New York University
BackgroundInterview Date:December 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Middle Eastern
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2022
High School Experience: Public school in Northern Virginia with 350 people in the graduating class. There was a prominent culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Extracurricular Activities: Pre-law Fraternity and Greek life.
How has Greek Life impacted your experience so far?
It helped me meet a lot of people I wouldn’t have if I had not joined. NYU is so big, so both organizations have helped me connect with a smaller group of people.
What is your favorite class and least favorite class you have taken at NYU?
My favorite class has been Microeconomics, and my least favorite class has been Einstein’s Universe.
Is there anything you feel that NYU has done especially well or poorly?
I’m not a huge fan of the core curriculum requirements, where you have to fulfill classes outside your designated area of study. I’m not naturally inclined in the sciences, so I dislike taking these courses that may negatively impact my GPA. My Microeconomics class is real-world oriented, which is very nice. We learned about how the traditional Microeconomic theories apply to what’s happening in the real world.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s more collaborative than competitive. There is always that air of competition, but for the most part, people are willing to help. It’s not a very cutthroat place.
How accessible have your professors been?
For the most part, they have been pretty good. Some teachers don’t really respond to emails, and sometimes it’s confusing if you should email them directly or try and contact the TA.
How was transitioning academically as a first-generation college student? Are there systems in place that help you transition?
Yeah, NYU has a system called “Proud to be First,” where they bring you in the first few weeks and assign you a mentor. It’s nice to see the first-generation college students in the same room because it seems like everyone around campus has prior experience with college. Academics-wise, a lot of my classes have been helpful with this. They are structured where I don’t have to figure everything out on my own, and the professors will help ensure I am understanding the material.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Weinstein Hall with 1 roommate
How was transitioning from Northern Virginia to Manhattan, NY?
That was a huge transition. I’m from a rural town, so coming into a city like this was very refreshing and everything is easily accessible. Some people say it doesn’t feel like you have a campus here, but I disagree. When you are walking around it feels like you are at home because everyone is an NYU student, and you will see people you know or your professors randomly throughout the day.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I feel very safe on campus. We have a lot of security. During the day I feel super safe, but at night I would say it gets a little iffier. In Washington Square Park, there are a lot of homeless, or random people who wander the streets. To get into NYU buildings you have to have a key, and they are super strict about this.
Pros and Cons of being located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan?
1) You can walk out of bed and be wherever you want within 5 minutes, such as restaurants or a museum.
2) It’s popping with culture. There are street artists, performers, and people walking around in costumes. People really have their own vibe going on which is cool to see.
1) Even though we do have that campus feel, I get jealous of my friends that go to a full-blown school with a campus such as UVA. It seems like it’s a different experience when everyone is constrained to one area.
2) There is a lot of construction and road work, along with the traffic. This can all get pretty noisy.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in at NYU?
We would go to frat parties at the beginning of the semester. A lot of the times the Greek organizations will rent out a bar or have an event at a club, but it can be hard to get in if you don’t have a connection.
What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
Thursday through Saturday I usually go to a club, or sometimes there will be house parties off-campus. These events are hosted by both random people and fraternities.
How did your experience differ before and after you joined Greek life?
Being in a sorority definitely opened my eyes to the potential that New York has. The older girls have been able to teach me the ins and outs of the city that I otherwise wouldn’t know. Also, academically they have helped advise me on what classes to take.
How happy are you with the nightlife at NYU? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m very satisfied. I think the parties here are not only really fun, but really classy which sounds like a hard combination to find. You typically hear about the gross, messy college parties, but here they go all out and make you feel boujee. There is a lot more space to breathe inside of them.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I actually met them on the metro the day NYU had the Barkley Center Welcome Day.
How would you describe the overall social scene at NYU?
It’s hard to get into at first. You definitely have to work to find it, but once you do, it’s very nice. I think it’s hard to find because a lot of the times it’s not very big like at a state school where hundreds of people will come [to one party]. We don’t have any frat houses, so you really have to figure out where they are.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
There is honestly a decent separation. A lot of times, people from their respective countries will group and hang out among themselves, but there is a little bit of mixing. It seems like people stick to themselves more than I thought they would.
How would you describe the student body?
I would say people are career oriented. People come in with a goal and know they want to do really well. It’s so nice because people are driven which pushes us to be the best you can be.
How strong is the Middle Eastern community on campus?
Honestly, it’s not that big. I’m Iranian and there is one club for it. We definitely have a small Middle Eastern community, which I wish was more prominent. I know five or six other Middle Eastern people.
Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs? Were they responsive to your questions?
NYU has a bad reputation for their financial aid. I did not get very much coming in, but I do know people that almost got their entire tuition paid. [See USA Today article. See The Atlantic article.]
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about NYU before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew about all the opportunities that NYU does provide, and how close of a community it really is if you are willing to make it work. Coming in, I didn’t think much about my application because it wasn’t my top school. I submitted it within probably 10 minutes so I didn’t do all my research. There are so many programs here such as Liberal Studies, Global Liberal Studies, along with lots of programs in the NYU Business School. I also wish I knew there was a campus feel, because it seems like a lot of people won’t pick NYU because they don’t think this is true.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
There are parts around us that are not technically NYU that make the experience student-friendly. There are coffee shops where you’ll see people from your classes, but they won’t show you that on tour.
Reasons to attend NYU:
1) Everybody is so driven and inspirational.
2) NYU fosters creativity and personality in really nurturing your individuality.
3) Where we live is absolutely beautiful.
Reasons to not attend NYU:
1) There is not a 100% state college feel, like with the football team and tailgates.
2) There is not a whole bunch of school spirit.
3) There is a lot of construction and traffic.
4) The cost of living is really high.