Columbia & NYU: College Panel

Join us for an insightful and informative webinar that brings alumni from two academic powerhouses together: Columbia University and New York University (NYU).

In this unique virtual event, we are bringing alumni from both Columbia University and NYU to provide you with an exclusive opportunity to gain valuable insights into the college application process, campus life, academic programs, and more. Our expert panelists Lydia Hollon, Lasya Damaraju, and Juliana Furigay will guide you through the distinctive offerings of these renowned institutions, helping you make well-informed decisions as you embark on your higher education adventure.

During the Columbia & NYU College Panel, you can expect to learn:

  • Insider Perspectives: Get an insider’s view into life at Columbia and NYU directly from our panelists.
  • Program Diversity: Explore the vast array of academic programs, majors, and minors offered by both universities, and discover how they foster interdisciplinary learning.
  • Campus Life: Discover the vibrant campus communities, student organizations, and resources that make the Columbia and NYU experiences truly exceptional.
  • New York City Advantage: Learn how being situated in the heart of New York City provides unparalleled opportunities for internships, networking, and cultural exploration.
  • Q&A Session: Engage in a live Q&A session with our panelists to get your specific questions answered.

Whether you’re drawn to Columbia’s Ivy League prestige or NYU’s urban campus and artistic vibrancy, this webinar will empower you with the knowledge you need to take the next steps confidently. Join us and take a step closer to realizing your higher education goals.

Date 09/17/2023
Duration 1:01:21

Webinar Transcription

2023-09-17 – Columbia & NYU: College Panel

Anesha: Hi, everybody, and welcome to tonight’s webinar. My name is Anesha Grant. I’m a senior advisor at CollegeAdvisor, and I will be your moderator today. Today’s webinar is a “Columbia and NYU College Panel.” Before we get started, I just want to orient everyone with webinar timing. Our presenters will introduce themselves, share a bit about their experiences at their respective institutions, and then we will open up the floor to respond to your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar.

You can download the slides.

Okay, sorry, you can download the slides under the handouts tab, and you can start submitting questions in the Q and a tab whenever you. Get ready. I just want to clarify one piece in the questions that we cannot give you an admissions assessment. So please don’t share like your grades and your test scores and ask us what your chances are.

We cannot summarize your chances of getting into any of these colleges, but we’ll be happy to take any other question that you have about experiences at the institutions. Okay, I will stop talking and we will meet our presenters. Juliana, can you kick us off with the brief introduction of yourself and your background?


Juliana: Sure. Um, hello, everyone. I hope you guys are all having a great evening. My name is Juliana Furigay, and I graduated from Columbia this with a major in economics and a concentration in ethnicity and race studies. And right now I’m working and living in New York City.

Anesha: Thanks, Julie. Thanks for now. Now last year. Can you introduce yourself?

Lasya: Sure. Yeah. Hi, everyone. I’m Lasya. Super excited to be here. Um, so I’m currently a senior at NYU studying biochemistry and philosophy and I’m on the pre-med track. So hoping to take a gap year and then we apply to med school after that.

But yeah, happy to be here.

Anesha: And then Lydia, take us home.

Lydia: Hi everyone, my name is Lydia. I am an NYU alum. I graduated from NYU with my bachelor’s in political science. And I also did their master’s in public administration program as well. And I’ve experienced working in the admissions and advising offices in the past.

Anesha, I think you’re muted, Anesha.

Anesha: Yes, I am. Thank you. Um, all right. I was going to say, thanks, Lydia, so much for rounding out our introductions before we get started. I wanted to do a quick poll. So, please let us know what grade you are in 8th grade, 9th grade, 10th, 11th, 12th and while we’re waiting for some responses, I’ll ask a question to all of you.

Um, what was your favorite place on your respective campus? Anyone who remembers first can kick us off.

Lydia: I think I’m the furthest removed from, from college, but, uh, I do remember my time at NYU. And I would say my favorite, even though NYU is known for not having an official campus, I think my favorite place was definitely Washington Square Park.

Uh, I see Lasya nodding her head. Uh, it’s just an iconic place and there’s so much life, um, there. And, It just, it’s just a great place to hang out, see friends, or even if you’re by yourself, just soak in the energy of the city. So I have a lot of great memories there.

Lasya: I’ll just, I’ll just say yes. You never know what you’re going to get when you walk into Washington Square.

So I agree. Also my favorite place.

Juliana: That’s definitely true. Um, my favorite spot on campus is pretty similar. It’s probably the steps of Lowe Library where everyone just comes to hang out, especially on a nice summer day. Um, Um,

Anesha: all right. So thanks y’all for sharing that memory and thanks to our attendees for letting us know what grade levels you are in.

Just for context. It looks like the majority of folks with this are currently in the 11th grade, followed by about 31 percent of 12th graders and a handful of 10th graders. So welcome everybody. We might also have a parent or teacher in the room. So welcome. We’re looking forward to today’s session. Uh, I will stop talking, hand it over to Lydia, and then we will hear from Lasya, and then Giuliana will round us out before we move over into some questions.

So Lydia, I’ll hand it over to you.

Lydia: Okay. So hi everyone. Uh, I’m Lydia. It’s definitely great to see everyone here. So, uh, I’ll start with talking about what my college application process was like, uh, specifically with NYU. So I applied to a total of about 12 or so schools. Like I said, I think I’m in the farthest removed from college.

So that, that was a number of years ago. But about 12 to 15 colleges that I applied to total, um, and I identified NYU as a school of interest that I definitely wanted to apply to, um, about my freshman year of high school, uh, I was indoctrinated, uh, in terms of being interested in NYU in kind of a cliche way that, uh, in my experience working in the admissions office.

Seems like a lot of students are. I had just seen NYU in a lot of different movies. Um, and it just seemed really cool. And so originally when I decided that I was going to apply to NYU, it was for very superficial reasons, like being in New York city and just seeing it in movies and on TV all the time.

