New York University Guide

The Ivy Scholars guide to New York University’s culture, admissions, and other essential information for prospective students and their families.

Location: Greenwich Village, NY

Mascot: Bobcat

Type: Private Research Institution

Population: 51,000 (26,700 undergrads)

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About NYU

Founded in 1831, NYU decided to be an institution based on merit instead of birthright or social class. It is now the largest private research university in the United States. It has emerged as a university focused on networking and using extensive worldwide platforms for learning, teaching, researching, building knowledge, and inventing new ways to meet humanity’s challenges.

NYU Statistics

Year Founded: 1831

4 Year Graduation Rate: 81%

Gender Distribution: 58% female, 42% male

Acceptance Rate: 28%

Residency: 33% in state, 40% out of state, 27% international

Location Type: Urban

Schedule System: Semesters

Student/Faculty Ratio: 9:1

Average Class Size: 30

Demographics: 32% Caucasian, 24% Other/Unknown, 15% Asian, 11% Hispanic, 6% Black

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National Rankings

US News Rankings:

  • #4 Study Abroad
  • #5 Business Program
  • #12 Entrepreneurship 
  • # 19 Most innovative Schools
  • #29 National Universities

Independent Rankings:

  • #3 Best College Locations in America per Niche
  • #29 World Universities per The Times of Higher Education
  • #30 Private Colleges per Forbes
  • #31 National Universities per The Times of Higher Education
  • #32 Colleges with Best Professors in America per Niche
  • #46 World Universities per Top Universities

NYU Admissions Information

Application Deadlines:

  • Early Decision: November 1st
  • Early Decision II: January 1st
  • Regular Decision: January 5th
  • Rolling Admission: After March 15th
  • Transfer Deadline: March 1st

Notification Dates:

  • Early Decision: December 15th
  • Early Decision II: February 15th
  • Regular Decision: April 1st
  • Rolling Decision: After April 16th
  • Transfer Deadline: April/May

Acceptance Rates:

  • ED: 38%
  • RD: 18% 
  • RA: n/a
  • Transfer: 25%

Average Applicant Pool: 85,000

Average Number of Applicants Accepted: 13,000

Average Number Enrolled: 6,700

Application Systems: Common App

Average GPA: 3.7 unweighted

SAT Scores: 25th% – 1250, 75th% – 1480

ACT Scores: 25th% – 30, 75th% – 34

*Test mandatory. Writing sections are not required.

Subject Test Requirements:

3 Subject Tests are required when submitting the SAT, but if submitting the ACT with the writing you do not have to submit subject tests. If 3 AP tests or 3 IB higher level exam scores are submitted then the subject tests requirement is waived.

Demonstrated Interest:

NYU does consider demonstrated interest.

Recommendation Letter Policies:

Two letters of recommendation should be submitted on behalf of every candidate for admission. The counselor evaluation is submitted by a school official and one instructor/teacher evaluation is submitted by a faculty member who has taught the student in an academic subject. Both letters are solicited to illuminate information such as non‐quantifiable personal characteristics, potential for impact at NYU, and contextual information the student may not feel is important to share.

NYU Essay Prompts:

  • Common App Personal Statement (500 words) Describe an experience that has impacted who you are as a person. What is special, unique, distinctive, or impressive about you or your life story? 
  • Why NYU? (400 words) and should focus on why the program you want to be accepted for is important. 

NYU Essay Writing Tips

Special Notes:

  • NYU allows students to apply to all three of their campuses: New York, Abu Dhabi, and or Shanghai
  • You can apply undecided as long as you declare your major by your junior year. There is no negative effect on your chances to get in as it is understood that the choice isn’t always clear for entering freshmen.
  • An audition or portfolio for specific artistic program applicants to the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and Tisch School of the Arts. For applicants to these programs, testing is optional and a required audition or portfolio can be submitted in place of standardized testing: 
    • Steinhardt requires an audition or portfolio for all applicants to the Music Department with the exception of Educational Theatre, and a portfolio for those applying to Studio Art.
    • Tisch requires an audition or portfolio for applicants to all programs with the exception of Interactive Media Arts. 
    • For programs that require an audition or portfolio we strongly recommend you submit your application one month in advance to ensure ample time to prepare your audition or portfolio.


