Why NYU? How to Write the NYU Supplemental Essay


NYU has long been a top choice school for many students. New York University’s application volume has now reached a new level. Last year, more than 100,000 students submitted applications, marking a new record for the college.

Consequently, it’s no surprise that gaining a seat at NYU is exceptionally competitive. To boost your admissions odds, you must ensure that each component of your application presents you in the best possible light, including your NYU supplemental essays. Read on to learn what you can do to make sure your writing sets you apart for all of the right reasons.

How to Write the Why NYU Essay

If you think you only need to worry about your personal statement, think again. Supplemental essays matter, particularly at highly competitive colleges like NYU where students are applying amidst tens of thousands other applicants.

One of the most important questions you will need to answer as part of the NYU supplemental essay process is about the college itself. Many schools include a supplemental essay question that asks the applicant why they are choosing to apply to their institution. They ask this question because they want to gauge an applicant’s level of interest in attending their university. They also hope to get to know the applicant and understand the potential impact they could have  on campus.

The “Why Us” essay topic is an opportunity to demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of the college to which you are applying. Rather than generic statements, make sure you tailor your arguments to NYU specifically by referencing classes you’re interested in taking, professors you wish to study with, and on-campus clubs that you’re eager to join. Avoid reusing or recycling this response from your other applications, even if you see a similar short essay prompt. You want to make sure each response is as school-specific as possible.

When it comes to writing a “Why Us” essay for NYU specifically, you’ll need to make sure your response stands out, especially since the college recently received 105,000 applications for first-year admissions. The more you research and tailor your answer to the college, the more compelling your response will be. Keep in mind that the best answers really break the question down into two parts: “Why are you applying to NYU?” and “What are you interested in studying at NYU?”. There are a few different ways that you can go about including both of these components in your answer.

Approach #1: The ‘3-5 Unique Opportunities’ Strategy

You can also identify 3-5 opportunities that are specific to NYU and connect each one back to your long-term career and personal goals. This approach can work well at a large school like NYU, where there are plenty of unique opportunities for students to highlight.

Approach #2: The ‘One Value’ Strategy

The third strategy for this NYU supplemental essay question is to choose one value that relates to you and to the college and to focus on it. Find a way to discuss how the college’s ethos aligns with your own values. Then, weave in specific NYU opportunities that interest you and relate to this value.

Approach #3: Mix and Match

You can also take a hybrid approach by choosing a central theme to focus on, incorporating a few reasons why NYU is the best school for you to pursue this focus. Make sure to back up your argument with specific facts and examples.

How to Stand Out in Your NYU Supplemental Essays

Pinpoint Your Specific Interest

Make sure you’re writing about your interests and passions. At this point in the application process, most students are aware of how important extracurriculars are for college, but it’s worth reiterating: admissions officers will affirm prospective students who have become specialists or experts in something. When it comes to talking about your passions, don’t be shy in your NYU supplement essay.

Discuss Relevant Opportunities

Admissions officers should walk away from your essay with a belief that NYU is a place you will thrive. The best way to do that is by highlighting school-specific learning and development opportunities that align with your passions and interests. Call out classes, research programs, and internships that intrigue you to make your point.

Be Comprehensive

When you’re writing the NYU supplemental essay, it’s best to go into detail. Be specific about the academic programs and opportunities at NYU that interest you and make sure you support all of your arguments with stories and examples when relevant.

Connect Those Details to Your Values

Admissions officers already know that NYU is a great college. Instead of reiterating that, aim to connect some of NYU’s key differentiators to your own values and interests. Explain what about the school excites you and articulate why you’re committed to attending. This is one of the best tips for supplemental essays that you can apply to every college you’re applying to.

Top 3 Common Mistakes When Writing the NYU Essay

When you’re writing your NYU supplement essay, avoid making the following common mistakes:

Mistake #1: Focusing on the Basics

There’s nothing wrong with mentioning the school’s location or size, but that shouldn’t be your main reason for wanting to attend NYU. There are plenty of other schools in New York City which will make that argument less impactful. Instead, focus on specific opportunities that only NYU offers.

Mistake #2: Using Inappropriate Language

Your NYU supplemental essay should be written in your own voice. Instead of trying to sound impressive or academic, just prioritize sounding like yourself. With that being said, there’s no room for curse words or other inappropriate languages in your college admissions essays.