Um, but I definitely knew that I wanted to apply. And then once I got to my senior year, I started working on my application to NYU about a few weeks before the deadline. I think the great thing about NYU is that it’s not a school that has the most, time intensive application necessarily. So when you’re applying on the Common App, there’s really just that why NYU essay that you have to write, which made it really convenient for me to have it on my list because I just needed to write that shorter response rather than a school like Columbia, for example, where you have a lot of different essays that you have to write.

Um, I did apply regular decision. And that was a really great option for me, because although NYU was a school that I identified that I knew I wanted to apply to pretty early on, because I just had always known about it, um, from a young age, it wasn’t necessarily my top choice school. And I also had had this idea in my mind, That it was going to be a school that I wouldn’t be able to afford to go to because I just assumed it would be too expensive.

So I didn’t want to make that commitment. Um, but I did tour NYU after I’d been accepted and I was offered a full tuition scholarship, which really changed the game for me. I didn’t think that I would actually be able to go to NYU. I just thought it would be cool to be able to say that I got in. Um, so I was really happy that I was able to get that scholarship and tour the campus.

Um, so I was, like I said, considering some other schools at the time. Uh, I applied to about 12 to 15 schools. There were some other schools that I felt a little bit more strongly about. Um, but, uh, I felt really strongly about deciding to go to NYU after being accepted, because it was, again, one of the schools that offered me a full tuition scholarship.

I was really. fortunate that, uh, during my admission cycle, uh, I actually was given a full ride to four schools, Boston University, Howard University, NYU, and Vanderbilt. So, uh, given my financial situation, it really made sense to just consider the schools that were offering me a full ride of which NYU was one.

And after touring them, uh, NYU just felt like the school that was most true to what I wanted to pursue academically and also my personality. Um, I also really wanted to just live in New York City and being given the opportunity to live there and also have my expenses paid for just seemed like an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.

So the advice that I have for students that are interested in applying to NYU, and this may sound a little hypocritical because like I said, I originally was interested in NYU for very stereotypical reasons. I’d seen it in movies and I just thought it was cool. But thankfully by the time I was in my senior year of high school, I had done a lot of research on NYU and I, I realized that there was a lot more to the school than what I had just seen in the movies.

And so one piece of advice that I definitely would give to students is don’t conflate NYU with New York City. So there’s definitely a perk of NYU being in New York City. Um, I know that that was a part of the draw in terms of me deciding to actually go there over some of the other schools that had also given me full rides.

Um, but if you’re only writing about how much you love New York in your college admissions essay, that is a really big faux pas that I remember seeing a lot of students make. Because there are so many different colleges and universities within New York City that you could attend, right? There are the CUNY schools, there’s Brooklyn College, there’s Fordham, there’s Columbia, um, and you really need to have clarity about why you’re choosing NYU specifically.

Because if you want to just be in New York City, there are plenty of other ways to get there besides going to NYU, um, and a lot in those, in that same vein, I would definitely recommend that you do your research on the specific resources that NYU has to offer, uh, NYU has an incredibly large endowment, and then A bunch of different opportunities that you can take advantage of.

So make sure that you’re doing your research. There is something for almost any kind of student. And if you’re able to talk about those specific resources, those specific opportunities that the university can offer you in detail, it really helps you to stand out in comparison to other students who are applying.

And two things that NYU really prides itself on, that I can speak to, are diversity, Um, well, three things, diversity, uh, study abroad opportunities and research. So speaking about any of those things really can say a lot because those are the things that NYU values as an institution.

Anesha: Thanks, Lydia. Lasya, you are up next.

Lasya: Um, all right. So my college application process was very rushed. Um, I did in fact, I started off great. I visited a lot of out of state colleges, um, the summer before my junior year. So this was like pre, right pre COVID. Um, and then when I did that, I was super, super Like, I loved NYU when I visited the campus, so that really, like, drew me in.

I didn’t want to apply, um, early decision to NYU, mainly because of the financial aspect of it, um, but I, I knew I wanted to apply, um, and so I, I started writing my personal statement, not during the summer, but in the fall, um, and I actually missed the UC deadline because I did not know it was that early.

So, this is something that, um, I definitely, um, For like, sort of advice, make sure you’re staying on top of your deadlines, that sort of thing. Um, and I also almost missed my state college’s deadline as well. So, I was not, um, doing that great. But then I finally got on my game, um, when it was time for regular decision to NYU.

I wrote, um, like Lydia was saying, it’s not a super intensive application. So, I think during my time we only had that, um, one supplemental essay. So I wrote that essay, um, a few days before the deadline. And as I said, don’t take this as a, as a model of it. This is a thing of what not to do. So, um, yeah, it wasn’t, it was a super, again, like rushed application.

Um, but I was lucky and I got in, um, I finished all my applications in January. Um, and I think I applied to about, 10 schools. Um, so that’s sort of what my application process was like as a whole. And then, um, once I got my decisions, I got into three in state colleges. I got into UF, I’m from Florida originally, so I got into UF, um, University of Miami and FSU.

Um, and I sort of, and I also had a couple out of state acceptances, NYU, Emory, and GWU, and I sort of listed my pros and cons for both in state, out of state. Um, obviously the pros were financial aid for being in state. Um, we have the bright futures scholarship, um, in Florida. So that was a huge pull. Um, the only issue is that the only honors college that I had applied to was at FSU.

Um, and I felt like it was too close to home as well. Um, so I started to look at the out of state acceptances that I got, um, and I was looking to get scholarships to all the colleges I had applied to. Um, so the financial aid aspect of it was sort of. Even playing field on that end. Um, and the reason why I chose NYU over Emory and GWU, um, I actually have, um, I think an even more cliche, um, story of like why NYU.

