NYU Supplemental Essays 2023-24 Prompt and Advice

August 17, 2023

nyu supplemental essays

In the 2022-23 admissions cycle, NYU received over 120,000 applications. That was a record-breaking figure for the university (13% more than the previous year!), as was the all-time low acceptance rate of 8%. 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 supplemental 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 2027, the median SAT score for an admitted applicant was 1540, 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 2023-24 admissions cycle. We then follow with College Transitions’ advice on how to craft a winning composition.

2023-2024 NYU Supplement Essays

This is a new prompt for the 2023-24 admissions cycle. It’s optional, but we highly encourage anyone who would like to be a serious contender (which, if you’re taking the time to apply, hopefully you are) to answer it.

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. (250 words)

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

NYU Supplemental Essay (Continued)

This prompt—and its options—are incredibly open-ended, offering you the power to decide why a particular quote inspires you (note that there are no guiding questions or proposed directions for any quote). As such, read through the quotes provided and note which one you continue returning to. When you read that quote, what do you want to do? What type of change do you want to affect? Does it encourage to create or innovate? How so? Moreover, does it remind you of an experience you’ve had, a challenge you’ve overcome, or a belief you hold? Perhaps it calls to mind an aspect of your background or perspective. Or, it could speak to a particular social or political cause that is important to you. Alternatively, you can even choose your own quote if none of the above resonates with you.

The strongest responses will look to the future while also incorporating past personal experiences or influences. For example, perhaps the second prompt inspires you to continue seeking out experiences that challenge you. “Why is that?” NYU will want to know. Perhaps, earlier this year, you went out of your comfort zone to speak up at a school board meeting about your school district’s book ban policy, ultimately meeting & agreeing to continue working with a group of fellow students who also opposed the policy.

Finally, given that this is NYU’s only supplemental essay, you can also incorporate how you plan to seek out specific experiences or resources at NYU.

How important is the NYU supplemental essay?

NYU deems four elements 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 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.