What is NYU Known For?
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New York University (NYU) is a selective private school known for its urban location in New York City. The school’s prestige primarily comes from its excellence in the arts (think Lady Gaga and Anne Hathway) and business (think Alan Greenspan). The university was founded in 1831 as a place for any and all students to come together and learn in an urban center, and has since maintained that mission.
Students at NYU have a unique college experience because their campus is buildings around the city, rather than buildings around a quad. Here, we will explore NYU’s emphasis on immersion, as well as other unique programs, clubs, and traditions that the university offers.
Overview of NYU Admissions
Location: New York City, New York (with other urban campuses all around the world)
Undergraduate Enrollment: 26,700 students
Acceptance Rate: 15% during the 2020 admissions cycle
Middle 50% SAT: 1350-1530
Middle 50% ACT: 31-35
“The Campus Without Walls”—NYU—has degree-offering bases in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai, and opportunities to study in dozens of other major cities. The university is known for preparing students for the “real world” through immersion in the urban setting of whichever campus they choose. On the Common App, students are able to select which NYU campus(es) and program(s) they are applying to.
The global campus is a reflection of the diverse education that NYU students experience. When responding to the essay question “Why NYU?”, it’s important to consider how your individual values align with the university’s emphasis on experiences and immersion.
Unique Aspects of NYU
One of NYU’s most prestigious schools is the Tisch School of Arts which houses the Dance, Drama, and Cinema programs and boasts a long list of alumni including Alec Baldwin, Lady Gaga, Kristen Bell, Rainn Wilson, and Spike Lee. The admissions process focuses on artistic talent, and as such, a portfolio is required.
The Stern School of Business is also a top-ranked program, particularly for Finance. “Sternies,” a friendly nickname for Stern students, have the opportunity to participate in unique programs like the International Business Exchange program (IBEX), where they can study at a top business school abroad. Stern receives a high volume of applications and the school’s acceptance rate is lower than the general university rate.
Stern, Tisch, and the many other schools at NYU offer a range of majors and minors, with certain majors and minors having “tracks” to choose from (e.g. Economics major on the Policy track). This allows students to hone in on their interest areas within their field.
NYU also offers “cross-school minors” which allow students to pursue fields of study outside of their major’s home school. This option can be particularly valuable for students who want to experience the university’s outstanding arts curriculum without majoring in Tisch.
Students interested in studying abroad often notice NYU because the university offers programs through dozens of satellite campuses and affiliated campuses around the world. Many of NYU’s schools offer unique study abroad programs. For example, the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development offers a music curriculum at NYU Prague where students learn from the Czech cultural and musical heritage. Even the university’s STEM schools like the Tandon School of Engineering and the Rory Meyers College of Nursing offer specialized study abroad programs.
Student life at NYU doesn’t center around football games or hanging out on campus like it does at many other universities. Rather, students often describe their college experience as emerging from the city itself—from living like New Yorkers in the heart of New York. That being said, if you are interested in university-organized student organizations, there are opportunities to get involved through sports teams and a number of clubs.
NYU has varsity, club, intramural, and recreational sports teams to give each student the opportunity to get involved with team sports at whatever commitment level they desire.
Additionally, there are clubs for all interests at NYU—most years, the student body participates in a total of over 300 clubs. Within the realm of communications, clubs include WNYU, a student-run radio station, and NYU Local, a student-run journalism publication. For those who love food, you can head over to the Cheese Club or the Coffee Club. Steinhardt also offers music groups, choirs, and orchestras that are often available to students from across the university.
NYU’s main tradition is named Strawberry Festival. The event takes place on the south side of Washington Square park and features live music, free goodies and giveaways, and most importantly, a 150 foot long strawberry shortcake (a quirky tradition for quirky NYU students). The Program Board puts on the festival in May to give students a break from the stress of finals, but it is open to the public.
Students are not required to live on campus at any point, but the university does offer on-campus housing in lively neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and Brooklyn Heights.
NYU’s excellence in the arts can be seen through the fact that many first year residences offer amenities related to the arts, with Weinstein Hall offering music practice rooms, Lipton Hall offering dance rooms, and Rubin Hall having a black box theater.
One of the things NYU is unfortunately known for is being expensive. The 2020-2021 estimated for tuition, room, and board is over $74,000. After financial aid and scholarships, the average net price paid by NYU students and their families is higher than the average net price for other private universities.
It is important to remember that one contributing factor to NYU’s higher-than-average costs is the university’s large population of international students (over 30% of admitted students in the last admissions cycle) who are ineligible for federal financial aid.
Here’s a quick list of extra perks and resources provided to students at NYU (which are often more important than you might think):
- ScholasTix offers students discounts on tickets for movies, Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, sporting events, music events, and more!
- Shuttle buses operate 7am to midnight during the academic year. Safe Ride provides transportation to students between NYU locations during the night.
- Students have access to everything they need for a workout at the Palladium Athletic Facility and NYU 404 Fitness.
- The student NYU Card gives students access to museums in the city like the MoMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The NYU card also lets students purchase Amtrak tickets and some plane tickets at discounted prices.
- NYU has a volunteer group called Stressbusters where volunteer students give 5 minute massages and stress relief information to their peers.
Is Your “Why NYU” Essay Strong Enough?
You may have come here looking for things to write about in your “Why NYU” essay.
NYU is different from a lot of schools. It has a distinct reputation and emphasizes very specific values. If you resonate with the university’s focus on experiential learning and want to immerse yourself in New York City (or the world as a whole), your essays are the place to show that! They are your opportunity to humanize your application and set yourself apart from other applicants who will likely also have strong profiles.
The “Why This College” essay is particularly important, as it allows you to reflect on the ways in which your values align with those of the school you are applying to. Your supplement needs to demonstrate your interest in the university, while showing how you can contribute to the university both academically and socially.
To improve your essay, you can take advantage of our Peer Essay Review tool. With this tool you can get a free review of your essay from another student. It also lets you review the work of others which can be immensely valuable to improving your own writing skills (trust me, I’m a writer). This peer review process will make it easier to see your essay’s strengths and weaknesses, and to see how well you are articulating your passion for NYU or any other university.