I was doing my, um, when I was doing the campus visit, the tour guide that I was talking to, he was very much, he was also from Florida. He was between FSU and NYU and he was like, I chose NYU because it’s like, I’m like now my own person and I was really glad to like get out of like the sort of small town, um, area that we were from in Florida and that sort of thing.

So I was like, yeah, that sounds like really good. So I was just like emotionally really invested, but then, um, on like more practical side, I also Wanted to explore both the sciences and the humanities. As I mentioned, I’m a biochemistry and philosophy major. So this was something like a combination that I really wanted to do.

Um, and I felt like NYU was the best place where it had a very strong science program and also a very strong humanities program. Um, so that’s something that really drew me in. NYU also encourages you to double major, in fact, so it’s something that I, um, really loved. And then there was also just a lot of incredible opportunities that I have, that I was hoping to get being in the city, and I have gotten, so I think that that was something that, um, was really helpful.

There’s a lot of, a lot of people intern even over the school year. It’s not, like, subject specifically to the summer, so that’s really nice, um, to have that opportunity. So those were sort of my main three reasons. And then, Advice? Don’t, don’t do it like me. Start early, don’t write your personal statement in the fall and miss deadlines.

Um, you know, start of the summer, as I know, um, there’s a lot of juniors here. So make sure that you, and I’m sure your advisors will tell you the same thing. So listen to them when they say, start your personal statement over the summer. Um, and then I did think that for the, the YNYU or like the Y, this college type of essays, Um, As as Lydia said, don’t don’t just say because in the city, um, something that I did, I found really helpful, um, was sort of thinking about the values of the school.

So at NYU, we care a lot about being progressive, about change, about that sort of thing. So that’s something that I identified and I identified with as well. It was important to me. So I wrote about that in my essay. So trying to connect What the school cares about and how it’s like applicable to you specifically.

Um, also just finding the programs, the research institutes, the labs, things like that, or classes that are unique to that school, so to NYU. Um, and, Why that’s really interesting for you. ’cause a lot of programs or a lot of schools will have, um, like the same majors and that sort of thing, but if there’s just something about the way that the school does the major or the requisites or something like that, that that’s interesting to you, definitely talk about that.

Um, and then also just take some time to think about why you wanna attend. I feel like a lot of it, again, like not just because it’s New York City or not, just because it’s a good school, just think about like, why, why are you really applying? Um, and if you don’t. If you have a good reason, that’s perfect.

If you don’t, sort of like rethink your um, choice or maybe do more research into the college so that you can find out a reason for why you want to apply. Um, and then also NYU is divided into different colleges. Um, not, I don’t know the technical terms, but we have like NYU College of Arts and Sciences, NYU, um, Tandon School of Engineering.

So figure out sort of what subsection of NYU you want to apply to. Um, and then. That’s also helpful for when you’re when you’re writing your application. So I think those were all of my slides.

so much.

Anesha: Thank you so much. Last year. Um, we’re going to before we move on and finish up with Juliana. We’re going to take another quick poll. Let us know where you are in. The application process. Um, have you started? Are you still researching schools, which is partially why you’re here? I know we have more juniors.

So I’m hoping most of you on the researching phase. Um, are you getting application materials together? So, let us know as we’re waiting for those responses to come in. I always ask a food question. So I’m wondering if y’all could share your preferred or favorite food. Restaurants or maybe eateries on campus.

Lasya: I don’t know if this counts as on campus But there’s like a lot of delis around that are really good And there aren’t too overpriced some of them are but you have to find the right one. That’s mine.

Anesha: So chop cheese from anywhere

Lydia: I would say for me I think The best dining hall that I remember at NYU was Palladium. Um, like it’s just that whole dorm where that it’s in, it’s just like probably the fanciest that’s where the gym is and everything. So it’s really convenient. Like you can go work out and then eat, but it also has like a really nice array.

Of options, like, uh, I remember you could make your own pizza and stuff like that. And then there was like, I think Asian food and stuff like that. So it was just a nice assortment. It was really nice looking on the inside as well. So just a all around really good experience, but it’s kind of out of the way compared to Some of the other dining halls, but it was worth the trek.

Juliana: Yeah. I thought the dining halls on campus were actually pretty good. And I think one year, one of our dining halls, John Jay actually won an award for like best college food in America. Um, I don’t know how much of that claim is backed up. Um, but they were pretty solid. We had a dining hall called Faculty House, and it used to be the place where professors would take you to eat.

It was like a fancier meal. You could get to know your professor on a personal level. But then they opened it up to becoming a dining hall, and they would serve, like, salmon and mac and cheese. Um, it was super yummy. And yeah, on top of that, lots of good restaurants just around campus.

Anesha: Thanks. Um, that’s nice to have that fancy faculty house.

Like that would have been a nice option on campus. All right. Um, we’re going to go ahead and close our poll just as an FYI. Um, about actually half of, uh, yeah, 53 percent of folks in the space are still researching school. So we hope that We’re providing, please know that food is a very important aspect of college.

So if that is a legitimate question, um, it should, uh, feed into your research. Um, 11 percent are working on essays. Uh, 13% 2 percent of the materials together and 7 and 13 percent haven’t started. And that is not a problem. It is okay to still be in the early phases of this process. Okay. I’m going to stop talking, hand it back over to Juliana to close us out before we move into our Q and a.

Juliana: All right. So my college application process was a little different from Lydia and Lasya, because I actually ended up applying early decision to Columbia. And just to talk about the difference between. an early decision and an early action application process. Since I’m sure some of you guys might have that question in mind.

Um, so early decision plans are binding, whereas early action plans are non binding. So if you apply early decision to a school and you get accepted, you’re actually binded to attend that school and you can’t apply to other colleges. Um, so five of the eight Ivy league universities have Binding early decision programs, uh, whereas Princeton, Harvard and Yale have non-binding early action programs and just a bit of advice that I have here is to, you know, make sure that you’ve done extensive research on the schools on your list before applying early decision, just because, as I said, you are committing yourself to attend that school if you are to be accepted.

