Part 1: Introduction

NYU Medical School is one of the best medical schools in the United States, and it offers something that no other medical school offers: free tuition for medical students. WHAT? You might ask. Yes, NYU Medical School began a tuition-free program for incoming students in 2018. The ideal of free education (well, tuition-free–you still have to pay to live in NYC) makes NYU even more competitive than some of its peers, such as Brown, Perelman or Washington. 

But just because it’s hard to get in doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In this article, we’re going to break it down for you step-by-step. After this introductory section, we’ll take a look at the programs NYU Medical School offers, so you can determine if it’s a good fit for you. Then, we’ll look at school stats and see how high your MCAT scores and overall GPA need to be. Next, we’ll guide you through writing your application essays. Finally, we’ll help you prepare for your medical school interview. This comprehensive guide will hopefully give you a good idea of whether NYU Medical School is right for you. 

Part 2: Programs at NYU Medical School

Like many of its peers, NYU offers a traditional, four-year MD program. But they also offer:

  • Three-year MD program, including residency match
  • MD/PhD
  • MD/Master’s degrees, such as bioethics, management, etc.

Prospective NYU Medical Students also have the unique opportunity to apply to NYU Long Island School of Medicine for their three-year program. This new medical school, known as LISOM, was founded to help graduate more primary care providers to fight the shortage of providers that New York faces. The primary difference between NYU and NYU LISOM is your practice field. LISOM’s goal is to graduate as many family medicine and pediatric care doctors as possible. Many prospective students aren’t interested in family medicine or pediatric care because these fields don’t pay as well as specialty fields. So, if you’re not interested in being a family medicine or pediatric care doctor, NYU LISOM isn’t for you. You’ll be specifically asked about this during your interviews, so be sure that family medicine or pediatric care is an interest to you if you plan to apply.

Let’s take a deeper look at the programs that NYU Medical School offers. 

Accelerated, Three-Year MD Degree and Traditional, Four-Year MD Program

NYU Grossman School of Medicine offers its traditional, four-year MD program in an accelerated version that only takes three years to complete. This route is a lot more affordable than the traditional program and comes with benefits. Accelerated students get everything more quickly: access to faculty mentors, research opportunities and contingent acceptance into residency via the National Resident Matching Program. 

The accelerated program is specifically for students who know what they want. The goal of the program is to speed up your education so you can get into your field faster. So, how do you get in? There are four different ways.

  • Simultaneously apply to the traditional and accelerated MD programs
  • PhD holders who want a specialized program focused on researching certain topics can apply directly to this program.
  • Traditional students can switch over to the accelerated program during their first year of school or their clerkship.
  • Students in the MD/PhD program can apply to the accelerated program once they have earned their PhD.

The only difference between the accelerated and traditional versions of NYU Medical School’s MD programs is the pace. 

Year 1

  • August: Elective and Stage 1 courses begin
  • September-November: DNA, Organelles and Cells; Infection and Immunity
  • December-March: Science and Skills for Medicine: Living Anatomy 1, Cardio and Pulmonary
  • March-June: Renal, GI, Endocrinology/Reproductive

Year 2

  • July-August: Summer Fellowship/Research
  • August-December: Science and Skill for Medicine continued: Living Anatomy 2, Nervous System and Muscoloskeletal/Hematology/Dermatology.
  • January-January (one full year): Stage 2 Courses: Core Clerkships, Interclerkship Intensives, Electives/Selectives

Year 3

  • (Year 3 began in July, halfway through Stage 2)
  • February-May: Stage 3 Courses: United States Medical Licensure Exam (USMLE); Step 1/Comprehensive Clinical Skills Exam; Electives; Subinternship; Critical Care; USMLE Step 2

The accelerated program contains all the curriculum that the traditional program has, just at an accelerated pace. 

