What is it Like to Attend New York University?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Emma is a New York City tutor who specializes in Spanish tutoring, Writing tutoring, SAT prep tutoring, and more. She is currently a sophomore at New York University majoring in Economics. Check out what she had to say about her school:

VT: How easy or difficult is it to get around on your campus? Is it hilly, do lots of people bike, are there buses, etc.

Emma: The NYU campus is essentially part of Manhattan. One of the most distinct characteristics of NYU is that there is no campus, and the buildings are quite diffuse. As a freshman, you're likely to live near Washington Square Park, the nucleus of the NYU buildings. However, this could mean as much as a 15 minute walk away. The university runs a decent bus service, which goes to the further dorms and academic buildings. It's important to feel comfortable in the city at NYU, because you live more like a New Yorker than a college student in many ways. 

VT: How helpful are the academic advisors?

Emma: The advisors in the College of Arts and Science are incredibly helpful, and I've heard pretty good things about the other schools within NYU. It can be hard to cut through some of the administrative red tape at NYU, as it is such a large institution, but the advisors to their best to advocate for their students. 

VT: How would you describe the dorm life?

Emma: The dorm life as a freshman can be somewhat social, depending on your dorm, but is often lonely and anonymous. My experience was unusual. I lived in a special, application-based dorm called Goddard, which provided a much smaller, cozier community within NYU. At Goddard I took a required writing course with a professor inside the dorm, and participated in a theatre interest group where I got to see plays all over the city. If you can find a smaller, more specialized dorm at NYU, it is probably worth your while. Some of the other dorms, however, are larger and offer more amenities. 

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported?

Emma: NYU has many different schools within it, each of which has its own offerings and nuances. I've enjoyed Economics so far, and the Economics department at NYU is known to be strong. The Tisch School of the Arts and Stern Business School are very well known and well regarded. NYU truly has something for everyone. 

VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman?

Emma: I had an easy time making friends, in part because I had a few friends from high school starting college in the city at the same time as me. I also found it easy to become friends with the people on my floor, as well as my roommate. Even some of the people I met at orientation over the summer are some of my closest friends now. Making friends at NYU requires an open mind and proactive attitude. Especially if you are shy, you may benefit from joining a club or sports team on campus. Any way you can find to create a smaller community, through dorm life or extracurriculars, will be helpful in making friends. 

VT: How helpful is the Career Center?

Emma: Wasserman is the Cadillac of career centers. The amazing networking and internship opportunities at NYU are one of the biggest draws. Many students don't take advantage of the career center, but those who do have great opportunities. One big advantage of being at NYU is the exposure to all the industries that New York City offers. 

VT: How are the various study areas? Libraries? The Student Union? Dorm lounges?

Emma: NYU is a little short on space, so the study areas tend to be overcrowded, especially during exams. 

VT: What is the surrounding town like? What are the best local attractions that make it unique? 

Emma: NYU could not be in a better location for those people who thrive on urban life. It's surreal. My freshman year I lived facing Washington Square Park, the center of the village, and lived walking distance from neighborhoods like Soho and the East Village. 

VT: How big or small is the student body and how does that affect your experience?

Emma: The NYU student body is enormous, and drowns inside a city that is even bigger. The size provides the biggest challenge. Large classes tend to be quite anonymous. In my introductory econ lectures, there were as many as 450 students. However, it is definitely possible to find smaller classes where you will stand out. I also took a Spanish class with 5 students in it. Ultimately, it is up to the student to take the opportunities and make the most of them. If you are not a proactive go-getter who likes to be pushed outside of their comfort zone, you will probably not benefit from being at NYU. 

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

Emma: In my first semester as a freshman I had the opportunity to take a 16-person class taught by the president of the university, John Sexton. It was by far the hardest course I have taken at NYU, but also the most interesting. It was a Socratic-style legal seminar on the Establishment and Free Exercises clauses of the American constitution. The workload was insane for a freshman! We read about 400 pages in Supreme Court cases weekly, and churned out 8-10 page memos every class. That said, how many freshmen can say that the president of their university knows them by name? At the end of the semester, we each had to debate him one-on-one in a "Steel Cage Match". I can't say I'll ever forget that. 

Check out Emma’s tutoring profile.

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