Finding Your Best-Fit College: Spotlight on NYU Liberal Studies

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NYU Liberal StudiesNYU’s Liberal Studies Program Offers a Small Liberal Arts Atmosphere at a Major University

IvyWise Intern Janeen tells us why New York University was the best fit for her academic goals.

I am incredibly indecisive which, as one can imagine, made the college process even more difficult than necessary. It’s not really that I was unsure of what I wanted out of a school in terms of academics, social atmosphere, location, and other factors; it was that I wanted it all.

The 10 schools I applied to had very little in common. They all varied in size, location, school population, but in one way or another I could see myself at any of them. My high school (small, all-girls, private, closed campus, suburban area) had prepared me to thrive in a small liberal arts college environment, and while I could see myself embracing a liberal arts curriculum, I also couldn’t get the idea of living in a big city out of my head.

Now, almost two years later and I have found an unexpected balance between the two at New York University. I am currently in the Liberal Studies Core Program, a liberal arts based 2-year core program that gives me the feel of a small liberal arts school while I still get to take advantage of an undergraduate university that is over 20,000 students strong.

After Liberal Studies, I will transition into NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, which I firmly believe was created for the student who wants to study it all. In Gallatin I will concentrate in Social Engineering Literature, a fancy way of saying I’ll be studying dystopian and utopian literature with a focus on political theory. I will also complete a cross-school minor in American Sign Language.

Though it sounds like a lot, I think that is my favorite thing about NYU. I get the opportunity to study a variety of subjects that I am interested in, many of which are interdisciplinary, and I have the support of professors and advisors who encourage this way of study.

So when people ask me “Why NYU?” I don’t talk about our open campus that gives students the chance to explore the city and grow their sense of independence, or our 13 study abroad sites, or even our students and alumni who are changing the world. Instead, I say NYU is where I have found my space to have it all.

Insider Tip: It can be easy to feel a little lonely in a big school or big city. Take advantage of freshmen-only events early in the school year to meet classmates or network with other students and professionals. They may seem like forced bonding activities, but they are great ways to meet a lot of new people.

NYU has Welcome Week, a week-long freshman orientation of sorts (during which no classes are held) with events that try to expose new students to as many different people and experiences as possible. There are also some events hosted specifically for transfer students and commuter students.

There are walking tours of the city to help you find your classes or your new favorite coffee spot, comedy shows and other performances to help you wind down each night, and yoga to wake you up each morning. The week ends in a themed “Ball”. Past ones have included Zombie Ball, Glo Ball (from my freshman year), and most recently Throwback Ball (a 90s themed night of dance).

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