The admission blog at NYU has an article about the workings of the admissions committee as it works through a pile of 63,000 applications. The piece does not reveal secrets that an applicant might use to his or her advantage. It does, however, offer some insights to the process. The first reader of each application considers your grades, the rigor of your curriculum, extra-curricular involvement, fit for NYU, quality of your essays, and what your teachers/counselor had to say. Notes from the first reader are then read and discussed by the committee. After admissions decisions are made they are reviewed to ensure that "all students received an individualized and holistic review."