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How to Get Into New York University: All You Need to Know

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Washington Square Park Marble triumphal arch, dedicated in 1895. The Landmark arch sits at the entrance to the park

With a location in the heart of New York City and an array of top-ranked academic programs, it’s easy to understand why so many students place New York University at the top of their college best-fit lists. The institution has plenty of research and learning opportunities to offer, as well as all of the advantages associated with going to school in a major metropolitan city.

Consequently, it’s no surprise that getting into New York University is particularly challenging, with acceptance rates plummeting to new lows in recent years. Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to gain admission to New York University and the top tips students should keep in mind throughout the application process. 

How to Get Into New York University: Table of Contents

  1. When to Apply to New York University
  2. How Hard Is It to Get Into New York University: Early Prep 
  3. How to Actually Get Into New York University: The Application
  4. Class Profile 
  5. What Makes New York University Unique?

When to Apply to New York University

Once students learn about New York University, the next logical question is “What does the application process look like?”. At New York University, there are several different application options and each has its own corresponding timeline, which is why it’s so important to do your research and pay careful attention to the application details and deadlines. 

New York University Deadlines

For first-year undergraduate admissions, New York University applicants have three options: Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision. For Early Decision I, students must submit their application by November 1st, and they will learn of their admissions outcome by December 15th. For Early Decision II, applicants must hit submit by January 1 and they can expect to receive a notification about their results by February 15th. Finally, students who apply through the Regular Decision process will submit their applications by January 5th and learn of their results by April 1st.

New York University advises that for programs that require an audition or portfolio, students should aim to submit their Common Application one month in advance to ensure ample time to prepare their audition or portfolio. 

Early, Rolling, and Regular Decision

Before applicants choose which application process they wish to use to apply to New York University, they must learn about each of their options. There is often confusion about the different application timelines and what various terms mean, such as early action vs rolling admission.

Students need to know that there are two different forms of early admissions: Early Action and Early Decision. The key differentiator between the two is that Early Decision is binding, meaning a student must enroll in the college they applied Early Decision to if they are accepted, while Early Action is not binding. There is also Restrictive Early Action, which New York University does not offer, which stipulates that students cannot apply to any other private college through an early admissions program. 

Within Early Decision applications, some schools like New York University offer two rounds, referred to as Early Decision I and Early Decision II. Early Decision II follows the same guidelines as other Early Decision processes; the only difference is that the application timeline is pushed back, so students generally submit their applications in early January and learn of their results by mid-February.

In contrast, rolling admissions do not follow a strict deadline. At most schools that offer this option, applications are accepted from September through May, although it is best to submit your application as early as possible since RA schools will continue to accept students until they reach their enrollment capacity. New York University does not offer rolling admissions. 

Finally, there are Regular round admissions. Students who apply via the regular round generally need to submit their applications by early January and they learn of their results in April. New York University does offer a regular-round admissions option.

Waitlisted Applications

Given how many applications a school like New York University receives, it’s not surprising that the college generally waitlists a portion of its applicants. The waitlist is comprised of exceptionally strong and distinguished applicants; the university just didn’t have enough room to admit every single qualified student that applied. Students who are waitlisted will learn of this outcome when decisions are released, and they will have the option to choose whether they wish to remain on the waitlist or not. It’s important to remember that admissions waitlists are not ranked; instead, applicants will be admitted off of the waitlist to fill institutional needs and ensure the upcoming class is balanced. 


If students apply via Early Decision, there is not a waitlist outcome, but there is something known as deferral, which means students will need to wait until Regular Round decisions are released to learn whether or not they have been accepted. For most students who receive this admissions outcome, the first thing they want to know is what to do if you have been deferred. Much like waitlists, applicants should start by determining whether or not New York University is still their first choice option. If so, it’s important to find out what materials the school is requesting, such as an updated transcript or letter of interest, and send them out as soon as possible.

How Hard Is It to Get Into New York University: Early Prep

In recent years, the number of applications that New York University receives has skyrocketed. Recently, the college reported receiving upwards of 100,000 submissions. Consequently, students who want to gain a seat in an upcoming class must take the admissions process seriously, and that means starting early and giving each component of the application their all.  

Build Your Profile

Like many top-tier colleges, New York University utilizes a holistic review process to assess its applicant pool. That means that there’s no set bar that students need to meet in order to gain a seat in an upcoming class; instead, each component of submission is viewed within the context of the overall application. 

There are several factors that carry significant weight during New York University’s admissions process, with school rigor and academic performance considered most important. The admissions officers will affirm applicants who are intellectually curious and committed to deepening their expertise in the field they are most passionate about. 

In past years, SAT and ACT scores were also considered one of the most heavily weighed factors during the admissions process. However, in recent years the school shifted to a test-optional admissions policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other factors of importance include application essays, letters of recommendation, and a student’s demonstrated interest in attending the school. Finally, extracurricular activities are heavily considered, with New York University admissions officers affirming applicants who have made a sustained commitment to a handful of pursuits that they are genuinely passionate about. 

Visit the Campus and a Class

If you’re eager to attend New York University, visiting the campus is one of the best things you can do to convey your desire to enroll. Make sure to register for a campus tour so that the admissions office can see that you’ve visited the school, which is beneficial for demonstrating your interest in the college. If possible, see if you can sit in on a class to get a taste of the lecture experience and make sure to spend several hours walking around so that you get a feel for the New York City neighborhood where NYU is located. 

Connect With a Student

In addition to touring the campus, it can be helpful to get a student’s perspective on their experience at New York University. If you have any friends or acquaintances that are currently enrolled, don’t hesitate to reach out to get your burning questions answered.