  • Students need to be enrolled in another college or have completed 24 credit hours to apply as transfer students.
  • Students must apply using the Common App.
  • College and high school transcripts are required, as is a letter of recommendation from a college instructor. Standardized test scores are required if you have completed less than a full year of college work.
  • Some programs have additional requirements.
  • Housing for transfer students is limited and not guaranteed.

NYU Admission Strategy

Admissions Criteria:

The aspects the school considers very important are: course rigor, class rank, GPA, test scores, and talent.

The factors they consider important are: essays, recommendations, extracurriculars, and character.

The aspects which are considered are: first generation status, legacy status, interviews, geographic origin, race/ethnicity, volunteering, and level of interest.

Recruited athletes do not have much of an advantage when it comes to admissions, as the school does not have any kind of focus on sports.

Artistic ability is incredibly important for students applying to Tisch. These students do not need to submit test scores, but must submit portfolios or auditions. 

What is NYU Looking For?

Every student is reviewed by multiple officers in what they describe as a comprehensive review. They begin by looking at academics, then use letters of recommendation to put your classroom performance into context. Extracurriculars and essays then give officers a complete view of the student. While academic record as a whole is slightly more important, they focus on transcript and course rigor more than standardized test scores.

NYU wants to see the fit a student has through their essay. They want to see the level of interest a student has backed up by the research they’ve done. They also want to get a sense of who the students are authentically, to see if those students will fit in with the goals of NYU as an institution. The essay should also be about NYU itself, not the broader city of New York. Students should also know what they’re in for at NYU, with a lack of traditional campus and a very cosmopolitan atmosphere overall.

The choice of school is very important when applying to NYU, as students who are a good match for one are often not suited for another. It is also very hard to transfer between schools. Students who are truly undecided should apply to the Liberal Studies program, which is a two-year course which covers general education requirements with room to explore possible interests, and sets students up to transfer to another school within NYU.

The university recently founded a school-wide program for environmental studies, as part of a commitment to a more environmentally conscious campus. This is also part of a larger push towards an expansion of scientific research and knowledge creation at the school. While some of this will come from the work of faculty and graduate students, undergrads looking to work in the traditional sciences are also appreciated.

NYU Strategy:

Students should demonstrate passions, even or especially if they’re undecided. While there isn’t anything wrong with being undecided, they do want to see the passions of a student demonstrated. These passions should also feed into whichever school and major the student has applied to.

The school has a test flexible policy, and tests are entirely optional for art students (though a portfolio is required). This means students should only submit the strongest scores they have, as all scores submitted will be considered. Thus if students have multiple 5s on APs but 1200 SATs, then they should submit the AP scores and not the SAT. 

The easiest way to increase your chances of admission is to apply Early Decision. While the academic bar for admission is not lowered, there are fewer applicants in the early pool, and the dedication shown by students who apply with the binding ED is appreciated by schools, especially since NYU also cares about demonstrated interest generally.

The acceptance rate for ED II is not quite so high as ED I, but it is still higher than the admissions rate for those applying Regular Decision. The interest shown by the binding decision and boost to the yield rate are still there, but the students are now compared to the much broader pool of students applying RD. There is also a slight decline from ED I as it may seem NYU is your second choice school, rather than first. That said, if NYU is your second choice school, and you didn’t get into your first choice ED, ED II for NYU is a good choice.

Since NYU cares about demonstrated interest, it is an easy way to improve your chances of admission somewhat. The essay about NYU is also a good place to show that you have done your research on the school, and thought through your decision to apply.

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NYU Academics


Core Requirements:

  • Courses must be taken in 5 required areas of study: First Year Seminars, Expository Writing Program, Foreign Language, Foundations of Contemporary Culture, and Foundations of Scientific Inquiry.
  • Comprehensive Core Requirement Information

Courses of Study: 

AP Credit Policies:

  • NYU rewards credit for scores of 4 or 5 on most AP exams, with up to 32 credits available for incoming freshmen. Scores of 6 or 7 on IB higher-level exams will also grant credits. 
  • Comprehensive AP Credit Information

Special Programs

Honors Programs:

Research Availability:

Study Abroad: 

Business Options: 

Pre-Med Options:

Pre-Law Options:

Computer Science Options: 

Additional Specialty Programs: 

Programs for High Schoolers:

  • The High School Programs database lists all of the offerings, programs ranging in length from 1 to 6 weeks, both residential and virtual. There are options to study at the school, conduct research, and experience life at college, both during the academic year or over the summer.

