How to Get Into NYU|Admission Requirements, Tips & FAQs

Picture of three students walking together in front of an NYU building
November 23, 2023
10 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 9/5/23

Considering studying at NYU? Here’s your definitive guide on how to get into NYU. We’ll discuss New York University requirements and what you can do to help your application shine. 

Students walking on NYU's campus

Since it was established in 1831, New York University (NYU) continues to be one of the leading schools in the country. NYU has a QS ranking of #39 globally, and Forbes recently honored 19 NYU alumni in their “30 under 30” list across different industries. 

With this level of prestige in mind, it’s no wonder NYU attracts thousands of eager and competitive applicants annually. This article will cover everything you need to know about how to get into NYU and its admission requirements. We’ll walk you through the process so you can confidently navigate your NYU application.

NYU Acceptance Rate

Despite its large student population, NYU is selective in its admissions. Recent class data shows that NYU received over 120,000 applications, a 13% increase from the previous year. New York University’s acceptance rate is 8%

NYU acceptance rate compared to how many students Quad get's into the same school!

Three undergraduate schools accepted less than 10% of applicants: 

  • College of Arts & Science acceptance rate: 7% 
  • Stern School of Business acceptance rate: 7% 
  • Rory Meyers College of Nursing acceptance rate: 3% 

NYU has made it clear that diversity is a priority for the school. NYU understands that there is no one profile for an ideal applicant. The incoming undergraduate class of 2023 is the most diverse in history. According to NYU, no single ethnic group constitutes more than 22% of the class population.  

NYU class profile
Source: NYU

It is important to note that NYU Admissions does not have a specific cap on the number of students they can admit each year. They say that “there are no formulas to making admission decisions.” 

This makes it more necessary for applicants to submit an outstanding application. How can you do this? Start by reviewing the admission requirements below. 

How Hard Is It to Get Into NYU?

Given the institution's prestige, you may be wondering, “how challenging is it to gain admission to NYU?” Considering only 8% of a vast pool of over 100,000 applicants secured a spot at this institution, getting an offer letter will undoubtedly be difficult. 

Prospective students must submit meticulously crafted and distinct applications to maximize their chances of being accepted.

Take our interactive quiz below to find out how likely you are to get into NYU.

NYU Admission Requirements

Getting into New York University is no easy feat! Students are expected to have SAT scores around 1530 or higher or ACT scores around 35. NYU hopefuls should also have high GPAs around 3.7 or above and take advanced courses to demonstrate their academic potential.

Preparation and planning are critical in the application process. Applicants must know what’s expected from them; test scores, extracurricular activities, etc. Remember that NYU technically has three degree-granting campuses. You’ll need to review all their offerings to decide which is the best for you. 

Furthermore, the New York campus has 11 schools and colleges. The school/college you apply to depends on your area of study. It would be best to prepare for extra steps required in the application process for your specific school. However, every undergraduate applicant will need first to submit a general application. 

Standardized Tests 

NYU considers itself to have a flexible testing strategy with its test-optional policy. This policy allows first-year and transfer applicants to apply without standardized test results. NYU introduced the policy during the pandemic because of the difficulty students had in standardized testing. 

The list of standardized tests that NYU accepts is as follows and can be found on their website: 

  • Applicants to programs that require an audition or portfolio are not required to submit any standardized testing.

Optional testing means you can decide whether or not to share your SAT/ACT scores based on whether or not you feel your score would add or detract from your application’s strength. 

NYU SAT Requirements 

NYU doesn’t set a minimum SAT score requirement. However, analyzing class data can help you decide whether you’d like to share your scores with NYU when applying. Here's a snapshot of how successful candidates performed on the SAT: 

SAT Score Middle 50% Range
SAT EBRW 680 - 760
SAT Math 700 - 800
SAT Total 1350 - 1530

Source: NYU Facts

If you choose to submit SAT scores, you can submit your highest result if you took the test more than once.

NYU ACT Requirements 

Similar to the SAT, there is no ACT score cutoff to apply to NYU. Although it’s challenging to ascertain New York University’s average ACT score, the middle 50% range of scores from admitted students is 31 to 35

You can submit multiple tests for the ACT, and NYU will create what’s called a “superscore” from the highest scores of each section of all tests you submit. This superscore isn’t an option for the SATs. 

NYU GPA Requirements

While there’s no set GPA requirement, most admitted NYU students ranked in the top 10% of their graduating class. A 3.7 unweighted GPA is typical for most admitted first-years. 

Additional Program Requirements 

Depending on the school/college you’re applying to, you may also need to submit supporting documentation. For example, the Tisch School of Arts requires applicants to submit an artistic portfolio or audition. 

