NYU academic location street sign.

Where Do I fit?

“What is fit? How do I show it?” These are some of the questions that are likely going through your head as you think about what college to attend. But what does fit really mean? And how do you show your fit? Is it about the location? Facilities? Student body? Some magical mix of them? From the admissions perspective, these are questions that can truly make a difference in an application.

What Fit Means to Different People

When it comes to fit, the most important thing to remember is that fit can look different from person to person. This is because a good fit happens when a college meets a student’s needs and wants academically, socially, or professionally, which may look different depending on your interests and needs. However, there is one great benefit in thinking about fit. Demonstrating it in the application lets us see beyond your academics and paints a clearer picture of who you are.

An all-white puzzle with one missing piece.
Fit Across NYU

So what about NYU? How does it help to show your fit in your application? As admissions counselors, we are not only looking for the most academically successful applicants but also those who are a good fit for our student body. With a school like NYU, this is especially important when you consider the different types of homes you can have within it.

While an NYU education is just as good regardless of the location, your experience can certainly look different depending on the campus you attend. Remember that your college education is not just about the classes you take but also the experiences you have. Do you prefer a smaller or larger student body? What about the setting? Are you more interested in living in an urban setting or a more traditional college campus? Do you envision immersing yourself in another culture or is it more important to you to have a wider range of course options? Whether you’re in New York City, Abu Dhabi, or Shanghai, knowing how to leverage your opportunities at NYU is the direct result of understanding how to show your fit.

An NYU building facade.
What Admissions Counselors Consider

When looking at your applications, we are trying to get a picture of who you are. In addition to grades and test scores, your personal fit rounds you out, and it can offer you that extra edge in making your case for admissions. We typically see this in your recommendations, extracurricular activities, and essays. 

When thinking about your recommendations, it’s best to ask someone who knows you well and can ideally speak highly of your academic and personal qualities. When it comes to extracurriculars, think about all of the things you do outside of class that make an impact on your life. This can go beyond school-sponsored activities. If you volunteer, help your family’s business, take care of relatives, have a part-time job, or generally spend your time after school on activities you enjoy, it is worth listing in your application. Also, make sure to list the most important activities first.

Essay Tips

When writing the Common App essay, remember to pick a topic that really resonates with you. There is no magic essay that will ensure you are admitted. Instead, think of the essay as one component of the application you have total control over. Make sure your voice comes through, the content relates to you and your journey, and be genuine.


Some Final Thoughts

Applying to college may be the most consequential decision of your life. However, this does not mean you won’t achieve your goals if you don’t make it into your top choice. The truth is that there could be multiple places where you can be a good fit. The key is determining why and seeing if those reasons align with NYU’s offerings. Beyond that, remember that this is still only one piece of your application. Having a strong fit does not guarantee your admission. However, this part of the application is something you have total control over. In other words, it is in your benefit to show your fit. Good luck!

“I’m gonna do it...I’m gonna go to college!”

Juan Roldan is an Assistant Director of Admissions for NYU Shanghai. Having been raised in both Colombia and New York, and now living in Shanghai, he very familiar with different styles of life, and is passionate about connecting with students who have an interest in engaging with the wider world around them. He is an MA graduate from the International Education program at NYU’s Steinhardt School, and is currently enjoying the life of an expat in one of the most dynamic and exciting cities in the world, with access to so many international and Chinese food options!