Wake Forest vs NYU: A Look at the Pros and Cons

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Wait Chapel and Hearn Plaza at Wake Forest University

Wake Forest vs NYU: A Look at the Pros and Cons

Choosing the right college can be a daunting task, especially when you’re trying to decide between two top-tier schools like Wake Forest University vs New York University (NYU). Each institution has a distinct personality and offers unique benefits and challenges. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of attending Wake Forest or NYU, so you can make an informed decision about which school is the right fit for you.


NYU is a world-renowned research university located in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village. The school has a diverse student body of over 50,000 students, with a strong focus on arts and culture. NYU offers more than 200 undergraduate majors, as well as graduate programs in business, law, medicine, and more. In terms of pros, NYU offers an unparalleled cultural experience. NYU students have access to some of the world’s best theaters, museums, and art galleries. Additionally, NYU has an extensive alumni network, which can be helpful for finding jobs after graduation.

One of the main cons of attending NYU is the cost of attendance. NYU is one of the most expensive schools in the country, making it difficult for many students to afford. Additionally, the competitive academic environment can be overwhelming for some students.

Another advantage of attending NYU is the school’s location in New York City. Students have access to countless internship and job opportunities in a variety of industries, including finance, media, and technology. The city also offers a vibrant social scene, with endless options for dining, entertainment, and nightlife.

However, the fast-paced and bustling environment of New York City can also be a challenge for some students. The city can be overwhelming and stressful, and it can be difficult to find a sense of community within such a large and diverse student body. Additionally, the high cost of living in New York City can add to the financial burden of attending NYU.

View of New York University.

Campus Life: Wake Forest vs. NYU

When it comes to campus life, Wake Forest and NYU offer two very different experiences. Wake Forest is a smaller, more traditional campus, with a strong sense of community. Students at Wake Forest are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, and the school offers a wide range of clubs and organizations to choose from. In contrast, NYU has a more urban campus, with students living and studying in various buildings throughout the city. This can be both a pro and a con. On the one hand, NYU students have access to all of the excitement and opportunities that come with living in New York City. However, some students may feel isolated from the school community and struggle to create a sense of belonging.

Another difference between Wake Forest and NYU is the campus size. Wake Forest’s campus is much smaller than NYU’s, which can make it easier for students to navigate and feel more connected to the campus community. NYU’s campus is spread out across several blocks in Greenwich Village, which can make it more difficult for students to feel a sense of unity and belonging.

Additionally, the types of extracurricular activities offered at Wake Forest and NYU differ. Wake Forest has a strong focus on sports, with many students participating in varsity and club teams. NYU, on the other hand, offers a wide range of cultural and artistic activities, such as theater productions and art exhibits. This reflects the different interests and priorities of the student bodies at each school.

Academic Programs: Wake Forest vs. NYU

Both Wake Forest and NYU are highly regarded for their academic programs, but they offer different areas of expertise. Wake Forest is known for its strong liberal arts program, with a focus on critical thinking and writing skills. NYU, on the other hand, has a large selection of majors to choose from, including many STEM fields. NYU is also known for its arts and culture programs, with Tisch School of the Arts being one of the top film and theatre schools in the world.

Additionally, Wake Forest offers a unique program called “Voices of Our Time,” which brings in prominent speakers from various fields to engage with students and faculty. This program allows students to gain valuable insights and perspectives from leaders in their respective industries. NYU also offers a variety of study abroad programs, allowing students to immerse themselves in different cultures and gain a global perspective on their field of study.

Cost of Attendance: Wake Forest vs. NYU

As previously mentioned, NYU is one of the most expensive schools in the country, with a total cost of attendance that can reach over $70,000 per year. Wake Forest, while still pricey, is more affordable, with a total cost of attendance of around $69,000 for the 2021-2022 academic year. However, it’s important to note that both schools offer extensive financial aid and scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.

Another factor to consider when comparing the cost of attendance between Wake Forest and NYU is the cost of living in each location. New York City, where NYU is located, is known for its high cost of living, with expensive housing, food, and transportation costs. On the other hand, Wake Forest is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which has a lower cost of living compared to New York City. This means that students attending NYU may need to budget more for living expenses than those attending Wake Forest.

It’s also worth noting that the cost of attendance for both schools may vary depending on the student’s major or program of study. For example, some majors may require additional fees for materials or equipment, while others may offer more scholarship opportunities. It’s important for students to research the specific costs associated with their intended major or program before making a decision on which school to attend.

