New York University
New York University - Comments and Student Experiences|
Going to NYU feels like you live in New York and your day job is being a student. No closed-off campus or gates separate you from the surrounding city, for better or for worse, and it's up to you to determine your level of success both academically and socially. This school certainly does not hold your hand in any endeavor, and while I found this to be mildly terrifying at first (as most students do), I now could not imagine being at a school that coddles you and guides you through your college experience. I've changed more in my past year here than in my four years of high school, and a lot of my friends that went to more 'traditional' schools have largely remained the same. Going to NYU forces you to find yourself and to grow up, and no other school prepares you better for the real world.
There are two main complaints I hear about this school - its lack of social scene and the cost. I get that NYU is expensive. Its cost is not a secret, and to be blunt, if you can't or don't want to pay for it, there are ten other kids that would love your spot. NYC has one of the highest costs of living of anywhere in the US, and it's a personal choice as to whether or not it's worth it. Nowhere else can you network, gain real life experience, and get ahead of the game as you can in New York, so it's worth it to me. As for the social scene, it is what you make of it. I've found a bunch of great friends by joining Greek life, as well as in my classes and in clubs. If you're a halfway social person, you should be fine so long as you seek out what you're interested in. I would recommend getting a fake ID, as they make socializing and going out easier and it's not hard to find someone who has a connection. Most freshmen are in dorms their first year, and this is another great place to meet people. Study abroad is also an excellent option. Meeting people isn't hard, you just have to put in the effort to make friends. The kids here aren't unfriendly, they're just busy, but everyone wants to make new friends. People that complain about this school either couldn't find a way to finance it (which is fair) or couldn't get out of their comfort zone enough to meet people and have awesome experiences, and that's mostly their fault. NYU is real life, and it is what you make of it.
As far as academics go, my experience has been pretty good. The intro classes have a lot of busy work as they're mostly weed-out classes, especially in the sciences. Get past these and you'll be golden - more advanced classes are interesting and the professors here are all very smart people that have awesome connections. I haven't encountered a professor that didn't want their students to succeed; the faculty here generally wants the students to succeed and holds enough office hours for their kids. I will say that doing well academically here requires you to study and do your work, but I've learned a lot in my past year here and I've also received pretty great grades. Coming to NYU means giving up a traditional college experience. Many of my friends in college, as well as older people, have said that the college experience is overrated and that I'm not missing much - fine. Here, a nice, manicured, grassy campus is traded in for one of the greatest cities in the world. You'll learn how to live as an adult, how to have fun as an adult, and how to become an individual. It's a lot at first, so give it a full year before you decide on transferring. I'll be the first to admit that I hated my first semester here, but my second semester was the best three months of my life because I finally understood how to function in New York. I can't wait for my next three years here.
I was originally in CAS and then transferred to Gallatin. I will say that Gallatin has a more tight knit community, with more professors who seem to care about their students, and more interesting classes. With that said, it's department by department in CAS. I found that many of my friends liked the sociology, journalism, environmental studies, social and cultural analysis and chemistry departments. I took a majority of my classes in journalism, french and environmental studies - most of my professors were great, attentive and so well-connected! Go to office hours, talk in class, email them and you will enjoy your classes 100x more! I did have bad experiences with the biology department, so premeds and bio majors beware.
As for gallatin, about 90% of the professors are there because they really care about interdisciplinary studies and helping students shape their concentration. But I have certainly run into a few bad apples. I won't name names, but beware of the guy who is a leader in environmental architecture - he didn't bother to learn our names, gave out unfair and unjustifiable grades, and spent most of his class surfing google and talking at us. My adviser, who was a well-meaning guy, was terrible at responding to emails and, well, proofing my rationale, which resulted in me almost missing very important senior year deadlines. Aside from these two duds, everyone else was great! To avoid these problems, ask around and MAKE RATE YOUR PROFESSOR YOUR BEST FRIEND.
The gallatin program is truly unparalleled, and it personally gave me a leg up in the job search process. In 2013, I secured a job a little less than one month after graduation. I received my first job offer about 2 days after graduation (but turned it down because it wasn't a good fit). I had 4 offers total, and was able to pick which one I wanted. In this economy, it was truly a blessing. Make the best of your time in gallatin or at nyu by doing A LOT of internships, networking, getting a work-study job (also because the city is expensive), being active in clubs and applying to scholars groups. You'll not only set yourself up to get hired, but you'll have the best academic and social experience of your live.Although I did spend a lot of time at the library, I also had a pretty great social life. My rule of thumb was that I wouldn't study on Friday or Saturday nights unless it was finals or midterms. I made friends doing activities I was passionate about and on my floor freshmen year, and I've kept these friends through my four years at NYU. The nightlife in the village is great - from poetry slams, to great bars, to clubs and comedy clubs. There's something for everyone, as long as you're willing to step out of your shell.