nyu supplemental essays

NYU Supplemental Essays

New York University, also known as NYU, is in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. NYU is not only one of the best universities in New York but one of the world’s most elite schools. With the NYU acceptance rate at 13%, NYU is highly competitive, meaning you need a stellar NYU essay when applying. Finely crafted NYU supplemental essays will almost certainly make or break your admissions hopes for NYU.

Are you wondering how to get into NYU? NYU considers various components of your college application; you should understand how these requirements are evaluated. Most students know about high school transcripts and letters of recommendation, but have you thought about the NYU supplemental essays? NYU supplemental essays are designed to gather additional information that the admissions committee is most interested in. In this guide, we will cover NYU supplemental essays, NYU essay prompts, and NYU admission requirements.

New York University Essay: Quick Facts

NYU Essay: Quick Facts

  • NYU Acceptance Rate: 13%
  • NYU Application Deadlines:
    • Early Decision I: November 1
    • Early Decision II: January 1
    • Regular Decision: January 5
  • New York University Application:
    • The New York University application is hosted exclusively on the Common App.
    • The Common App allows students to submit supporting documents on the Common App. Review a list of supporting documents here.
    • You can also submit your documents directly to the NYU admissions office. 
    • After you submit your application on the Common App, you can check the status of your application on the NYU Admissions website
  • New York University Essay Requirements:
    • 1 required Common App personal essay. 
    • 1 optional NYU supplemental essay. 
  • New York University Essay Tip: In addition to the Common App personal essay, NYU has one optional NYU essay. While this essay is optional, this is your chance to give the admissions committee more evidence of your writing skills and who you are.

Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website. 

Does NYU have supplemental essays?

The NYU admission requirements include one optional supplemental NYU essay. But don’t be fooled by the “optional” label. Even though this NYU essay is not required, completing the optional NYU essay can be beneficial to your holistic application review. Essayless applications aren’t penalized, but you are missing out on a valuable opportunity to add additional context to your application. NYU supplemental essays are highly recommended for any student serious about getting into NYU.

To understand how the admissions committee reviews optional NYU supplemental essays, it is important to understand holistic application reviews. A holistic application review considers the metrics, attributes, and experiences of applicants in its admissions decisions. Holistic review does not assign numeric weights to your transcript, essay, or letters of recommendation. Instead, this approach looks at the collective story between all your application materials.

Holistic reviews understand that you’re much more than your GPA and your SAT scores. Admissions committees are interested in what makes you unique. One of the best platforms to showcase your unique experiences and point of view is your NYU supplemental essays. You can tell the admissions committee who you are and what you value in your own words.

What happened to the Why NYU essay?

nyu supplemental essays

Essay guides from years past go in-depth about the “why NYU” essay, but not this year. In fact, changes to the NYU essay prompts are common, as with many universities. Each year, admissions offices make updates to their admissions applications based on their goals. For instance, NYU—like many other schools—continues to be test-optional this year, so don’t fret if you don’t have standardized test scores.

This year the “why NYU” essay was removed, and another NYU essay was added. The essays for each application cycle are announced on August 1st. This gives you plenty of time to read through the NYU essay prompts and prepare your NYU essay. Preparation and research are essential! Having a solid understanding of why you are interested in a college allows you to prepare a more intentional application.

Even though the “why NYU” essay is no longer one of the required NYU supplemental essays, don’t discount it. There are still some important takeaways from the “why NYU” essay that you can apply to other NYU supplemental essays. Writing a strong “why school” essay requires you to do your research and explore exactly why you would be a good fit for that institution.

Being able to articulate why you are a good fit in your NYU supplemental essays is critical. To set yourself up for success, make sure you thoroughly research NYU and why you want to attend. Later, we will discuss how to incorporate the same approach used in the “why NYU” essay into your other NYU supplemental essays. 

NYU Common App Essay

The Common Application is one of the largest college application platforms. There are thousands of colleges that use the Common App, including New York University. The Common App allows students to apply for multiple institutions using the same platform. The New York University essay portion is separate and discussed further down.