While NYU Medical School also offers MD/PhD and MD/Master’s degree programs, this guide will focus on admission to the traditional program (and accelerated program, since they’re virtually identical and can be applied for together). Information on the other programs can be found here and here. Even if you aren’t applying to the MD program, this guide will still be helpful for the essay part of your applications, so we encourage you to read Part 4

Cost of Attendance

NYU Medical School doesn’t charge its students for the cost of tuition. However, students are still responsible for living expenses, including rent and utilities, food, course work materials and any other expenses that might arise. Combined, you’ll pay about $32,723 a year or $16,361.50 per semester, which is amazing for attending medical school!

Part 3: Getting Into NYU Medical School

NYU Medical School

It’s tough to get into NYU Medical School. They rank right in between Brown and Washington with a 2.5 percent acceptance rate. Out of 9,243 applications, they interviewed 999 prospective students and admitted 102 incoming students.


Out of 4,200 applicants, only 24 students were accepted. This acceptance rate of 1.3 percent is even lower than NYU Medical School, but this is partially due to LISOM being a smaller university. Eventually, class sizes will accommodate 40 students instead of 24 students. The acceptance rate will still remain lower than NYU’s, but it will go up a little bit.

The Grades You Need To Get In

These statistics should give you an idea of what it takes to be one of the very few who are accepted into NYU Medical School. 

  • Median Undergrad GPA: 3.96
  • Average Undergrad GPA: 3.89
  • GPA range: 3.57-4.00
  • Median MCAT: 522
  • Average MCAT: 520
  • MCAT range: 512-528

Secondary Application Essays (with samples)

Before you apply to NYU Medical School, submit your AMCAS application. Once that’s been submitted, you’ll be ready to apply directly to NYU. 

Your NYU Medical School application will include six essay prompts. Your NYU LISOM application will include three questions. We’ll go over both, starting with NYU.

Question #1 If this applies to you, please explain any major gaps or changes in your academic record which have not already been accounted for. (Optional)

This question is optional since you might not have any gaps. If, however, there are gaps in your academic record, you’ll need to answer this question. 

Even though this type of question can feel like a personal attack, it’s important not to take it that way. NYU simply wants an account of how your time has been spent. Here’s a good way to answer this question.

During my first semester of my sophomore year, I was enrolled in two elective courses: general anesthesiology and healthcare for women and children. During my time spent volunteering at the healthcare clinic, I was given the opportunity to take on additional hours. I had discovered a passion for helping these women and their children, so I was elated at the opportunity to spend even more time with them. Since I already had a full class schedule and the anesthesiology course was optional, I withdrew from it. From this decision came the realization of what I wanted to specialize in: pediatric care.

This answer clearly explains your decision and lets NYU Medical School know that you weren’t lazy or slacking off. Instead, you were focusing your attention on your newfound passion.

Question #2 Please explain how you have spent your time, both in college and after graduation, when you weren’t studying. (2500 characters)

This question calls for an informational essay, consisting of a thesis and basic information with no details. The thesis statement should specifically answer the question: what have you been doing and why have you been doing it? NYU wants to know what your intentions are with how you spend your time. Include what you did, but don’t provide very much detail because 2500 characters doesn’t allow for it. It comes out to about 411 words. 

Since graduating from medical school, I have spent most of my time volunteering at the local women’s shelter. Helping women and their children feel safe in their environment has been a privilege for me and has helped reaffirm my desire to be a pediatrician. 

I work part-time for my local church in the daycare. I work there on Sundays and Wednesday nights, providing childcare for parents so they can participate in different classes and groups.

This answer is simple but effective. It shows that you are spending your time in worthwhile pursuits that are relevant to your education and your future goals.  

Question #3 The Admissions Committee strives to evaluate students beyond test scores. We take into consideration interpersonal skills, leadership qualities and life experience, in addition to the academic excellence that we expect. What uniquely qualifies you to make an impact on the NYU Grossman School of Medicine Community? (2500 characters)

This is NYU Medical School’s diversity question–their way of asking you how you stand out from the crowd. Shemmassian Academic Consulting has a great article covering diversity essays.