For me, I decided that I wanted to apply early decision to Columbia because I had the opportunity to visit the campus and I just kind of fell in love. Um, I loved that the campus was in New York City. Um, I’m from Chicago, which is a big city, and I knew I wanted to attend college in a big city as well. Um, and what better place to go than New York City.

Um, we also have a core curriculum, um, that is pretty different from some other schools that have a more flexible curriculum. Um, so within our core curriculum, you’re able to explore, you know, the basics of humanities and music and art and, you know, Really, it really ties together the Columbia education and it brings people from different majors together in your classes.

So I just thought it was a great opportunity to broaden my worldview while also allowing me to develop, you know, connections with people outside of my major. Um, and. Here, I say the college application process starts before applications. Um, so since freshman year, I kind of tried to set myself up to be in the best position for college applications.

Uh, what that meant was, you know, really doing well in my classes, making sure that my GPA was at a good spot where I’d be around the average for the schools that I was aiming to attend. I made sure that my extracurricular profile had been kind of set up from the star. I was dedicating myself to extracurriculars that, um, you know, I was passionate about and that I wanted to continue throughout my high school career.

Standardized testing. Don’t want to delve too much into that, but just making sure that you prepare beforehand and give yourself enough time to Retake it, um, so that you can improve your score before college application season rolls around, um, and developing a passion project if that’s something that you would like to do.

And that could supplement your application. Um, and moving on to the next slide here, was I considering any other schools at the time and what made me choose Columbia? Um, so I was considering some of the other Ivy League schools like Harvard. Um, my sister went there and she really loved it and had told me great things about the school and her education there, overall her college experience.

So, It was definitely a school that I was considering. Um, Yale, I was able to visit the same summer that I visited Columbia for the first time. I just met so many incredible people when I visited. People who were very passionate about what they were studying and about the school. Um, so it was definitely on my list.

is another school that I was considering because at the time I knew that I wanted to, you know, enter a career in either finance or consulting. Um, so I was definitely interested in what Wharton had to offer within its program. Um, and why did I decide to apply early decision? And just. into that a bit more as I and loved it.

Um, New York all of us had said here, great. Um, I don’t think city like it here in the think you’re just able to

Enriched by the culture and opportunities that New York City provides, um, and the core curriculum as well.

And just to round out my side of the presentation. Um, just any general advice that I have for you all who are interested in applying to Columbia. Um, the first piece of advice I’d like to impart to you all is not to overthink the listing prompt. Um, so the application is actually a little different from when I applied.

I know they changed up some of the prompts, but one of the first prompts that you have to answer for Columbia’s application is to list some. Some texts, um, courses, um, plays that you have, um, encountered that have, you know, really stood out to you and that you’ve enjoyed. And people tend to trip up on this question and overthink it and think, Oh, like I should be adding all of these academic books or films.

And I, this is what I should be enjoying because, you know, I’m an intellectual I’m applying to Columbia, but. At the end of the day, they really just want to see who you are and what kind of media you enjoy consuming Um, so I remember I put like vogue magazine. I put that I was interested in Pinterest It’s one of my favorite websites.

Like you really don’t need to pretend to be someone that you’re not in this prompt um, just they really just want to see you know, what are you doing on your daily life to get informed to You know enriching yourself culturally You Um, you know, don’t overthink this prompt. And the second piece of advice I have here is if Columbia is your first choice, consider applying early decision.

And I would apply this advice to other schools as well. If you really want to attend a school, you know, you’ve visited the campus, you know that that’s your dream school. I would consider applying early just because The admissions rates tend to be higher for the early decision and early, uh, early action rounds than for the regular decision rounds.

And I know there’s kind of a debate going around over whether, um, your chances are actually increased or whether it’s just a more qualified applicant pool in that early round. Um, but at the end of the day, you know, the numbers are there. More people are getting accepted in the early round. And it’s also a way to show your commitment to that school early on.

I mean, if you’re applying early decision, you’re literally finding yourself to that school and telling them I would attend this school over any other school if you were to accept me. Um, and next piece of advice is just hearkening what Lasya said, you know, starting your application as early as possible.

Um, like I said, I was setting myself up to be in the best position for college apps kind of throughout my high school career. And application itself, I would definitely recommend, you know, trying to work on that summer before senior year, um, at the latest, just because you don’t want to be dealing with that with everything that senior year brings, whether it’s academics or just, you know, cherishing the last year that you have with your high school friends.

So I would say start the summer before. Um, and last piece of advice is don’t stress. Um, I think this comes with the starting early part. Um, if, if you’re prepared early on, um, then you won’t have as much stress in general, but also just as a piece of advice, don’t overthink it. You know, people say that college can be the best four years of your life, but at the end of the day, you have your whole life ahead of you, you know, where you go to school doesn’t define who you are.

And it’s, it’s really not as big of a deal as people make it. Um, so just don’t stress. And I think that’s advice that would have been helpful to me in high school because I stressed out a lot about just making sure that my academic record was perfect. You know, I would be able to get accepted to the schools that I wanted, et cetera.

Um, and it, you know, it is tolling mentally and emotionally. So just, just take care of yourselves is what I will say.

Anesha: Sorry, I’m so slow to come up with you right now. Okay. Um, hi everybody. Uh, thank you so much to Lydia, Lasya, and Juliana for sharing your experiences. We are going to move over into the live Q& A portion of our, of our webinar tonight. Just as a reminder, you can download the slides under the handouts tab, and you can submit questions whenever you get ready in the Q& A tab.

