High school senior applying to NYU CAS [NJ resident, 3.97, 1530, parents require pre-med or pharmacy, and commuting from home]

  • US citizen

  • Applying from New Jersey

  • Senior at public high school

  • Female

  • Middle Eastern

  • Muslim

  • Hoping to major in Journalism and one other (something for Law)

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 4.0

  • Weighted HS GPA (so far): 4.63
    (Weighted on a 5.5 scale- AP w/ exam is 5.5 instead of 5.0, AP w/o exam and Honors classes are 5.0, and non-Honors classes are 4.0)

  • SAT Score: 1530 (Reading 760, Math 770)

  • 3 AP classes in Junior year- AP US History, AP English Language and Composition, and AP Seminar- got 5s on all of them

  • AP Scholar Award

  • 5 AP classes in Senior year- AP English Literature and Composition, AP Research, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Statistics, and AP US Government and Politics

  • Didn’t take Calculus

  • Electives- Finance, Graphic Design, Creative Writing, Playwriting, Photography, Art 1, Art 2, Sociology

  • Awards: Poetry Out Loud (participant in 9th grade, school finalist in 10th & 11th grade), Muslim Interscholastic State-Level Tournament (1st place Short Fiction, 1st place Quran Memorization Level 4, 2nd place Photography), Seal of Biliteracy in Arabic and Spanish (planning to test in Mandarin Chinese next year), can’t think of anything else right now

  • Extracurriculars: School newspaper co-editor-in-chief, NHS member, Spanish Honor Society member, Diversity Club vice president, Muslim Student Association secretary, World Language Club founder/president, Light the Candle member, Politics Club member, Yearbook member

  • Got my play performed at the school

  • Plan to organize a Culture Day this fall

  • Volunteer at private school occasionally

  • Co-founded Save Our Beaches local club- organize beach cleanups

  • Applying for a job as a Library Assistant

  • Submitting to online writing competitions

  • Three siblings in college (one in medical school, all being paid by family budget)

  • Yearly family salary- ~140k

  • Budget- $5k a year (I have a lot of siblings)

  • Net Price Calculator- $3,072

  • Applying Regular Decision

  • Overall acceptance rate- 12.8%

  • My chances (based on Collegevine)- 29%

  • My essays mainly focus on important parts of my culture, my struggle to balance family values with my dreams, and some of my passions like writing and language learning

Congratulations on your accomplishments. I think you have a strong profile and are a competitive candidate for NYU. My main concern though, is that NYU’s aid package is likely going to include (possibly large) loans. And large loans are burdensome, especially if you plan to go to law school later.


It’s either that or med school. My parents gave me an ultimatum. Personally, I think I could save more if I take the Humanities path, and it’s more in my area of interest than STEM.

What do you mean by this? In this country, you have to go to undergrad before med school…unless you are applying to BS/MD or BS/DO programs…and even those have a few years of undergrad.

If you aren’t a strong STEM major, perhaps medical school isn’t the best choice.

So…are you saying that you need to attend NYU in order to major in something other than a plan to go to medical school?


Either “what”?

It looks like you have a great application, but NYU has to reject 92% of strong applicants (for lack of space), that means you need to apply to many other colleges.

I’m unclear what precisely your alternate Plan "A"s are (don’t think of them as Plan "B"s - an attitude of “NYU or bust” will set you/your parents up for a huge disappointment.)

So all your siblings went to NYU; where did the one in medical school go to college?

If not, then clearly your parents are aware that there are many other excellent colleges.


Congratulations on your achievements. I do think you will be competitive for NYU, but it is a reach. Do you have at least one affordable safety school?

NYU’s net price calculator is notoriously unreliable, definitely take a screen shot of your results. When they ask for investments, make sure to include them all…your parents’ savings, retirement savings, 529 savings, your savings.

Look at the result it gives you to see how much they require you to make from work earnings, and how much they expect your parents to take in loans. You do need to increase tuition and room and board for what it’s likely to be in 2024-25, so at least 5% over this year’s numbers (which NYU doesn’t have loaded correctly into the current NPC. (do these things for all NPCs that your run)

Note that NPCs are not updated right now for coming FAFSA changes, which include the elimination of considering siblings in college when calculating your EFC (now SAI). This shouldn’t matter for CSS Profile schools that aren’t also making that change (most schools haven’t announced yet what they are doing), but it may matter for non CSS Profile schools like Rutgers (assuming you are applying there since it’s your flagship).


Congrats on your accomplishments.

