, in all its forms, as a cornerstone of the NYU experience.

We would like to better understand how your experiences would help us to shape and grow our diverse community. Please respond in 250 words or less.

This question is your standard Diversity Essay, but with a specific emphasis on how that diversity will shape NYU’s community. 

 

Remember that “diversity” can come in many different forms. You can be diverse because of your:

 

  • Ethnic and cultural background or languages
  • Interests or talents
  • Hometown
  • Experiences
  • Personality traits
  • Perspectives

 

To brainstorm a topic for this essay, think about the elements that are core to your identity. If you had to pick three things to tell a new acquaintance about who you are, what would you say? Also consider what has already been addressed in your application. You may be a star basketball player, but if you already wrote your Common App essay about this, consider writing about something else, like your comic book collection, which might not show up in the traditional Activities section.

 

Finally, make sure you address how your diversity will enhance the NYU community. Perhaps you want to join a similar club, or you want to start a new initiative on campus. 

 

Here are some examples of strong topics:

 

  • A student who couldn’t do many traditional extracurriculars because they had to help run the family grocery shop might write their essay about this experience. They might explain how this taught them accounting skills from a young age and how they ended up becoming the student council treasurer. While they were disappointed that they couldn’t do as many school activities, they enjoyed the time spent with their family, learning about new ingredients, and chatting with the customers. They look forward to trying new clubs at NYU (that they couldn’t join in high school) and helping the clubs balance their books as well. They also hope to find community in the Proud to Be First mentorship program for first-gen students, and hope to organize cultural cooking nights. 

 

  • A student who spent a summer in Brazil to connect with their heritage may write about the challenges of learning Portuguese as a third-generation immigrant. They struggled in the beginning but eventually made significant progress after attending cooking classes and language exchanges. They hope to minor in Portuguese at NYU and organize monthly outings to try the different Brazilian restaurants and bakeries in the city through the NYU Brazilian Society (which may or may not be active based on its online presence—if not, they hope to revitalize the club!).  

 

See these diversity essay examples for more inspiration, though keep in mind that these are more general and not NYU-focused.

 

Tisch School of the Arts—Cinema Studies Major, Prompt 1

 

An essay on a film, director, or any other film-related topic that you choose. (Page limit: 5-10 pages)

What’s nice about this prompt is that it gives you a ton of freedom. What’s not so nice about this prompt is that the freedom can be overwhelming. Keep in mind that the purpose of this essay is to demonstrate how an applicant thinks. Show them that you’re passionate and capable of thinking in-depth about your topic of choice. Prove that you deserve a spot in their school.

 

Here’s how to go about this:

 

Choose your topic.

 

It should be something you’re passionate about, so you don’t run out of things to say. Five pages is a lot, but it goes quickly if you’re genuinely interested in the topic.

 

Choosing a specific film or director is the safer route, but ensure that you have unique things to say on the topic. Don’t let your essay turn into a film review or a biography. They need to be your unique thoughts and perspectives.

 

Choosing a film-related topic of your choice provides more freedom, and you may find yourself more passionate about the subject. However, be careful not to ramble or lose focus.

 

Choose your thesis.

 

This will be the focus of your essay. A strong thesis has multiple subsections that all relate nicely. Each paragraph of your essay needs to return to this thesis in some way. Here’s an example:

 

Christopher Nolan’s recurring themes of time and sleep give his films an unparalleled glance into the human psyche, especially in a modern age where it seems time and sleep are in a constant battle for predominance.

 

This thesis has multiple directions in which it can be taken. You can write multiple paragraphs about the recurrence of time and sleep in his films, which can lead to how this makes his films unique. You can also include commentary on how these themes are relevant to society today.

 

You might decide to include research or opinions from other sources. If you do so, be sure to include proper in-text citations and a works cited page. However, it’s important to note that tackling this essay like you would a research paper might not be the most effective method. The admissions officer doesn’t want to know what this critic or that professional thinks of the topic. They want to know your thoughts. They want to see how you think.

