NYU is committed to treating those with a criminal or disciplinary history with dignity and respect.
At NYU, we believe in second chances, and we are sensitive to the deep concerns many people have about the fairness of our justice system and whether it equitably serves all members of our society. We know that higher education can be an important engine of social and economic mobility and can enable people to make positive contributions to society.
NYU uses the Common Application, which is used by approximately 600 U.S. colleges and universities. However, we will no longer take into account any answer to the Common App’s broad questions about criminal or disciplinary offenses. Applicants to NYU need not answer those questions.
Instead, in the absence of clear, objective studies about the predictive value of such questions, NYU has substituted its own narrower questions about convictions or disciplinary actions involving violence in the NYU-specific part of the application.
We believe these narrower questions better strike a balance between giving people a second chance through higher education and providing the University with information that may have a bearing on our campus’ safety. Answering “yes” to these questions is not and never has been an automatic bar to admission, and an applicant’s answers to those questions will not even be reviewed until we make a preliminary decision based on academic merit.
We review all candidates for admission holistically. Academic qualifications are the primary consideration of our holistic evaluation process, which also includes an analysis of one’s extracurricular accomplishments, work experience, letters of recommendation, essays, personal characteristics, talents, and life experiences.
In keeping with our commitment to treating those with a criminal history with dignity and respect, NYU made changes beginning with the 2016-17 admissions cycle (for admission in fall 2017):
As we indicated previously, answering “yes” to NYU’s questions is not an automatic bar to admission. NYU reviews all candidates holistically and will seek to understand the context of any “yes” answers. So, we strongly urge applicants to complete their applications regardless of whether they answered “yes.”
If you have any questions about NYU’s philosophy and approach to the Common App’s broad questions about criminal or disciplinary offenses, please contact Jonathan Williams, Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Admissions, at +1 212 998 4554.