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NYU GSTEM - Is It Worth It?

If you are a high school student who’s interested in STEM, the NYU GSTEM program is an amazing opportunity for you to further explore STEM topics and enhance your college applications. This summer program is designed to immerse you in STEM subjects through hands-on research and mentorship experiences with leading experts in the field. 


Participating in NYU GSTEM will help set you apart from other college applicants because it signifies your commitment to pursuing your interests outside of the classroom. Colleges look for students who show a genuine interest in a subject and this is one way to do just that! This is a particularly good program for you if you want to pursue STEM research in the future but are not sure where to get started. 


What Is NYU GSTEM?

NYU GSTEM is a six-week summer program designed for high school students like you, who have a strong interest in exploring STEM fields. This program pairs you with a STEM professor or researcher, allowing you to work on individual projects in a field of your choice. Beyond gaining valuable first-hand research experience in genuine STEM labs, you'll engage in weekly field trips to meet and learn from people who are making significant impacts across various STEM disciplines. This program is a great way for you to enhance your laboratory techniques, programming abilities, scientific writing, and presentation skills. 


Established in 2013 by the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU, GSTEM leverages NYU's rich academic resources to provide a supportive and inclusive learning environment that promotes inclusion of those historically underrepresented in STEM fields, particularly girls and other minorities. 


What are the program logistics?

Program Dates:

The program spans six weeks, starting on July 1 and concluding on August 9.

Tuition Cost: Participation in the program is priced at $5,300.

Housing with Meal Plan (Optional): For those interested in on-campus living, the cost is an additional $3,702, which includes housing and meals.

Financial Support: We strongly encourage students requiring financial aid to explore our funding opportunities. Detailed information is available on our Financial Aid and Scholarships page, or you can contact us directly with questions.


This program is designed for current juniors who demonstrate a passion for STEM. They particularly encourage applications from girls and other under-represented groups, with a total of 40 students admitted each summer, which makes it quite competitive. Please note, from Summer 2024, applications from sophomore students will not be accepted. Additionally, the program is unable to admit international students not already in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa. If you're studying in the U.S. under another type of visa, please contact the program for potential accommodations.


You must commit to the entire six weeks, with mandatory attendance every day. Participation in other programs simultaneously is not permitted. Housing is available for any interested student, with move-in for housing students on Sunday, June 30. The program includes an orientation week filled with events, workshops, and introductions to NYU resources.


What are the Key Dates? 

  • Orientation: July 1 - July 5, with July 4 as a holiday.

  • Research Weeks: Following orientation, students work with their STEM mentors from Monday to Thursday, with community days every Friday at NYU for field trips and project discussions.

  • Symposium Day: August 9, where students present their research projects to an audience.


What are some past sample projects? 

Chemistry

  • The Effect of Ethidium Bromide on Multiple Tryptophan Residues in EmrE

  • Mixed Peroxyketals as Potential Intermediates for the Formation of Endocyclic Peroxides

Biology

  • Optimizing Whole-Brain Labeling Methods for Brain-Wide Visualization of Dopaminergic Neurons

  • The Effect of Caffeine on Selective Attention in Speech Perception

Physics

  • Effects of Demagnetization on Ferromagnetic Thin Films

  • Double Aligned Graphene/ Boron Nitride Structures

Mathematics

  • Expansions of Equilibria for Plasma Confinement

  • Modeling and Analyzing Stone Spike Formations Using Dissolving Candy

Computer Science

  • Using Computer Modeling and Computation to Decrease Traffic Congestion

  • Machine Learning Techniques for Quantum Chemistry

More past projects can be found here!


What will your week look like? 

Your summer in the program will primarily revolve around research. You'll be paired with a STEM mentor to embark on a research project within their expertise. The program kicks off with an Orientation week, packed with social activities, workshops, lectures, and plenty of fun, allowing you to meet and bond with your fellow participants. While research takes place from Mondays to Thursdays, Fridays are reserved for returning to NYU for group activities, including field trips. 


From Monday to Thursday, you're encouraged to treat the program like a full-time job, expecting to engage in a full day's work, which can vary depending on your mentor's schedule and the nature of your project. Your daily activities might range from conducting experiments in a lab to coding in the library, depending on your specific project and area of STEM. Mentors, who are professors and scientists from various fields and institutions across New York City—including NYU, Columbia University, and other colleges—will guide you through your research project. 


Is it prestigious? 

NYU GSTEM is indeed considered a prestigious program. The program has an acceptance rate of about 15% in 2023. They had roughly 300 applicants for 40 spots. The prestige of NYU GSTEM is also due to its association with New York University, a globally recognized institution known for its rigorous academic standards and contributions to research and innovation. 


