Always dreamed of studying in the Big Apple at New York University? You better be able to put those dreams in words and explain why NYU is the choice for you.
New York University’s application asks students interested in studying at their university for an additional writing supplement. Specifically, the prompt questions why applicants wish to pursue their study at NYU. Here’s the exact prompt:
We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. We are particularly interested in knowing what motivated you to apply to NYU and more specifically, why you have applied or expressed interest in a particular campus, school, college, program, and/or area of study? If you have applied to more than one, please tell us why you are interested in each of the campuses, schools, colleges, or programs to which you have applied. You may be focused or undecided, or simply open to the options within NYU’s global network; regardless, we want to understand - Why NYU? (400 word maximum)
Don’t be intimidated by the essay prompt. The essay prompt is long with a lot of details and questions, and you only have 400 words to address all those points. Breathe. The essay prompt provides you with these questions and details to help you brainstorm your answer. Many of them overlap and will help you get to the core of why NYU is the best place for you to pursue your interests and studies.
Let’s break them down.
- NYU Campus: New York University offers 3 degree-granting campuses around the world. Applicants can choose to apply specifically to one of them, or rank them by preference. The 3 locations are in New York, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.
If there is a specific campus you’re applying to, why? What made you decide to choose one over the other two locations? If you prioritized one over the others, what was the motivation behind that?
- NYU School or College: On the New York campus, NYU houses 10 schools and colleges, giving prospective students a broad range undergraduate studies they can focus on. Even if you’re undecided on what major you’d like to study, you must choose a specific school or college to apply to. Here are the options:
- College of Arts and Sciences
- Gallatin School of Individualized Study
- Liberal Studies Core Program
- Meyers College of Nursing
- School of Professional Studies
- Silver School of Social Work
- Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development
- Stern School of Business
- Tandon School of Engineering
- Tisch School of Arts
Choosing which school you want to apply to is akin to choosing which field of study you want to pursue. What experiences do you have that led you to choose your specific school? Why are you interested in your chosen field of study?
- Focused or Undecided: Are you applying with a specific major or a specific field of study? Or are you undecided? You can choose to expand further on why your interests in a major by linking in your extracurriculars and academics.
- NYU’s Global Network: If you are undecided and unsure what you want to study, why is NYU the place to go to help you discover your interests? This will give you the opportunity to dive into what you know about NYU’s student body and campus culture. And, how that aligns with the environment you want to be in.
So, how do you tie all these points together in 400 words? Find a focus. Look at the rest of your application, and think what else are you missing from your application that you really want to emphasize. If you’ve already talked about your interest in your chosen major for your personal statement, then maybe there’s something else you want to share. Whatever that focus is you want to highlight, how does it link to NYU? That’s the connection you want to show in this supplemental essay. Here are some examples:
1. Essay Example 1: Studying Sociology at NYU
Nyudotedu, New York University ‘19
“I can think of no better place to study such phenomena than in New York City and at NYU. There are good reasons why the Sociology program at NYU was ranked one of the best by sociology.com. Not only does NYU offer a solid academic foundation, it also provides a place to conduct fieldwork that not many schools can match - namely, New York City. The department also invites speakers that cover diverse topics to show how sociology is applied to different fields of study. I think the seminars offered at NYU will help me see sociology from many different perspectives. Among the seminars offered at NYU last year, I would have definitely attended “Should We Worry about inequality?” and “Cultural Durability and Social Change.” If given the chance to attend NYU, I would take advantage of such seminars and workshops to add to my classroom knowledge.”
NYU essay excerpt 1 breakdown:
In this excerpt of nyudotedu’s NYU supplemental essay, you can see how she demonstrates her interest in sociology, her knowledge of NYU’s sociology curriculum, and her intellectual curiosity. Her focus here is to further explain her chosen major and why she wants to study computer science at NYU. She not only points to NYU”s curriculum for why she wants to study sociology at NYU, but also to the school’s location—New York City. She makes it clear that there is value for her to be in both NYU and NYC to pursue her studies.
Additionally, she gives specific examples of the type of seminars she’d join, thereby showing her continued interest outside of the classroom and knowledge of what NYU offers. She doesn’t go into detail about the courses, because she doesn’t have to. The admissions officers may know and can find out what those courses entail, and judging by the course titles, it’s another subtle opportunity for them to know she is as a student and person.
Unlock nyudotedu’s NYU profile to read her full application essays and advice!
2. Essay Example 2: Diversity at NYU
Ngozirebecca, New York University ‘19
“I’ve been in love with you for quite some time now. As a young girl, I would admire you from afar, merely a schoolgirl’s crush, staring open-mouthed at your tall, glittering building and vibrant violet banners. As I grew older, my puppy love grew to look past the superficial and I fell hard. I saw the diversity of your student body, a melting pot of talent and intellect, and the care with which you taught them. When I saw you offered cross-school minors, I realized how dedicated you were to comprehensive education, and when I learned the sheer number of student groups available for participation, I realized that you embraced every one of your student’s passions, no one was a “freak,” no one was alone. As I approach graduation and prepare to head out into the world on my own, I finally understand: We fit on another.”
NYU essay excerpt 2 breakdown:
In this excerpt of Ngozirebecca’s “Why NYU” essay, she points out the reasons why NYU is a good fit for her, whilst being completely transparent with her growth and thought process. She demonstrates a sense of maturity in her essay, as she explains how her love and perspective of NYU has changed as she grew up. She’s able to show off her creative writing style, and share what NYU’s academics and student body can offer her. And, most importantly, what she can offer in return.
Unlock Ngozirebecca’s NYU profile to read her full application essays and advice!
