After working in the NYU Abu Dhabi Office of Undergraduate Admissions for almost nine years, I feel compelled to share an admissions secret very few people know. Do I have your interest yet? If so, read on. It’s actually less of a secret and more of a strategy to tackle the Why NYU essay.
Answering the Question
You scrolled through our web pages, delved into the Meet NYU site, consulted admissions counselors, and connected to students. By now, you may know which NYU Abu Dhabi experiences you will reference in your essay. Maybe you’re excited to problem-solve at the Engineering Design Studio and drink karak at the Zayed Port. Or maybe you look forward to exploring our 14 academic sites and trying out for Battle of the Bands. This will show us you did your research. That you believe this campus is the place for you. That you want to learn and grow with like-minded, ambitious go-getters from over 115 countries. However, there’s one thing most applicants fail to mention: why you.
So How Do I Do This?
Whether you are undecided or have a fixed major in mind, try to align the unique resources and opportunities that the campus and/or city provides with your passions and interests. This proves that the University is a good fit for you and you in turn are a good fit for the University.
For example, noting that no other university attracts students from around the world and then sends them to study abroad the same way NYU Abu Dhabi does is good. But how does it benefit your education? How will you contribute to our distinctive educational model? You can argue that the NYU Abu Dhabi experience’s value adds up to more than a degree. For instance, students interested in international relations (IR) typically choose to attend NYU Abu Dhabi even though we don’t have an IR major. Why? Because we offer so much more than IR classes here.
It’s Not All About Academics!
Aside from the learning taking place in NYU Abu Dhabi classrooms, much of your growth and personal development occurs beyond the classroom. Your faculty live in on-campus residences, reachable by the campus Highline. And they are as eager to have you assist their research as you are to take their classes. Students in the physics department joined Professor Arneodo’s research at the Center for Astro, Particle, and Planetary Physics. Some students even went on to conduct summer research at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy.
What’s more, your roommates throughout your four years will offer a variety of perspectives. Due to the many socioeconomic, religious, personal, and cultural backgrounds at NYU, you will engage in daily inter- and cross-cultural dialogue. These experiences will help you feel “comfortable anywhere and effective everywhere.”
So while the Why NYU Abu Dhabi essay can focus on the academic opportunities you hope to take advantage of, you should also cover the unique campus culture and student life offered here. More specifically, explain how you will contribute to the campus culture and the student body’s overall value.
Remember, It’s About YOU!
Your essay should demonstrate that you understand how the kind of experience NYU Abu Dhabi offers differs from any other school. But it should also reveal why these experiences appeal specifically to you. How will they impact your interests, passions, strengths, and goals? Don’t forget to include those! If you’re interested in a particular major, tell us why. Reflect on a personal experience or achievement that makes you passionate about the subject.
Lastly, let your voice shine. Remember, someone is on the other side of your essay trying to understand what makes you “tick” and why you may be a good fit for NYU Abu Dhabi. Once you draft your essay, read, edit, and re-read it until it sounds like you.