Um, the way that it’ll work is, Is that you will post your question. I will read it aloud and then paste it into the public and give a everyone a chance to have our panelists respond. Depending on the question. I might pose it to all of our panelists or just to 1 or 2 of them. If your Q and a is not letting you submit questions, just double check that you’ve logged into the correct.

Through the correct link that you received via your email and not through the webinar landing page. And again, just as you submit questions, please know again, we cannot give you an admissions assessment. We cannot evaluate your profile and tell you what likelihood you have of getting into Columbia and NYU, but we can answer questions about how to strengthen it.

Certain components of your overall application. All right. Um, so our first question, uh, is actually for you, Lydia came up while you were presenting. Um, and it is what was it? What do you think? It was about your application that got you a full scholarship and what would you recommend to other students in order to earn a scholarship?

Lydia: Um, so. Thankfully, I was actually able to get the answer to that question when I toured NYU after being accepted because I was offered a full scholarship. Um, I, I, they had invited me to tour NYU, so I was able to speak to the admissions officer actually who read my application. Um, and something that is Unique about, well, not super unique about NYU, but something that’s nice to know about NYU is that you don’t have to apply separately for full tuition scholarships or full rides or anything like that for NYU, you’re automatically considered for them, uh, just with your general application.

And so the answer that they gave me is basically just, I had, not only did I have a 4.0 GPA I think I’d done. 16 AP courses. I like went to a magnet school. I was valedictorian. So I had, I checked off like all the boxes. I was national merit scholar, check all the academic boxes. Right. But I also had a very robust extracurricular profile.

And I think that’s what really stood out. So I’d started, um, two or three different extra like clubs at my school. Uh, one was called Best Buddies, which was for students with disabilities. Um, and then another one was called Girl Up, which is like a United Nations organization that helps women and girls across, across the globe and things like that.

So they were very impressed by my extracurricular background. Uh, I also, at the time, like, Like, Black Lives Matter was just starting to rise into the forefront of everything, um, in light of Trayvon Martin. And I was very involved with the Black Lives Matter chapter within, um, within my city. So I was really, Passionate about equity and justice.

And that’s something that I wrote about in detail in my application was my dedication to equity, justice and diversity, as well as my passion for research, because I done research all four years of high school. I. done research related to breast cancer and things like that. Um, and I really wanted to be able to continue pursuing research, uh, while I was in college as well.

And so my admissions officer was just really impressed by how. involved I was, as well as how aligned I was to the values that NYU had, like I mentioned, of diversity and research. Those are two things that they’re really passionate about as an institution, and those were two things that I really embodied, um, as an applicant.

So for someone who is, interested in applying to NYU and, you know, hopes to get a scholarship. I think just, you know, like, uh, um, like Juliana said, your application starts well before your senior year. Um, the extracurriculars and the things that you do to invest in yourself and to explore your interests, really play a huge role in your ability to get those kinds of scholarships, but it’s also about making sure you’re mentioning those things and framing them in a way that shows how they align with what the school values.

So the fact that the things that I was interested in and that I mentioned in my application aligned with the things that NYU cared about helped me to really stand out, uh, as an applicant and be selected for. For that scholarship.

Anesha: Thanks, Lydia. I’m gonna pose this next question to Juliana just because it’s more of a process question.

Um, and I think it applies to your process. So how does early decision work? And what says how does early decision and athletic scholarships work together. But if you could first just give a little bit of explanation of what is early decision how it works compared to other early processes and I don’t know if you could speak to the athletic scholarship process entirely.


Juliana: Yes. Uh, so the early decision. Process, like I said, is binding. So the application is a little bit before the regular. Decision deadline. I don’t know the exact month and day off the top of my head. Um, but you could google that and see Uh, but yeah, you essentially bind yourself to attend that school if you are to be accepted Um, you just apply early like two months before the regular decision deadline And I myself was not a student athlete so I can’t exactly speak to how athletic scholarships or recruitment works but I do know that the process for athletes to get into college is a little different from the normal application.

I know that you have to reach out to coaches and they can aid in your admission process. But Columbia specifically, I know, does not offer any athletic scholarships. Um, all the scholarships that are provided by Columbia are need based, so they’re based on your, uh, family’s financial need.

Anesha: I feel like it might be similar at NYU.

I don’t think NYU provides athletic scholarships or they provide very limited. Either way, I think the early connection is that typically athletes will have to apply early, even if they’re not technically applying early decision, they have to submit their applications earlier because they’re reviewed by the admissions officer and then do an additional review by coaches and then coaches, I think, yeah.

No rank applicants or rank athletes in their process or say who they’re supporting for the team. So the athletic process is very, very complicated. And it’s probably more so early that I would say early decision or early action is just earlier. Um, okay, this next question, I think I’m gonna, uh, have for Alessia.

It says, I once majored in biochemistry as well. Um, and NYU is my dream school. So how hard is the coursework, um, and, and balancing that with social life at NYU? People say that. You know, especially because it’s huge and, um, the lack of campus.

Lasya: Yeah, that’s a great question. So the coursework, this is going to sound so cliche, but if you really like the subject and you really like chemistry and biology, it doesn’t feel really hard.

Like you’re, you’re enjoying what you’re learning. So it’s not, not bad at all. Um, obviously there is a couple of classes that you’re just not going to enjoy. So those classes are like, you know, you just get your, you know, you just Your teeth and you get through it. Um, I will say, so Biochem, NYU you generally have around 11 to 13 classes required for each.

Major. Biochem is on the upper limit. I believe we have 15 required classes to take. Um, but if you are only majoring in biochem, it’s fully doable and you’ll even, you’ll even have extra classes to take, um, like electives and just fun classes to do. Um, so it’s, it’s not bad at all. And in terms of balancing with your social life, um, it’s definitely doable.

It’s not difficult to do at all. Um, it’s all about time management, um, for sure. Um, and yeah, I think it’s, it’s something that you’ll also make a lot of friends in the major because once you start getting into your upper level classes, you see the same people every day. Um, so it’s, it’s definitely a good major if you’re, interested in the subject.