If you tailor an old essay to NYU Medical School, find ways to specifically relate your diversity to NYU, and why you would contribute to their diversity. Every essay question you answer is another opportunity to prove to the admissions committee why they should select you for an interview. 

Question #4 Here at NYU Medical School, our ultimate purpose is graduating a group of physicians who will make a collective impact to improve our society through their individual medical practices–including patient care, research and education. With this information in mind, what do you envision for your medical career? Explain why, and please inform us if your dreams require a dual degree program. (2500 characters)

This is NYU Medical School’s “Describe Your Future Career” question. They want to make sure that you’ll fit in; that your goals of becoming a doctor align with the kind of doctors they want to graduate from their university. In short, NYU is stating that they want their name to reflect an outstanding group of doctors.

Once again, the essay format that contains a thesis statement and brief comments on experience works well. Here’s an example.

I see my future self working as a pediatric care physician. By earning my MD degree from NYU, I will be uniquely equipped to provide excellent care. Having spent time with women in women’s shelters and seeing their lack of ability to provide for themselves and their children has cultivated a strong desire in me to help these women. I will be able to provide affordable healthcare to the underserved in my community. 

Not only will I be able to provide them with healthcare, but they won’t be looked down on when they come to my office. They will be treated with the respect and care they deserve. No matter what socioeconomic background you come, you should be treated with respect and receive high-quality care.

I firmly believe that receiving my education at NYU Medical School will equip me to follow my pursuits and be an alumna that NYU can be proud of.

Question #5 Select one of the following three questions to answer:

Option 1. What is your proudest personal accomplishment, and why?

Option 2. It’s easy to get offended by a different perspective, world view or even religion. Define respect, and explain how you remain respectful even when you are challenged.

Option 3. Describe a challenging situation that you were able to work through with a colleague, family member, or friend. Or, describe a time when resolution did not come quickly or easily.

These three questions give you the opportunity to discuss life outside of medicine. However, find a way to tie your experience back to NYU. 

If you decide to share your proudest personal accomplishment, take inspiration from Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man In The Arena,” and write about a challenge that you overcame. You could discuss earning a high score on a very difficult test; completing a 5k or a triathlon; or even writing a book. Take pride in your accomplishment as you describe it.

If you’re going with options two or three, you can probably tailor one of your diversity essays to answer this question. If not, we recommend going with a professional adversity essay, where you describe a situation that challenged you professionally and either politically, religiously or socioeconomically.  

Question #6 With COVID-19 still very much a public health crisis, how do you see your potential role as a healthcare worker on the front lines? (2500 characters).

It’s very likely that, as a future health care provider, you will be on the front lines. NYU Medical School wants you to consider what that would be like and answer this question accordingly. While COVID-19 is the impetus behind this question, it’s wise to consider other public health crises that could emerge during your time as a doctor.

Secondary Prompts for NYU LISOM

If you’re applying to NYU LISOM in addition to NYU Medical School, you’ll also need to answer the following questions. (P.S. We know, it’s a lot. Don’t feel like you have to write all these essays at once!) 

Question #1 What speciality are you interested in? (Please only select one.)

  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • OB/GYN
  • Surgery

Remember, if you are applying to NYU LISOM, one of these four fields needs to be your emphasis. 

Question #2 Please explain why you want to study this particular field. Please show our admissions committee how your past experience (healthcare and non-healthcare related) influenced your desired specialty. (500 words maximum)

This combines the common “Explain your specialty” and “tell us how you get here” questions. To successfully answer this question, you’ll need two thesis statements: one on your desired specialty, the other on why you want to study thisspecialty. Include a snippet for each statement to back up your thesis statements. 

Here’s an example:

I’ll never forget the first time a phone call interrupted my mom. As an OB/GYN, she would often be on call for patients who were close to their delivery date. I lost count of the number of times her phone rang, summoning her to a patient in labor. 

Mom couldn’t tell me names, but she could tell me stories. And that she did. There were emergency c-sections, natural deliveries and many, many epidurals. She delivered babies from everything ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic background. 

