The Early Decision I Deadline has passed and Early Decision II and Regular Decision are quickly approaching.
One question that I always got at my high school visits from students was 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 this:
We’re looking for personal and academic fit. NYU is an incredibly diverse/huge/worldly/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.
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’ve followed us on all the social media platforms. You’ve probably taken selfies with us while we were in your city. You may have even visited campus and seen an actual residence hall room!
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.
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!
Pinpoint Your Specific Interest
There are many generic answers to this question. “I love New York City” and “NYU is such a good school” fall into this category. We highly recommend staying away from these stale answers, but if you do reference them, make sure they reflect on your personal interests.
For example, if your desire to live in NYC is predicated on its prominence in the fashion world, tell the admissions officer that. However, saying you “want to hang out in Times Square” with no other explanation isn’t good; after all, you could just vacation in New York City sometime! By addressing this correctly, not only will you be communicating how NYU is a great fit for you, but you’ll also be showing off one of your interests.
Keep in mind that a majority of essays will reference NYC in a significant way, so it might be advantageous to take a different approach to this question. NYU is famous for its study-abroad program; over 3,000 undergraduates take advantage of this opportunity every year!
By studying abroad in places like Abu Dhabi or Shanghai, you could have a truly cosmopolitan experience as an undergraduate at NYU. You could write about how you would hope NYC is only one part of the broader cultural experience you hope to have, giving your application an interesting twist that most other applicants might not be focusing on.
By pinpointing your interest in NYU, whether it is broad or very specific, you will be able to establish the foundation of your response.