Location: The name is Columbia University in the City of New York for a reason. Columbia students go to school in the center of the world, New York City!
Percent Women: 49% female
Tuition (one year): $64,000
Most Popular Majors: Political Science, Economics, English, History, Psychology, Biology
Greek Life: Yes
Acceptance Rate: 6.89%
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit Columbia's website at https://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/.
Why Choose Columbia?
Because it's the most amazing place in the world, duh! Seriously, though, I have learned so much in and out of the classroom. The people are absolutely terrific and so interesting. The classes and the Core are superb. I was not expecting to love the Core as much as I do, but it's changed my life and made me think about the world in a radically different way. I wake up every day feeling grateful and happy to be here. That's why you should choose Columbia. It's a lot of things, but it's always an adventure.
I chose Columbia for many reasons. I love that we have a nice, cozy campus feel yet are minutes away from the subway and surrounded by the cultural richness of NYC. A lot of the departments at Columbia are smaller, which means there are lots of opportunities to get to know and work with the professors here. It's easy to get involved on campus and I loved how socially conscientious and politically active Columbia is. Columbia is not huge on sports or Greek life, but for me that was fine.
I chose Columbia because I fell in love with it the first time I visited its wonderful campus. I love being in New York and meeting such interesting, genuine, kind people. There is never a dull moment. Also, the classes I take here are nothing short of phenomenal. I learn something new every day and the faculty really, really care about undergraduates. The opportunities for work and play are endless at Columbia.
I chose Columbia for the opportunities that it provides from its location in NYC to access to amazing faculty, research and ideas.
I chose Columbia because I wanted to go to a better school than my sisters, and it happened to be in New York, a city I always knew I wanted to live in.
I am a biochemistry major and loved the science opportunities, but also love having the Core to give me some balance in my classes. It was close to my family and in the best city in the world, and I felt like everyone here was independently academically motivated but still appeared friendly and concerned for the world at large.
I love the people I meet at Columbia. They make the experience what it is! They bring different experiences, knowledge and ideas that enlighten me!
The best part of going to Columbia is the amount of opportunities we have academically, extracurricularly, and in the city.
I love the people, I love the setting, and I love my classes. We have some of the best teachers and are surrounded by such brilliant minds that everyone flourishes. Everyone takes their academics seriously, but still manages to have a great time with each other :)
Getting takeout whenever I want and never having to eat dining hall food!
My favorite part of Columbia is just being here. I learn so much in and out of the classroom. It's such a wonderful adventure. I'm making lifelong friends and developing lifelong passions.
I wish I got to see the city more, but I don't really find time for it often.
Sometimes it feels a bit isolating in a single.
Many of the buildings are in poor shape. Also, there are too many departments that don't seem to work together very well - too much bureaucracy.
The social scene is almost entirely based on alcohol (i.e. going out to bars etc) and if you're underage and don't have a fake ID, your choices are really limited. Also, the hook up culture (which I guess is everywhere) makes Columbia a pretty bad place to look for a relationship (or to get your MRS degree)
I wish there was a dining hall on campus open 24 hours a day!
Learn From the Best
Columbia University has one of the most riveting and rigorous academic programs for undergraduates in the country. Everyone in the college bonds over taking the same Core Curriculum. Freshmen travel through some of the greats of Western literature in a class called Literature Humanities. Sophmores do the same but with the tenants of Western philosophy in a course called Conteporary Civilization. All students also have to complete the other core requirements, which consist of Art Humanities, Music Humanities, Frontiers of Science, and two Global Core classes, which aim to illuminate a non-exclusively Western area of thought. Some Global Core classes include Rise of Civilization, Chinese Art, or Comparative Ethnic Studies.
New Collegiette on Campus
Freshmen can live in four different dorm areas:
- John Jay, a dorm of mainly singles, and is socially a happy medium between the craziness of Carman and the quietness of Furnald
- Carman, a dorm of doubles and is notoriously social
- Furnald, a very nice, clean, and quiet dorm with singles and doubles
- Hartley and Wallach, the Living Learning Center where freshmen live with sophmores and have relationships with upperclassmen who help them learn the ropes of Columbia. These dorms are suite-style and have kitchens. Most freshmen are in singles or doubles.
Living in John Jay is a wonderful experience only for first years. It is one of the two completely first year dorms, and there are others that are mixed-grade. Orientation is unavoidably overwhelming but you meet a lot of people that you do in fact stay friends with.
First years live together, mostly, although you have the option to live with sophomores in the Living and Learning Center (LLC). The New Student Orientation Program (NSOP) is basically a week of parties and getting really drunk, which is sort of a good introduction to college although frankly I could have used a day of NSOP not a week.
