Do you know how to improve your profile for college applications?
See how your profile ranks among thousands of other students using CollegeVine. Calculate your chances at your dream schools and learn what areas you need to improve right now — it only takes 3 minutes and it's 100% free.
Show me what areas I need to improve
- How Hard Is It to Get Into NYU?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted NYU
- What is NYU Looking for?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into NYU
With a campus in one of the world’s great cities with easy access to everything from Wall Street to Broadway, it’s no wonder so many college-bound high schoolers are anxious to attend NYU. After all, who wouldn’t want to attend a prestigious university known for its excellent business program—12th on CollegeVine’s list of the top 15 colleges for business majors—along with producing some of the most notable names in the arts? As the saying goes, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.
How Hard Is It to Get Into NYU?
Getting into NYU is challenging. NYU received 80,210 applications for its class of 2025, of which they accepted a mere 16,918 applicants—an acceptance rate of 21.1%.
NYU’s acceptance rate is low, but your personal chances of acceptance depend on the strength of your profile. Our free admissions calculator can help you to understand your chances at NYU. It considers factors like your grades, test scores, and extracurriculars to estimate your odds of admission along with providing insight into how to improve your profile!
Average Academic Profile of Accepted NYU
The average high school GPA of NYU’s Class of 2025 is 3.71.
The middle 50% SAT and ACT scores of NYU’s class of 2025 are 1390-1510 and 31-34.
NYU didn’t report the average high school class rank of its class of 2025, but plan on graduating near the top of your class—21% of the class of 2021 had a high school GPA of 4.0 and 85% of them had a GPA better than 3.5.
What is NYU Looking for?
NYU has a handful of prestigious and top-ranked programs—including the Stern School of Business, one of the most respected programs in the country—and is particularly well-known for finance. Becoming a “Sternie,” a nickname for Stern students, is particularly challenging; the Stern School of Business receives a large number of applicants and its acceptance rate is lower than that of NYU’s overall acceptance rate.
Another of NYU’s highly esteemed colleges is the Tisch School of Arts, which houses the Dance, Drama, and Cinema programs—one of CollegeVine’s best undergraduate performing art schools and the Hollywood Reporter’s top American film school. Academics are important at the Tisch School of Arts, but the admissions process heavily weighs artistic talent and the strength of your portfolio is almost as important as your profile.
How NYU College Evaluates Applications
According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, NYU considers the following factors “very important”:
- Course rigor
- Class rank
- Test scores
These factors are “important”:
- Extracurricular activities
These are “considered”:
- First generation
- Geographic residence
- Racial/ethnic status
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
- Applicant interest
And these are “not considered”:
- Religious affiliation
- State residence
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into NYU
1. Achieve at least a 3.71 average GPA while taking the most challenging classes available
NYU considers GPA, class rank, and course rigor all “very important” when making admissions decisions. The average high school GPA of NYU’s class of 2025 was 3.71, 21% graduated with a 4.0, and students to top schools like NYU have typically completed between five and 12 AP classes. You’ll want to earn all (or mostly all) As in the most challenging classes available to you for consideration as a serious applicant.
Highly selective schools that receive huge volumes of applications, like NYU, use the Academic Index to weed out candidates they deem unqualified. Academic Index is your entire academic performance represented by a single number. If your Academic Index fails to meet a college’s standards, you’re at risk of not having your application read.
If your GPA isn’t up to NYU’s standards, and you’re early in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it’s more challenging to increase your GPA, which makes earning high test scores the easiest way to increase your Academic Index.
2. Aim for a 1510 SAT and 34 ACT
Test scores are “very important” to NYU admissions. The middle 50% SAT and ACT scores of NYU’s class of 2025 are 1390-1510 and 31-34. Any score in the middle 50% is good, but the higher you score into the range, the better your odds of admission are.
To improve your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:
- How to Get a Perfect 1600 Score on the SAT
- How to Get a Perfect 36 Score on the ACT
- More SAT Info and Tips
- More ACT Info and Tips
NYU will allow you to select what SAT results you want using score choice and will review the highest SAT scores you send. If you take the SAT, NYU will create a composite score using the highest score from each section, regardless of the test date. NYU’s standardized test policy offers an advantage to those who sit for an exam multiple times. Plan on taking the SAT/ACT two to three times to maximize your score.
