Advice for International Students

Greetings from Middle Earth!


It’s been quite a week in New Zealand, and despite the distance from New York City, students from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington came out in droves not only to learn more about NYU, but also to learn more about higher education across the United States. (Thank you, Education USA in New Zealand!) 

Now that I have been on the road for a week, and with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam on the horizon, I wanted to follow-up on my recent advice to the Class of 2020, by providing some additional words of wisdom to the thousands of applicants who will be applying from outside of the United States.

  • High School Transcript: All applicants will be expected to submit transcripts for the equivalent of U.S. Grade 9, Grade 10 and Grade 11. Any available transcripts for Grade 12 should also be submitted only if they are available prior to the deadline.
  • Official versus Unofficial: NYU requires all high school transcripts and standardized test scores to be sent officially by the secondary school or examination board, which means you cannot send us a photo of your transcript from your iPhone! For those students coming from countries where final examination results are sent exclusively to the student, like Australia, make sure you send your results to your secondary school to have them both officiated and sent along to NYU.
  • English Language Testing: Requirements vary from campus to campus at NYU. If you are applying to the New York campus as a primary, secondary or tertiary option, make sure you have met our requirements.
  • Extracurricular Activities: No reason to be shy! Take pride in your accomplishment and share them with the admissions committee. But, do not send along a binder of all your accomplishments from birth to secondary school. Focus on the last four years. Emphasize the big stuff, along with your leadership and initiative.
  • Personal Statement: Or the infamous essay. Do not regurgitate your resumes. Avoid cliché topics, such as winning your first dance competition, scoring the winning goal, summer service projects, and why your grandfather is amazing. Be original!
  • Recommendations: Find the right teacher who can tell us about your growth and development. Do not ask the teacher who gave you a perfect grade in a subject which you have always excelled in. Ask the teacher from the challenging class who saw how hard you worked!
  • Scholarships: Everyone in New Zealand asked me about sports scholarships. Well, they aren’t the only way to pay for colleges in the United States. Learn more about need-based financial aid!
  • Deadlines: Must be met, no exceptions. Review the deadlines for both admission and financial aid. Remember that academic calendars, especially in the southern hemisphere, may not align with the academic calendar in the United States.

A final thought to those students out there who will ultimately end up applying, and an early message to those who will be applying for the Class of 2021 and beyond: do not apply on a whim! While some countries guarantee an acceptance to at least one university, the United States does not as we have some of the most competitive universities in the world. Be serious. Give yourself the time needed to put together a world class application. And always remember that if there is something you do not understand or need to have clarified, we are an email away.



  • Hi Mr Benson! Is there any chance you will be visiting Indonesia (Jakarta specifically) during your tour around Asia?

    Emily Tjakra
    October 6, 2015

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