How to Write the NYU Supplemental Essays

“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)

What should I avoid writing about?

There are two topics you should avoid citing as your motivation for applying to NYU. The first is reputation. Do not write that you’d like to attend NYU because it is a well ranked university. This could be applied to any other top-tier university. 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. You can mention these reasons in particular, but just mentioning prestige or reputation is not enough.

The second reason you should avoid is geography. Yes, attending school in NYC may be your dream; but that’s not enough of a reason, as you could also apply to Fordham, Columbia or any one of the CUNY schools.

Begin by asking yourself, why is your dream NYU in NYC?

Is there a specific school or program that particularly attracts you to NYU? Within that school, is there a specific professor you would like to study under or do research with? Does a specific program’s pedagogy or values speak to you?

Once you have identified specific reasons as to why you’d like to attend NYU, remember that a well-written essay will provide a reasoning that is both specific and highlights who you are. 

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?’
You’ll want to tie in both past experiences and future aspirations. 

For example, perhaps you’ve been heavily 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, executive committee member of our Schools for Schools chapter, 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 three separate charity organizations will allow me to offer an experienced perspective to Circle K.”

You’ll want to demonstrate that you have shared values with those of NYU, and that you look forward to joining a community of like-minded individuals. For example, you might include something like:

“I’m so happy to be at NYU, and my friends are happy I’m there too.” Something I envision myself saying at Thanksgiving dinner next year. I dream of attending NYU and developing mutualistic relationships with both my peers and professors. I hope to contribute intellectually valuable input both inside and outside of the classroom. I seek to surround myself with motivated, diverse, and intellectually curious individuals who work to motivate each other. I know that this would be the make-up of my peers at NYU.”

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

In addition to demonstrating your personality, you’ll want to explain why the specific school or program at NYU is the correct fit for you. As with any supplement, the key here is to be as specific as possible.

College of Arts and Science

CAS has 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 it’s associated electives and write about why that course of study is of interest to you, and how it will help you to achieve your future goals.

Leonard N. Stern School of Business 

You’ll want to specify the area of business in which you’re interested in and any past experience in the field. You should pinpoint a specific major or program, and explain why this is the most fitting possibility for you.

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 once you are attending NYU in your application. This specific program is meant for those 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. It is not enough to simply state that you are interested in both business and entertainment. You must 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. It would be appropriate to mention here that NYU’s NYC location will allow you to intern in film and television and apply your classroom knowledge to the professional environment.

Stern has 10 key “Why Stern” reasons, which you can find on their website. You’ll want to research them carefully, and write about the ones that speak to you. This is the best opportunity for you to demonstrate that your values are in line with those of Stern.

Gallatin School of Individualized Study

If you intend 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 also an ideal school for students who wish to fulfill pre-professional requirements – pre-med, pre-law, pre-PhD- but who 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 shift depending on the program to which you are applying. Make sure to closely read the guidelines.

Spend a lot of time researching your particular program of interest before writing your ‘Why NYU’ essay. There are innumerable ways to teach art an art practice, so you want to be sure that Tisch’s pedagogy will facilitate your artistic development specifically, and speak to that in your essay. 

Here it is especially important to avoid a topical “NYC is the hub of art’ statement, but it would be appropriate to write about the opportunities for study, performance and exhibition within Tisch! Like most art schools, you’ll find yourself surrounded by artists if you attend Tisch, so you should speak to 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 it is a good continuation of your past experiences and how it 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! You’re young and you don’t have to know yet! You have plenty of time to figure it out, and college will help you to explore your many options!
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. Spend some time on their website and find the qualities or values which speak the most to you. In your essay, highlight the opportunities you’d like to take advantage of and explain why you specifically are interested in them. Maybe you have some interest in travel and cultural exploration. NYU highly values studying abroad, and has 17 campuses for you to choose from. 

One school you may consider applying to is 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 are most passionate about.

No matter the school to which you are applying, remember that the key to these essays is to be as specific as possible, and to let the admissions committee get to know YOU. Best of luck on your application!