Mistake #3: Thinking This Is a ‘Why Them’ Only Essay

The essay question might say “Why NYU?” but the admissions office is really asking “Why should we admit you?”. Keep this in mind when you formulate your response and make sure your essay highlights individual qualities that fit NYU.

Why NYU Essay Examples

Want to see what a top-tier essay looks like? Check out the following essay written by an IvyWise student who was accepted during the 2021-22 admissions cycle and is currently attending NYU:

Walking through the streets of New York City with my mother, I always enjoyed listening to her stories about her experiences at NYU. As she pointed out her favorite places to study, I could envision myself there as well, thriving in the epicenter of a dynamic global environment. I would love to join NYU’s College of Arts and Science and delve into my academic interests in sociology and law while being immersed in the energetic and spirited community of the city itself.

I have always been fascinated by how human beings interact with their surroundings and how those interactions affect social structures. The variety of classes available in the Department of Sociology is incredibly enticing. I am excited to take Sociological Theory and learn about the foundational theories that have shaped the discipline and use those theories as a lens to study modern-day society. I am particularly interested in social justice and inequality, and the unique minor in law and society perfectly aligns with this interest. Being able to take a class with Professor David Garland, an expert in the American death penalty and the differences between Western European and American prison sentences, would be especially intriguing for me. 

I would also enjoy attending the sociology workshops the department sponsors. The Crime, Law, and Deviance workshop exemplifies how NYU graduate students and faculty are at the forefront of studying the social impact of crime. Additionally, as an international student, I appreciate NYU’s wide range of study away programs. The fact that I can study abroad in Florence and continue my study of sociology and the legal system in The Politics of Organized Crime: Italian Mafia in a Comparative Perspective is especially appealing as it would also allow me to reconnect with my Italian roots.

I am looking forward to connecting with my peers socially as well. The French Club and the Italian Club will help me meet other students who perhaps share my cultural background. I can also satisfy my creative side by joining the Guitare Fingerstyle Club. Additionally, as a maths aficionado, I would enjoy attending the lectures hosted by the Mathematics Society.

NYU’s unmistakable metropolitan grounds welcome undergraduates to take advantage of all the city brings to the table. From the sociology classes on campus to the astonishing displays at the MoMA and the unique energy of the NYC streets, I’m eager to take everything in!

For another successful essay example, see the following written by an IvyWise student who was accepted to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts:

What has always struck me as an essential aspect of NYU Tisch is its openness of mind, the way it radiates diversity and acceptance, whether in terms of education or culture. From its stylistic variety to the vibrancy of its community, NYU Tisch is rooted in difference and harmony. I consider such open-mindedness to be vital, not only to my personal development, but to the prosperity of society in a broader sense.

NYU Tisch’s undergraduate dance curriculum appeals to me as a program that values individuality, whose design encourages independence and singularity. Courses in the likes of Creative Research in Dance put the artist at the centre of their creation, which I believe is fundamental to artistic growth. Those values resonate with my creativity, my tendency towards non-conformism, and my constant desire to experiment with new visions.

In addition to this, I am captivated by the progressive spirit that NYU Tisch displays, both artistically and ideologically. It gives the impression of being set in motion by an elemental belief in the necessity of growth and renewal. I deeply relate to this belief, and strive to maintain balance between my creative and critical sides, in order to cultivate a permanent state of self-reflection.

Furthermore, I am strongly attracted to the multi-dimensional vision of dance that NYU Tisch offers. Its undergraduate program is all-encompassing, encircling physical training, theoretical studies, creative experimentation and performance. I found myself especially drawn to the Core Curriculum, Art in the World/ The World through Art, for I am fascinated by the mutual influence of art and society. Certain courses have also sparked my interest by the way they envision dance under less traditional angles, such as the studies of Acting or Music Theory and Composition.

Additionally, I have a profound admiration for the abundance of opportunities that NYU Tisch offers, not only through its prestigious program, but also through the inspiring energy of the New York scene. Every corner of the city, from the illustrious Broadway to the most obscure basements, seems loaded with talent and creativity. The hypnotizing intensity of the city calls out to my driven character, to my determination to achieve what my mind is set on, regardless of the difficulty.

I see NYU Tisch as a place that could fulfill me personally, for the architecture of its undergraduate dance program deeply resonates with my creativity, values and ambitions.

How IvyWise Can Help You With Your NYU Supplemental Application Essay?

Every student can benefit from college admissions assistance, especially if their goal is to gain admission to a school as competitive as NYU. If you’re interested in learning how to take your NYU supplement application essay to the next level, our team is here to help.

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