How to Thrive at NYU: Meet the Student Success Team

We caught up with Bernie Savarese to talk about how his office can help you make the most of your time here

NYU has tons of resources. But with so many, how do you find the right ones for you? Just ask the Office of Student Success. Bernie Savarese is the head of our Student Success team, and we asked him how they can help you with just about everything, whether you’re dealing with academic and social challenges or you want to know the world of opportunities available to you at NYU.

A stylized portrait of Bernie Savarese.

What does the Office of Student Success do?

We’re the experts in your corner, and you can ask us anything. Our mission is to help you connect with the people, places, and opportunities you need to make the most of your time at NYU. We’re here for every student, whether you’re struggling or just want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of all NYU has to offer.

Students might say, for example, “I want to engage in undergraduate research. How do I do that?” Or, “I’m struggling in this class and need help. What are the steps and whom do I talk to?” They might also say, “I love my classes, and the city is great, but I need help finding community. Whom should I talk to?” This is an amazing university with countless resources. We’re here to navigate them with you and help make this big place feel small.

We’re also proactively reaching out to and connecting with students about the steps they might need to take to reach their goals. We don’t want to leave anything up to chance. If we ever feel like a student might need the University in some way, we won’t wait for them to ask. We will bring the people, resources, or information right to them.

A student working in a science lab, holding equipment, and wearing a lab coat.
A student seated at a table, writing.

How can I take advantage of the Office of Student Success?

You’re always welcome to stop by our office. But our new student success platform, NYU Connect, is another convenient place to start. Any NYU undergraduate student can log in and see their success network—their academic adviser, their professors, or even their residence hall director. From there, you can schedule appointments or contact them directly. There’s also a feature called “Connect Me” if you need to resolve a problem but don’t know where to go. All you need to do is submit your question. Then, the Connect Me feature routes it to the appropriate office for you. Your question may even end up with one of our student success specialists. They are here to meet one-on-one with you to talk through any of your questions or challenges.

“If you’re not sure where to start, start with us.”

What is your advice for students who are having trouble adjusting to college life?

Well, first I’d say that you’re not alone, because needing to adjust to life in college is normal and it can take time. What’s important to know is that you have people on your side who are here with you every step of the way.

The Office of Student Success is a place—one of many resources at NYU—that you can lean on. Are you struggling to create connections or feel at home? Is it that you’re struggling because of the rigor and pace of one of your courses and you’re not sure where to go for help? No matter the question, that’s what our team is here for. Come and talk to us and we can figure it out together. Once we’ve helped you with whatever you might have needed, don’t be surprised to hear from us again. We’ll want to reconnect and see if it was really the right resource for you.

A student speaking with a professor, whose back is to the camera.

What motivates your team?

We have a really great group of people who are motivated by their own experiences and stories. While we’ve all had people who have stepped into our lives as mentors or advisers, we all wish we’d also had an Office of Student Success when we were in college. Our team cares deeply about students, and many of us also have master’s degrees in college student development. That means we’ve studied how students learn, develop, and grow and how to support them through that process. For us, it’s about giving back and really helping NYU students thrive.

Two students walking in Washington Square Park.
Two students looking at a laptop. One student is standing and pointing to the screen and the other is sitting at the table.

What advice would you give to a student about to start their first year of college?

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Our students have all arrived here because they are outstanding and exceptional academically. Oftentimes, they were the ones helping others in high school, so it can be hard to ask for help. You may believe, for a moment, that if you ask for help, folks might think you don’t belong, but the opposite is actually true. Students who know themselves well enough to be able to ask for help early and often are truly ready for college.