Lydia: Uh, and I would just add in terms of social life at NYU, I would say that because of the lack of campus and, um, like you said, just how big the school is in general, just being completely honest, you do have to be very intentional about trying to make friends. I’d say more so than if you went to a state school with like a really solidified campus kind of structure, because there are a lot of kids who to go to NYU who live off campus or commuters and things like that.

So you do have to put yourself out there a little bit more, but I think the benefit of NYU is that you kind of get to develop some of those real world skills that you’ll have to have as an adult after graduation. where like once you enter the workforce, you have to kind of put yourself out there in order to make friends.

It’s not going to just be as natural. And the fact that you’re so integrated with the city, you kind of just get to have more of that real world experience. Um, and it’s definitely possible to make friends. It’s definitely possible to do those things and balance everything. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly hard.

You just have to really have a plan for it because it doesn’t necessarily fall into your lap the same way that it would at some other schools because it

Anesha: feels more like the real world. And I would say, Juliana, do you want to add, I guess, some context to that, given that Columbia does have more of a proper campus, but what was the social life or, you know, creating a social life like for you at Columbia?

Juliana: Sure. Um, so yeah, Columbia does have a little bit more of a campus than NYU. Um, if we do have our central quad, um, but I would also say that Columbia can be a pretty isolating place. And I do know a lot of people who did struggle to make friends and, you know, it’s tough because You’re living on your own for the first time, you know, we are in New York city.

So it’s kind of the same struggle that a lot of NYCU students go through, which is that everyone’s independent, everyone’s kind of doing their own thing in your city. And if you’re not taking initiative to make plans and reach out to people, then it can be isolating to just, you know, be in your dorm room.

But for me personally, how I was able to kind of bypass that and make friends and you know, have a more lively. Social life at Columbia was I joined some clubs on campus. I joined like a consulting group. I was also part of a sorority. I mean, Greek life isn’t super big at Columbia, but I would just give the piece of advice to find communities on campus with people that know you want to get to know better, whether it is.

Greek life or just a club on campus with a shared interest. Um, and also just trying to make plans in the city, um, with your fellow peers and also meeting people within your classes. And I also met a lot of people through, uh, the summer classes that I had. Since Columbia’s core curriculum is a lot of classes that are under 15 students, so it was pretty easy to make friends in those classes where, you know, it’s just 15 students and the professor as opposed to a giant lecture hall.

Um, so I’d say just take any opportunity to, you know, meet new people and find people who share a common interest with you.

Anesha: And so I, before I go to my next question, I’m going to do a quick PSA for those in the room who aren’t already working with us. We know that the process is overwhelming and we have a team of over 400 former admissions officers and admissions experts like all the folks today in the room who are ready to help you and your family navigate the process through one on one advising sessions.

You can take the next step by using the QR code on the screen to sign up for a free 45 to 60 minute strategy session with an admission specialist. During that conversation, we’ll talk about extracurriculars. We’ll talk about your college list. We’ll talk about how your, how your grades and everything will align into your application strategy in order to help you stand out in a competitive environment.

admissions world. We’ll leave that QR code up. And also, Lydia, the person who asked you the question earlier, said, wow, that’s really impressive. Good on you. And congrats again. So, um, just wanted to make sure that follow up comment was shared. And, um, the next question that I have for the group is how approachable are professors and TAs in your experiences?

And we can start with Lasya and then go to Juliana and then, or I guess we should do Lasya and Lydia together and then end with Juliana again.

Lasya: Yeah, um, professors, T. A. Super approachable. Um, they like, in fact, they want you to come talk to them. They want you to come to office hours. Um, they’re bored sometimes during office hours when no one shows up.

So for sure, they are looking for students to talk to them. I will say that sometimes students, like, will Oh, Like only comes to them for grades or like not particularly about the like the subject of the course. So just, you know, make sure you’re you’re interested in talking about, like, even if you do have a great question, also ask them about, like, the coursework or something like that, um, just so that you kind of engage in a conversation before anything more like logistical, um, Yeah, super approachable.

Lydia: Um, yeah, I would say for the most part, professors and TAs are pretty approachable. There’s definitely a spectrum though. Like the, I think in college, for the most part, there’s bound to be like maybe one professor or maybe one TA that you have that isn’t the best or anything like that. I know when I was in college, I also had accommodations that I needed.

Um, and so I had professors who kind of were more, more, more willing to work with me for the accommodations that I was entitled to, and some who were less and things like that. Um, but I would say that regardless, I pretty consistently had positive interactions with my TAs. So even if you have a professor who maybe isn’t, ask questions about the teaching part of their job, and they really are just there for the research.

TAs usually are really there to try and help make sure that you’re understanding the content and things like that. So if your professor seems kind of inaccessible and things like that, definitely lean on TAs for asking questions and things like that, because you usually can get them in a smaller group.

kind of environment, um, and things like that. Uh, but either way, both, both are really there to try and help you succeed. And like Palacios said, try and make sure that when you’re interacting with professors or TAs, that you’re doing your research and trying to engage with them about what they’re passionate about, whether it’s just something that they’ve talked about in lecture in the past or things like that before research that they’re doing.

And not just to talk about grades, because that can leave a taste in their mouth. That’s the only time that you talk to them. There’s definitely

Juliana: bound to be some variance in the friendliness or approachability of professors and TAs, but I think I just got really lucky where literally all of my professors and TAs I felt comfortable, you know, raising any questions or concerns I had about the class.

Um, a lot of my professors also wanted to get to know their students outside of class, and they took that initiative on their own, for example, setting up meals at faculty house, the dining hall that I said earlier, or I’ve even heard of some professors inviting over to their apartment to, You know, have a glass of wine and read, you know, read the assigned text for that week.

