New York College Road Trip: New York University

Want to know what it's like to attend this school in New York City? Read on.

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To catalog everything that New York University offers would be like listing all of the academic, cultural, and social attractions in New York City. The school is literally "in and of the city," a reason many undergraduates cite for wanting to attend. And now, with its increasingly global focus, the university hopes its students will set their sights beyond the Big Apple to become "in and of the world."

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To reach the campus in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, visitors can head down historic boulevards like Fifth Avenue to Washington Square Park. With its iconic white marble arch, the park doubles as a public square and the heart of NYU. The school boasts 19 residence halls, many set in renovated lower Manhattan buildings from former luxury condos to a onetime police headquarters annex. Some 90 percent of freshmen, and some upperclassmen, live in these dorm units, each of which has a private bathroom. The annual sticker price of the NYU experience is around $59,365.

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Like the rest of New York City, this is not the place to go if you're looking for hand-holding or a cozy, community feel. Students also don't enroll at NYU for major Division I sports; the university's 21 varsity teams compete at the Division III level. But undergrads note that if you seek out your own interests, it's possible to find a comfortable niche. The place to start, students say, is often within their academic programs.

According to Randall Deike, vice president for enrollment management and university institutional research, most freshmen have at least a basic idea of what they want to study when they enroll in one of NYU's 10 undergraduate colleges, schools, or programs. Each of these, from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business to the Tisch School of the Arts, offers a unique academic experience.

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At the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, students can design their own personalized study track. Senior Jon Chan, from Los Angeles, says Gallatin attracts two types of people: those with strong interests in a number of areas and those with a very specific idea about what they want to do. Chan has blended coursework in philosophy, computer science, economics, and literature to study how complex systems and markets regulate themselves. Gallatin is really for people who "need those walls taken down" that would otherwise prevent them from pursuing their interests, he says.

According to the Institute of International Education, NYU also sends more students abroad than any other U.S. institution. The university has established a full campus in Abu Dhabi and academic centers on five continents in cities like Tel Aviv, Shanghai, and Accra, Ghana. Each center is staffed by NYU faculty. Undergrads have the added option of traveling during semester breaks for departmental seminars.

Upcoming courses will include learning about the roots of The Godfather in Sicily—as part of a colloquium on race and the media—and going to Salvador, Brazil, to compare children's healthcare practices among low-income populations. Jason Fullen, a 2011 graduate from Columbus, Ohio, says that while he and most NYU students have a "naturally independent spirit," the school encourages them to push their social and academic limits even more.

More From the New York College Road Trip:

Bard College

Colgate University

Cornell University

State University of New York–Geneseo

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