The process of getting accepted into NYU

Senior Ainsley Mayes describes her journey to New York University in an interview with WBN author Elizabeth Harris


Elizabeth Harris

Ainsley is excited to spend the next four years at New York University.

Elizabeth: “How did you personally prepare for your college applications?”


Ainsley: “When it comes to personally preparing, I guess you could say I’ve been preparing since I started high school… I tried to be mindful about making sure that I was challenging myself with rigorous courses including several ap’s, a year round elective, and participating in a diverse range of extracurricular activities (drama club, journalism, environmental & lgbt community service). During the actual admission season I spent a lot of time on my personal essay, with a lot of reading and revising, the whole process took about two months.”


Elizabeth: “Describe what you specifically did to apply  for NYU?”


Ainsley: “For NYU specifically I did a lot of research on their academic programs, I spent a lot of time looking into what felt like the best fit for me and incorporated that into my “why NYU” supplement.”


Elizabeth: How would you describe your major?


Ainsley: “I’m majoring in global liberal studies. The liberal studies program is a smaller core within the college of arts and science that teaches more closely to a seminar based liberal arts style education than the research university style of CAS. In GLS I’ll be studying within the concentration of politics, rights, and development while continuing to pursue fluency in Japanese. I will also be planning to spend my junior year abroad, which is a requirement for GLS and possibly an additional semester abroad while completing my undergrad.”


Elizabeth:  “how did you feel when you realized that you made it into NYU?”


Ainsley: “NYU happened to be the last school I heard back from during admissions season. If I’m being honest I applied to nine schools and had been rejected from seven by the time I heard back from NYU. At this point I had already kind of resolved that I’d be attending my safety school in the fall and was already looking into transfer programs for the schools that had rejected me… so, when I got the email that my admissions decision had come out I logged into my student portal just being happy that I could finally be done with receiving rejection after rejection. Opening up my letter to read “congratulations!” Was probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced, I remember I had accidentally interrupted my mom’s work meeting because they could hear me screaming from her office. At the moment it definitely didn’t feel real and I still have a hard time believing it. I don’t even think I have a way to describe in words how amazing it is to know that all of my work has paid off.” 


Elizabeth: “How did you stay positive during the college acceptance season?”


Ainsley: “Personally I’m the type of person who always needs to have a plan laid out for my future. After I had reached the point where I had been rejected from both of my target schools (NYU was considered a reach with my stats) I took about an afternoon to sob and let myself feel sad, but by that evening I had already started researching transfer programs, I think I’ve know even since middle school that I didn’t want to attend college in Oregon so it was important to me that I had a plan to achieve that goal even if it was likely going to take some more time to get there. I’m the type of person who spirals very quickly if I just let myself stay sad so it’s actually really comforting to me to start brainstorming solutions to whatever problem I’m dealing with because it makes me feel secure and less helpless.”


Elizabeth Harris: “What are you most excited for during the next four years?”


Ainsley: “I’m really excited to just begin experiencing New York, and appreciate my time on such an incredible campus.”


 Elzaibeth Harris: “What advice would you give to students who want to apply to NYU?”


Ainsley: “Honestly my advice to anyone applying to selective schools in general is just to research programs that are a great fit for you and what you want out of your college experience. I honestly think that my admission was largely based off of the GLS program being a great fit for me as an individual, in my program I’m able to accomplish my academic aspirations within a single degree that would have required a double major at different institutions, I really feel like the structure of my major fits me incredibly well and the admissions committee was able to understand this through my supplement. And if NYU is without a doubt your top school, I’d definitely recommend emphasizing what makes you unique as a student, NYU has one of the largest individualized programs in the country (Gallatin) and no matter what school you attend at NYU if you can dream it, chances are the institution has resources available for you to do it. Don’t be afraid to talk about your more far fetched aspirations in your personal essay (for me I emphasized the importance of linguistics and and a desire to spend more than a year studying abroad) and especially focus on how the schools programs are the right way for you to achieve those aspirations in your supplements, the admissions committee is looking for innovative thinkers so don’t be afraid to really put yourself out there on your application.“