One of the application components that is common to all colleges on the platform is the Common App personal essay.  Also called the personal statement, this essay will go to NYU and any other colleges on your Common App portal. The Common App personal essay must be a minimum of 250 words and a maximum of 650 words. All applicants using the Common App write according to the same requirements. 

The Common App instructs students to choose one of the personal essay prompts below. These prompts allow you to write about yourself, your personality, and your values through thought-provoking topics. The prompts usually change slightly year-to-year, but the intention behind them is the same.

The personal essay prompts are very broad which gives applicants the opportunity to discuss anything they are interested in. There is no “best” prompt to choose. You should choose the prompt that most resonates with you and shows off your writing skills. There is even an option to submit an original piece of writing on any topic you choose. However, while the prompts ask about experiences or topics, you should ultimately reveal something of yourself in your essay.

2023-2024 Common App Personal Essay Prompts

Here are the Common App prompts for this application cycle:

Common App Essay Prompts

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

After choosing a Common App prompt, you should carve out several weeks to review and revise your essay. Since this is the only required essay,  you should view it as a critical piece of your college application. After all, New York University and all of the other colleges you apply to will be reading your personal essay.

Many students spend all their energy on trying to come up with a unique topic. Remember that what’s most important is not what you say but how you say it and what you reveal about yourself. What makes your essay unique is your unique point of view. You should channel the words, details, and stories that feel most authentic to you. This is how you stand out

Other articles cover this year’s Common App essay in more depth—our main focus is the NYU essay. Keep reading to learn more about the NYU supplemental essays. 

NYU Supplemental Essay

nyu supplemental essays

Although there is no longer a “why NYU” Essay, students may answer another supplemental New York University essay. While this New York University essay is optional, answering it can show your interest in NYU and bolster your application.

Considering the 13% NYU acceptance rate, a successful NYU supplemental essay may decide if you get into NYU. Supplemental essay prompts are designed for the admissions committee to learn additional details about the applicant. Choosing to answer an optional essay is just another opportunity to put your best self forward for the committee.

Check out the optional NYU essay prompts below. Then, we’ll discuss how to go about choosing the best NYU essay prompt for you.

NYU Essay Prompt for 2023–2024

NYU Essay Prompt for 2023–2024

We are looking for peacemakers, changemakers, global citizens, boundary breakers, creatives, and innovators – Choose one quote from the following and let us know why it inspires you, or share a short quote and person not on our list who inspires you, and include why.

1. “We’re used to people telling us there are no solutions, and then creating our own. So we did what we do best. We reached out to each other, and to our allies, and we mobilized across communities to make change, to benefit and include everyone in society.” Judith Heuman, 2022 NYU Commencement Address

2. “I encourage your discomfort, that you must contribute, that you must make your voice heard. That is the essence of good citizenship.” Sherilynn Ifill, 2015 NYU Commencement Address

3. “If you know how to fly but you never knew how to walk, wouldn’t that be sad?” Lang Lang, 2015 NYU Honorary Degree Recipient

4. “You have the right to want things and to want things to change.” Sanna Marin, Former Prime Minister of Finland, 2023 NYU Commencement Address

5. “It’s hard to fight when the fight ain’t fair.” Taylor Swift, Change, Released 2008, 2022 NYU Commencement Speaker

Applicants may also share a short quote and person not on this list, and why the quote inspires them. Of course, they may also choose not to answer the question at all.

Choosing A Quote for your NYU Supplemental Essay

The optional NYU essay gives students several quotes to choose from. With so many options, you are probably wondering what quote you should choose. Let’s think about how to approach this prompt and the quotes it gives you.

First, identify the quotes that most resonate with you—choosing several is fine. You can consider how each quote relates to your background and life experiences. You may even find some commonalities between you and the person quoted. No matter what draws you to a specific quote, it is critical that you find a quote that best suits you. While no quote is bad, there are undoubtedly some quotes that will feel more relatable to you than others. 