A program like The Gallatin School of Individualized Study doesn’t require any additional documentation to get into NYU. However, your supplemental essays, extracurricular activities, and work experience sections will be where admissions will look in making their decision. 

In this program, the writing supplement will be how you get into NYU. The writing supplement should include information about the area of study you’re interested in and why. Here are some additional program requirements you should be mindful of at NYU: 

Tandon School of Engineering Stern School of Business Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development Tisch School of Arts
Physics, Chemistry, Calculus/Precalculus
One Score in Literature or Humanities, Math & Science (if submitting SAT, AP, or IB tests)

Source: Tandon School of Engineering, Stern School of Business, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development, and Tisch School of Arts

NYU Extracurricular Activity Requirements

While there aren’t specific NYU extracurricular activities applicants are expected to have, pursuing valuable extracurriculars will strengthen your application. NYU appreciates well-rounded individuals who have actively engaged in activities beyond the classroom.

Here are some tips to consider as you choose your extracurriculars:

  • Prioritize quality over quantity: Instead of participating in a large number of activities, focus on a few that genuinely interest you and where you can make a meaningful impact. Depth of involvement and leadership roles can be more impressive than a long list of superficial involvements.
  • Consider NYU’s values: NYU encourages students to be peacemakers, changemakers, global citizens, boundary breakers, creatives, and innovators. Highlight activities that demonstrate your commitment to these principles, such as volunteer work, passion projects, or activist extracurriculars.
  • Passion and authenticity: Choose activities you're genuinely passionate about and can speak about convincingly in your application.
  • Show continuity: Long-term commitments to certain activities can demonstrate dedication and genuine interest.

Having these supplemental activities on your NYU application won’t necessarily make up for low grades, but they can differentiate your profile and help you stand out!

NYU Admissions Process and Deadlines

The Common Application is required for all applicants. The Common Application allows you to indicate which program of study or campus you’re interested in. This application also gathers:

  • Standardized test scores
  • Proof of proficiency in English (if applicable)
  • High school transcripts
  • Recommendations from teachers and counselors
  • A record of all college credits you may have already received.  

Once you submit your Common Application, you’ll receive access to the applicant portal. Any additional materials can be submitted through this portal. You can also write an email to an admissions counselor.  

These are the NYU application deadlines

Decision Plan Application Deadline Decision Date
Early Decision I Early November Mid-December
Early Decision II Early January Mid-February
Regular Decision Early January Early April

Source: NYU

NYU Essays

Applicants to NYU must submit two college admission essays in the general application. The first is your personal statement, which you’ll submit to every school you apply to. The other is specific to NYU. 

NYU Essay Prompt

This is NYU’s most recent essay prompt, although this may change depending on the application cycle: 

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.
A: “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
B: “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
C: “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
D: "You have the right to want things and to want things to change." Sanna Marin, Former Prime Minister of Finland, 2023 NYU Commencement Address
E: "It‘s hard to fight when the fight ain‘t fair.” Taylor Swift, Change, Released 2008, 2022 NYU Commencement Speaker
F: Share a short quote and person not on this list, and why the quote inspires you.

You have a 250-word limit to answer this prompt. 

Tips to Get Into NYU

Wondering how to make the most of your NYU application? Read on for expert tips to get in! 

Consider Applying Through Early Decision 

Early Decision applicants at any college often enjoy higher acceptance rates than their Regular Decision peers, although other factors may explain these data trends. However, you should consider applying through NYU’s early decision program if: 

  • You’re confident NYU is your first-choice school 
  • You can produce a high-quality application on a tighter schedule 
  • You’re not concerned about comparing financial aid packages 
  • You want your admissions decision earlier 

NYU is pretty tight-lipped about its early decision acceptance rate, but data trends indicate it’s likely substantially higher than regular decision. Although many regular decision applicants are admitted each cycle, applying through early decision can show your passion and interest in NYU. Don’t forget about this option! 

Dedicate Time and Care to Your Essays

The chances are that most applicants won’t be invited to interview, meaning you have one shot to “speak” to the admissions committee. Your personal statement is crucial to your success in all college applications, but your supplemental essay is where you can get school-specific. 

Although the NYU essay is only 250 words, strive to make each count. Spend ample time brainstorming your story and considering all angles of your experiences and background before writing. 

Consider an Admission Consultant’s Guidance

Unfortunately, not all high school resources are created equal. Maybe you’ve been struggling to speak to a guidance counselor or feel you just need a little bit more support as you navigate this new and exciting process. This wouldn’t be unusual since the average counselor-to-student ratio in NYC high schools alone is 1:215.

One surefire way to boost your chances of admission is by partnering up with a talented NYU admissions consultant. These experts can provide a fresh perspective on your application, help you strategically position yourself as the best candidate possible, and more!