But her stories ended after delivery. She would see the mothers again, and they would often bring their babies, but she treated the mothers while the babies went to a pediatrician. As much as I loved the birth stories, I wanted to be part of the children’s lives. 

My desire to work with children increased when I began working as a summer volunteer at my local library. The children’s program included ESL classes, childcare so adults could find books they liked and group activities and games to keep them busy. I loved working with them and imagined myself with a white coat and stethoscope, examining their little bodies to make sure they were healthy.

I still want to be part of those children’s lives. Maybe not those specific children, but the lives of children in general. Whether they are healthy or terminally ill, or somewhere in between, I want to be part of their journey. I want to be the kind of doctor whom they can tell anything. I want my office to be a safe place where I can help protect them. Most of all, I don’t want them to dread it when a parent tells them it’s time to go to the doctor.

I firmly believe that NYU Medical School will provide me with the outstanding education I need to become an outstanding doctor and to help me realize my dreams. I want to be part of the population of physicians who NYU graduates.

Question #3 Some applicants have had extraordinary challenges to overcome. We would appreciate knowing about such challenges and not only how you overcame your adversity, but how it helped you get to where you are today. (500 words, optional)

We could sing it: standard adversity essay. Just tailor it to NYU, and copy and paste it!

Question #5 Please explain any sudden changes in your grades, withdrawals from classes, or anything else we should know here. (500 words, optional)

There’s no need to even answer this question if you don’t have any unexplained gaps. But if you do, be sure to honestly answer it in the best way possible. You want to be honest while highlighting every positive aspect.

You’ve made it through all the essay questions/prompts. We hope this comprehensive guide provides you with all the help you need to successfully answer these questions and stand out to the admissions department. 

Here at International Medical Aid, we want to help prepare you for medical school. If you feel like you lack the experience you want to write about in these essays, check out our website. We offer internships, covering everything from studying abroad to programs for doctors, PAs and nurses. We’ll help prepare you for medical school.

Part 5: Your Interview at NYU Medical School

Congratulations if you’ve received an invitation to interview at NYU Medical School! This is an exciting step in your journey. 

NYU Medical School conducts interviews using the Multiple Mini Interview format. McMaster University created this interview format, where the interviewee goes through six consecutive interviews that last for ten minutes each. Each mini interview is unique, with a focus on a specific question or scenario. Throughout this hour, the admissions committee hopes to gain insight into your communication, social, oral and non-verbal skills, and teamwork. Combined, this skillset gives them a good understanding of how you would interact with patients and fellow doctors.  

There are advantages to the MMI format for both NYU and you. 

For the university, having multiple interviewers helps them make a bias-free decision. They’re more focused on your responses in each situation and what all the interviewers collectively thought of you, rather than relying on one individual interviewer. 

The MMI format is beneficial for you because it takes place over two hours. You get a few minutes between each interview instead of being interviewed for 60 minutes straight, which is relieving since hour-long interviews are exhausting. You’re given two minutes to prepare for each interview, so the questions aren’t on the spot. And you get a fresh start with each mini interview.

Knowing that NYU Medical School uses the MMI format will help you prepare for your interview day. We also recommend being prepared to ask questions. They might break the MMI model to ask you if you have any questions for them. It’s always good to have a question to ask. It shows your level of care and attention.

NYU LISOM utilizes the Multiple Mini Interview method and team-based interviews. This combination is a great way to showcase your skills. If you’re interviewing with LISOM, prepare questions to ask them as well.

Keep in mind that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all interviews are being conducted virtually.

If you’re nervous about applying to NYU Medical School, just know that everyone else is, too. Even other prospective students with 4.0 GPAs and great MCAT scores are nervous because there’s no guarantee of who will or won’t get in. By spending this time researching and learning how to apply to medical school, you’re setting yourself up for success. Plus, if you don’t apply because you’re too nervous, you’ll never know what could be! 

You have great potential. You’re going to be a great doctor. Be sure to check out our website for more resources to help you prepare for medical school. Good luck! Our fingers are crossed for you.