If you stroll through Washington Square Park—the heart of Greenwich Village and unofficial
quad of the New York University campus—on any weekday morning, it’s impossible to
miss the hundreds of bright-eyed, energetic college students headed to their first class of the
day. NYU definitely offers a collegiate experience, but
there is nothing typical about it. And students don’t want it to be.
This is a private research university set in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New
York City. The school was founded in 1831 by a group of citizens attempting to fashion New York
in the likeness of London, the proclaimed cultural epicenter of the time. They knew, even then,
that the way to maintain a steadily evolving modern society was through higher education. The university
has kept that tradition alive by offering more than 160 innovative and unique programs of study
at its ten different schools, colleges, and programs, which include The College of Arts and
Science, The Global Liberal Studies Program, The Liberal Studies Program, The Stern School
of Business, The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, The Tisch
School of the Arts, The Gallatin School of Individualized Study, The College of Nursing, The
Silver School of Social Work, and The Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and
Sports Management. Each one offers major courses of study in distinctive subject areas. The
benefit of having such a wide range of programs to choose from is that students are allowed
and encouraged to pursue seemingly disparate interests across the seven colleges.
The strength of each program attracts very driven and ambitious students to
each discipline, which makes for an interesting and diverse student body.
The academic, research, study abroad, and internship possibilities
are endless. The social life is exciting and varied. Graduates are extremely successful.
Taken alone, these facts somehow overlook the true essence of what NYU is really about. Is it
important to know that you will receive a top-notch education? Yes. Should you be aware that
your degree will help land you a great job or acceptance into a graduate program? Yes. But there
is so much more to the school that can only be discovered once you set foot on campus.
The academic environment varies widely depending on which school, college, or program
of the university students attend. While this is the case, all students share one common
experience—the work is intense. Whether a student is perfecting moves in a dance studio,
teaching inner-city youth at a public school, or researching the genetic makeup of mutant
worms, they are engaged in a rigorous learning environment for most of their waking hours.
The amazing thing is that the students would not have it any other way. These fiercely independent
students crave new ideas and constantly push themselves further. They want to learn
in order to be successful, more informed people who are not afraid to put in the hard work it
takes to achieve their goals.
Walk through the Tisch School of the Arts at night, and you’ll find a surprisingly large
number of students tucked away in studios, individually honing their craft. Stand in the atrium
of Bobst Library and you’ll notice twelve stories of students studying. Because their education
means so much more to them than a letter grade ascribed to their work, NYU students are
ambitious scholars, scientists, teachers, and artists of their own accord.
Regardless of school, college, or program affiliations, most students at the university
participate in the core curriculum called the Morse Academic Plan (MAP). Each college
within the university uses this core a bit differently, but the structure that it provides
is universal. While the aim of MAP is to provide a strong, liberal arts foundation, it also
allows students the freedom to tailor their program to their individual interests—to experiment
with and investigate what truly fascinates them. Requirements for the MAP program
are broken down into specific subject areas. To fulfill the Expressive Culture requirement,
for instance, students may choose from a variety of classes ranging from courses that deal
with anything from Jewish culture, to political culture, or artistic culture. Here, students
are encouraged to explore many different academic pursuits while laying a foundation for
more complicated and specific coursework that accompanies their chosen major.
Internships play a huge role in the life of an undergraduate. Although few programs
at the university actually require an internship to graduate, all programs do
encourage and recommend them as an excellent way to preview a variety of professions.
Nearly ninety percent of students hold an average of three distinct internships by the time
they graduate. The Wasserman Center for Career Development manages CareerNet, a database
of more than 8,000 internships available exclusively students and alumni.
These internships are quality positions that offer real-world work experience, not simply
making copies and getting coffee. Wasserman has forged relationships with major businesses,
theaters, schools, community organizations, museums, and hospitals in order to
make these opportunities accessible to students. Many of these organizations have a long
list of past interns from the school and they keep coming back for more.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Applicants often seek definitive numbers and statistics to quantify an acceptable NYU
student, but no such absolute profile exists. The school aims to create a holistic application review
process, learning as much as possible about a person from several simple pieces of paper.
That being said, this is still a highly competitive institution. Even well-rounded, three-dimensional
students must be at the top of their high school class while enrolled in a challenging
curriculum composed of honors, AP, and/or IB courses. Solid performance on the
SAT or ACT is a must for all applicants, and two SAT Subject Tests are required except for
applicants who must submit a portfolio or audition as part of their admissions requirements.
Applicants whose native language is not English must also submit results of the Test of
English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
With just under 37,000 applications for a recent academic year, there certainly
wasn’t a shortage of qualified students. Many applicants are academically talented, so
Admissions Officers must rely on personal characteristics to distinguish students within the
applicant pool. They want to see hard evidence of leadership, commitment, and drive in how
you choose to spend your free time. It does not matter if your preferred activity is ballet or a
part-time job, the committee would like to see applicants who have been seriously involved in
extracurricular activities while in high school. Stellar letters of recommendation, responses to
several short-answer questions, and a thoughtful, personal essay that showcases a meaningful
aspect of the applicant will also help set you apart from the crowd.
