Professors don't usually know your name, at least in intro courses where there are over 100 students. My favorite class was International Politics. It was taught by a really great professor who was interesting and knew the subject matter really well. He was also very good at conveying it and teaching it so that everyone understood it. My least favorite class was World Cultures: Empires and Political Imagination because the professors were very disorganized and weren't very good at communicating with their TAs, so that the TAs could help us in recitation. They also wrote the course pack and then read it during class, but tried to say that they were different even though they weren't. Students study a lot. It doesn't seem like it when it's not midterm or final seasons, but students do study a lot during those times. Class participation is very common. NYU students have intellectual conversations outside of class. Students are very competitive. The most unique class I've taken is Conversations of the West: Antiquity and the 19th Century. It was an English, history and sociology class all in one. It was an interesting combination that came together very nicely and it was very interesting. My majors are politics and math with pre-law advising. All of these departments are very helpful and really try to connect to the students. I do not spend time with my professors outside of class. Some of NYU's academic requirements are a little ridiculous and not worthwhile, such as Expressive Cultures and the language placement exams are not representative of students' knowledge at all. The education at NYU is geared toward learning and research. However, they are very helpful when it comes to jobs, career planning and internships. There's a whole center just for helping students with that and they have a lot of fairs throughout the year that give students more information about those things.
At NYU, I am a psychology major and a Social and Cultural Analysis minor. What I have found, surprisingly, is that the professors at NYU are EXTREMELY accessible, more-so than at the small college campus school that I transferred from. I am constantly making use of professor's office hours, and it has helped me tremendously in establishing strong bonds with professors. There are a handful of professors that I am still in contact with, (going for coffee just to catch up), even though I am no longer a student of theirs. I am a big believer in maintaining these connections, especially because I want to go for my PhD. I know that these connections can not only help me with applying for my doctorate, but also with job connections. Living in New York City, many professors have friends at big law firms, business corporations, etc. throughout the city, and I know many of my friends, including my roommate, have been set up with amazing jobs and internships through their professor's connections. Their internships alone (such as Goldman Sachs, Seventeen Magazine, Chanel) are invaluable experiences that I don't know that you could find anywhere else. While NYU's academics are challenging, i find that if you are able to manage your time, it is very easy to do well. Yes, it's hard work, but the degree that you are striving for is worth it. A decent college education should not come easy, and while there are weeks where I feel as though i live in the library, I'll also have other weeks where I feel as though I am not burdened at all. Your major and the courses you take are clearly going to play into how demanding your academic career will be, and each school within NYU's community has it's own level of competitiveness, but I find that the in the College of Arts and Sciences, as long as you do your work on time and study for your exams, it is not difficult to do well at NYU.
Hm, well academics are tough to describe, since they differ greatly, depending on what school you're in and which major you are. But I will answer for my experiences: Classes can range from like six kids to over five hundred. I've been in a little classroom, and a giant lecture stage. Professors do however, try to remember your name. They are usually pretty approachable, and give office hours to visit them for questions, comments, or just to talk. Students are pretty competitive. I mean, we help each other out, since we're all in the same boat. But at the end of the day, every man for himself. So you have to take care of yourself. I like to study by myself in different places, but a lot of my friends go to Bobst and study. Study groups are definitely helpful for some classes though. You meet friends through classes a lot of the time. Yeah, I'd say that many students have intellectual conversations outside of class. I mean, not all conversations are intellectually challenging, but certainly everyone is capable of having them. I'm studying English, and honestly I love it. It's really tough to say that last part, sometimes, because right now it's kicking my butt. But I chose it because I like it. I would say almost every major is hard. There is always challenge. There are sleepless nights, days I'm strung out, and constant work flow. NYU also likes everyone to have knowledge on a little bit of everything, so the requirements are extensive. I've been told that like ninety-something percent of students get jobs right out of college. The Wasserman Center is super helpful and does a great deal in assisting with that. All in all, school's tough. But it's worth it.
The journalism department at NYU is excellent. Every department has it's good and bad professors, but for the most part the professors are interesting and have lengthy resumes and great bylines. There are two tracks: general investigative and media criticism. I chose general investigative for writing, rather than production (video, radio). There are several core classes that you must take, before you can go on to the fun electives. The first, Foundations of Journalism, is difficult. It's one of those weed-out classes to find who really wants to be a journalist, and who should be a communications major (sorry, Steinhardt). After you get through that course, which is composed of a lot of reading and essay writing, you'll need to take a basic reporting class (Journalistic Inquiry), a specialized reporting class and advanced reporting class. Top that of with First Amendment Rights and Ethics, a somewhat boring class taught by a NY Times attorney (who gets credit for bringing in anyone and everyone from the Times as guest speakers), and a few electives of your choosing (I recommend Journalism of Empathy with Ted Conover). Overall, everyone in the department really wants you to succeed and they will help you do so--whether it's getting you an awesome internship, or helping you pump up your resume. Advisors are helpful and know your name, and there are many guest speakers such as Susan Orlean who stop in for discussions. And you can't get a better journalism education outside of New York. Half of what I know now I credit not to the journalism department, but from learning on the ground during newspaper internships.
