How to get into New York University 2022: Acceptance Rate & Tips

NYU hardly needs an introduction. The university has instant brand recognition that stretches across the globe—so much so that the university does little to market itself, compared to many of its peers.

Nonetheless, NYU remains iconic: its unique immersion in New York City, diversity of specialized schools and study programs, and pioneering work in the arts, technology, and business distinguish it even from its uptown rival. Across the world, students dream of studying amidst the hustle and bustle of Manhattan’s concrete jungle. They know NYU can serve them that and so much more.

It’s no surprise, then, that in 2021-2022, more than 100,000 students applied to at least one of NYU’s three campuses in NYC, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai.  And of these, only 12.8% were admitted, and admitted students had an average SAT score of a whopping 1540. Suffice to say, NYU has become drastically more selective in the last decade, with its acceptance rate shrinking by nearly three times since 2013.

New York University Building
Photo by Own work, link, under CC license

NYU Stern’s undergraduate program in business has grown especially competitive because of the unique position it holds among elite colleges who grant Bachelor’s degrees in business. Its exposure to New York City’s various thriving industries—from Wall Street, to technology startups, healthcare companies, consulting firms, private equity groups, and more—makes it a top choice for ambitious young business leaders who have their sights set on lucrative, high-profile careers. And this ethos is borne out by the numbers: for the Class of 2025, only 7% of applicants to Stern’s undergraduate business programs were admitted, and they had an impressive average SAT score of 1507.

Though NYU won’t publish statistics for the Class of 2026 for some time, we can compare the class of 2025’s 12.8% acceptance rate to the statistics released the previous year for the Class of 2024:

Acceptance Statistics: Class of 2024

ApplicationsAdmittedAcceptance rateAverage GPA
85,00013,00015%3.7

SAT Scores

SAT scores1350-1530
Reading and Writing680-760
Math700-800
Note: Overall SAT score (middle 50th Percentile Ranges)

ACT Scores

ACT scores31-35
Note: Overall ACT score (middle 50th Percentile Ranges)

Gender

Male42%
Female58%

The numbers are daunting to say the least. But they don’t always give the full picture. And they’re representative of macro trends in worldwide education that are outside any single person’s control. That’s why it’s more effective to first understand these numbers in context, then use your time to focus on preparing your own personal application as best you can. 

What do you need to apply to NYU?

In order to apply to any of NYU’s three campuses as a first-year applicant, you will need to complete the Common Application, as this is the only application that the university accepts. Currently, NYU remains test-optional through the 2022-2023 cycle, so you will not be required to send test scores as part of your application, but you will still be able to do so if you wish.

If you are committed to attending NYU as your first choice college, and are applying Early Decision, you can choose to do so by the Early Decision 1 deadline of November 1, or the Early Decision 2 deadline of January 1. Otherwise, you will need to submit your application by the Regular Decision deadline of January 5. 

As you complete the Common Application for NYU, you will need to submit the following materials:

*This has historically been NYU’s required supplemental essay prompt over recent years. They have not yet officially released their writing prompt for 2022-2023. When they do, we will be sure to update it here if there are any changes.

For more detailed information, check out NYU’s page on Additional Program Requirements and make sure that you are fully prepared to submit your application to the program of your choice.

What is NYU looking for?

Beyond exceptional performance in academics, NYU seeks students who are driven to get the most out of their experience at an urban campus at the forefront of creative, business, and technological fields. In many ways, NYU considers New York City its de-facto campus, and it is looking for students who have a genuine and compelling reason to take advantage of its cosmopolitan location and culture. This is evidenced also in the way the university promotes its network of study abroad programs.

Many applicants to NYU make the mistake of focusing on generic and predictable reasons to be in New York City. They apply because of the brand and a general sense of excitement at the idea of living in a city that considers itself the center of the known universe. But too often, these applications are unconvincing.

To maximize your chances of admission, you should strive to make your angle truly personal. It helps, of course, if you have had a chance to visit the city and soak in the atmosphere. Maybe you are not actually inclined to attend dozens of shows on Broadway or networking events with investment bankers. Maybe what you really love is finding talented buskers in the subway, tucking up inside a cozy cafe corner, matching wits with diner waitresses, hopping from Chinatown to Little Italy, or people-watching on busy street corners. 

Whatever your individual angle might be, show that you will seize opportunities to be socially involved. That you will connect your studies to the thumping heartbeat of the city around you, whether it serves as an inspiration, a resource, or a backdrop. Make sure that your stated goals—personal, academic, and professional—factor in this important element of the NYU experience. Let your curiosity shine and do your research well. But more than anything, lay bare your enthusiasm.

NYU is looking for students who have a genuine connection to the spirit of school and city. If this connection resonates with the Admissions Committee, it will distinguish you from others and significantly boost your chances of admission.

How can you get into NYU?

There are a variety of ways an ambitious high school student can approach the NYU application in order to maximize their chances of admission. The specific decisions of what to highlight and how to make it unforgettable boil down to individual life stories and circumstances that have shaped you into who you are today. That crucial piece of the application—the storytelling—can only come from intensive reflection and earnest hard work. However, there are certainly decisions you can make to position yourself to submit a profile that bolsters your personal story and provides you top ratings on several of NYU’s criteria:

If you’re able to demonstrate your connection to New York City, achieve an outstanding GPA in the hardest classes, engage meaningfully with personal interests and community problems, and take charge of your own goals by acting on your principles, you’ll set yourself up to submit an application that will impress the NYU Admissions Committee. None of this is easy, but if you’re deeply motivated to be at NYU, use every tactic we’ve listed above in order to show it.

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