New York University (NYU) is a private nonprofit research university located in New York City.
- It’s a very selective school, accepting about 28% of applicants. If you want to increase your chances of acceptance, it’s vital to understand their admissions process.
In this guide, we’ll provide useful information about NYU, plus details on application deadlines, admissions essay topics, and more.
Here’s everything you need to know about applying to NYU!
About New York University
NYU is the largest independent research university in the United States. It features 10 undergraduate schools and colleges, as well as “degree-granting campuses” in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and 11 global academic centers around the world.
The faculty are among the best and brightest, notably including winners of the Abel Prize in Mathematics, the Pulitzer Prize, the Grammys, and the Tony Awards. Opportunities for career preparation and internships are plentiful.
- Notable alumni include a number of university presidents, scientists, inventors, Nobel Prize, Grammy, and Pulitzer Prize winners, CEO’s and founders of companies ranging from IBM to Ben and Jerry’s, and many entertainers, including Alec Baldwin, Martin Scorsese, Angelina Jolie, and Donald Glover.
NYU alums are also justices, governors, members of the Senate and House of Representatives, and much more.
Enrollment, Tuition, and Financial Aid
Undergraduate enrollment at NYU totals 28,799.
- NYU’s most recent first-year class consists of 6,133 students, with 42% males and 58% females. This class represents all 50 states and 83 different countries.
In fact, NYU enrolls more international students than any other school in America.
- Annual tuition and fees at NYU cost about $49,000, while room and board is roughly $24,000.
- However, most NYU students receive some amount of financial aid to help offset these costs. The average scholarship amount awarded to first-year students is $37,000. Most of these scholarships are need-based.
Low-interest education loans are also available for students and parents, and NYU participates in a variety of payment plans, including interest-free pre-payment.
Financial aid packages might include a combination of loans, scholarships, and work-study programs.
NYU considers its “campus” to be New York City, with the heart of Main Campus located in Greenwich Village around Washington Square Park.
Other “important hubs” are located near Midtown East, in downtown Brooklyn, and in other areas throughout the city.
- The school explains that “by design” it is “in and of its city, providing unique opportunities for research, internships, and job placements.”
Of course, the NYC location also provides plenty of options for entertainment, dining, and culture.
University transportation services run between all major academic buildings, and students can get around NYC using the subway, train, and bus systems.
If you would prefer a “big-city” feel to a small, close-knit environment or a “college town” vibe, then NYU could be a perfect fit.
NYU is best known for its liberal arts, fine arts, law, and business programs. The most popular majors are Visual and Performing Arts, Social Sciences, Business, Management, Marketing, Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, and Health Professions and Related Programs.
Students are able to choose from thousands of courses in over 230 areas of study.
- Although NYU seems like a large and sprawling school, the student to faculty ratio is 10:1. Most classes consist of 30 students or fewer.
- The most frequent class size is 10-19 students.
The professors at NYU, according to students, are both interesting and surprisingly accessible.
- The freshman retention rate of 93% suggests that most students are satisfied with the quality of their education.
Students who do transfer are often simply unprepared for life in such a big city.
Notably, 96% of NYU’s 2016 graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school six months later.
Student Body and Extracurricular Activities
NYU is one of the most diverse universities in the world. Undergraduates hail from all 50 states and over 130 countries, and the school accepts the largest number of international students in the country.
At NYU, you’ll find a wide variety of languages spoken and religions practiced.
Students agree that there is no “typical” student at NYU. Despite different ethnicities and backgrounds, students share a common ambition and motivation.
They also tend to be very accepting of the diversity on campus.
- The school has 21 varsity sports teams competing at the NCAA Division III level, intramural sports, club athletics, over 400 student clubs, and many volunteer activities.
Clubs are as varied and diverse as the student population, with everything from politics to ballroom dancing. You should also be able to find an opportunity to volunteer for just about any cause that you find meaningful.
NYU features 22 residence halls and two graduate living communities, which house about 12,000 students annually.
The school also features a wide range of dining halls, performance spaces, libraries, research institutes, foreign language and cultural centers, the Wasserman Center for Career Development, and more.
A popular on-campus location is the Kimmel Center for Student Life, which contains dining facilities, computers, club spaces, student lounges, and the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, which is the largest performance space in lower Manhattan.
Applying to New York University
Now we’ll take an in-depth look at the most important information you’ll need to know as you prepare to apply to NYU.
Average Admitted Student
While NYU isn’t as selective as prestigious Ivy League universities, its acceptance rate does place it in the “very selective” category.
- The acceptance rate is typically 30-35%, but it dropped to 27% in the 2016-2017 school year.
Viewing statistics about the average admitted student helps you determine if you might be a good fit for the university. These numbers can give you an idea of your chances of receiving an acceptance from NYU.
- NYU’s average admitted student has a GPA of 3.7.
- Most of these students are ranked in the top 10% of their high school graduating class.
- The average SAT score is a 2016 on the 2400 scale and a 1410 on the 1600 scale. The 25th percentile is a 1320, while the 75th percentile is a 1500.
- This means that while students have been admitted with a score of 1320 or even slightly lower, this number would put your SAT score in the below average range for NYU.
So what if your numbers are lower than these?
This doesn’t mean that you absolutely won’t be accepted.
However, it does mean that your chances of admission are low. You can still apply, but keep your expectations reasonable.
Make sure that you also apply to less selective schools where your chances of acceptance are much higher.
