Off-Third: NYU spends entire budget on admitted students weekend

NYU is courting accepted students with the intent of long-term commitment.


Gabe Vasconcellos

(Gabe Vasconcellos for WSN)

Lily Ritterman-Peña, Contributing Writer

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

NYU has reportedly spent nearly its entire endowment on Weekend on the Square, the welcome event for the incoming class of 2027, giving them — among other things — custom Balenciaga x NYU merch and a Timothée Chalamet meet-and-greet.

Last weekend, NYU held events for its admitted students to get to know the university and its campus. However, as college admissions have become more and more competitive, the university has continued to hold increasingly extravagant giveaways to maintain its yield — spending nearly $5 billion in the process.

Prospective Violets were greeted with yearlong passes to the Empire State Building, personal helicopter rides and personalized gift baskets. Inside these satchels were Gucci sunglasses, personalized NYU football jerseys — despite us not having a football team — a year-long Equinox membership and the iPhone 15, which hasn’t even been released to the public yet.

“This is OK, I guess,” said one high school senior visiting campus for the first time. “I’ll lowkey still go to Columbia, but it’s cool that NYU is trying.”

Admissions ambassadors set up free carnival games, a cotton candy station, a bouncy castle, an airbrush shirt booth and a free Ice Spice concert in Washington Square Park. They also had a meet-and-greet with two of NYU’s most famous alums: Timothée Chalamet and Rudy Giuliani. Not so surprisingly, one of them was more popular than the other.

“I’ve been a big fan of Rudy’s ever since the whole sex-shop-Four-Seasons-Landscaping incident,” said one wide-eyed student. “The other guy just looked kind of creepy.”

All of these perks and gifts were notably not available to those currently enrolled in NYU, and the program’s leaders even went so far as to prohibit student members of the NYU Welcome team from looking on at the spectacle.

“I tried to take one of the giveaway bags, and NYU took away my financial aid,” recalled one recently hired Weekend on the Square student volunteer.

These events come in the wake of NYU announcing its lowest acceptance rate ever — 8%. NYU recently removed the “Why NYU?” essay from its application, and, according to university officials, it will soon ask applicants one question: “Do you want to go to NYU? Yes or No.” One admissions officer claims that by 2030, the acceptance rate will be down to 0.5%.

For now, the focus remains on getting the already-admitted students to lock themselves into their $90,000-per-year ball and chain — but don’t worry, it’s colored Violet purple.

“Welcome events for families are like the university asking prospective students’ parents’ permission before marriage,” said one CAS first-year. “NYU will do anything in its power to make sure the answer is yes. But the university doesn’t want love, it just wants to make sure that all the money from your mother’s ‘NYU Mom’ wallet goes straight into its pockets.”

Weekend on the Square leaders have famously had to stand along the steps of Kimmel and clap for every individual that climbed them. Now, NYU is taking things a step further.

“Last year, we were told to clap,” recalled one welcome event leader. “This year, each welcome leader has been assigned to write handwritten and personalized letters of encouragement to each accepted student. We also have to sleep in Kimmel until further notice to make ourselves accessible at all times.”

Other members of the student body felt left out and underappreciated by the Weekend on the Square events, especially considering that many of the students had their acceptance celebration affected by COVID-19.  

One junior described her disappointment with the fanfare around the class of 2027’s acceptance, saying, “You know what I got when I was accepted to NYU? A sticker.” 

While getting into NYU is a big achievement, staying here without constant bribes is an even bigger one.

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Lily Ritterman-Peña at [email protected].