Like the year before it, 2021 defies easy description. COVID continued to change the way the University operated, though conscientious mask wearing and vaccine compliance among our faculty, students, and staff meant that we were able to welcome the full community back to campus and resume more in-person activities for the fall semester. And there were plenty of other reasons to celebrate—from record application numbers and history-making awards to graduation and the simple joys of a snow day. Here's a visual snapshot of how it all unfolded—as told through the year's most liked Instagram posts, arranged chronologically. (Click on any image to see the original post from @nyuniversity's grid.) 


people in winter coats walking in Washington Square Park in front of Bobst library on a sunny day

NYU received 100,131 applications for undergraduate admission to #NYU2025—marking a 20% increase over last year and the 14th record-breaking year in a row. More than 25% of these applicants will be the first in their families to attend college, and more than 22% of applications came from students in under-represented minority groups, with significant increases among Native American/Alaskan Native students (up 39% from last year); Black/African-American students (up 22% from last year); and Latinx students (up 22% from last year). About 6,500 students are expected to enroll as freshmen at one of our three degree-granting campuses—in New York, Abu Dhabi, or Shanghai—in the fall.

students in snowy Washington Square Park

First snow day(s) of 2021 ✔️ Thanks to the NYUers who captured these wintry NYC scenes!

person walking down a city street with snow piled up on either side of the sidewalk. NYU flags are visible on buildings in the background

heading into the weekend like...


workers using a ladder to install signs outside an NYU building

Spotted in the windows around our Washington Square campus: newly installed reminders to stay the course, because COVID isn't over—at least not quite yet. A little extra perseverance now will pay off in the long run. So we're asking our community to keep wearing masks, avoiding indoor gatherings, and looking forward to the day when we can all talk about something else!

Chloe Zhao holding an Oscars statue talking into a microphone

Congratulations to Chloé Zhao (@NYUTisch), who won Best Director at the #Oscars for @nomadlandfilm! She is first woman of color and second woman in history to win the @TheAcademy Award in this category. #Nomadland also won the award for Best Picture. #VioletPride 💜🤩 “I have always found goodness in the people I met everywhere I went in the world. So this is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves and to hold on to the goodness in each other no matter how difficult it is to do that,” Zhao said in her acceptance speech. Photo by Getty Images.

yellow cab driving by the Washington Square Park arch in springtime

#CollegeSigningDay and WELCOME HOME to #NYU2025! Tell us: Why did YOU choose NYU? Tag @nyuniversity and @meetnyu in your celebratory posts, and swipe through for some impressive stats about our newly admitted class—exceptional in terms of both academic excellence and diversity.

Empire State Building lit in violet at night

Tonight the @empirestatebldg glows violet in honor of our #NYU2021 grads, and to us the city has never looked more beautiful.

From left to right: ADNOC Headquarters (Abu Dhabi); Empire State Building (NYC); Pearl Tower (Shanghai)

Three cities making it feel like the whole world is glowing violet in honor of our #NYU2021 grads. From left to right: ADNOC Headquarters (Abu Dhabi); Empire State Building (NYC); Pearl Tower (Shanghai). Photos by @NYUAbuDhabi, NYU Photo Bureau, and @NYUShanghai.

Summer 2021

person looking at their phone under an NYU flag

"Though we will not quite resume all our pre-COVID-19 activities, we very much look forward to a less restrictive, more relaxed, more engaged year." Click the link in our bio for crucial updates on classes, study away, housing, athletics, international travel, work life, safety protocols, and more for the fall semester.

sunbathers in Washington Square Park in June

drop a ☀️ if you wish summer would go on forever 😭

two students crossing an NYC street in summer, with an NYU flag in the background

In both national and international rankings, we keep movin’ on up! Just one example: This year’s QS World University Rankings put NYU at no. 1 in the USA for diversity and internationalization. Swipe through for our latest @USNews rank and other recent points of #VioletPride.

person in a mask walking toward the W. 4th Street subway entrance

10 DAYS! Counting down to fall Welcome and Move-In is always exciting, but this year we're extra emotional. 😭 Students: Whether you're traveling by plane, train, automobile, subway, or some only-in-NYC combination of those, we can't wait to welcome you to our favorite city.

restaurants along MacDougal street in Greenwich Village

9 DAYS until Move-In—and finding your new favorite spots to grab a bite! 🍜🌯🍕 We're biased but the Village is surely one of the world's best neighborhoods for eating on the go.

summer New York City view from Union Square

In 8 DAYS these will be your streets for city strolls and big dreams.

aerial view of Washington Square park with Empire State Building and New York City skyline behind it

ONE DAY until Move-In! Welcome home. Students and families: Use #NYUMoveIn, #NYUWelcome, or #NYUTransfers to share your excitement and you could be featured on our NYU Welcome social wall! You can also submit a message through a form on the site.


students in masks wheeling a bin outside of an NYU residence hall on 5th Avenue on Move-In Day

We're so excited to welcome students to campus! A Move-In note for those in residence halls: To minimize lines and elevator trips, and to keep everyone safe, this year's motto is ONE HELPER, ONE BIN, ONE TRIP.

students walking near College of Arts and Science on NYU's Washington Square Park campus

The @usnews #BestColleges list is out, and we moved up to no. 28 overall for national universities—our highest ranking ever. #VioletPride

view from GCASL greenroof fo the Empire State Building and the city skyline

Tag a friend who needs this NYC inspiration today

people walking in Washington Square Park on a sunny day in the fall. NYU buildings with NYU flags are visible in the background

Another ranking, another year, another step up! We're now no. 26 on the @WSJ/Times Higher Education list of Best Colleges! #VioletPride

view of the skylight from the floor of Bobst library

We're told that our library is considered one of the world's most "Instagrammable" and we don't disagree (link in bio for the full list). Tag a friend who could use some @NYULibraries study motivation this week!

aerial shot of University of Sydney quad

📣 Big news from down under! For more than 10 years, NYU Sydney has offered NYU students the opportunity to live and study in Australia. Now, beginning in July 2022, NYU students studying away as part of that program will learn alongside @sydney_uni peers on #usyd's beautiful Camperdown/Darlington campus.