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Student Guide to Life at New York University

An insider's perspective on life at NYU

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Washington Square Park arch

NYU was a cool school way before the Olsen twins made their big debuts on campus. After being rated the nation’s #1 dream school in 2004, NYU continues to attract some of the world’s brightest and most passionate individuals.

Like any university, there are certain aspects of NYU that make it a place better suited for some than others. If you’re considering NYU as your home for the next few years, make sure it’s right for you before you start packing up the U-Haul.

Things You Should Know About NYU

An Impressively Large-Scale School

Think of NYU as a mini-New York City. Classroom buildings are crowded and highly-trafficked, residence halls are high-rise apartments, and the student body is large and very diverse. There are also 14 different colleges offering more than 150 majors to undergrads.

Though it may seem daunting, NYU’s size is exactly what makes it so exciting – having so many options and the opportunity to live the college experience in New York City.

  • Pros: Since the university is so big, there are always tons of events, shows, and exciting programs happening right on campus. Plus, you never run out of interesting people to meet.


  • Cons: Newbies might experience that “lost in a crowd” feeling.

Location, Location, Location

NYU is fully embedded within the city; there is no campus quad or iron gate separating the school from the streets of Greenwich Village. While some students prefer to stick around Washington Square, most venture out to the surrounding neighborhoods to sample a new restaurant, check out a concert venue, or take in a Broadway show.

  • Pros: You’ll rarely be bored. The student-friendly East Village is bustling with a large assortment of restaurants, bars, stores, and boutiques. SoHo is a few blocks away for the super-shoppers, and midtown’s theater district is just 10-minutes away on the subway. If you just want some peace and quiet, you can chill under a tree in Washington Square Park or unwind at a coffee shop near campus.


  • Cons: Choose to live in an apartment near NYU and it can get pricey. The average rent for a studio in the West Village is about $1600/month. For a two-bedroom apartment, rents can top $4000/month. SoHo rents are about the same. Students living off-campus tend to settle in parts of the East Village, Alphabet City (Avenues A-D), and the Lower East Side.

The Social Scene

Since most NYU students don’t have class on Fridays, the weekends begin on Thursday nights. The Greek scene is pretty quiet, so students tend to bring the party to the streets. Favorite bars around campus include Finnerty’s, Josie Woods Pub, Off the Wagon, and Fat Black Pussycat’s. Students also head over to the bars and lounges on the Lower East Side and the clubs in the Meatpacking District and Chelsea.

  • Pros: The East Village is Manhattan’s fun, funky, and on-the-cheaper-side nightlife scene. Bar-hopping is a sport and the crowd is young, perky, and ready to party. Even though the area is safe, NYU offers a late-night Safe Ride van service that picks students up at NYU buildings and gives them a lift back to their residence halls.


  • Cons: Some bars have strict door policies and are packed to capacity. Most students explore the area first and then rotate between their two or three favorite watering holes.

NYU Facts and Figures:

  • Population: 50,917 (19,401 undergraduates)
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 11:1
  • Cost for 2007-2008 academic year:$45,000
  • Athletics: Division III
  • Admissions: Highly selective. The Princeton Review lists average SAT scores for incoming freshman at 1306 and average GPA’s at 3.60.


More About New York University

New York University and the City: An Illustrated History -- by Thomas J. Frusciano. A comprehensive study of NYU's history and development, including portraits of the major players who led the way. Also a great mix of contemporary and historical images.

College Prowler New York University-- by Meredith Turley. Get the inside scoop on NYU from actual students. A great resource if you're looking to understand student life on campus and in the city.

The Miracle on Washington Square: NYU-- by Joan M. Dim. Another beautiful book covering the history of NYU.

Official NYU Bean Bag -- What would the NYU college experience be like without the obligatory bean bag? Not very fun!
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