The time was nearing 3a.m. and, with each exhausting tick tick tick of the clock, the essay that was due the following afternoon was no closer to being completed. It was a post-procrastination apocalypse— the type of late-night study session that nearly every college freshman has/will experience at least once during the academic year. A group of fellow stragglers and I had gathered in the makeshift kitchen that Motel 268 residents affectionately call, “The Warming Station”— no single person looking more glum than the next.

The group cynicism we were experiencing was followed by the entrance of an almost exceedingly-cheerful individual.  You know the type— the guy that sees the “bright side” or the even more obnoxious “silver-lining” to every seemingly negative situation. The world needs these kinds of people, the eternal optimists, but at 3am I just needed my bed. He walked in whistling some tune, probably by Frank Sinatra, while holding an order of to-go noodles he had just bought across the street. He popped a cup of instant coffee into one of the two working microwaves at the dorms and flashed a genuine smile— each of us responding with a lackluster mixture of 3-in-the-morning grunts and quiet bewilderment.

“I’m thinking about transferring.”

My mouth dropped. The Warming Station grew scaringly quiet. The instant-coffee in the microwave sizzled over the edge of the cup. “I’m just struggling here,” said the eternal optimist. “The school’s environment is depressing and the economics department is not developed and my academic-advisors are unhelpful… and I’m just unhappy.” What? An individual whose sheer presence fosters glee and whose voice is dripping with sunshine is having a hard time finding contentment at NYUSH.

I had never before considered transferring—it was never even an option. And, for the sake of honesty, my enrollment at a different university is about as probable as the clickers actually working during a GPS lecture: very unlikely. Nevertheless, the trend that is dissatisfaction is becoming more and more apparent on campus.

Perhaps, the frustrations reported by so many students are completely unavoidable. As one freshman put it, “we are simply experiencing winter-madness”—the phenomenon in which the stress of finals and the desire to return home for the holidays increases one’s proneness towards depression. But surely seasonal-sadness is not enough motivation to change schools?

Most critics of NYUSH are accrediting their dissatisfaction with the quality of academics offered by the university, especially in regards to the Foundation of Science program. The program’s infamous workload is discouraging many students from pursuing science majors— in fact, many students have chosen to drop the program altogether after the first semester and pursue alternative majors. Many FoS professors are defending the program, stating that the workload is simply a means of “weeding out all but the very best.”

A freshman FoS participant reported that “even people who are passionate about science are choosing to leave because they don’t want to sacrifice everything else”. The “sacrifices” FOS candidates are being forced to endure are extending beyond the realm of social engagements. Many participants lack the free-time in their academic schedule to enroll in Chinese language courses— a cultural staple of the NYUSH educational experience.

Other academic majors have become victims of criticism as well, “The central fault in our school,” reported another potential-transfer, “is that everything is about China all the time. I want to be a civil-rights lawyer but I feel that my education is limited to Chinese history.”

“A lot of times NYUSH feels like a paper-mache school that was’t ready for students,” reported one student when probed about the educational opportunities offered by the university. “Everyone should have the opportunity to experience this school as an individual and to explore various interests—but over and over again this is not the case. There’s sometimes a feeling of ‘school before self.’ I didn’t come to college to promote the development of an institution— I came for the development of my own education.”

The lack of majors and courses available to students has become an obvious problem at NYUSH, but this fault is also relative to the school’s age. Educational opportunities and courses are being added to the school’s curriculum with each passing semester— but the current lack of courses is affecting students now.

The setbacks many students are experiencing are bounded by disappointment, “What I was really hoping for, in the back of my heart, was some grand cultural experience— the sort that NYUSH advertises and is built around. That hope has paid off a little, in the form of the people here and a couple of activities, but mostly my life has been reduced to a boring daily grind identical to that of a community college.”

Not all students buy into this narrative, of course: Puja Chandramohan, a potential economics major, disapproved of this comparison stating, “the only similarity between NYUSH and  community college is its size. To compare NYUSH to community college only suggests that the scale and ambition of NYUSH students is less than that of a major elite university. Obviously, the individual who made this comparison is not taking advantage of the city nor the resources offered by the school. The US Ambassador to China and people like Jane Goodall don’t visit community colleges.”

This article was written by Lilian Korinek. Send an email to to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

9 thoughts on “ The Rise in Student Transfers 

  1. “To compare NYUSH to community college only suggests that the scale and ambition of NYUSH students is less than that of a major elite university.” I acknowledge that this isn’t the point of the paper, but that even furthers my questioning of why such a negative, hurtful comment needed to be included? Obviously we are privileged to be at NYUSH, we get it, but did we need to include a quote that does nothing but thumb our noses at other educational bodies. Going to a community college doesn’t imply anything about scale and ambition, unless you are a classist asshat who grew up having things handed to you without understanding the struggles of financing and achieving education. The person who said they felt like their life had been ” reduced to a boring daily grind identical to that of a community college” did not insinuate that they felt this way in regard to the drive of the student body, Also, “The US Ambassador to China and people like Jane Goodall don’t visit community colleges…” well maybe they should then, they might meet people of better character than the privileged babies that go here.

    1. You just gave an incredibly hypocritical response: “why such a negative, hurtful comment needed to be included?” is a question you bring up, one I agree with, but then you immediately attack the student body: “they might meet people of better character than the privileged babies that go here”. Quite frankly, I’m disappointed.

      Still, you raise a good point. This article insinuates quite a bit about community colleges. Nothing good, either. Community colleges are in no way INHERENTLY inferior to private universities, even if their student bodies tend to be. No need to fire shots.

      1. Ouch, way to avoid firing shots. Take that, less prepared students! You tend to be inferior, if you attend a community college! Community colleges aren’t inferior in terms of resources and ambient expectation, just the slobbish student body!

        I don’t see how that fails to be elitist, judgmental, and segregating.

  2. Regardless of the comparison to a community college, this school is clearly lacking in academic prowess. I have often heard it compared to a highschool. The school needs to clean up its act, both with regards to a global education (i.e. not focusing on only China. In fact I would argue that if you don’t want to, you should not have to take a single class pertaining to China) and freedom for the students (why are the current Freshman forced to starting taking courses for their major second semester!? This is not the model of a liberal education that NYU so prides itself on!). If the school is lacking professors or the resources to offer classes so that students have more freedom, the requirements per major should be reduced so that a student can mold his or her schedule more individually. This is supposed to be a liberal arts university, not a 1950s highschool.

    And don’t get me started on studying away. This school advertises three semesters; yet, they rarely let you go abroad for even two! This, too, is heavily influenced by the strict major requirements. Regardless of whether or not this school is like a community college, it is clear the academics need a face lift.

  3. It’s hard not to feel a tone of anger when reading something that sets up a such an educational hierarchy. The feelings of pressure on students who do want to transfer do not need to be worsened by the concept that potentially going from here to community college is downgrading. It’s not a downgrade or an upgrade – just a change. Not that this comment was addressing that, but we have had students leave this school and go to community college for a variety of reasons in the past year, and I think that if they saw this, it would hurt them to see what their would-have-been peers had to say about NYU versus other schools. Overall, I like this article, just wish that last part wasn’t there.

  4. Frustrated student — how can you be this sure about the total permitted number of study away semesters if this is only the second year the school has been in operation? Are you saying this is actively discouraged of nyush students while permitted on paper?

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