Learn About Any Student Experiences

When you’re touring New York University, your tour guide will likely be a current student. If you have the opportunity to ask your guide a few questions, use this as another chance to learn more about the student experience, straight from the source. 

How Do You Actually Get Into New York University: The Application

The bad news: there’s no magic trick or tried-and-true strategy that you can use to guarantee that you will gain admission to New York University. The good news: there are several steps that students can take to increase their odds of admission and set themselves apart for all of the right reasons. Here’s what you need to know to enhance your admissions odds and improve your chances of gaining a seat in an upcoming class.  

GPA Requirements

New York University doesn’t have a required GPA that students must meet to apply. However, the university emphasizes that academic excellence is the factor that carries the most weight during their admissions process. The average GPA for students accepted to New York University is 3.7, with the institution noting that most accepted applicants are in the top 10% of their high school class. 

SAT and ACT Scores

Much like GPAs, there’s no minimum SAT or ACT score that students must reach to apply to New York University. However, for SAT scores, the middle 50 percent of admitted students scored between 1350 and 1530 on the Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing portions. For the ACT, the middle 50 percent of admitted students scored between 31 and 35. When it comes to acing the SAT or ACT, the best thing students can do is to begin preparing many months before their testing date and take several practice exams. 

Personal Statement

The personal statement is an opportunity to demonstrate not only your writing skills but also who you are and the qualities that set you apart. Students will have the chance to choose from a handful of different essay prompts, and will write an essay that is between 250 and 650 words long. Instead of worrying about what you “should” sound like, it’s best to focus on letting your authentic voice and unique personality shine through. 


In addition to the Common App essay prompts, New York University asks all applicants to answer one supplemental essay question to learn more about a student’s desire to attend NYU. Depending on the program that an applicant is applying to, they may need to answer several additional essay questions. 

The prompt NYU asks all applicants to answer is as follows:

We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. What motivated you to apply to NYU? Why have you 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 also tell us why you are interested in these additional areas of study or campuses. We want to understand – Why NYU? (400 words)

Letters of Recommendation

New York University requests a letter of recommendation, in addition to a letter from a high school guidance counselor. Teacher recommendations should highlight your love of learning and the impact you have on the classroom, while a statement from your counselor can speak to your character and how you interact with the community at large. 

Admission Interviews

For undergraduate applicants, an NYU interview is only available for a small subset of students who are interested in specific programs. Students who are applying to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts can participate in interviews that are typically held in person. Similarly, select students who are interested in enrolling in New York University’s Prehealth programs will be invited for an interview following a review of their application. Finally, students who are applying to NYU through the Opportunity Program will be invited and must attend an OP Eligibility Information Session, which includes a group interview with a member of NYU’s admission team. 

Contribution to the New York University Community

New York University admissions officers are eager to admit applicants who will make a lasting impact on the NYU community. Throughout every component of your application process, including supplemental essays and your personal statement, make sure to highlight your goals and the role you would hope to play once admitted to New York University. Don’t shy away from specific details; it’s best to call out clubs you’d wish to join, classes you’re excited to take, and research opportunities that you would be enthusiastic to take part in. 

Class Profile

Acceptance rate  12.2%
Class size 5,700
Diversity % range 66% of domestic students identify as students of color
Undergraduate majors Visual and Performing Arts, Social Sciences, Business, Liberal Arts and Sciences

What Makes New York University Unique?

There are plenty of differentiators that make New York University unique. From a renowned undergraduate business school to top-tier performing arts, NYU has plenty of programs that are internationally recognized. Students have the chance to study with esteemed faculty who are at the top of their fields. 

Additionally, students have no shortage of options when it comes to extracurricular activities. New York University has more than 300 student-run organizations, in addition to 23 varsity sports teams and near-endless community service opportunities. NYU also sends more students abroad than any other American university. 

When discussing what sets New York University apart, it’s impossible to ignore the school’s prime location in the heart of lower Manhattan. New York University prides itself on being a school “in and of the city”, which means that every student has the opportunity to take advantage of all that New York has to offer. Most students complete many internships during their time at NYU and often have the chance to attend concerts, performances, and one-of-a-kind gatherings that take place throughout the city. 

NYU has 12 global academic centers, 5 Nobel laureates on faculty, and 16 McArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant” recipients on staff. Famous alumni include Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Mary Kate Olsen, Jack Dorsey, Dakota Fanning, Sarah Silverman, Ashley Olsen, Alec Baldwin, Forest Whitaker, Amal Clooney, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, Meg Ryan, Andy Samberg, Sarah Silverman, Lucy Liu, Camila Mendes, and Regina Hall. 

Admission Consulting

Most students and families can benefit from college admissions counseling, especially if they’re interested in gaining admission to a top-tier college like New York University. Working with an admissions counselor gives students the chance to receive personalized guidance throughout every step of the application process, including compiling a balanced college list and brainstorming for their personal statement. 

While working with a college admissions counselor is an invaluable experience, it’s important to assess whether you’re ready to give the admissions process your all. To make the most of college counseling, students must be engaged in the process and excited about their academic future. It’s also important to select a college admissions counselor who is accredited, qualified, and has ample admissions experience. Do plenty of research so you can pick an admissions counselor who brings out the best in the students they work with.

It’s needless to say that getting into New York University can be tough since it’s one of the top schools worldwide, but IvyWise’s admission experts are here to make it happen. Take the first step towards getting into your dream school and set an initial consultation.


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