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How to Write the New York University Supplemental Essays

We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. What motivated you to apply to NYU? Why have you 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 also tell us why you are interested in these additional areas of study or campuses. We want to understand – Why NYU? (400 word maximum) *

What should I avoid writing about?

We recommend avoiding two topics when writing about your interest in NYU:

  1. Do not write about how you’d like to attend NYU for its prestige! NYU is well aware that it is ranked highly and respectably, and this does not say anything unique about the school. There are many perks that come with attending a top-tier university, such as well-funded research, rigorous courses, resources, and support for post-graduate employment, etc. Feel free to mention these reasons in particular, but mentioning prestige or reputation might ultimately backfire.
  2. Try to avoid writing about geography. It is very tempting to write about how you’d like to go to school in New York City or in Manhattan, but you could write the same thing about Columbia, for instance. Instead, ask yourself how you might see yourself using NYU-specific resources within Manhattan. Think about this–why is NYU in NYC, and what makes that so special? Is there a specific school or program that particularly attracts you to NYU? Is there a specific professor you’d like to study under or do research with? Does a specific program’s pedagogy or values speak to you? Does one of NYU’s specialized schools specifically appeal to you?

How do I show my own personality in an essay about NYU?

It’s important to figure out “Why NYU in NYC?” but even more important to answer the question: “Why YOU at NYU in NYC?” When writing the “Why NYU” supplement, it’s important to consider your past experiences and future aspirations and try to place those within the context of NYU.

For example, if you’ve been involved in community service at your high school or in your community, you could write something like, “NYU provides opportunities for involvement similar to those which I enjoy at my high school. As secretary of my high school’s National Honor Society and committee member of Relay for Life, I envision becoming a member of NYU’s Circle K International club as a fitting continuation of my work in community service. My roles in both charity organizations will allow me to offer an experienced perspective to Circle K.” You’ll want to demonstrate that your values align with those of NYU, and that you look forward to joining a community of like-minded individuals.

Another really great method to use here is to look up NYU’s mission statement. This will sum up NYU’s values and give you a solid starting point from which to start writing!

How do I appeal to the specific college or school to which I am applying?

As well as letting your personality shine, you’ll need to explain why the specific school or program that you’re applying to at NYU is the best fit for you. As with any supplement, the key here is to be as specific as possible.

College of Arts and Science

CAS is home to a host of traditional majors and minors and vast research opportunities. You’ll want to highlight a specific major and minor and explain why you wish to pursue it. You might research the major requirements and its associated electives and write about why that course of study is of interest to you, as well as how it will help you to achieve your future goals. If you’re looking for a more traditional “liberal arts” experience, CAS is the school for you!

Leonard N. Stern School of Business

If your aspirations are to work in a bank on Wall Street or to start your own business after college, you might consider applying to the Stern School of Business. In your essay, you’ll want to specify the area of business you’re interested in and any past experience in the field. For example, if you worked at a private equity firm the summer before senior year, you might talk about how this has solidified your desire to study finance and how you will bring your experiences to the table at NYU. Another strategy might be to highlight Stern-specific clubs or programs. If you’re interested in pursuing finance, for instance, you might consider writing about Stern’s finance societies such as the Investment Analysis Group or the Quantitative Finance Society.

If your business interests lie elsewhere, then it’s important to find a program at Stern that best reflects your interests. Take the Stern-Tisch BS in Business/BFA in Film and Television dual degree as an example. While you can only apply to this dual degree program as a freshman or sophomore at Tisch or Stern, you can identify this program as one you intend to pursue at NYU. This specific program is great for students who have a passion for the business side of film and television. In your essay, you should dive into past experiences and/or interests in both business and television that have confirmed your interest in studying this dual degree program. You should explain your desire to study both and why a degree from one or the other will not be enough to reach your future career goals or answer your academic questions. For this essay, it would make sense to mention that NYU’s New York location will allow you to intern in film and television and apply your classroom knowledge to the professional environment.

You can also consult Stern’s 10 key “Why Stern” reasons, which you can find on their website. You’ll want to write about the ones that speak the most to you! This is a great opportunity for you to demonstrate that your values are in line with those of Stern.

Gallatin School of Individualized Study

If you’re looking to apply to Gallatin, you’ll need to explain why a double major and minor in a traditional school will not satisfy your academic curiosities. You might propose a possible interdisciplinary concentration or pose the questions which lie at the foundation of your intended plan of study.

Gallatin is the ideal solution for students looking to fulfill pre-professional requirements – pre-med, pre-law, pre-PhD– but who have a more creative side and also want to design their own major. You might write something like: “NYU is a large university. Yet, it can offer a very individualized experience in higher education. I have my heart set on pursuing a career in research or medicine, but, nonetheless, I seek to ground my education on an exemplary liberal arts interdisciplinary foundation. NYU’s academic standards of high achievement and rigorous, diverse studies will provide me with such an education.”

Tisch School of the Arts

In order to apply to Tisch, you must complete both your Common Application and an Artistic Review or Portfolio. Requirements for your review or portfolio will depend on the program to which you’re applying, so make sure you review all the guidelines before you start putting together your artistic portfolio!

You should spend time researching your particular program of interest before writing your “Why NYU” essay. There are innumerable ways to teach an art practice, so you should make sure to describe how Tisch’s pedagogy will facilitate your artistic development in your essay.

Here, it is especially important to avoid a topical “NYC is the hub of art” statement; rather, you might write about opportunities for study, performance and exhibition within Tisch! Like most art schools, Tisch has an ample supply of talented artists, so you might mention the endless opportunities for collaboration in your essay – but, of course, in a specific way! Find an annual production you’d want to audition for, or annual showcase you’d submit your art pieces to, and write about why.

Meyers College of Nursing, Global Public Health, School of Professional Studies, Silver School of Social Work, Tandon School of Engineering, Steinhardt

The undergraduate programs in these schools are a bit more professionally focused, so you’ll want to highlight the program of study you wish to pursue. Explain how these programs will act as a continuation of your past experiences and how they would help you to achieve your professional goals. Make sure to speak to your program’s specific pedagogy and why it will help you to become the professional you envision yourself becoming.

What if I don’t want to know what I want to study?

That’s okay! If you don’t have a specific path yet, you will have plenty of time during college to explore your passions and discover what truly speaks to you.

The sentence in the prompt that says; “You may be focused or undecided, or simply open to the options within NYU’s global network..” is speaking directly to you, undecided student!

Though you may not yet know what you specifically want to study, NYU is a huge university with endless opportunities. You can spend some time on their website and find the qualities or values that resonate with you the most. In your essay, highlight the opportunities you’d like to take advantage of and explain why you’re specifically interested in them. Maybe you have some interest in travel and cultural exploration. As a global network, NYU values studying abroad and has 17 worldwide campuses for you to choose from.

You may also want to consider applying to Liberal Studies, a school with a strong liberal arts core curriculum where you can study a variety of subjects until you learn which one you’re most passionate about.

No matter the school you choose, remember that the key to these essays is to be as specific as possible and to let the admissions committee get to know YOU. Good luck writing your application!