A Student Experience at New York University

Liz earned her bachelor’s degree in dramatic writing from New York University. She specializes in English tutoring, creative writing tutoring, and many other subjects. If you’re looking for a student perspective on New York University, read on!

Describe the campus setting and transportation options.

Liz: NYU is fantastic as far as transportation options. Don't even think about bringing a car here beyond move-in. It's crazy New York City traffic, and parking it will run an insane bill. Instead, everyone uses the network of subways and secondarily buses. You will mingle with the public on a daily basis like a real New Yorker (and quickly become one yourself). It's very walkable in the heart of the campus area, and there are free NYU buses for students who need to get to more remote locations like off-site dorms and the NYU Medical Center campus.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Liz: Everyone has office hours, and the teaching staff are generally very passionate about their fields so they are happy to meet with you and help you master whatever you're struggling with. If you have a problem with any staff, there is an open door policy for contacting the person’s supervisor and discussing your issues. NYU is very student-focused, and they really listen.

How would you describe the dorm life—rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Liz: Dining options are excellent. There are many dining halls, and most have salad bars as well as a variety of hot and cold items available every day. They cater to all special diets; no matter where you're from or what you're used to, you will find something to make you happy. There's even a kosher dining hall. Meal plans come in a wide range of configurations. When I attended, they had a refillable “campus cash” program that was linked to your student ID card, and the funds could be used at a bunch of local restaurants, delis, and grocery stores as well.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported?

Liz: NYU is so vast and diverse that I cannot say there is one major that is “best represented.” I was enrolled at Tisch School of the Arts, which is probably most famous or popular for its film program. Second to that seems to be acting. Quite a few celebrities and celebrity’s kids attend Tisch. I studied dramatic writing where I was immersed in TV and film screenwriting and playwriting. As a concentration, I chose playwriting because I love what it is possible to create in real space and real time with live bodies and objects as much as the magic of live performance before (or sometimes with) an audience.

I also participated in the WNYU, the college radio station all 4 years. This is now part of the music production program at Tisch, which was new as I was graduating but is well-regarded. It was great fun and a welcome break from my academics. I still have recordings of some broadcasts, including a live interview/performance session with a band. Through WNYU, I gained some very basic sound editing and production skills. The radio station offers internships and the opportunity to obtain paid management positions.

How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Liz: “Greek life” exists, but isn’t big on campus. You will make friends through the people you live with, attend classes with, and participate in extracurricular with.

I did make one of my best friends at a Tisch sponsored social my first week. We ditched the event and went to Nuyouican Poet's Café instead. A good deal of socializing happens in the city, off campus. Given all the restaurants, museums, and concert venues at your fingertips, why wouldn’t it? However, there are student campus clubs for every interest under the sun, from volleyball to more obscure ones like science fiction.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services?

Liz: I didn't make as much use of the Career Center as I could have, and frankly, my major wasn't terribly marketable. I do remember attending some good job fairs, and most students land enviable jobs or internships upon graduation. It's also a great jumping-off point for a graduate degree anywhere in the world. Their study abroad options span the globe. They are very accessible to those who keep their grades up, and they are both useful and fulfilling. My summer study abroad through NYU led to me obtaining my graduate degree abroad.

The support services as far as student medical care are top-notch. NYU’s response with making psychological services available to students was swift, all-encompassing, and admirable. All the teaching staff and Department Chairs were very open and supportive.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Liz: The library is massive and the librarians are knowledgeable and helpful. It is also a beautiful space with lots of cozy nooks. There are lots of 24-hour computer labs with wizards on staff. Lounges and recreational areas abound, and they are generally very comfortable and bright. They are a welcome relief from the busy streets.

Describe the surrounding town.

Liz: Music, festivals, lectures, underground film, high-end shopping, museums, and art supplies are all easily accessible. Everything you could ever dream of is available 24/7.

The only downsides are watching your budget, choosing what to do, and a certain lack of unified campus life feeling. There are multiple campuses all throughout the city and mingled in with buildings that serve daily business and residential functions. NYU is a great place to be anonymous if you're into that. If you find your own niche, you can do that thing to the fullest.

Make no mistake: while sports exist, this is not much of a sport-centered school. There isn't an everybody-goes-to-the-football-game-and-knows-the-team-by-name mentality or reality. You will not find much in the way of fraternity or sorority life, either. This school is ultra-metropolitan and more focused on intellect, culture, and arts. 

How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Liz: The student body is unbelievably large. There is no way to know everyone in your school of focus, let alone your graduating class; mine was in the multi-thousands. The actual class sizes were reasonable and I was generally pleased with them. Even the big lectures had no more than about 50 - 80 students, and those had related seminars taught by graduate students where the group size was maybe 20. I felt that the class sizes were appropriate. I got very close with a bunch of people in my own department across graduation years because the Department of Dramatic Writing is so small and we got into each other's projects very deeply.

Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Liz: I had a fabulous class on modern theater. We attended one performance per week. I got to see Avenue Q, Metamorphosis, and Top Dog/Underdog before they hit big and went to Broadway. We also saw a 3-person play that included Sir Patrick Stewart and Kyle McLaughlin in the cast. Frequently the creators of the pieces would stay after the show and speak to our class about their process. Whatever your field of study, at NYU you will be engaged in real-life, current, and relevant events.


Check out Liz’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.