NYU Supplemental Essay Example

Considering how important it is to submit a compelling essay, here’s a sample response to the NYU supplemental essay prompt to offer you more guidance and inspiration:

As I sat in the cafeteria, in my torn hand-me-downs I had yet to grow into, gnawing on a stale PB & J sandwich, I watched my classmates, in their shiny new outfits, enjoying pizza day as they seamlessly blended into the high school tapestry. In that moment of glaring contrast, a harsh reality hit me: my fight wasn't fair. I faced a series of challenges in my pursuit of education that extended far beyond fashion. 
While my classmates enjoyed the luxury of tutors and after-school programs, my parents' struggle to afford rent and my limited time juggling two jobs left little room for such privileges. So, when my grades began to falter during my sophomore year, I found myself at a crossroads. But, fueled by determination and an unyielding belief in my potential, I knew that if the fight for my education wasn't fair, I had to fight even harder. Nights turned into study sessions, weekends into intense self-guided learning. Through sheer grit and perseverance, I raised my grades back up, proving to myself that resilience could overcome adversity.
Taylor Swift's words, "It‘s hard to fight when the fight ain‘t fair," encapsulates the essence of my high school journey. As I reflect upon that transformative period and anticipate my future at NYU, I am driven by the desire to channel my experiences into making a difference. I am resolute in my goal to contribute to a fairer world, where fights are waged on equal ground and opportunities are accessible to all.

This essay is unique, compelling, emotional, and vulnerable. The student demonstrates their resonation with the quote and highlights some key traits, such as perseverance and determination, as well.

They also clearly demonstrate their potential to make a meaningful impact at NYU and in the broader world.

NYU Essay Template

For a succinct essay that effectively addresses all of the necessary points, consider structuring your writing using the following template:

  • Introduction: Begin with a short anecdote that introduces your connection to the quote. 
  • Body paragraphs: Dig deeper. Provide your reflections on the quote and explain the meaning and implications of the quote in your own words. Highlight any personal growth, skills, or insights gained from your experiences/challenges.
  • Conclusion: Reiterate the significance of the quote in your journey and the context of NYU's values. Emphasize how your experiences and the insights gained from them position you as a potential contributor to NYU's community as a peacemaker, changemaker, etc.

You must also mention the quote you’ve chosen, however, you can decide where it fits best! Overall, your essay should provide a comprehensive view of part of your journey, the quote's impact on you, and your aspirations for the future.

FAQs: Getting Into NYU

Still curious about how to get into NYU? Explore our answers to common frequently asked questions below!

1. What Kind of Students Does NYU Look for?

Although NYU doesn’t explicitly state what it’s looking for in students, you should consider that NYU heavily emphasizes global understanding, diversity, and celebrating a wide range of perspectives. To stand out, strive for competitive test scores and GPAs, show your community spirit and cultural/global understanding, and consider a college admissions consulting to help you maximize your chances.

2. What GPA Do You Need for NYU?

There are no GPA cutoffs at NYU, meaning your GPA won’t immediately disqualify you. The average GPA of admitted students is 3.7, so a GPA above that can help you become a more competitive applicant. However, you can offset a lower GPA with higher test scores, varied extracurriculars, and strong essays! 

3. What Major is NYU Known for?

NYU is particularly well known for its performing arts and business programs. 

4. Is NYU an Ivy League?

No, NYU isn’t an Ivy League school. 

5. Does NYU Require an Interview?

Interviews aren’t required at NYU and are only available for a small number of students applying to certain programs/schools, such as NYU’s Opportunity Programs. Otherwise, NYU doesn’t typically offer undergrad interviews. 

6. Can I Apply to NYU Without SAT/ACT Scores? 

Yes, you can! NYU is a test-optional school for the time being. However, if you achieved high scores and want them considered, you can still submit them.

7. Can I Double Major at NYU? 

NYU has such a variety of programs it’s hard not to be interested in more than one. Students can double major or do a cross-school minor in another NYU undergraduate school.  

8. How Many Applicants Does NYU Get in a Year?

NYU announced that it received a record-breaking 120,000 applicants for first-year undergraduate admissions in the most recent cycle. 

9. Does NYU Accept Superscore?

Yes, NYU will superscore your ACT if you write the test multiple times. This means your highest scores will be considered. 

10. How Much IS NYU’s Tuition Fee?

NYU’s tuition costs $60,438 a year. 

Final Thoughts 

NYU is one of the largest and highest-ranked universities in the world. NYU is quite competitive, although it regularly admits many driven and capable students. 

To make sure you’re one of them, it’s critical to stand out in your application. According to NYU, “admissions officers personally review every application.” Applicants should focus on showcasing their passion and individuality in their application and making a lasting impression on the admissions committee. Good luck!

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