Student Life at NYU

Motto: To persevere and to excel.

Mission and Values:

  • Mission: to be a top quality international center of scholarship, teaching, and research.
  • Values: Being ethical, efficient learning, equity, diversity and inclusion. 
  • Additional Information
  • Student Testimonials (Niche, Unigo, Students Review)

Residential Housing System:

NYU’s two residential colleges provide a holistic learning experience for its students. Although NYU has residential colleges and dorms, their campus is sprawled all over lower Manhattan, which is why Freshmen aren’t required to live “on campus”. 

Housing Statistics:

  • 42% of undergraduates live in on-campus owned housing.
  • 12,000 of the students live in an owned and operated NYU housing option.

Campus & Surrounding Area:  



  • NYU prides itself on having “no” traditions as a badge of honor. They are too cool of a university to have them. With that said, a few persist:
  • Don’t walk under the Washington Arch or you won’t graduate, students don’t like to chance it even if it is just superstition.
  • Strawberry Stream annual strawberry festival.
  • AppleFest every October to celebrate fall with live music and booths.

Student-Run Organizations: 


Greek Life: 

NYU has 2,000 students who are members of Greek life, making up their 30 active chapters. With 7 sororities from the Panhellenic Council, 11 fraternities from the Interfraternity Council, and 12 fraternities and sororities in the Multicultural Greek Council, NYU’s greek-life plays a role in the broader campus community.


  • With NYU’s campus sprawl, many students rely on restaurants and bars as part of their nightlife scene. 
  • Club Fest is the semester’s largest community building event and helps freshmen and others find the club that suits them. With so many clubs and students participating it is a critical part of their nightlife and other activities.
  • Unlike other schools athletics isn’t a huge deal, so most students don’t consider attending matches a big part of their activities.
  • NYC Welcome Week is an event that hosts a wide variety of parties, including ones that serve as a gateway for students under 21 to enter the NY city scene.
  • NYU Calendar contains lots of information on events and is a valued resource for students.
  • Shows and museums abound for students. Free Museum Access – NYU allows students to go to many premier museums for free. Students can take advantage of timing and their geography by getting discounted tickets to shows.

Financial Information

Yearly Cost of Attendance:

  • Total: $78,744
  • Tuition & Mandatory Fees: $54,822
  • Transportation: $1,110
  • Indirect expenses to consider: $4618
  • Room & Board: $19,244
  • Books & Supplies: $718
  • Personal Expenses: $2,790

Financial Aid:

  • Typically, 51% of students receive some financial aid. 
  • Loans and work study are common forms of aid. 
  • All aid awarded is determined on the basis of student need.


The average grant and scholarship total is $29,500 and the average net price is $40,000. It should be noted that first-year students usually average closer to $37,000 reward. 

  • All applicants are automatically considered for Scholarships and Grants. 
  • University-Wide and School-Based scholarships at NYU are available to all applicants as long as paperwork is submitted by the deadlines.
  • Federal Pell grants as well as New York state scholarship and grant programs are available.
  • New York State Assistance Program (TAP) is determined through FAFSA and students are required to complete a separate application to be considered for this assistance.

Fun Facts

  • In 2000, NYU’s College of Dentistry started “Smiling Faces, Going Places”, which served as the first dentistry facility on wheels in the state.
  • Taking up 30 square feet of space, the fastest computer in New York City sits at NYU.
  • It should be noted that NYU is one of the largest landowners in New York City.
  • The school color is violet, but no one knows why.
  • In the 1980s they decided to choose a flower as their mascot, but it didn’t last, as they realized it didn’t instill fear in their opponents.
  • The bobcat, named after the Bobst Library, is their formidable mascot. 
  • The World Champion Quidditch team can be found at NYU who had made the Sweet 16.
  • 4.5 Million volumes of books make up the libraries of NYU across Manhattan.
Wendy Y.
Below is my son's review. He was accepted to his dream Ivy League school!

From an admitted student's perspective, I am incredibly grateful to have met Sasha - he has been instrumental in helping me achieve my educational dreams (Ivy League), all while being an absolute joy (he's a walking encyclopedia, only funnier!) to work with.