Being a first-year is awesome. NSOP (New Student Orientation Program) is simply wonderful from the catered food (never to appear again) to festivals to information fairs full of giveaways and fun. First-year housing is pretty decent and relatively cheap. In some dorms, it is much easier to know upperclassman as you are living with them.
All About Academics
Class registration is difficult for freshmen and underclassman as we have the worst time slots, but it's okay because most of the classes we (at least I) signed up for were just for underclassmen. Sign up for gym first semester freshman year as extra spots are specially created/opened up for freshmen. Most people like to study in the library, but I prefer my room.
Around finals time you can't find a seat in any library anywhere unless you wake up at 8 and bring a sleeping bag. For freshman, getting into classes you want to take is difficult (and the Core fills up most of your schedule) but it gets easier the older you are. The workload is intense, but it's your choice -- you can take 4 classes per semester if you want, and actually have a social life, or you can take 6 and basically resign yourself to the library for 4 years.
I feel like a lot of people are Econ or Econ/Poli Sci but I also know a lot of the Pre-Meds, being one of them myself. It is relatively easy to get the classes you want, the advising department is infinitely helpful, and most people spend a lot of time in the library, which makes it a much more fun experience. :)
Interests and Involvement
People generally pick a few clubs, but not as much as in high school. Clubs here are a bit weird as recruit freshman to be committee members before they even get a chance to experience "being in the club". For regular members, this means being spammed from various groups about the events/talks they are holding. However, clubs are a great way to get to know others.
The theater groups on campus are really fun, and generally pretty inclusive although some of the older groups seem like cliques at first.
Yes, a lot of people are in big clubs, devoting more time to them than even to their classes. For me, classes are the focus because I'm trying to get into medical school, but there are clubs available for every major.
There are good sports teams, and everyone has school spirit, but the emphasis is definitely on academics instead of athletics.
Some of the athletes on campus work harder than everyone else because they have to do the same amount of schoolwork and then practice or workout for 3-4 hours per day. Yet there's still a pretty toxic attitude towards athletes because everyone thinks they got into Columbia based on their athletic ability and not their intelligence (which is not true at all, except perhaps with the football team).
Hundreds line up before a game to attempt to score a free, albeit extra-large, t-shirt for whatever sport's game is going on. Almost all of these people line up at least an hour before the game but then leave as soon as they get a t-shirt.
Being a woman on campus is empowering. You're surrounded by so many fierce and fabulous individuals that you can't help but feel fierce and fabulous yourself.
Being a woman on campus is pretty awesome. There are many events promoting empowerment and woman in the sciences, especially at Barnard. Women make up around half of the population here.
The gender ratio is insane. When I was applying, I looked at the Princeton Review statistics and saw that the ratio of women to men was something like 49/51, which I thought was perfect. And then I got to campus and realized that Barnard, an all girls college, is across the street.
I think the environment is empowering, although there is such a large percentage of women on campus between the College and Barnard, that it can be a little overwhelming.
Food & Drink
There are three buffet style dining halls that take meal swipes. The food is getting better, but not worth the $10-$15 cost per swipe that it averages out to be. Freshmen are forced to buy a plan that does not contain rolling swipes and often end up with many leftover swipes every week. Usually upperclassmen make/buy meals as it is much cheaper. There are places to eat within seconds from campus.
The food is great because you don't have to eat at the dining hall! It's New York City!
The food is decent. I wish I had better access to a kitchen, however.
People hang out with friends in dorms such as East Campus or Carman. There are fraternity parties, but one doesn't need to go there to get their fill of alcohol, which is pretty common, but not too out of control. Alternatives are movie nights, eating out, concerts and whatever is available in NYC!
The weekend at Columbia starts on Thursday, and for some people ends on Wednesday.
There are parties, but you can choose to not party at all or party a lot. Every option is open and every option is okay.
Dorm life as a freshman is great. There are two only freshman dorms: John Jay and Carman. Hartley and Wallach compose the Living Learning Center (LLC). Furnald is a freshman and sophomore (lucky ones) dorm. Carman is traditionally the party dorm; John Jay is the friendly and close-knit dorm; Furnald is quiet; the LLC is full of mixed people. The LLC has all grades and hosts amazing events/opportunities to know the city and professors.
The freshman dorms are pretty nice, and you can get a single if you want which I think is rare for freshmen. Housing is guaranteed for four years and most students choose to stay on campus, mostly because living off campus would be expensive.
Exploring New York
There's so much to do!
It's the best city on the planet. There's never a dull moment, and there is ALWAYS an adventure to be had. Going to college here means endless opportunities for fun.
NYC is full of places to explore from Chinatown to Williamsburg to Soho. It is also full of internships, volunteer experiences and job opportunities.
HC's Complete College Guide: Columbia University
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