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How to Transfer to NYU

Hello transfer applicants!

As I’ve mentioned in recent articles and videos, I’m spending the next couple weeks discussing how to get admitted into some of the most popular schools - especially for transfer students. I’m specifically covering their unique cultures and what you can do to stand out against your competition. Use this information to help you curate the perfect, school-specific application.

Today’s school: New York University.

Because a lot of students transferring to NYU face unique challenges (most notably moving to large, busy, and at times overwhelming city), the university has established a support network for their new admits. Head here to request a mentor, join the transfer student association, or sign up for the weekly transfer student newsletter.

How do you apply to New York University, and how do you maximize your chances of admission?

First, you should know that NYU is highly competitive. The first criteria you will be evaluated on are your post-secondary grades. The average NYU transfer student in 2017 had a GPA of 3.6 and had completed 36 credits (1.5 years) at the college level. If you have not yet earned 36 credits, you will need to submit SAT or ACT scores. (Please note that different departments may have different requirements for applicants, such as a portfolio or more letters of recommendation. Be sure to check the specific requirements for your preferred major.) With a 27% admit rate in 2017, a solid application essay is also important.

We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. We are particularly interested in knowing what motivated you to apply to NYU and more specifically, why you have 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 each of the campuses, schools, colleges, or programs to which you have applied. You may be focused or undecided, or simply open to the options within NYU’s global network; regardless, we want to understand — Why NYU?

This is the “Why University X” essay. You must explain why the school is perfect for you, and why you are perfect for the school. If you are having trouble identifying how the school aligns with your goals and interests, try this trick.

There are a few questions to address in this prompt. For all of them, specificity is the key to success. Below, I explain how to answer each question within the prompt, including an example from a recent transfer client I worked with. You will notice how specificity greatly improves the essay.

Which campus are you interested in?

Because NYU has three campuses (New York, Shanghai, and Abu Dhabi), they want to know if the location of the school attracts you and, if so, why. If the campus location isn’t a factor in your decision to apply to NYU, it’s okay to skip this question.


First draft:

I have loved NYU and New York ever since my first visit to it in 2013. I can envision living there.

This answer is too general: it says nothing about the applicant’s interest in the school.

Final draft:

I have been drawn to NYU’s energetic campus since my first visit in 2013. Because it provides a full college experience alongside the endless possibilities that are present in the world’s most vibrant city, I don’t feel there is any other school like NYU. Having spent years in small towns, I am eager to return to New York City - the city that I most resonate with and that so fully satisfies my desire to be surrounded by diversity and opportunity.

This answer adds specificity. It explains why the location is a good match for the applicant by discussing how the city and campus match the applicant’s desires.

Which school or college are you interested in?

NYU is made up of many different schools and colleges based on area of study. If you are applying to a school or college that is not the College of Arts and Science, the majority of your essay should be on your reasons for doing so.

Which program are you interested in?

This is your opportunity to explain your personal goals. Although incoming freshmen are not required to know their major, transfer applicants are. Admissions committees expect to see that transfer students are mature and have clear ideas about their academic and career futures. After all, transferring is a big decision, and adcomms want to know you have thought it through carefully. Explaining your major choice is a solid way of doing so. The reasons that you are attracted to your program at NYU are probably the same reasons other applicants are attracted to the same program. To differentiate yourself, you need to discuss how this program is unique from other schools’ programs, and then tie those differentiating factors to your personal goals.


First draft:

I want to pursue a degree in electrical engineering, and NYU has a prestigious engineering school.

This answer says nothing specific about the school nor the applicant. Further, it makes the applicant look lazy because it doesn’t discuss how the school is unique. In fact, it doesn’t even use the name of the school. Final draft:

Electrical engineering is a common program in many universities, but NYU Tandon’s robust Power Engineering study track makes all the difference to me. As a future electrical engineer, I am particularly interested in smart grid technology because it distributes electricity based on consumer need, self-detects and isolates malfunctioning devices, and provides cleaner energy solutions. Having interned at a power plant for two summers, I have first-hand knowledge on power generation and power delivery methods. As such, I see the economic and environmental benefits of smart grids - especially in population-dense locations. Because the NYU Power Lab focuses on this technology, it aligns perfectly with my long-term goal of expanding smart grids in my home community (and hopefully the world at large). I look forward to using the resources of the NYU Power Lab to explore smart grid concepts and applications. From courses on small-scale electrical systems to large-scale power generation, I am confident Tandon will support me in understanding all levels of electricity supply. For example, I intend to enroll in Signals and Systems, Electric Energy Conversion Systems, and Electrical Power & Machinery to develop my technical knowledge and learn innovative approaches to power generation.

This response is successful for many reasons: First and foremost, the applicant explains his goals. Because of this, he is then able to make clear, concrete connections to his program, including specific courses and campus resources that interest him. The reader better understands the applicant, his motivations, and how NYU will help him. By letting the reader know about his internship at the power plant, this application also shows he has experience in the field and will, thus, be a positive contribution to any class or campus organization.

Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve.

I’ve already written posts on how to answer this question, which you can find on my website or on Zhihu. I also offer a transfer essay writing course, which walks you through the essay from brainstorming to final draft. Contact me if you are interested.

Here are some overarching tips to help you with your transfer application as a whole:

TIP ONE to answering each of the transfer application questions - make sure they work as a collective whole to tell a single story. In other words, you want each of your application materials to tell a little bit more of the story of YOU - your responses should not repeat but compliment each other. If you write about wanting to attend NYU because their accounting program is stronger than the program at your current school, use the supplemental essay to do so. Or highlight your diversity by infusing it into your main transfer essay.

TIP TWO is to add school fit into your responses. NYU wants to admit students who compliment their campus culture, so the more you can show that you are the “type of student” who attends the NYU the better. Research the mission statement and goals of the NYU school or program you are applying to. Think about the things you have accomplished or experienced that align with the school’s stated mission, and infuse those experiences or personal characteristics into your essays.

The University of New York favors students who demonstrate:

  • A variety of interests - academic, extracurricular, community service

  • Potential to take advantage of campus and city resources

  • Character and maturity to thrive in an urban environment

Do you need help putting together your NYU transfer application? Contact me for information on my transfer application packages. I have the perfect plan for you - whether you plan to apply to one school, multiple schools, or only require help with the written application materials.

Best of luck, transfer applicants!!



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