NYU sees 12 percent spike in applications for class of 2017

Kaleel Munroe for WSN


Undergraduate applications rose 12 percent this year, a surprising increase that is “unusual for any college or university in any one year” according to assistant vice president of admissions Shawn Abbott.

This represents a major growth compared to the three percent increase in applications between the 2011 and 2012 admission seasons. It also marks a six-year streak of record-breaking application seasons for the university since 2008.

This year also marks the first wave of applications for NYU’s newest global campus in Shanghai, the portal campus that is scheduled to open in fall of 2013.

The university received approximately 48,600 applications for the undergraduate class of 2017, up from about 43,700 for the class of 2016.

Because of the high number of applications, Abbott expects a decrease in the acceptance rate for the incoming freshman class.

“The New York admissions committee will likely employ a more selective admission process,” he said.

The application process also became more rigorous as applicants were required to submit separate writing samples for each portal campus and Liberal Studies Program global academic centers, resulting in a total of eight different samples.

Approximately 45,450 people expressed interest in the main New York campus, and they will be vying for approximately 4,800 available seats.

NYU Shanghai

Slated to open in the fall of 2013, NYU’s newest portal campus received a total of 5,145 applications.

This inaugural class will be at least 50 percent Chinese nationals, and many applicants have undergone the Chinese Gao Kao college entrance exams, according to NYU spokesperson John Beckman.

“We are very pleased with the applications we have received and the quality of the applicants,” said Beckman.

Although Beckman said that it was difficult to draw parallels between the launch of the university’s first portal campus in Middle East, the university is trying to welcome its first class at the Chinese campus in a familiar way.

“There was a recent candidates’ weekend — a feature of the admissions process that we first introduced in Abu Dhabi — in Shanghai that we think went very well,” Beckman said.

All candidates, whittled down to 500 in early February, will be competing for approximately 300 seats, according to Abbott.

NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi, now in its third year as one of NYU’s global portal campuses, saw around 4,280 applications indicating interest in attending the Saadiyat Island campus.

The Abu Dhabi campus has traditionally been highly selective, with an admit rate of 1.3 percent last year. However, the applicant field has become even deeper this year.

“NYUAD applicants have made life exceedingly difficult for our admissions team — the overall pool of applicants was extraordinary,” said Josh Taylor, a spokesperson for NYU Abu Dhabi.

According to Taylor, SAT scores for the perspective 2017 class had a median score of 1,950, up from 1,850 for the Class of 2016, approximately a 5 percent increase. Meanwhile, the median ACT score was 29, up 7 percent from 27 in last year’s applications.

Although this year’s applicants will be vying for 150 seats at the downtown campus, Josh Taylor said that the portal is looking to expand within the next decade once the campus moves to Saadiyat Island. There, Taylor expects to grow its class size to about 500 to 550 students per year.

In a previous version of this article, WSN inaccurately reported that the NYU Abu Dhabi campus has been a portal campus for six years. In fact, it opened in 2010. WSN also inaccurately reported that NYU Shanghai is scheduled to open in 2016. In fact, it will open in fall of 2013. WSN regrets the error.  

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 5 print edition. Hanqing Chen is web managing editor. Email her at [email protected]