As an exercise, you can choose your top two quotes and brainstorm NYU supplemental essays about them. This includes making an outline, adding details you’d like to incorporate, and deciding on the structure of your NYU essay. Don’t forget about incorporating why you would be a good fit for NYU. This can be done explicitly or subtly by drawing parallels between your personal values and the institution’s values. 

Like the Common App personal essay, if you don’t love any of the quotes, you can always choose your own. If you go this route, consider the quotes provided as inspiration. Each of these quotes encourages you to think critically and explore your thoughts and beliefs beyond the surface. The NYU admissions team chose these quotes for a reason. They can be great clues to the type of information that NYU is hoping to gather through the NYU supplemental essays. 

How long should the NYU supplemental essays be?

The NYU supplemental essays have a maximum word count of 250 words. Typically, that results in two to three paragraphs. There is no minimum word count for the NYU supplemental essays. Students should focus on addressing the prompt in its entirety instead of focusing solely on how long the essay should be. If you’ve said everything you wanted to and haven’t hit the word limit, don’t sweat it. There are great 100-word NYU supplemental essays and other NYU supplemental essays that use the entire word limit. No matter how long your NYU supplemental essays are, you should feel confident that you addressed the prompt fully.

What does NYU admissions look for in essays?

Are you wondering how to get into NYU with a strong essay? NYU supplemental essays continue to be an important part of your admissions application. A strong NYU essay allows the admissions committee to envision you on the campus of NYU. To best answer your NYU essay prompts, applicants should have a strong understanding of NYU’s mission and values.

NYU’s history is steeped in innovation and trailblazing. NYU alumni are often change agents and pacesetters in their respective fields. NYU also values global education—many NYU alumni go on to contribute to the global community in their discipline. If you read through past and present NYU essay prompts, you will see evidence of these values.

nyu supplemental essays

#1: Can you contribute to NYU?

The first thing NYU is looking for is you! The admissions committee uses the Common App essay and NYU supplemental essays to get to know you as a person. They are interested in your interests, motivations, experiences, and unique point of view. Your NYU supplemental essays are your chance to be your most authentic self.

Even though this prompt is not a “why school” essay, you should be finding parallels between NYU’s and your own personal values. Writing about your passions and motivations should answer the question “Why NYU?” for the admissions committee. Ultimately this allows them to see you on their campus making contributions in the classroom and beyond. 

#2: Did you answer the prompt?

Second, you should always be sure that you are answering the NYU essay prompts in their entirety. The reader should walk away feeling as though you fully understood the NYU essay prompts and presented an organized and structured response. Thorough planning, drafting, and revising can make sure your essays are logically sound and comprehensible.

Don’t discount style in conveying your answer to the prompt. One of the best ways to get your message across is by adding in detailed descriptions and anecdotes. Your essay should feel inviting and authentic. Sometimes describing the sound, smell, and feel of a moment can help invite the reader into your world. 

#3: Does your NYU essay highlight you?

Finally, your NYU essay is less about testing your spelling and grammar and more about producing a compelling narrative. Many high school students are overly concerned with impressing the admissions committee with large words and complicated concepts. While the quality of your writing, grammar, and spelling are important, these elements are seen as a baseline.

Certainly, the admissions committee is looking for writing that is at the college level. But more than that, your perspective, tone, and language should be authentically yours. You should focus on communicating your unique viewpoint and values by answering this prompt. This is what will truly set you apart.

What is the application deadline for NYU?

nyu supplemental essays

NYU has three deadlines to choose from: Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision. The NYU application deadline for Early Decision I is November 1st and the NYU application deadline for Early Decision II is January 1st. The final NYU application deadline, Regular Decision,  is January 5th. There are pros and cons to each NYU application deadline, so it is important to find out which NYU deadline is best for you.

Regular Decision

First of all, Regular Decision is the typical deadline for college applications. Most students apply through Regular Decision, meaning more time to prepare but a much larger applicant pool. 

