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How To Write The NYU Supplemental Essay (2019-2020)

Welcome to the New York University supplemental essay prompt for the 2019-2020 application cycle! Here’s everything you need to know.

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 tell us why you are interested in these additional areas of study or campuses. We want to understand — Why NYU? (400 word maximum).

NYU, keeping it simple: “Why This College?” Maybe you’ve written one of these already, and if you’ve read any of my other supplemental essay guides, you know you need to do your research very carefully here. If the only things you know about NYU are that it has great name recognition and that its flagship campus is located in Manhattan… well, anyone who knows that NYU stands for New York University essentially knows those things. And you can bet that everyone else’s essays will abound with sentences like, “I aspire to attend a great school in the greatest city in the world.” So you should avoid this, particularly because sentences like these also describe Columbia, Barnard, Cooper Union….

As always, be as specific as possible. Tell NYU what you plan to major in. If you’re undecided, that’s fine—plenty of students arrive on campus unsure of what they will study. But for the sake of this essay, declare a major: choose what makes the most sense based on your coursework and experiences. If you spent three months in Madrid on a study abroad program, have taken Spanish literature classes at a local college, have tutored Spanish, and so on, you probably have a compelling case for doing something with Spanish. It’s fine if later you decide you want to study art history or neuroscience.

“Doing something with Spanish” is a start, but it’s still rather vague. Google “NYU Spanish Department,” and you’ll discover that the department is actually called The Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures” and that they offer six different majors. Figure out which major makes the most sense for you (Iberian Studies vs. Spanish Language and Linguistics vs. Spanish and Latin American Literatures and Cultures, etc.). Look closely at the requirements so you can determine what fits best.

Familiarize yourself with the course catalogue, and be sure to mention a class or two that you are particularly excited to take. Make sure it’s an interesting, upper-level course, and not something you could take at just any college. Choose a class that isn’t one of the required courses for your major.

Remember that this essay, as with all essays for the college application process, is about you—it’s about what you will do if admitted to NYU. Relate your choice to your past experiences. If the college-level Spanish literature classes you took were all on the Golden Age, you probably don’t want to say that this experience has led you to want to take Cultural History of Spain at NYU, since this class focuses on modern Spain. See what I mean? Your personal narrative needs to make sense.

Don’t forget that college is about more than going to class. What extracurricular opportunities do you want to take advantage of at NYU? Again, make sure that these are in line with your own experiences and your own personal narrative.

Do your research carefully, and be sure that your essay could only be about NYU, and could only be written by you.

As always, our college admissions consulting firm is here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

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