Student-Faculty Ratio: Wake Forest vs. NYU

One important factor to consider when choosing a school is the student-faculty ratio. This number can impact the quality of education you receive and the amount of individual attention you can expect. At Wake Forest, the student-faculty ratio is 11:1, meaning there are typically 11 students for every one faculty member. At NYU, the student-faculty ratio is 10:1, making it slightly better for individual attention.

However, it’s important to note that student-faculty ratio is not the only factor that affects the quality of education. The experience and qualifications of the faculty members, the resources available to students, and the overall academic culture of the institution also play a significant role.

Additionally, it’s worth considering the size and type of classes offered at each school. While a lower student-faculty ratio may suggest more individual attention, it’s possible that larger class sizes at NYU could still provide ample opportunities for student-faculty interaction through office hours, discussion sections, and other forms of support.

2019 High school students pose with their academic advisor at Harvard

Admission Requirements: Wake Forest vs. NYU

Both Wake Forest and NYU are selective schools, with acceptance rates of around 30%. However, the application requirements differ slightly. Wake Forest requires students to submit an essay, test scores, and letters of recommendation, while NYU requires students to submit essays and test scores, but doesn’t require letters of recommendation. Both schools also consider extracurricular activities and community involvement in their admissions decisions.

It’s important to note that Wake Forest also offers an optional interview for applicants, while NYU does not. Additionally, NYU has a more diverse student body, with a higher percentage of international students and students from underrepresented minority groups. Wake Forest, on the other hand, has a smaller student-to-faculty ratio and emphasizes a strong sense of community among its students. Ultimately, the decision between these two schools will depend on individual preferences and priorities.

Ranking and Reputation: Wake Forest vs. NYU

Wake Forest and NYU are both well-regarded schools, but for different reasons. Wake Forest consistently ranks as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country, with a focus on quality teaching and student engagement. NYU, on the other hand, is known for its world-class research and international reputation. Both schools have dedicated and accomplished faculty and offer excellent educational experiences.

However, there are some notable differences between the two institutions. Wake Forest has a smaller student body and a more intimate campus setting, which allows for more personalized attention and a tight-knit community. NYU, on the other hand, has a larger and more diverse student body, with a wider range of academic programs and extracurricular activities. Additionally, NYU’s location in the heart of New York City provides unparalleled opportunities for internships, networking, and cultural experiences.

Diversity and Inclusion: Wake Forest vs. NYU

Diversity and inclusion are essential factors to consider when choosing a college. Wake Forest is making strides towards a more inclusive community, with initiatives like the “Dignity and Respect Campaign” and the “Inclusion and Diversity Certificate Program” for faculty and staff. NYU is also committed to diversity and inclusion, with a variety of student groups and support services for underrepresented students.

However, there are some differences in the approach to diversity and inclusion between Wake Forest and NYU. Wake Forest has a smaller student body and is located in a less diverse area, which presents unique challenges. To address this, Wake Forest has implemented a “Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan” that includes increasing the diversity of the student body and faculty, as well as creating more inclusive campus spaces. On the other hand, NYU’s location in New York City provides a more diverse environment, but the university still faces challenges in ensuring that all students feel included. NYU has responded by creating a “Bias Response Line” and offering training for faculty and staff on how to create inclusive classrooms.

four students lounging on the steps outside

Career Opportunities after Graduation: Wake Forest vs. NYU

Both Wake Forest and NYU have strong career centers that offer career counseling, job fairs, and networking opportunities. Wake Forest has a strong liberal arts focus, which can lead to a variety of career paths, while NYU’s location in New York City offers access to some of the world’s best companies and organizations. Both schools have strong alumni networks, which can be helpful for finding career opportunities after graduation.

However, there are some differences in the types of career opportunities that graduates from each school may pursue. Wake Forest has a strong emphasis on community service and leadership, which can lead to careers in non-profit organizations, government agencies, and social entrepreneurship. On the other hand, NYU’s location in the heart of the business world may make it a better choice for students interested in finance, marketing, or other corporate careers. Additionally, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts is renowned for its film and television programs, which can lead to careers in the entertainment industry.

Extracurricular Activities: Wake Forest vs. NYU

Extracurricular activities are an important part of the college experience. Wake Forest offers a wide range of clubs and organizations, including Greek life, service clubs, and cultural groups. NYU also has a large selection of student groups to choose from, with a focus on arts and culture. However, because NYU is located in a bustling city, students have access to a wide range of activities and events outside of the school community.