If you are already a junior or senior, it’s probably too late to overhaul your GPA. If enough time remains, you can work on getting your SAT scores as high as possible to increase your chances.
- Additionally, NYU accepts a variety of alternatives to the SAT, including the ACT, three SAT subject tests, or an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma.
The school website does explain that the Admissions Committee “conducts a holistic review, carefully considering many significant factors, including a comprehensive review of the applicant’s academic background, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, an essay, personal statements, and recommendation letters.”
NYU states that the most desirable candidates are those who successfully completed a broad range of challenging courses throughout high school, and that “your unique talents, personal attributes, and future goals” are also considered.
This means that you won’t be defined exclusively by your numbers, but they certainly do help.
There are three sets of deadlines for NYU: Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision.
- Early Decision at NYU is binding. If you are accepted Early Decision (and receive a financial aid package that enables you to enroll), you must accept the offer within 25 days.
You will need to withdraw applications from other schools and not submit additional applications.
NYU states that admission standards for early decision and regular decision are the same, but the number of applicants and admission rates may vary between the different rounds.
- For the class of 2021, the overall admit rate was about 28%, while early decision candidates were admitted at a rate of 38%.
The application deadlines are as follows:
- The deadline for Early Decision I is November 1st, and students hear back by December 15th.
- For Early Decision II, the deadline is January 1st, and students receive a decision by February 15th.
- The Regular Decision deadline is also January 1st, but students will not receive a decision until April 1st.
If you are applying to an artistic program that requires either an audition or a creative portfolio, the application should be submitted one month prior to these deadlines.
How to Apply
NYU requires students to submit the Common Application in order to apply.
The Common Application is accepted by over 700 colleges and universities, so it can save you time as you apply to a variety of schools. When you create an account, you will need to add the schools you would like to apply to (including NYU).
On the NYU-specific page of the Common Application, you will be able to select your campus(es) and program(s) of interest.
You will be asked to fill out general information about your grades, courses, activities, test scores, exam dates, and parent(s)/legal guardian(s).
You will also need to supply contact information for a counselor or school representative (who will complete the Common App school report and send your transcripts) and one or two teachers (who will complete the Teacher Evaluation form).
The Common App has a required essay as well. There are seven topics to choose from. In brief, the seven topics include:
- Meaningful background, identity, interest, or talent
- Lessons learned from a challenge, setback, or failure
- A time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea
- A problem you have solved or would like to solve (ethical dilemma, intellectual challenge, or research query)
- An accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth
- A captivating topic, idea, or concept that you find fascinating
- A topic of your choice
When you fill out the Common App, you will also be asked to answer NYU’s supplementary question.
The question is:
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)
Essentially, you are being asked why you want to attend NYU and what you want to study. Be as specific as possible, avoiding generic answers like “I love NYC” or “NYU is a great school.”
If these generic answers are particularly true, then you should relate them to your personal interests or experiences.
Ensure that all parts of your application are accurate and truthful. Any false or misleading information is considered grounds for “admission rejection, revocation, and/or dismissal from NYU.”
Additional Application Materials
In addition to completing the Common App, you must submit the following to NYU:
- Official score reports (see testing policy information below for more)
- Official transcripts of all college work for which you have received academic credit.
- The Common Application Mid-Year Report with updated transcript (by March 1st)
- One letter, maximum two letters, of recommendation via the Common App
- English language testing for students who have not completed at least 3 years of study with English as the sole language of instruction
- Portfolio/audition if applicable
There is also an $80 application fee. If this represents a financial hardship, you may request a fee waiver through the Common Application.
Information about Additional Application Materials
If you are applying to the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development’s Music Department, an audition or portfolio is required, with the exception of Educational Theatre.
If you are applying to the Studio Art department, a portfolio is required.
- NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts also requires an audition or portfolio for applicants to all programs except Interactive Media Arts.
For students who are required to complete a portfolio or audition, no standardized testing is required on the application. If students submit an optional portfolio or audition, they are still required to submit test scores.
NYU has one of the most flexible testing policies of any school in the United States. To satisfy the testing requirement, you must submit one of the following:
- SAT (essay test not required)
- ACT (writing test not required)
- Three SAT Subject Test scores
- International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
- Three IB higher-level exam scores if not an IB diploma candidate
- Nationally accredited exam that shows you completed your secondary education
When trying to decide which of these items you should send, choose the one that you think best improves your chances of acceptance.
Within three weeks of the application deadline, NYU will inform you that your application has been received and provide information about tracking the application’s status.
If you are missing any application materials, NYU will provide a limited window for submitting these items.
In some cases, NYU invites candidates to interview with them online (not on campus), but you must be invited to these interviews. NYU will contact you if you’re invited, but you can’t request an interview yourself.
Conclusion: NYU Admissions
New York University (NYU) can give you the opportunity to study at one of the most diverse campuses in the world, located in the heart of New York City.
The school is also known for its notable faculty and alumni, and students are provided access to exciting internships and career opportunities.
To apply, you must complete the Common Application, along with NYU’s supplementary question.
You must submit transcripts, test scores, and 1-2 letters of recommendation, along with a portfolio or audition in some cases. NYU may also request an online interview.
The deadline for Regular Decision is January 1st.
Keep in mind that NYU has an acceptance rate around 30%, but don’t be discouraged from applying. Build up your GPA as much as possible, take the SAT or other tests accepted by NYU, and put forth your best effort on the personal statement and essay.
If you feel passionate about NYU, submit an application even if your numbers are slightly low. You never know—you might receive an acceptance letter in the fall!