Due to the disruption of testing in light of COVID-19, NYU instituted test-optional admissions in 2020-2021 and has extended it to the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. However, CollegeVine still recommends taking an exam (if you can do so safely) and submitting scores provided they’re at the 25th percentile or above. Applicants who submit test scores are accepted at higher rates than those who do not. You can get recommendations on whether or not you should apply test-optional using our free chancing engine.
3. Cultivate one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”)
NYU views extracurricular activities as “important” to admissions and talent/ability as “very important.” Possessing a highly developed interest known as a “spike” and having one or two supporting extracurricular activities that show high levels of achievement or leadership are great ways to fulfill this requisite.
Some extracurriculars are more valuable to the admissions process than others—the four tiers of extracurriculars are useful for understanding how colleges weigh your activities outside of the classroom:
- Tier 1 activities are both uncommon and exceptional—for example, winning a renowned national award or attending a prestigious merit-based summer program.
- Tier 2 extracurriculars demonstrate great achievement or leadership but are more common than those of Tier 1. These include being class president or winning a local competition.
- Tier 3 activities are great for highlighting your interests outside of the classroom but lack the distinction of higher-tiered activities. These include holding a minor leadership position in a well-known club or captaining a varsity sport.
- Tier 4 is home to the least-impactful activities, such as participating in a club or sport, and general volunteer work.
4. Write engaging essays
At top schools like NYU, almost every applicant has astounding academic profiles, making essays—which NYU views as “important” to admissions—one of the best ways to set yourself apart from other applicants. All applicants are required to answer one prompt about why they want to attend NYU in 400 words or less. Some NYU applicants, like those applying to the Tisch School of the Arts or to the MLK Scholars Program, will have to submit additional essays.
Attention-grabbing essays avoid cliches and are written in your own unique voice, and an effective college essay will highlight why you’re a good fit for a school and how they’ll benefit from having you on campus. For advice specifically about the NYU essays, check out our article, “How to Write the NYU Essays 2021-2022.”
5. Letters of Recommendation
Recommendations are “important to NYU’s admissions process. You must submit a recommendation from your high school counselor that can include both personal and academic details, as well as highlight extracurricular involvement. You’ll also need a letter of recommendation from a teacher, preferably one who taught you within the last two to three years in a core academic subject, that provides insight into what you’re like in the classroom.
Letters of recommendation are an important factor in NYU admissions, which makes getting a glowing one an important step in earning a place at NYU. Teachers aren’t compensated for writing letters of recommendation, so the approach is everything when requesting one. The nine rules for requesting letters of recommendation from teachers are a guideline to follow to ensure you get a great rec.
6. Apply Early Action/Early Decision
NYU offers early decision (ED) admissions, a binding process where you commit to attending if accepted. ED is a great way to boost your odds of acceptance as early decision acceptance rates are generally higher than overall and regular decision rates. However, ED isn’t right for everyone—it’s best-suited for applicants for whom NYU is their first choice and are sure they can afford it because through ED you’ve committed to attending before seeing NYU’s financial aid package.
How to Apply to NYU
NYU uses the Common Application. In addition, you’ll need to submit:
- NYU supplement
- Official transcript
- School report
- Guidance counselor recommendation
- Teacher recommendation letter
- Mid-year report
- Audition or portfolio (for Steinhardt and Tisch only; testing is optional and an audition or portfolio may be submitted in its place)
- Additional materials may be required for specific programs
NYU is test-optional for the 2021-2022 application cycle. If you want to submit test scores, NYU accepts the following:
- 3 SAT Subject Tests
- 3 AP or IB higher-level exams
- IB Diploma
- Other international examinations
Learn more about NYU
Interested in learning more about NYU? Check out these other informative articles:
- What is NYU Known For?
- College Spotlight Series: Everything You Need to Know About NYU
- The Ultimate Guide to NYU
- How I Got Into NYU
Want to know your chances at NYU? Calculate your chances for free right now.