Two application processes for prospective students are offered: Early Decision and
Regular Decision. Students who know that this is their first choice school may want to
consider Early Decision. It is a binding agreement, which means that if you are admitted to
the university, you will withdraw all other applications and accept their offer of admission.
Students interested in applying Early Decision must submit all necessary materials to the
Undergraduate Admissions office by November 1 and can expect to hear of their decision
beginning in the middle of December. Regular Decision requires applications to be submitted
by January 1, and notification of acceptance will arrive on or around April 1.
Certain programs at the University have unique components to their admissions
process that other programs may not. Some require the submission of supplementary information,
an essay, a portfolio or even an audition, so please read through your application
instructions carefully. The goal of the admissions process is to succeed in choosing students
who will thrive here. Obviously, the best students start with the best applicants; those who
submit a complete, correct, and intelligent application on time will make a favorable impression
where it counts the most.
No doubt everyone knows that New York City is an expensive place to live and
study. It should come as no surprise that tuition for one academic year (including room, board,
fees, etc.) is around $50,000. Fortunately, the university understands that spending this amount
of money on higher education is a major financial commitment. Therefore, the financial
aid policy is quite simple: If students find that this is the best institution to meet their educational
needs and interests, the Office of Financial Aid will work with students and their
families to help make it an affordable option. In fact, over seventy-four percent of full-time
undergraduates receive some form of financial aid.
Students seeking financial aid should apply for assistance by submitting one
form: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students are encouraged to fill
out the FAFSA via the Internet, which is the fastest and easiest method of applying for financial
aid. With the information you provide on the FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education
uses a federally mandated formula to assess a family’s financial status and determine the
amount of money the government feels each can contribute to higher education. The
Office of Financial Aid then creates an individual financial aid package based upon the amount
of financial need estimated by the government. Packages can include need- and/or merit-based
scholarships, state and/or federal grants, work-study, and student loans.
The school gives hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to undergraduates each year. A large percentage
of this aid comes to students in the form of grants and scholarships. All admitted students
are automatically considered for every scholarship they qualify for—there is no separate
application process. NYU participates in a variety of payment plans. They range from interest-free
prepayment plans to extensive loan programs that allow families the option to finance the
cost of an education over many years.
When it comes to financial aid, the bottom line is that the school really makes a conscious
effort to help individuals and families offset the cost of higher education in any way possible.
The staff at the Office of Financial Aid is friendly, extremely knowledgeable, and always
willing to provide sound financial options.
Student Financial Aid Details
Social Life and Activities
There is always something to do at NYU. This is not an overstatement in the least; in
fact, it may be an understatement. The campus resides in and is part of Greenwich Village, the most
hip, vibrant, young, eclectic, bohemian neighborhood in all of New York City. Being a college
student in this creatively charged neighborhood, in the city that never sleeps, is a win-win
situation. Students here are never bored; they never grapple with the age-old question,
“What should I do tonight?” Instead, they are faced with the challenge of juggling a social life
with schoolwork. The catch phrase here is time management—students choose and create
a social hierarchy, attempting to fulfill their overwhelming number of commitments by the
end of the night.
A Typical College Experience
Students who yearn for the typical college experience can still find it here. There is an
on-campus Greek system that, because of the high premium placed on real estate in the
city, operates from designated floors in NYU residence halls. Greek letters adorn sheets
hung from windows in otherwise innocuous-looking buildings as opposed to being firmly
mounted on the front porch of an Animal House-style frat house.
Although Greek life does not dominate, university clubs and organizations are
hugely popular. The Office of Student Activities boasts a roster of over 400 student-run
clubs ranging from the more serious breed, such as community service organizations, religious clubs, and political activism communities, to the light-hearted and fun, including the yo-yo
club, and the soap opera watchers club.
NYU also has sports. In fact, it has twenty-one intercollegiate teams that compete in
the NCAA Division III. Throughout the year, the Violets compete against other private,
research universities such as Brandeis, Carnegie Mellon, and Emory. Students interested in
sports may join the competitive level for maximum commitment or can choose from more than
275 recreational, intramural, and club sports for some exercise and fun. For a good workout,
students can take advantage of their membership to the Coles Sports Center and the
brand-new Palladium Fitness complex, which are premier recreation centers.
As well, many students, not just drama majors at Tisch, are interested in the performing
arts. There are literally hundreds of opportunities for non-drama majors to be involved
in theatrical productions. The College of Arts and Science has CAST, a theater group that is
open to talented students within the college who, in addition to their studies, want to perform
in a production. The Steinhardt School of Culture Education and Human Development invites
students to join their a cappella groups and jazz bands, and there is an all-university gospel
choir. If you want to be involved in something extracurricular, as most students are, there
are plenty of outlets to do so.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Graduates are doing some great things out there in the real world. The university’s
Wasserman Center for Career Development reports that approximately ninety-five percent
of the class are employed in full-time positions or enrolled in graduate programs upon graduation—a statistic that speaks volumes about the type
of preparation NYU provides to its students.
