Campus Visit Debriefing: New York University

My sister is interning at SocialSign.in this summer in New York City, so I planned a visit to see her and take in an urban university at the same time!  I visited NYU on Friday, June 26, 2015.

New York University, New York City, New York

Fun fact: Historic Washington Square Park is the unofficial quad for NYU students.

Ease of application: NYU uses the Common App.  It also requests a writing supplement, which (I think) is included with its Common App this fall.  NYU offers early decision (not early action), which is binding.  The deadline for early decision is November 1 and for regular decision is January 1.  Some years, the acceptance rate of early decision students is slightly (like, 1 or 2 percentage points) higher, but last year it was the same.  If you are concerned about financial aid, the admissions office encourages you to apply regular decision.  NYU is "test flexible," meaning that the SAT or ACT is not the only way to submit test scores.  See NYU's explanation on its admissions website.  The admissions counselor running the information session also spent a great deal of time discussing the essay and other non-quantitative aspects of the application.  He stressed that he wants to see "the story behind the numbers" and what you did in "the context of the resources available to you."  He wants the application to convey that a student is "active, involved, exploring a passion, moving, doing things."  And, he reminds, "Always proofread."  As with many schools, merit scholarships are given based on the admissions application.

Overall impression:  My entire visit emphasized the global aspect of NYU. Here are just a few ways the school made this impression:

  • NYU has three degree-granting, four-year campuses: New York City, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai. This is a really big deal to them.
  • It also has 11 NYU-operated programs ("international academic centers") available for study outside of its main campuses.  See all of these on NYU's global programs map.
  • In terms of all study abroad, I'm going to quote from NYU's literature: "For the past five years, NYU has been No. 1 for the number of students who study abroad internationally, according to the Institute of International Education Open Doors Report."  I'm all about this, as you can read in an earlier blog post.
  • Is a traditional freshman year not for you? For those interested, there are four programs students have the option to start their freshman year: Florence, Paris, London, or DC.  I thought this option was interesting for a few reasons.  First, with the rise of the gap year, many high school seniors consider spending some time abroad before matriculating to a college.  With NYU's option, these students can satisfy that wanderlust and also keep pace with their peers academically.  Secondly, students who end up in rigorously defined programs may find studying abroad in their junior or senior years more challenging logistically.
  • If you live on campus your freshman year (aside: campus housing is guaranteed for four years and 92% of freshmen live on campus), your roommate will be someone NOT from your region of the US.  If you're an international student (NYU has the highest number of international students in America), you will NOT live with someone from your own country.  NYU wants you to expand your worldview globally, and it will do all it can to facilitate that cosmopolitan mindset.

With all this talk of the global nature of NYU, you might expect that the NYC campus itself is sprawling, but it's not.  The engineering school is a little bit apart (a short subway ride) from the rest of the campus, but otherwise the school is mostly concentrated right around Washington Square Park (see map).  Since it's in a city, the school makes good use of vertical space rather than horizontal space, making a campus with a freshman class of 5,873 feel smaller than it is.

I could go on about the nitty gritty details that impressed me on this trip, but why not see it for yourself if you're interested?  Here's a final link I'll leave you with (it's pretty and has useful info): NYU Facts.