In the 2021-22 admissions cycle, NYU received over 105,000 applications. That was a record-breaking figure for the university, as was the all-time low acceptance rate of 12.2%. To put these numbers in proper context, consider for a moment that in 1991, NYU had an acceptance rate of 65%. At the start of the Obama presidency, NYU still only received 37,000 total applications. These numbers lead us into the topic of this blog, the NYU essay.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into NYU? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get Into NYU for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

Clearly, standing out as an applicant to NYU was a heck of a lot easier a generation or even a mere decade ago. For the Class of 2026, the median SAT score for an admitted applicant was 1550, meaning that even a standardized test score in the 99th percentile won’t do much to separate you from the hordes of equally-credentialed applicants.

Although it only has one prompt, NYU’s essay still affords applicants an opportunity to illustrate what makes them uniquely qualified for admission. Below is NYU’s supplemental essay for the 2022-23 admissions cycle. We then follow with College Transitions’ advice on how to craft a winning composition.

2022-2023 NYU Essay Question

NYU was founded on the belief that a student’s identity should not dictate the ability for them to access higher education. That sense of opportunity for all students, of all backgrounds, remains a part of who we are today and a critical part of what makes us a world class university. Our community embraces diversity, in all its forms, as a cornerstone of the NYU experience.

We would like to better understand how your experiences would help us to shape and grow our diverse community. Please respond in 250 words or less. 

This is a new prompt for the 2022-23 school admissions cycle. NYU previously asked for a response to the question “Why NYU?” This essay is, in part, about diversity. However, it isn’t really asking for your thoughts on diversity at large. Alternatively, NYU instead wants to know how YOU are going to contribute to a larger, diverse community. NYU is an incredibly diverse place when it comes to ethnicity. In fact, 19% of recent freshmen are Asian, 17% are Hispanic, 8% are African American, and 24% are international students from 138 countries. Yet, ethnicity is hardly the only angle one could take here.  You are essentially invited to talk about any of the following topics:

  1. Firstly, a perspective you hold
  2. An experience you had
  3. A community you belong to
  4. Your cultural background
  5. Lastly, your family background

The admissions officer looking at your essay is hoping to connect with you through your written words, so be open, humble, thoughtful, inquisitive, emotionally honest, mature, and insightful. No matter what type of story you tell, the goal is to have the reader come away saying, “I can definitely see this applicant as a contributing member of our talented and engaged student community.”

The Impact on Your Community Angle

How you interact with your present surroundings is the strongest indicator of what kind of community member you will be in your future collegiate home. This prompt essentially asks about the contributions you will make to the NYU community. To demonstrate your potential for enhancing the diverse NYU student body, you may wish to share the ways in which you have impacted your current community.

This could mean your high school, your neighborhood, your family, or even a club or sports team. Some words of warning with this one: don’t get too grandiose in explaining the positive change that you brought about. Of course, if you truly brought peace to a war-torn nation or influenced climate change policy on a global scale, share away. However, nothing this high-profile is expected. This is more a question about how to relate to others, your value system, your charitable/giving nature, and how you interact with the world around you.

A few potential ideas for areas where you may have made a contribution in your community include:

  • Racial injustice
  • Assisting those with special needs
  • Climate justice/the environment
  • Making outsiders in a group feel welcome
  • The economically-disadvantaged
  • Mental health awareness
  • Clean-up projects
  • Tutoring peers or younger students
  • Charitable work through a religious organization

This is, of course, by no means a comprehensive list of potential topics. Most importantly, your story should be personal, sincere, and revealing of your core character and developing values system.

How important is the NYU supplemental essay?

NYU deems four as “very important” in evaluating a candidate. These are: the rigor of your secondary school record, class rank, GPA, standardized test scores, and talent/ability. The NYU supplemental essay is considered to be “important” alongside letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and character/personal qualities.

Want Personalized Essay Assistance?

In conclusion, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your NYU essay, we encourage you to get a quote today.