Um, so professors at Columbia, in my experience, have been really friendly, want to get to know their students outside of class and are really just to helping out with any concerns that you might have about the class. So I haven’t had any concerns there, but I would also recommend looking at rate your professors or if your university has a specific website where you can see reviews of professors beforehand.

Um, to look through those before signing up for a course section, just so you know that what you’re getting into in terms of lesser, um, and that’s what I did. And I, I was able to get pretty lucky.

Anesha: All right, thanks. So, um, there was a question before about legacy consideration and admissions. Um, I don’t, I don’t assume our panelists will know. So I, I looked it up. And so, and why you no longer has legacy admissions as of 10 days ago, they will no longer consider. Um, Legacy status in admissions and Columbia does continue to consider whether or not you are legacy and legacy means that you’re an alum or that you are the child of an alum, um, and in certain admissions processes that gives you somewhat of an advantage.

So it might in Columbia, it seems like it will not at all for NYU for the person who asked that question. that question a little bit earlier. Okay, the next question to the group, um, what extracurricular activities did you do in school? Sorry, this person beat me to it, um, or tried to beat me to it. What extracurricular activities did everyone do at school and how do you feel like they helped you get into college or, um, uh, and how did you reflect them in the application process?

Anyone can start with that one.

Go ahead, Lasya.

Lasya: Um, so I think during seems like so long ago, but during high school, um, I did a lot to sort of, like I said, I was really interested in combining the science and the humanities. So I did a lot. Um, like I did journalism, but I also did research because I was really interested in that. Um, and I did, um, like science journalism, which was like, I just sort of published a little bit about like the work that I was doing, um, in research.

And then I also, um, was very like connected with my culture. So I did, um, dance like Indian classical dance, and I would go and like perform in different avenues. Um, and I think the main, like the question about how I reflected them on my application, I think the main thing that I tried to do was. be very like, realistic about why the things there was definitely things in high school I did for my application.

Like I was part of a couple clubs that I just didn’t even enjoy. So I actually didn’t even write my essays about them because I knew if I wrote about it, it would be very like, unauthentic. So I stuck to the things that I cared about. Like I mentioned, the dance, the journalism, the research. Um, and I, I felt like Those essays were, first of all, easier to write, and I think they sounded a lot better than they would have if I was writing about the other stuff I did, um, that I didn’t care about.

So, I think, from what I can remember, that’s, that’s, that’s sort of what I did.

Anesha: Juliana.

Juliana: Sorry, it took a bit to unmute myself. Um, yeah, high school feels like so long ago, but just to remember what extracurriculars I did. So a lot of my extracurriculars focused on advocacy work because that is what I was really passionate about at the time. So I did an internship program with an organization called Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

And through them, I was able to work on some policies for the rights of immigrant and refugee students, as well as for the Asian American community as a whole. Um, so that was the main extracurricular activity that I worked on. And I talked about that in my Common App essay, actually. Um, so just, just hearkening back to what Lasya had said earlier, you know, if you’re going to talk about an extracurricular that you We’re committed to just make sure that you don’t just make it seem like you were participating in that activity for the sake of college apps.

Make sure that it’s something that you are passionate about and that that shows through in your application. Um, some other things that I did in high school, um, I was really passionate about economics. So I was part of an investing program, Magnetar Investment Academy. Um, I also took a macroeconomics class.

course at Northwestern. I also did a program at a consulting firm. Um, and I also talked about my pre professional goals of wanting to go into consulting in my why Columbia essay, um, and the opportunities that I, that would, um, that I would avail of myself if I were to attend this school. Also did a program at the University of Chicago throughout my high school career where I took classes at the university every summer.

On the side. I was also on the golf team and band. I played the trumpet. There’s some other stuff that I did as well, but I can’t really remember since high school feels so long ago, but most of it was advocacy work as well as teaching. Pre professional opportunities.

Anesha: We would describe Juliana’s background as well rounded, I think.

Um, Lydia?

Lydia: Um, I know I talked to you a little bit about my extracurriculars earlier, uh, when answering the question about scholarships, but uh, I would say I was pretty well rounded as well in high school. I did track as well as cross country, pretty competitive in both of them, and you know, went to state each year for both of those, and then also similar to Juliana, did a lot of advocacy work, like I said earlier, Black Lives Matter, as well as Girl Up and Best Buddies.

Um, and then in addition to doing that, I did Model United Nations, as well as Model State Government through the YMCA. Um, and then also just lots and lots of just general volunteering. For example, at the Boys and Girls Club, I was a tutor at my school. I worked with Susan G Komen doing, uh, volunteering with breast cancer fundraising.

And then also, doing research with breast cancer at the local hospital. Um, and I, I know that it, it may sound like I did a lot and like I did it just to like, you know, get into competitive colleges, but I, I genuinely can’t think that there was anything that I did in high school that I didn’t feel fairly passionate about.

Um, and I think that that is what really shined through. In my application is everything that I did was something that I genuinely enjoyed. And so that made it a little bit easier for me when I was writing my application essays, because I realized retroactively when I was looking back at all the things that I had done, that for the most part, everything was kind of connected to a core.

Passion for justice and equity and advocating for people who don’t have, um, the same privileges that I did. Um, and so in my common application essay that I wrote about, you know, in a moment where I had seen injustice. Um, happened to a family member, like racial injustice happened to a family member, and then I kind of connected that to, you know, just my genuine, general passion for equity, um, and talked about the different extracurriculars that I participated in, whether it be, um, You know, model United Nations or the advocacy work that I had done and how all that connected back to a passion for fighting for equity through our political system.

Um, and so I think the advice that I would give is even though there’s a lot of pressure to be This kind of person who does all these different things and to pad your resume and things like that. I think it’s really important to do things that reflect the things that you’re genuinely passionate about because when it comes time to explain it, I think it’s a lot easier to talk about things if you know that it really connects to who you are as a person versus if you’re looking through just a bunch of things that you did just for the sake of saying that you’re a well rounded person.

