A young honors student and former cheerleader from Alabama who was among "the most promising and prominent students" entering New York University this year plunged 12 stories to her death Friday in an apparent suicide, police said.

Leila Lindholm, 17, of Auburn, Ala., apparently leaped to her death from the bathroom window of her 12-floor room at the school's Samuel Rubin dormitory on Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village, police said.Her body was found about 5:15 a.m. near an airshaft of the dormitory, said Detective Joseph McConville, a police spokesman.

"She was among the most prominent and promising students entering the school," said NYU spokeswoman Helen Horowitz. "She was on a scholarship. She was a presidential scholar and was one of the top entering students at the College of Arts and Sciences."