3. Essay Example 3: “NYU is creative and determined”
ShaneNYUStern, New York University ‘19
““Are you going to eat all that?” asked another swimmer in the dining hall. “Yup, one bite at a time,” I told him. That’s how I approach things: consistently with determination and creativity. I have been swimming competitively since I was nine. For the past three years, I wake up at 3:50am and swim nine times a week. I am consistent. I am determined and fierce competitor. This past year, I found an outlet for my creativity. I competed as a member of Virginia DECA and won a state award, advancing to the international level and placing in the top 4-percent. NYU is creative and determined. It consistently produces alumni who are amount the best in their field. I hope someday to be one of them.”
NYU essay excerpt 3 breakdown:
ShaneNYUStern to share more about himself and his characteristics in his supplemental essay. In this essay excerpt, he highlights his extracurricular achievements, varsity swimmer and DECA winner, what he learned from them, and how that ties in to his interest in studying at NYU.
Unlock ShaneNYUStern’s NYU profile to read his full application essays and advice!
Hope this was helpful for those of you finishing your NYU applications! Interested in reading these students’ full personal statements in addition to their full responses to the Why NYU supplemental prompt? Unlock all of them in one go with our Why NYU Package!
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About The Author
Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.
How To Survive (And Love?) Writing the Essay
Writing the Essay is arguably the most notorious first-year requirement at New York University — it has a reputation that not only terrifies all incoming students but also lingers with dread in the minds of those who have taken the course semesters ago. But is it really all that bad? To all of you who immediately thought “yes,” it is time to discuss the bad along with the good — and give some solid advice to all future first-year students.
As a first-year student myself, it is with the horror of my peers that I admit that Writing the Essay has been my favorite course over these past two semesters. My professor was fantastic, the course load was not too overwhelming, and my writing was truly refined throughout the progressions. There have been plenty of moments where I doubted my academic sanity, but I have justified my admiration of the course with my passion for writing. As an anticipated Journalism major, it seems slightly more acceptable that I enjoyed Writing the Essay. For all of you out there who are nervous about the course and who may not share the same enjoyment in writing academic essays as I do, I talked with other first-year students to come up with a few steps that will help you conquer the most infamous first-year course of them all:
1) Be open-minded
Sal Maicki, Journalism and Philosophy Double Major, CAS
“I think to succeed in Writing the Essay you have to go in completely open-minded — you have to completely throw out the notions associated with the class and the idea that it is automatically going to suck and have no purpose in your college agenda other than being a requirement. You will get out what you put into it. I’m glad I went into my class with an open mind because my professor turned out to be really cool — we had really cool assignments, we even analyzed Beck lyrics and the openings to Wes Anderson films. So I think if you approach it with an optimistic perspective it will definitely make you a better writer.”
This may be the most important step in your success in the course. The first day of class, my professor asked us who had heard that this would be the worst class of their freshman year — everyone raised their hands. Over the course of a semester, my professor worked to disprove those assumptions and showed each of us how much the rumors had been exaggerated.
2) Know your options
Tomas Gepts, Biology Major, CAS
“I think the first thing that really helped me was knowing that there was more than one option for Writing the Essay — there’s Writing the Essay for science, so they have it geared for different interests. If one of those interests matches your interests then I really think it’s worth taking. I’m a Bio major and I took Writing the Essay for science, and I think that’s a lot better for me than the regular Writing the Essay would have been.”
There are different Writing the Essay themed courses that you can take, including a science-oriented class, as well as one that is paired with Texts and Ideas. Depending on your interests, this may help improve your experience by pairing preferred academic fields with the writing curriculum.
3) Know your resources
Justus Pennington, Neuroscience Major, CAS
“You need to go to the tutoring centers even if you feel a little bit nervous about your essays. The resources at the University Learning Center really helped my grade and improved my writing.”
There are plenty of resources available for students who are struggling with the course. The Academic Resource Center (located downstairs in the Argo Tea building) offers peer tutoring sessions as well as academic skills workshops that help to edit drafts and improve proofreading strategies.
4) Research your professors
Joey Beerman, Jazz Major, Steinhardt
“Professors definitely matter. My professor — Sam Beebe — is a very youthful teacher and brings a lot of music and movies into the assignments. He’s easy to get along with and a very friendly teacher.”
If I did not have such an awesome professor for this course, I probably would not have liked it nearly as much. When I compared my course work to the course work of my friends, there were huge differences that made me very thankful that I was assigned practical and helpful exercises — not just busywork. I would not recommend solely relying on Rate My Professors, but it does help start the process of finding a solid professor.
5) Acknowledge that it won’t be an “easy A”
Luca Diacul, Undecided, CAS
“I’m taking Writing the Essay right now and I can say that I’m enjoying the class. The work is hard but if you stay on top of it it’s fine. The writing style is different than it was in high school but if you put in the effort I think your writing will improve.”
This was not my favorite course because it was easy — in reality, it was probably the hardest of my courses and it required the most time and effort. It will be a challenging course but it will also be extremely fulfilling if you give it your all. As an incoming college student, it is important to understand that you want to get the most out of your money, so “easier” courses do not necessarily translate to “better” courses.
6) In the end, it’s all about surviving
Claire Leonard, Political Science Major, CAS
“My advice to incoming freshman about Writing the Essay is to take it the fall of your freshman year and make sure you get a great professor. I think some progressions are helpful but mainly you just have to survive.”
Even if you try to follow all the advice on taking Writing the Essay, you could still end up hating it just as much as everyone else. Ultimately, you do not have to love it — you just have to survive. In the end, you may not be a better person, but hey, at least you won’t have to take it again!