While NYU GSTEM is prestigious, it's important to consider the program's cost as a factor that might influence its accessibility and, to some extent, its prestige. With a tuition fee of $5,300, plus optional housing costs, the financial commitment required to participate in the program can be significant. This cost factor may deter some applicants, especially those from underrepresented or economically disadvantaged backgrounds, impacting the program's overall diversity and inclusivity.


How does the application process work? 

  1. Completing the NYU University Program's Online Application form, which marks the initial step in your application journey.

  2. Submitting your cumulative and up-to-date high school transcript(s), starting from the 9th grade. It's crucial that these transcripts are official copies, duly signed by your school, to ensure their authenticity.

  3. Responding to 4 short essay questions. These essays are your opportunity to showcase your passion for STEM, your personal and academic achievements, and how you envision contributing to and benefiting from the GSTEM program.

  4. Providing a letter of recommendation from a teacher, advisor, or counselor who can speak to your capabilities, character, and potential in STEM fields. This letter should offer insight into your academic performance, extracurricular activities, and any other attributes that make you a standout candidate for this selective program.

Pros of Attending NYU GSTEM

  1. You will have access to mentorship from top researchers: You will be paired with a mentor who is a professor or researcher in your area of interest. This direct mentorship provides an unparalleled opportunity to work on cutting-edge research projects, such as developing fluorescent sensors for intracellular imaging or exploring the effects of caffeine on cognitive functions. This hands-on experience in real research labs offers insights into the scientific process and introduces you to the rigors and challenges of STEM research.

  2. You stand a chance to enhance your college application: Participating in a highly selective program like NYU GSTEM, with an acceptance rate of about 15%, distinguishes your college applications. Admissions officers recognize the competitiveness and rigor of the program, viewing your acceptance and participation as evidence of your academic abilities which can significantly enhance your profile among a pool of college applicants.

  3. You will develop critical STEM skills: Beyond research, NYU GSTEM focuses on developing essential skills crucial for success in STEM fields. You'll enhance your laboratory techniques, programming skills, scientific writing, and presentation abilities. For example, designing fluorescent sensors for Mg2+ imaging demands not just an understanding of chemistry but also skills in data analysis and presentation of findings, preparing you for future academic and professional pursuits.

  4. You will get to network extensively: You will get to meet like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds. You'll make connections with peers who share your passion for STEM, facilitating a network that can support you through your academic and career journeys. You will also get to meet professionals during weekly field trips, such as visits to research institutions or meetings with women leaders in STEM, expanding your professional network and providing you with mentors and role models.

Cons of Attending NYU GSTEM

  1. The program is quite expensive: One of the most significant barriers to attending NYU GSTEM is the financial commitment required. The tuition cost of $5,300, not including optional housing and meal plans, can be prohibitive for some students and families. Although financial aid and scholarships are available, they may not cover all expenses, potentially limiting access for economically disadvantaged students. 

  2. The application process isn’t easy to crack: With an acceptance rate of around 15%, NYU GSTEM's highly selective nature can be daunting. Last year, over 300 applicants applied for just 40 spots. This competitive process may discourage some from applying, especially if they perceive their chances of acceptance as low. 

  3. You will have to devote a lot of time to the program: The program requires a full-time commitment for six weeks during the summer, with participants expected to treat it like a full-time job from Monday to Thursday. This intensive schedule leaves little room for other summer activities, part-time jobs, or relaxation, which can be a downside for students looking to balance various summer experiences or responsibilities.

  4. Not very accessible to international students: NYU GSTEM is unable to admit international students not already in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa. 

  5. The program has steep learning curves: The program's rigor and the expectation to produce substantive research outcomes can be overwhelming. Working on advanced projects, such as developing algorithms for quantum chemistry or designing sensors for long-term imaging, involves steep learning curves and the pressure to perform. 

Our Review: Should you do it? 

If you're deeply passionate about STEM and eager for hands-on research experience under the mentorship of leading scientists and professors, this program is a great opportunity to explore research. The chance to enhance your college application, develop critical STEM skills, and network with peers and professionals in the field could be highly beneficial!


However, it's essential to weigh these benefits against the high cost of attendance, the competitive nature of the application process, and the intensive time commitment required. If financial constraints are a concern, explore the available financial aid and scholarships early. Consider also your summer plans and whether dedicating six weeks to a rigorous academic program aligns with your goals and well-being. Ultimately, if you're committed to STEM research, NYU GSTEM is a great option to pursue.



One more option — the Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are interested in doing university-level research in mathematics, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, over 4000 students applied for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here. 

Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. 


Jessica attends Harvard University where she studies Neuroscience and Computer Science as a Coca-Cola, Elks, and Albert Shankar Scholar. She is passionate about educational equity and hopes to one day combine this with her academic interests via social entrepreneurship. Outside of academics, she enjoys taking walks, listening to music, and running her jewelry business! 


Image Source: NYU logo

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