Obviously, having more time can be a great asset if you need to work on your essays more. Furthermore, some applicants may benefit from their first-semester senior grades being available at the time of their application review. These students may also have additional time to retake standardized tests.

On the other hand, the larger applicant pool in Regular Decision means a lower chance of admittance. Another downside of applying for Regular Decision is you won’t receive your admissions decision until April 1st. This leaves students with limited time to decide where they will enroll in the fall. 

Early Decision at NYU

The Early Decision I and Early Decision II plans are binding admissions offers. Should a student be admitted during either Early Decision round, they are expected to enroll at NYU. The ED I deadline is very early in the senior year. However, these students benefit by finding out their admissions decision on December 15th.

Students aiming for ED I should be prepared to begin working on their application and NYU supplemental essays on August 1st. ED I applicants should also note that the committee will only see what senior year courses they are registered for and not their final grades. If your grades weren’t great through junior year, ED I may not be for you.

The Early Decision II application deadline is later than Early Decision I. Many ED II applicants applied to other selective schools early but were not admitted. Like Regular Decision, ED II’s later deadline gives applicants more time to revise NYU supplemental essays or take tests. ED II applicants are notified of their admissions decision on February 15th.

How to choose your application strategy

Both early rounds have smaller applicant pools than Regular Decision, which may be a plus. At the same time, early applicants typically have very strong NYU supplemental essays, so it’s a more competitive environment. Nevertheless, early admission rounds often have higher acceptance rates than Regular Decision. Furthermore, there is the fact that these are binding—you must be certain you want to attend NYU. If a binding application is not the right plan for you, you can of course apply Regular Decision.

No matter what application plan you choose, the importance of your NYU supplemental essays remains the same. Starting your NYU essay early is critical to having enough time to properly review and revise your work. You should also work in enough time to let a trusted teacher or college advisor review your essay and share feedback. 

For more insight into what NYU is looking for in its students, check out this video below from NYU Admissions:

More NYU Essay Resources from CollegeAdvisor

CollegeAdvisor is here to help you learn more about NYU admission requirements and how to get into NYU.  As you are preparing to write your NYU supplemental essays, review this guide of example NYU supplemental essays and why they worked. While these essays answer old NYU essay prompts, they may provide inspiration for other college essays.

NYU supplemental essays are just one component of your New York University application. In addition to guides about how to get into NYU, CollegeAdvisor also hosts weekly webinars like this NYU panel webinar. We also have a wealth of Common App resources, covering everything from extracurriculars to recommendation letters.

NYU Supplemental Essays – Takeaways

Are you still wondering how to get into NYU?

Here are some NYU essay takeaways to help you write strong NYU supplemental essays. 

  • NYU requires the Common App essay and has one optional supplemental essay. Serious applicants should complete the optional NYU essay.
  • Even though the “why NYU” essay is no longer on the application, strategies for approaching that essay still apply. You should always incorporate why you are interested in the school in your NYU supplemental essays.
  • The Common App personal essay is just as important as your NYU supplemental essay, especially because it goes to every school on your final college list
  • Both the Common App personal essay and the optional NYU supplemental essay have a maximum word count. You don’t have to reach that maximum word count, but you must answer the prompt in a thorough and structured way. 
  • There are no bad quotes to choose for your NYU supplemental essay, but some may better fit you than others. 
  • If the Common App essay prompts or NYU supplemental essay quotes don’t appeal to you, come up with your own. Just make sure you are sharing the same type of insight that the given prompts are requesting. 
  • Pay close attention to the application deadlines to make sure you have ample time to write your NYU supplemental essays.
  • Focus less on trying to impress the admissions committee and more on being your authentic self in your essay. 

We know that the low NYU acceptance rate can be intimidating—highly selective schools are daunting in the college application process. But we’re here to help, with articles and webinars and even one-on-one advising. Take advantage of all the resources on CollegeAdvisor.com to help you put your best foot forward.

This essay guide was written by Chelsea Holley. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.