It’s a lot harder to really elaborate on the why then.

Anesha: Yeah, I feel like my I did not go to Columbia or NYU, but I feel like my experience resonates with what you just shared, Lydia. I’m just like, I tripped and fell into a lot of the things that ended up on my resume just by just like following my passions.

And so I think sometimes students do get very caught up into like, what exactly should I be doing? And it’s like, whatever you are passionate about, um, and to the extent that is available to you is what you should be doing. Um, all right. Uh, the next question. And folks can answer it to the extent that you are comfortable.

But, uh, what was your experience like at a PWI, the predominately white institution as a person of color?

I know, easy question, softball to round out our evening. Um, but whoever wants to get started can take it.

Juliana: Uh, so I guess I can start. I studied ethnicity and race studies as my concentration at Columbia. Um, and obviously I am, you know, person of color. So you guys, that’s, that’s why the question was posed to us.

Um, but I’d say that Columbia is a very progressive school. And I personally have never had to deal with any discrimination on campus and Felt pretty comfortable just as myself and expressing myself in my classes. Um, I will say just attending school in New York city, there’s a lot of characters in New York and especially when the rise of API crimes were happening in New York city, like I definitely had some comments thrown my way and felt a little uncomfortable and unsafe just being in the city, but I’d say Columbia in general felt.

Like a pretty safe oasis for me. Um, but I know that that wasn’t the case for some other students. So I think it depends on the person and your experiences. But these were my experiences. Um, and that is what I will say on the question.

Anesha: Thanks, Juliana.

Lasya: Um, I can also go ahead and give my experience. Um, so I will say that at NYU, there’s a lot of spaces.

For people of color that, for example, I was part of a sorority that is, um, specific to South Asian people. students. Um, specifically, it was a sorority. It’s a part of a multicultural Greek council, so it’s, um, different than like the regular sorority. Um, but it was really nice to have, like, be surrounded by people that, like, knew, like, the background and, and all the customs and traditions that we have.

Um, and like Juliana said, there, if New York is New York, that there are sometimes comments that you get as you’re walking down the street and, and things like that, especially with NYU not being like a closed off campus. Sometimes that, you know, That does happen. Um, but for me, at least what really helped was finding the space where I can be with people like me.

Um, and that helped to like, talk about any like micro aggressions that we faced and that sort of thing. And just like, Um,

Lydia: yeah, I would say that, uh, my experience as a person of color at a PWI, uh, or specifically NYU, I think was overall pretty positive. Um, like Lasya said, I mean, I think anywhere you go, there are going to be moments like that. That where you experience discomfort. I think that’s just part of being a person of color, you know, in the world.

Uh, but I think for the most part, NYU is pretty intentional about trying to make safe spaces for people of different walks of life, different backgrounds and things like that. Um, and I think something that was really good for me was like, I was a part for, of example, like the black student union. I think that because.

NYU is such a diverse college. Um, really a student of any background can find a place to connect with people like themselves, which I think is really important. Um, even though NYU is a really diverse school, I think it’s important to also find places where people can really connect with you and relate to you.

And, you know, you can vibe just based on like having that shared background and shared culture. Um, And that was something that I really, that I really appreciated about having as a part of my collegiate experience. So, um, and I think because I went to a school that really valued diversity, I felt like whenever there was an experience where I felt, um, uncomfortable in any sort of way because of my race or anything like that, I felt like NYU was really quick to, um, Address those concerns, um, of inclusivity and things like that, which I also really appreciated.

So I think NYU is like a really great choice. And that’s also part of why I chose NYU in the first place is, um, Like other than Howard, all the other schools that have been offered scholarships to were PWIs, and so I felt like if I was going to go to a school that was a PWI, I wanted to go to one that was incredibly diverse, not one where I felt like I was always going to be the only Black person in a room and things like that, um, where I felt like I would really be accepted for who I was.

And I definitely can say that going to NYU, that is how I felt 99 percent of the time.

Anesha: So just to close us out for the night, thank you all for answering, taking on that kind of very personal question, a vulnerable question, and giving really thoughtful responses. I appreciate it. To close out our night.

Your shortest answer of the evening. What, uh, did your college not have that you wish that it did have? What was missing from your college experiences? If you could name one thing,

whoever wants to kick us off.

Juliana: So I’ll go really quickly. Um, more of a community. I think we would benefit from a residential college system where our dorms are kind of separated out into different communities and people have, um, you know, that community to lean on. Is what I would say. I know we’re running out of time.

Lasya: Same. I, yeah, I also think that, especially with NYU being, like, not a campus, etc, etc, that I think that would also be really nice.

Lydia: Uh, I would actually echo that as well. Uh, I, my freshman year, I was a part of a residential college, sort of, uh, But I wish that everyone at NYU could have that because it was only for a select students who were interested in social justice. So only the students on my floor of my dorm had that experience.

Everyone else was just in a dorm. So, and because there’s no campus, it just would be really great to have more structured community building kinds of opportunities.

Anesha: Interesting. That’s a great answer. Thank you all so much. Really appreciate your time. We hope that you enjoyed this opportunity to hear from our panelists.

Thank you again to Lydia, Lasya, and Juliana. Lastly, we do hope that you will join us in the future for our upcoming webinars. Tomorrow, September 18th, we have former admissions officers who are going to offer some advice for pre med applicants. Both folks who are asking those questions, please definitely join us then.

And we have a few sessions focused on essays. So we’ll be talking about merit scholarships for folks who are curious about that on September 20th. And we’ll be talking about supplemental essays on September 25th. So seniors, be sure to visit us then as well. Until then, take care, everybody. Thanks again all and have good evenings.

Bye, everybody.