Why NYU? Remembering the Dream

When I committed to NYU around this time last year, I went against everything I had been saying to myself throughout senior year of high school — that I wanted to go to a university in a small college town that had a campus, a football team to rally around and a community practically built into the atmosphere.

NYU was the last school I thought I’d end up at, but after my first year, I can confirm that the dream school experience I was promised turned out to be half true. I had the best year of my life, but it wasn’t without its hardships, both social and academic. While I found my community through a club at a school not quite known for its community, other students have found their place through other means, from Greek life to activist groups.

CAS senior Olivia Rich said that when she was applying to colleges, she chose to apply to NYU because she thought it would be a good choice for her initial interests: medicine and public health. She didn’t have many expectations about NYU, but she liked the feel of the students and surroundings.

“I wanted to go to school in a city, and [I] liked that NYU didn’t really have a campus and seemed to foster more independent students,” Rich said.

Rich is an active, leading member of NYU Divest, and she said that the highlights of her college experience were related to that activism.

“Probably my favorite memory was attending the University Senate meeting two years ago last April when the Senate voted to move forward with divestment,” Rich said. “It was such a beautiful spring day and a victory for our campaign that we had worked incredibly hard to achieve.”

LS freshman Isnavys Perez applied regular decision to NYU, having initially wanted to attend a different university. But when she came to NYU, she joined several different organizations. Perez said that the Delta Gamma sorority especially brought her a sense of belonging in a city that seems busy and exclusive. She found it to be largely what she expected.

“If anything [it’s been] more inviting just because of my involvement with certain organizations,” Perez said. “I expected an array of opportunities, and that’s exactly what I got and have been taking advantage of ever since.”

For other students, like Tisch freshman Kelsey Stevenson, NYU was always a dream school. She said that from the beginning, she tried to learn as much as possible about the university.

“I knew I wanted to go to [the Tisch School of the Arts] in sixth grade,” Stevenson said. “I was in pretty deep from the start — doing research, checking College Confidential [and] searching the NYU hashtag on Tumblr.”

Stevenson also said that she never imagined she would be admitted to NYU, and that even though she had the grades and extracurriculars, it had always felt like a reach school. She prayed every night that she would get in.

“When decisions started coming in, it was just rejection after rejection after rejection,” Stevenson said. “I ended up being rejected from every single drama program I applied to. NYU was the last school I heard from — and I got in. Somehow.”

Despite having now been here for a year, Stevenson, like countless other students, still can’t believe she is at one of America’s dream schools.

“I don’t know if it was all the praying or just the fates aligning or just me being a somewhat cool kid or if the admissions committee was just having a good day or what — but I got in,” Stevenson said. “Tisch was my dream school then and it’s still my dream school now. I never dreamed I would get in, and being here feels like a dream. I’m still kinda waiting to wake up from it.”

Email Natasha Roy at [email protected].