 

In short, the more unique you can make the essay—the truer to how you think—the better the insight the admissions officer will get into you as an applicant. Don’t be afraid to add in your own opinions and ideas. At the end of the day, the admissions officer isn’t trying to admit Christopher Nolan or that critic you cited; they’re trying to admit you.

 

One other thing to note: if you have worked on a film project of your own, and you feel you can write five or more pages on the topic, this would be an excellent opportunity to do so.

 

Tisch School of the Arts—Cinema Studies Major, Prompt 2

 

A statement that answers the following questions: Have you taken any cinema-related classes? What areas of cinema studies most interest you (film genres, directors, theory, etc.)? What are your career aspirations (film journalism/criticism, film curating, filmmaking, etc.)? (Page limit: 1 page)

This prompt is fairly straightforward, but let’s break it down a little bit.

 

1. Have you taken any cinema-related classes?

 

They want to see that you have experience. Prove this isn’t a whim but rather a life-long passion. Are you self-taught? Tell them! Have you been taking classes since you could walk? Talk about that!

 

2. What areas of cinema studies most interest you?

 

Again, here is your opportunity to show passion. Don’t just mention these areas; say why. Why do they interest you? How have you pursued these interests (making sure to phrase this in a way that shows your drive and experience without straying too far from the prompt)? If you feel like being sneaky, you can throw in a line or two about how you intend to pursue these interests at college.

 

3. What are your career aspirations?

 

Show that you have ambition and that you’ve put thought into your future. Be as specific as possible. If you have a dream company where you’d like to work, or a documentary you’d like to make, that’s something you want to mention.

 

Overall, be as detailed as possible, answer their questions, and stay within one page.

 

MLK Scholars Program Applicants

 

In what ways have you enacted change in your community and what has been your motivation for doing so? This can include enacting change globally, locally, or within your family. (200 words, optional)

While this prompt is optional, we highly encourage you to write a response to demonstrate your interest in this competitive program.

 

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program is an all-university honors program dedicated to social justice and community-building. With a cohort of like-minded students, MLK scholars will have access to “faculty engagement, travel colloquia, undergraduate research, and service-learning.”

 

The MLK Scholars Program is seeking students who have improved the communities they’ve been part of. “Community” can mean many things, and NYU even notes that the change you enacted could be global, local, or within your family. Some other communities to consider are:

 

  • Clubs or sports teams
  • Class or department
  • School community
  • Personal identity (ethnicity, culture, language, etc.)
  • Religious groups
  • Friend group

 

Since the MLK Scholars Program is dedicated to social justice and community-building, your example should exemplify these values, if possible. If you don’t have any relevant experiences, then any positive change you enacted is fine.

 

Here are some examples of potential topics:

 

  • You started a community food pantry and fridge at your school where students could leave unopened lunch items for students who wanted or needed food. You were inspired to start this initiative because you saw how much perfectly-good cafeteria food was being thrown away, and because you knew there was a lot of food insecurity in your district. The food pantry and fridge not only allows hungry students to have lunch, but also gives them something to bring home if they need it, and reduces food waste.

 

  • You started an informal volunteer tutoring group for your track team. This was after a teammate asked you for help on a math problem during a meet, and she lamented that she couldn’t ask her mom for help since she was too busy working at the grocery store. Since you had to wait around during meets anyways, you gathered two other friends and offered to help any other teammates during that down time. You initially offered to tutor since it seemed like a fun way to pass the time and bond with teammates, but you soon realized how rewarding it was to help others succeed. You’re now interested in going into education, with an emphasis on helping low-income students.

 

In your essay, be sure to cover three things: the change you enacted, your motivation for enacting that change, and the impact of your actions. Additionally, you can look towards the future and share how you hope to enact change at NYU and beyond. 

 

Where to Get Your NYU Essays Edited

 

Do you want feedback on your NYU essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

 


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Our college essay experts go through a rigorous selection process that evaluates their writing skills and knowledge of college admissions. We also train them on how to interpret prompts, facilitate the brainstorming process, and provide inspiration for great essays, with curriculum culled from our years of experience helping students write essays that work.