One question I always get at my high school visits is some variation of “How do I show I’m interested in NYU?” or “What do you look for in my essays and application?”
And like I’ve told all my Texan students, I’m telling the NYU blogosphere:
We’re looking for personal, academic, and university fit. NYU is an incredibly diverse/huge/global/intimate/unique/complex place, and we don’t expect you to know every single thing about it! Even we admissions counselors (and some of us, alums!) don’t pretend to be all-knowing wizards of the university. When we review your applications, we’re looking not only for academically-prepared students, but those who will take advantage of the plethora of opportunities NYU provides at any of our three degree-granting campuses.
You’ve seen our brochures and materials and subscribed to the mailing list. You’ve looked through our list of majors and campuses and found the right curriculum for your future career. You’re following us on all the social media platforms (follow @MeetNYU on your favorite platform ASAP!). You’ve probably taken selfies with us while we were in your city. You may have even visited campus and been on a tour with one of our fabulous Admissions Ambassadors!
What have you learned from this research, about the university, and about yourself? Why do you see yourself thriving and excelling here–at NYU–rather than at any other institution? What is it about NYU’s _____ that makes it THE university you want to graduate from?
In short, “Why NYU?”
It’s a simple-yet-intricate question, and we hope for simple-yet-intricate answers in your essays. It should be a well-struck balance of discussing your goals and NYU’s resources that will help you achieve them. Show us your personality, and then tell us how it fits at and within NYU. Tell us what you want to study, and explain why NYU’s program is the best for you to do so. Don’t know what you want to major in? Then elaborate on why you want to explore your academic options here. Mention that club or professor you heard about that got you excited to possibly be a student here. Tell us about your plans to study away at one of our global academic centers.
As an NYU alum and member of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, I love reading this portion of students’ applications and save it for the last part of my review. Because we don’t offer interviews for our admissions process, the essay is a window into your life and who you are. I enjoy reading the essays and trying to imagine if this applicant would be the sort of person my student-self would meet in class, in my residence halls, at campus activities.
Remember there’s no specific formula to writing your “Why NYU?” essay. We want to get to know you and envision how you’d add to the NYU community, so it’s up to you how you want to portray that in your writing. I advise you to, before you hit submit, to reflect on your essay and ask yourself, “Does this demonstrate my fit for NYU?”
And before I go, here are a few quick tips:
DO show me you’ve researched NYU.
DON’T feel you need to quote Taylor Swift/Frank Sinatra/E.B. White/insert-famous-NYC-artist-here. Fill your word limit with your own words!
DO be specific about your interest in NYU, but…
DON’T be TOO specific (you really don’t need to tell us how excited you are to take UB-45972, Section 6 at 11:00am on Mondays with Professor Slughorn at KMEC, room 436).
And DO please, please, please: keep it under 400 words. No exceptions.
Good luck with the final touches on your applications!