Many people are dissuaded from seeking a college counselor because they think they can get into their desired college(s) either way. Honestly, going that route is a bit short-sighted and can jeopardize your odds of acceptances after years of hard work. The sad truth is, the American education system (even if you attend a fancy private school and ESPECIALLY if you go to a public school) doesn't really tell students how to write a compelling and authentic application. Going into the admissions process alone, without speaking with an advisor, is like going to court without a lawyer - you put yourself at a significant disadvantage because you don't have all the facts in front of you, or the help you need to negotiate the system.

That said, you need a good lawyer just like you need a good college counselor. And that's where Sasha distinguishes himself from the crowd of people claiming they'll get you into Harvard. I came to Sasha worried about and frankly dumbfounded by the college admissions process. I was unsure what to write about and how to go about drafting the essay that perfectly captured my passion, interests, and self. And I was highly skeptical that anyone could really help me. But, damn, did Sasha prove me wrong. From the beginning, Sasha amazed me with his understanding of the process, and ability to lend clarity and direction to me when I desperate needed it. After interviewing me about my background, experiences, activities, outlook, and vision, he helped me see qualities about myself I had not previously considered 'unique' or 'stand-out.' This process of understanding myself was so incredibly important in laying the groundwork for the essays I eventually wrote, and I'm certain I would've drafted boring, inauthentic essays without it.

Looking back, Sasha's talent is that he can see where your strengths lie, even when you don't see them. The truth is, although we don't always realize it, everyone has a unique story to tell. Sasha helped me see mine, and with his big-picture insight I was able to write the application that truly encapsulated my life and vision. He inspired me to dig deeper and write better, challenging me to revise and revise until my essays were the most passionate and authentic work I had ever written. As clichéd as that sounds, that's really what universities are looking for. In retrospect, it makes sense - in the real world passionate (not simply intelligent) individuals are the ones who make a difference in the world, and those are the individuals colleges would like to have associated with their brand.

In the end, I was accepted to the college of my dreams, a feat I could not have achieved without the direction Sasha lent to me. Essays (and the personal narrative you develop through your application) matter so much, and can literally make or break your application. I have seen so many of my 'qualified' friends receive rejections because they wrote contrived essays that didn't truly represent who they were; conversely, I have also seen so many friends with shorter resumes accepted because they were able to articulate their story in a genuinely passionate and authentic way - I fall into the latter category.

As a former admissions officer at Johns Hopkins, Sasha knows what types of essays jibe well with universities, an invaluable asset to have in the admissions process. He is responsive, flexible, creative, positive, and witty. For anyone who is serious about going into the college admissions process informed and prepared, I highly recommend Sasha.
Arda E.
I used Ivy Scholars to mainly help me with college applications. Within weeks of using this service, Sasha was able to simplify the already complex process. When it came to writing the Common App essay, Sasha didn’t just help with grammar and syntax, he brought my essays to life. Sasha also worked tirelessly to help solidify my extracurricular activities, including research and internship opportunities. Without his help, I would have never had an impressive resume.

Sasha is not only an extremely knowledgeable tutor, but also a genuine brother figure. His guidance, throughout my last two years of high school, was everything I needed to get me an acceptance letter from my dream schools (UC Berkeley, Tufts, Emory).

When it came to testing, Ivy Scholars worked like a charm. Sasha offered a very comprehensive plan when it came to completely acing my standardized tests. Without his test taking strategies I would have never gotten straight 5s on my AP tests and a 35 on the ACT.

Working with Sasha, I didn’t just become a good student, I became a genuine scholar.
Samson S.
We worked with Ivy Scholars during my son's senior year. I was concerned that we may be too late to take advantage of college advising but the Ivy Scholars team quickly and confidently directed us through the steps to ensure no deadlines were missed. Sasha's knowledge about schools, what they looked for in candidates, and how to maneuver the application process was invaluable. Mateo and Ryan worked with my son to help him create an essay that would get noticed and I am so appreciative he had their guidance.

Prior to securing Ivy Scholars, we tried using a less-expensive online service which was a terrible experience. As a parent, Ivy Scholars brought peace of mind to an area that was frankly overwhelming. This service was invaluable in the knowledge that we gained throughout the process. He has also met with my freshman daughter to provide guidance for her high school courses, career paths, extracurricular activities, and more.

Prior to signing with Ivy Scholars, I tried a less expensive online service and was very disappointed.

As a result of our work with Ivy Scholars, I am pleased to say that my son will be attending Stern Business School at New York University this fall! I highly recommend Ivy Scholars. Highly recommend!