I am a psych major on a pre-med track, and honestly many of my classes are HUGE. My science classes have all had approximately 600 students in them. Psych classes range from 50-200 students. The core required classes are the opposite though. There are about 10-20 students in each. Foreign language classes are also very small and tight-knit. I still have not been able to decide which I prefer. I enjoy the feeling of being in a giant lecture class but it is always great to receive more attention from your professor. None of my science or psych professors have known my name. This sucks because students definitely need letters of recommendation from their professors. Professors are usually readily available during office hours to answer questions but with science classes there are always hundreds of students visiting during these hours so you are still not getting much one on one time with them. The professors do their best though. They have all been great for the most part. They are all very knowledgeable but most importantly PASSIONATE. I have yet to have a professor that doesn't love the subject he/she is teaching. Classes are pretty challenging so students are very competitive. NYU students study hard. They're beasts. People sleep in the library. Our library is enormous but it is still impossible to find a seat most of the time. We go hard. Freshmen take a while to acquire this drive, but it comes with time. I can definitely say that NYU gets you well prepared for landing an awesome job once you graduate. With all the competitiveness and desire to succeed, it isn't hard to find one.
Many professors are only adjunct because they are practicing professionals, which adds a very realistic air to your learning. I've had many of my senior seminars in the conference rooms of my professors offices. My favorite classes were those where I got to roam the city -- it was a very hands on experience. Class participation is more common in smaller classes, which are commonly those of upper classmen. Large lectures have small T.A. taught, required classes, where class participation is more common. NYU is an amazing education experience, but alumnis joke that its not helpful in procuring a job. While NYU students have amazing internships, and opportunities and experiences as undergraduates, they become "over qualified," and are passed over for many jobs. Unless you are going to Stern School of Business, or plan on going to graduate school, your successes at NYU don't make it easier to get a job. While most students study (you have to be smart to go to NYU afterall), some study more than others. As a premed student, my best friends were my textbooks. I'd work/study hard, and play hard. My roommate, a jazz composition major, would be "studying" all the time too, by practicing constantly (a different type of study), but my other roommate, a Gallatin Graduate, would rarely study, and rarely had exams or finals...which made me awfully jealous.
The academic life, if I were to put it in three words, would be: impersonal, tricky and cold. While I've had classes that have had under 20 people in them, I would say that would only be 20% of the classes I'm in. Unfortunately, being a music major, I have nearly 40 kids in my class because NYU decides to take 1400 kids into their music program every year. Professors are a mixed bag. My Writing The Essay professor was nice and almost motherly in a way...but they are some professors that are solely there for the graduate work. I took an ethics class last year and the professor was teaching us stuff totally different from the textbook. She would constantly forget core terms of the class. It was commonplace for people to correct her while she was talking. And in terms of hanging out or spending time with professors outside of class-don't be surprised if you get rejected. These professors are doing serious work and obviously do not have time for your petty questions. Class participation is a mixed bag. Yet again, it depends on what class you are taking. My music classes have no class participation because I'm sure half the kids skated right into NYU because they are gay or because they are quirky. However, some classes I've taken through CAS are stimulating and are quite enjoyable. It depends on where the quota is going for that semester.
NYU is a prestigious school academically. The general introductory classes are quite large, but as you start to go into your major they get smaller. Whether the professor knows your name depends on how involved you are in the class and how much you participate. NYU classes are very focused on participation and discussion, which leads to many intellectual conversations, in and out of the classroom. NYU students also know how to have fun, though, and NYC is their, very large, playground. NYU students study a normal amount for the most part, but during finals week, everyone, and I mean everyone, is glued to their textbooks. Some students are competitive, especially in Stern, but not more than the ordinary overachievers. They may be competitive, but they aren't obnoxious for the most part. In Stern, most of the work is focused on excelling in your career, and the Wasserman Center (career center) is extremely helpful. The Wasserman holds many workshops on how to improve your resume and how to excel in job interviews. The professors have office hours every week and are always willing to help out their students.
Many students will complain about the MAP curriculum, which is NYU's core courses. I agree, some of them are not a lot of fun. But I think you will find, especially in the case of the liberal arts core courses, that they help expand your horizons and knowledge base. My best advice is to talk to other students and get their opinion about professors and classes. At NYU it is really important to research your classes before registering. For the first two years most (but not all) of your classes will be large lectures anywhere from 300-70 students with a discussion group that meets once a week (this will also depend on you school and major). The last two years you will have an opportunity to form deeper relationships with your professors and take smaller and more specialized courses. One of the things I love about academics at NYU is that there are so many options. Because it is such a big university you can take almost anything you can imagine, even if it is outside your major. And if the major you want to study doesn't exist, transfer to Gallitin and make your own.
Professors in small classes know my name (3 of my 4 classes). My favorite class right now is "The Meaning of Leadership" where we learned about leadership throughout time and sectors. My least favorite class was human biology because I had to take it and I hate science. Students are always studying. Class participation is mandatory in most classes; no one really participates in lectures. I don't think I have ever heard a conversation by NYU students that wasn't intellectual. Students are not competitive. My most unique class was probably "Homelessness" in the social work department. My school, the School of Social Work, is awesome because it is tiny and very close-knit. My dean and I know each other very well and it is just great. I see my dean outside of class sometimes but not many other professors because they all have other things going on just like I do. NYU's academic requirements are ok besides Writing the Essay. I think the education at NYU is all about learning for its own sake, unless it's in Stern.