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New York University (NYU) 2019-20 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision: 

The Requirements: 1 essay of 400 words.

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why

New York University (NYU) 2019-20 Application Essay Explanations

Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to witness an optical illusion. The lengthy paragraph below comprises one (1), and only one (1) college essay prompt. While the read may be a bit of a slog, you’re also in luck because this prompt is the one (1) and only supplemental essay NYU hopefuls are expected to write! Laying out the requirements for a 400-word personal statement, the prompt itself clocks in at nearly a quarter of that length. Knowing that your application time is precious, NYU must have had some reason to pen a prompt of this size, so it’s important to note each specific requirement and every minute detail that could give you some inkling as to how to tell your own story. Let’s break it down.

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)

This meandering paragraph asks the most straightforward supplemental question you’ll find: Why here? But before you let the words, “Why wouldn’t I want to spend the next four years of my life in the greatest city in the world?” cross your lips, take a closer look. In addition to offering your unique take on why an NYU education is right for you, you’ll also need to make sure your answer ticks off a few specific boxes. Firstly, NYU wants a drill down of your reasoning from your campus selection all the way to your specific program of choice. The question isn’t just “Why NYU,” but “Why do YOU want to study this topic at this time in this geographical context via NYU?” And, of course, if you’ve applied to more than one campus, you’ll want to explain how each location can meet your needs in ways that are both unique and somehow equivalent. You wouldn’t apply to Abu Dhabi if Paris was the only place for you, right? The nice thing about being able to focus on geography is that you don’t have to have a fully fleshed out plan for your major; instead, you can focus on the experiential and cultural elements that will feed into your education. How will living in New York or abroad affect you as a person? As a student? How will you grow?

Your answer should be personal to you and, if possible, surprising. Remember that while you have a free reign to gush about how much you want to live in New York, New York, a lot of your potential peers probably feel the same way. So, try not to focus on what you’d like to do or see. Instead, explain what your desire to move from your hometown to New York says about you. Whether you’re trying to be courageous by leaving your small homogenous town or hoping to stay close to your family in Brooklyn, what is your personal reason? And don’t forget that you’re still writing about a school! Is there a professor in your department who has done research you admire that you hope to work with? Is there a program that combines your unique interests that is not offered at any other school? Get specific, but don’t worry about being comprehensive. You’ve only got 400 words, after all!

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