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The Ultimate Guide to Acing the NYU Supplemental Essays 2021/22

30 NOV 2021

New York University (NYU) is a unique and innovative institution located within New York City with other locations worldwide. With only a 16% acceptance rate, every piece of your application counts, including your supplemental essay.

How to Stand Out in Your NYU Supplemental Essays for 2021

Though the prompt continues to evolve, it is essentially the question: Why NYU? This question is nearly impossible to answer within the 400-word limit, so, as always, your best bet is to be specific and honest. There is no way to say everything, so narrow it down to what matters and demonstrate that you have done thoughtful research.

How Crimson Can Help You With Your NYU Supplemental Essay

When you meet with one of our knowledgeable and approachable Crimson advisors, they first get to know you as an individual. They want to hear about your unique dreams, aspirations, and goals so they can help you craft original and exceptional supplemental essays that stand out for the competition.

The "Why this School?" College Application Essay

Crimson Education can help you ace your supplemental essays. As the world's leading university admission consulting company, our expert admission strategists can help you narrow down your ideas and word choice to help you craft the perfect essay prompt response. Get your essay reviewed today!

What is the NYU Prompt for 2021/22?

Why NYU? 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)

Us Supplemental Essay Ebook

How to Answer the NYU Essay Prompt

While the writers of this prompt could have asked, "Why NYU?", instead they chose to specify their interest in your motivation and choice of "campus(es), school(s), college(s), program(s), and/or area(s) of study.

Given that NYU is an enormous institution, with degree campuses in New York, Shanghai, and Abu Dhabi, over 230 areas of study, and a long list of domestic and international centers and institutes, your readers need you to be specific.

As with any "why-our-school" essay, admissions officers want you to convince them:

  1. You're an excellent fit for their school.
  2. Their school is an excellent fit for you.

1. Talk about your past experiences and future plans

Building this argument requires some reference to past experiences and potential post-graduate plans. Remember your audience has already read through your resume, transcripts, and other application materials, so they have a decent sense of the interests and projects you've pursued in the past. As for your post-graduate ambitions, it's difficult to speak in too much detail about the paths you might take several years or decades from now.

Instead, build your "why us"/" why you" narrative so readers understand how NYU fits into your life trajectory. It's helpful as you're planning and drafting to start in the middle, researching and writing about what your time on campus as an NYU student might look like. You can build your narrative out from there.

Notice that the prompt leaves room for you to be focused or undecided. Don't use this as an invitation to avoid specificity and in-depth research. It is a good reminder that this admissions committee understands and wants to celebrate that college is a time of personal transformation.

Many of the most thoughtful and intellectually curious students change paths as they explore seemingly disparate academic, extracurricular, and professional interests. Your research on NYU's offerings and the narrative you construct around your findings is a chance to talk about the opportunities unique to this university and why you're passionate and excited about them. Also, talk about how you're prepared to bring your life experiences to the work you pursue at NYU as an active and engaged member of the communities you join.

2. Do your research

Now, let's talk about research. Visiting a school can be very helpful as you gather information, but if that's not feasible, you can pursue several other approaches from a distance. Here are some ideas:

  • Reach out to NYU community members who share your interests (e.g., professors, affiliated researchers, current students, alumni, etc.)
  • Read up on majors, minors, and special degree offerings (e.g., joint degrees, professional tracks, self-directed study, etc.)
  • Browse the course catalog (and some syllabi, if possible)
  • Attend lectures in courses of interest
  • Choose one or two student organizations to research.
  • Explore summer and term-time research, internships, and study abroad programs

After just a few minutes of browsing, you'll start to notice the things that differentiate NYU from other colleges and universities. Maybe you're interested in the idea of a core curriculum because you believe in the ability of an interdisciplinary education to make possible stronger collaboration between you and your peers in and beyond academic institutions. A cross-school minor might allow you to work at the intersection of two fields that aren't typically studied together. Choose a couple of courses from that minor and pull up their syllabi, if available.

Try to get a sense of whether these courses have independent research or creative project components. Regardless of the academic field(s) you're considering, look at NYU's many research centers and institutes to have some sense of the landscape, especially given that research is so central to NYU's mission and identity as an institution.

Remember that people are always the best resources. If you can sit in on a lecture for a course that interests you, do so. Try approaching the professor or other students after class, as it can be an ideal way to learn first-hand what sorts of coursework, research, and activities those who share your interests belong to on campus.

You can also look for ways to speak remotely to NYU students, alumni, researchers, or professors who will be able to point you in directions that would be harder to find on your own. If you'd like to access information that appears either unavailable online or inaccessible to non-students, consider calling or emailing the relevant offices. NYU does an excellent job of offering channels of communication specifically designed for prospective students to ask questions and request information.

3. Identify the areas that spark the most excitement for you

  • Ask yourself, "why?"
  • Think about how these opportunities relate to your life experiences.

These can be personal, academic, extracurricular, or something else entirely. There's no need to force anything—just because you've emphasized specific experiences or characterized them in particular ways in other applications does not mean you have to feel restricted by those characterizations here.

Let's say you want to connect your experience learning or teaching in an ethnically or linguistically diverse environment to an NYU offering that piques your interest. For example, you might see the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools as a place to explore issues of educational access while also gaining research experience and figuring out whether graduate school is something you'll want to pursue.

If you're excited by the work at the Migration Policy Institute because you've experienced the power that immigration law and policy have to shape lives, consider pursuing one of those fields. You might learn that students involved with the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics are taking on innovative projects at the intersections of art and activism and collaborating with scholars and artists across the Americas. You might see this as a chance to combine your interest in the arts with your desire to use the language skills you developed in your diverse learning environment.

With some development, you could weave any of the above into your argument that NYU is the best match for you!

Final Thoughts

  • You only have 400 words, so don't let any of them go to waste. The best way to ensure that nothing redundant or unnecessary ends up in your final draft is to leave yourself enough time to edit.
  • Your readers are already familiar with your resume, and any major academic or extracurricular activities and accomplishments—the purpose of this supplement is to give them something different.
  • If you research well, you can write about any of NYU's offerings. While it's tempting to squeeze them all in, be selective so your essay doesn't turn into a list where your voice and reasoning get lost.
  • As always, be honest, and be yourself! It will come through in your writing.

Crimson Education is the world's leading university admission consulting company. Our expert admission strategist can help you narrow down your ideas and word choice to help you craft the perfect supplemental essay responses. Get your essay reviewed today!

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