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.
New York University Application Essay 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)
This is a relatively dense prompt in terms of length, and some students may balk at the block of text and not know where to begin. So first, let’s take a look at what the prompt is really asking before we go over strategies for responding to it.
Based on the first sentence, it may appear that this is just a general “Why X University?” essay. We’ve talked about these kinds of essays in some of our other Essay Breakdown posts, and these types of short answers tend to be relatively straightforward. However, in the very next sentence, we realize that this isn’t just another “Why X University?” essay — it’s also a “Why this major?” essay.
Not only does NYU want to know why you want to attend their school specifically, but they also want to hear about what you will be studying — and why you want to study it. We can paraphrase the prompt like this: Why do you want to go to New York University, and why do you want to study your chosen field here?
Now that we understand exactly what the prompt is getting at, we can start to think about how to answer it. You are essentially being asked to address two separate topics: major choice (or lack thereof, if you are undecided) and interest in New York University. What is important is that you connect these two pieces together in a cohesive manner, and leave admissions officers convinced that you deserve to study your given field at their university.
With regards to expressing your interest in New York University, there are some topics that we would caution you against emphasizing. For instance, the “Why NYU?” portion of your essay should not simply be focused on its location.
Out of the 60,000-something applicants, you can bet that a significant portion will be discussing New York City and the many opportunities therein extensively in their essays, and admissions officers have read it all before. This is simply far too generic an answer to be truly effective, so if you do choose to cite New York City as one of the reasons you’d like to attend NYU, be wary of making it the focus of your essay and strategize ways to approach this topic from an angle that is utterly unique to you.
Continuing with the theme of uniqueness, this short answer should also be wholly unique to NYU. In other words, if the reasons you are citing for wanting to attend could apply to any number of universities — for instance, if you’re citing “fantastic research opportunities”, “incredibly successful alumni”, or “a diverse study body” — then your essay simply isn’t specific enough and is unlikely to impress admissions officers. You need to do your due diligence and thoroughly research the university and all it has to offer, and use this research to cite specific, concrete, and directed reasons why it (and exclusively it, for the purposes of this essay) is somewhere you’d like to be.
With regards to the “Why this major?” portion of the essay, specifics are also important. Your answer to this segment of the prompt needs to be grounded in personal details that convey a deep passion for a given area of study. Bring in past experiences, quirky anecdotes, and other engaging material to help admissions officers not only understand your academic aspirations, but also get to know you better.
You should also try to connect your current academic goals to your past experiences and accomplishments. It is extremely helpful if you can weave in your college aspirations with your current high school academic profile.
You can do this by citing significant extracurricular activities you’ve participated in, awards you’ve received, or even classes you’ve taken, and showing how these relate to whatever you wish to pursue once you are a university student. In doing so, you not only convey demonstrated interest in your chosen field but also construct a lens through which admissions officers can view your overall application through.
One final thing to think about is making sure that both elements of your essay are seamlessly woven together to create a cohesive narrative. One of the simplest ways to do so is to transition from “Why X University?” to “Why this major?” by demonstrating how NYU’s program in your intended field is a great fit for you, and how this is one of the many reasons why you would like to attend the university.
As always, while writing this transition, make sure that you conduct a significant amount of research into the school’s offerings in that field so that you can include specific, directed details. This will demonstrate not only that you’re passionate about your potential area of study, but also that you’re passionate about New York University.
With this in mind, you’re well on your way to writing a winning essay for your NYU application. We at CollegeVine wish you the best of luck!