Additionally, Wake Forest has a strong emphasis on athletics, with a variety of NCAA Division I sports teams for students to participate in or support. NYU, on the other hand, does not have a strong athletic program, but instead offers unique opportunities for students to engage in recreational sports and fitness activities, such as rock climbing and yoga classes.

Housing Options: Wake Forest vs. NYU

Both Wake Forest and NYU offer a variety of housing options, including dormitories, apartment-style living, and off-campus housing. Wake Forest has a strong residential life program, where upperclassmen can serve as mentor figures for incoming students. NYU’s housing options are more diverse, with options in various neighborhoods throughout the city, which can be a pro or con depending on your preferences.

One advantage of Wake Forest’s housing options is that they are all located on or near campus, making it easy for students to get to class and other campus activities. Additionally, Wake Forest’s dormitories are known for their spaciousness and modern amenities, such as air conditioning and private bathrooms.

On the other hand, NYU’s off-campus housing options can provide students with a more independent living experience. Many students choose to live in apartments or shared houses in neighborhoods like Greenwich Village or Brooklyn, which can offer a more authentic New York City experience. However, living off-campus can also come with additional expenses and responsibilities, such as paying rent and utilities.

Michigan State University High School Honors Science, Math, and Engineering Summer Programs (HSHSP)

Facilities and Resources Available to Students: Wake Forest vs. NYU

Both Wake Forest and NYU offer extensive resources and facilities for their students. At Wake Forest, students have access to a state-of-the-art library, an athletic center, and multiple dining options. NYU offers similar resources, but with the added bonus of being located in New York City. Students at NYU have access to world-renowned museums and cultural institutions, as well as specialized facilities for the arts and sciences.

Additionally, Wake Forest provides students with a variety of academic resources, including tutoring services, writing centers, and career development programs. The university also offers opportunities for students to engage in research and internships, allowing them to gain hands-on experience in their field of study.

On the other hand, NYU offers a wide range of extracurricular activities and clubs for students to get involved in, from sports teams to cultural organizations. The university also has a strong emphasis on global education, with study abroad programs in over 50 countries and a campus in Abu Dhabi.

Alumni Network and Support Services: Wake Forest vs. NYU

Having a strong alumni network can be beneficial for finding career opportunities and building connections. Both Wake Forest and NYU have extensive alumni networks, with dedicated support services for alumni. Wake Forest offers career development services, mentoring programs, and networking events, while NYU has an online platform for alumni to connect and a variety of alumni events throughout the year.

However, there are some differences between the alumni networks and support services offered by Wake Forest and NYU. Wake Forest’s alumni network is known for its close-knit community and personalized support, with alumni often returning to campus to mentor current students and participate in career development events. On the other hand, NYU’s alumni network is more global in scope, with alumni located all over the world and a focus on connecting alumni with each other regardless of their location. Additionally, NYU offers a wider range of support services for alumni, including access to online resources and career coaching.

Student Testimonials and Reviews: Wake Forest vs. NYU

Finally, it’s important to take into account what current and former students have to say about their experiences at Wake Forest and NYU. Both schools have positive reviews, with students raving about the quality of education, supportive faculty, and engaging campus life. However, some students have noted the competitive academic environment at NYU and the high cost of attending Wake Forest.

Ultimately, choosing between Wake Forest and NYU comes down to personal preference and priorities. Do you prefer a traditional campus setting with a strong sense of community, or do you want to be immersed in the cultural hub of New York City? Are you looking for a rigorous liberal arts education or a wide range of majors to choose from? By considering all of the factors listed above, you can make an informed decision about which institution is the right fit for you.

One aspect that sets Wake Forest apart from NYU is its emphasis on undergraduate research opportunities. Many students at Wake Forest have the chance to work alongside faculty members on research projects, gaining valuable hands-on experience and contributing to the advancement of their field. Additionally, Wake Forest has a strong commitment to community service, with many students participating in service projects both on and off campus.

On the other hand, NYU offers a unique global experience, with study abroad programs in over 50 countries and a diverse student body representing over 130 countries. Students at NYU have the opportunity to immerse themselves in different cultures and gain a global perspective, which can be invaluable in today’s interconnected world. Additionally, NYU has a strong reputation in the arts and entertainment industries, with many successful alumni in fields such as film, music, and theater.

Students gathering during the University of Iowa Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP).

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