A large percentage of grads enter medical,
law, or dental school, and with acceptance rates of
eighty percent, they are obviously ready to attend some
of the top schools in the country. Stern School of
Business students often work on Wall Street and
Madison Avenue for Fortune 500 companies. Tisch
School of the Arts is stocking Broadway with many
recent grads and current students who perform in
major roles on the stage. Every year Los Angeles
receives a high influx of film grads working on major
motion pictures or television shows. The Steinhardt
School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
offers New York schools accomplished grammar, high
school, and special education teachers. Hospitals
nationwide are staffed by graduates of the College of
Nursing. These are just some examples of the kinds of futures graduates are pursuing when
they leave the university. No matter what your specific interest is, you’ll learn what you
want and how to get it.
Attaining these desirable positions and acceptances to top graduate programs are not
simple tasks. For example, the preprofessional advising center in the College of Arts and Science
helps to prepare future lawyers and doctors. Advisors meet with students throughout their four
years here, in order to help them secure positions in their graduate program of choice.
The Wasserman Center lends a helping hand to students interested in pursuing a career
upon graduation. The staff at Wasserman believes that preparation for a career or an advanced
degree does not begin during spring semester senior year, but starts as early as freshman year.
Students get a taste of their field and how it functions in the real world through internships,
which also allows them to network and make important connections with potential employers.
Often, these internships lead to full-time positions after graduation. Wasserman also offers
résumé building and interviewing workshops and hosts massive recruitment fairs on campus
twice a year. They also maintain CareerNet, a database of more than 10,000 available on- and
off-campus jobs. Wasserman really does as much as it can to prepare students for whatever path
they may choose after graduation. It is common for students to drop by Wasserman and ask a counselor for help to secure a political position in Washington D.C. or a seat in the entering
class of NYU School of Law. Without hesitation, students always receive valuable words of
advice and a “let’s do it” attitude.
- Carol Bellamy, Former executive
- Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, Justice,
Supreme Court of the State of New York
- Clive Davis, Founder and director,
- Alec Baldwin, Actor
- Maria Bartiromo, Business news
anchor, interviewer, and columnist
- Alan Greenspan, Former chairman of
the Federal Reserve Board
- Spike Lee, Emmy-winning and Oscar nominated
- Dr. Jonas E. Salk, Late scientist,
discover of the polio vaccine, and
- Cynthia Ozick, Author and literary critic
- Alan Menken, Broadway and Academy
Primarily a research university, the university attracts many prominent scholars and researchers
in any given academic pursuit. Among them you’ll find CEOs and Fulbright Scholars, as
well as Nobel and Pulitzer Prize recipients and Oscar and Emmy Award winners. They are
revolutionary scholars, experts, and working professionals who are very much immersed in
their fields. These are the leaders who teach undergraduates. All faculty members
teach at least one undergraduate course per year.
In the classroom, it’s easy to recognize the faculty’s commitment to their individual
fields. They are enthusiastic while introducing new material and show a genuine interest in fostering
class dialogue. They want to learn from their undergraduates and will often cite their
students as a source of inspiration for a new article or project. It is not uncommon to hear a
professor say, “I had never thought of it that way” during a round-table discussion with his
students. Together, students and professors engage in the material very seriously, which always
makes class a worthwhile, and sometimes breathtaking, experience. While there may be lectures
that students must take at the introductory level, the preferred method of instruction at
is the seminar, where a small group of students and a faculty member exchange thoughtful
Students are also members of a distinctive global network, giving them unparalleled
opportunities to study abroad. They can choose to study at one or more of the university’s
ten international academic centers—in Accra, Ghana; Berlin, Germany; Buenos Aires,
Argentina; Florence, Italy; London, England; Madrid, Spain; Paris, France; Prague, Czech
Republic; Shanghai, China; and Tel Aviv, Israel or in any of the many exchange programs the
university has established with outstanding urban research universities around the world.
NYU has so many faculty members doing postgraduate research right on campus that
undergraduates wanted in on the action. For example, the College of Arts and Science
created the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund (DURF), a program that lets undergraduates
pitch research ideas to the DURF committee, and if the proposal is considered worthwhile,
receive funding for the project. Research projects may be individual or done in
conjunction with a faculty member. CAS students’ research projects really run the gamut—
they range from studying Irish Literature in Belfast or tracing neurons of rat amygdala, to
an analysis of the stained glass art of John La Farge or the development of contour detection
and how it affects our visual world. Students who are granted funding must write a
paper on their findings, present it at the annual research symposium held on campus each
spring, and publish their abstracts in Inquiry, the NYU research journal.