New York University

New York, NY: I am very involved in drama and had assumed that New York University would be my first-choice school from the moment I stepped foot center-stage. It seemed like all my friends in drama wanted to go there, so why wouldn’t I? I looked at the website ( and the academics seemed impressive. I’d heard NYU was a great school, so why not go visit? It should be my first-choice school, after all. Let me tell you, I am so glad I visited.

The admissions counselor who led the information session was hysterical. Standing in front of us with a bright, multi-color striped shirt and spiked hair, I kept thinking, He is so New York. He talked about the programs NYU offers, many of which are NYU originals. For example, there’s an entire college designated for self-designed majors, the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. He told a story about one Gallatin student who decided to major in Rock Star. The admissions counselor had no idea what that consisted of, but the student got the education he wanted. Other schools of NYU are more traditional: the College of Arts and Sciences; Leonard N. Stern School of Business; Tisch School of the Arts; School of Social Work; School of Continuing and Professional Studies; and The Steinhardt School of Education. NYU students come from all 50 states and more than 140 countries. NYU has only one NCAA Division I sports team: fencing. They offer 10 Division III sports teams for men and eight for women.

The admissions counselor talked a lot about the application process; NYU does not interview applicants. When discussing the essay content, he asked, “Who here has seen the musical ‘Rent?'” I raised my hand, along with a good number of the people in the room. He then asked, “Who here has read The Catcher in the Rye?” Again, I raised my hand, along with most in the room. Then he made his point. “Do not write about either of these,” he advised. “If I read ‘Holden Caufield is my hero!’ or ‘No day but today!’ one more time, I will not admit you!” When I went home, I looked at what I had drafted for my essay. Having mentioned both The Catcher in the Rye and “Rent,” I was grateful for his advice!

Then it was time for the tour. I was very disappointed in the tour, not because it was poorly led (the guide was helpful and informative) but because it made me realize that NYU is not the right school for me. The buildings are scattered along several streets and blocks which made me realize that I want a school with a defined campus. I want to be able to sit out on the quad on nice days, and if I tried to lie out at NYU, angry New Yorkers would trample me.

I was crushed. NYU was perfect for me except that it has no campus. Luckily, I later found a school that offered me city life and a campus. So if you fall in love with a school just by looking at the viewbook, make sure you visit to ensure you are making the right choice.

Reviewed in 2004