Why Regular Decision? Is it because of the financial aid details? NYU does a lot of ED admits with an admit rate at least 3x the RD rate. Their overall acceptance rate dropped from 12 to 8% last year, so it’s gotten meaningfully harder to get into recently. I haven’t seen them publish RD-specific stats (if they did, I’m sure someone will post), but it’s reasonable to infer that the RD admit rate is even worse than the blended ED/RD 8%. Bottom line is NYU is now a very reach for almost anyone in RD.


Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t elaborate…
I was replying to DadOfJerseyGirl, who was saying law school is quite expensive if I wanted to take that path. I intend to take an undergraduate major (Journalism, Law and Society, Political Science, or something similar) so that I can attend law school in my graduate years. I’m aware that it’s a graduate program, this is just my long-term plan.
I never wanted to go to medical school, but I have to consider it because my parents might compel me to (they’re old-fashioned and think being a doctor is the only path to success).
I’m saying that I want to attend NYU in the Humanities area, but I don’t necessarily have to go to NYU to avoid med school, it’s just my dream university.

I’m aware NYU is extremely selective, and I’m planning to apply to some safety and target schools as well. It’s just, NYU is my dream college, so I wanted to see if I could possibly be accepted. It’s not the university I have to attend, but my parents want me to do medical school because they think it’s the path to success, so the only other option would be law school. I want to attend NYU undergrad, but if not, then hopefully I could get accepted into the law school after graduation.
So, it’s not “NYU or bust,” I just really want to go to NYU because they have such great academics. My parents don’t even want me to go to NYU because they think it’s too expensive.
No, none of my siblings went to NYU. You misunderstood- they will just be in college when I graduate, I was wondering if that affected my chances of getting accepted and/or getting aid to NYU.
Hope that made it clearer.

Thank you for your comment. Yes, I do have several other schools I am applying to, and I think with my credentials they would be affordable.
NYU’s NPC did seem suspiciously low, since the average undergrad tuition is $38k or more. They didn’t ask for any investments or savings. I’m planning to commute, so the fees are only tuition and cost of books.
I didn’t know about the FAFSA changes, thank you for letting me know.

Here’s the results for my net price calculator:
Estimated total cost of attendance: $64,966.00
Estimated tuition and fees: $60,438.00
Estimated room and board charges(Includes rooming accommodations and meals): $0.00
Estimated cost of books and supplies: $1,494.00
Estimated other expenses (Personal expenses, transportation, etc.): $3,034.00
Estimated total grant aid (Includes both merit and need based grant and scholarship aid from Federal, State, or Local Governments, or the Institution): $61,894.00
Estimated Net Price After Grants and Scholarships: $3,072.00

It is hard to believe that my grant aid would be over $60,000. On the off chance I get accepted into NYU and the expenses are too much, I might consider going to a different college and applying to NYU law school when I graduate.

Thanks for your feedback!

I would rather ED, but my parents don’t want me to commit in case the expenses turn out too much. Regarding all my credentials, what do you think are my chances if I apply as a Regular?

Since it didn’t ask for investments and savings, I think you probably used this one:

But DON’T use the above one, use the following one…this one does ask for savings/investments, among many other things:



That seems like a lot of air for a $140,000 household income. We were full pay at that income.

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Thank you for showing me this. My new cost is $17,444 for 2023-24, which is more realistic.

That’s not an option for me. I have seven siblings that my parents have to pay fully for, and there are a lot of expenses. Not to mention, we are currently having to pay for med school, graduate school, and undergraduate school at the same time.

I have 5 kids, had 3 in college at the same time for several years, no FA (they either went in state or needed merit scholarships). Having siblings in grad/medical school does not increase FA (I have 2 in undergrad and 1 on grad school now). Filled out fafsa every year and were just offered loans.


My siblings who are attending received FAFSA aid, and our income was the same. I think they do consider your overall expenses based on family size (they ask for how many siblings you have), but FAFSA is changing this December so that, among other changes, they no longer consider siblings going to college: FAFSA Simplification Act Changes for Implementation in 2024-25 | Knowledge Center.
With that said, a family of three with a 140k income will not receive as much aid as a family of nine with the same income. Although they don’t consider siblings going to college, I imagine my EFC will be much lower.


Pre-law can be done with any major. Pre-med also, but there are some course requirements or expectations.


Indeed, which is why I’m considering a variety. I’m hoping to either double major or dual degree, but I also want to have an undergrad major that’s useful if I decide not to go into law school. Any ideas?

I hope you apply to medical school only if you want to, and not because your parents feel it’s the only path to success.