|By Angelst17 (Angelst17) on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 06:26 pm: Edit|
For those of you who go to Columbia...how strong is the sense of community and on-campus events? When I visited last week, the presenter made it seem as though there really was a community and a ton of stuff happening on campus. Yet from what I've heard, that is not the case. Thanks for your help.
|By Elleneast (Elleneast) on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 09:11 pm: Edit|
I get the impression that Columbia is not a rah-rah place where absolutely everyone must go to sporting events together but that it is a place where there are many smaller vibrant communities within the school (and some of them actually do go to sporting events). My daughter is just starting so I may not be your best resource but she is finding that between the school and the city there is always something to do...you gather up your group of friends and go do it. There are speakers or concerts on campus or you can go down to the Village and walk around. Go to the Guggenheim in the afternoon and down to Chelsea for a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at night. You can hit the gym or go for a run in Central Park. There are also many clubs and public service opportunities.
It seems to be a school for individuals who create their own small communities and follow their own notion of what is fun. I can tell you that they ran a terrific orientation which provided many opportunities to get to know people and my daughter has found the course advising excellent.
|By Sac (Sac) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 02:50 pm: Edit|
Nice to hear that the advising is good so far, Elleneast, since I know advising is not supposed to be Columbia's strong suit. Please keep posting on your daughter's experiences there, as my son is very interested in Columbia -- both excited and, perhaps, a little apprehensive about NYC. One question -- is your daughter finding plenty of entertainment that is free or has good student rates? Any suggestions she could offer about settling in to college life there? Dorms, courses, etc?
|By Elleneast (Elleneast) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 04:57 pm: Edit|
First let me tell you that we are not city dwellers so I was a bit nervous about my child living in NYC. I think that my daughter felt the same excitement/apprehension as your son. We live within a few hours so she has spent many Sundays with the parentals at museums or the theater there and so is not totally unfamiliar with NYC. When she became very interested in Columbia we made a point of heading up for a visit every time we came into the city....it is a bustling and lively city neighborhood. Best pizza ever.
With a Columbia ID a student can enter many museums free of charge. There are student discounts for theater & opera tickets. I think that they can get discounts at the 92St. Y lecture series- which is outstanding. There are also many, many inexpensive places to eat in the neighborhood if you need a break from campus food....even though my picky eater has said that the cafeteria food is not half bad.
Columbia College has obviously taken past criticism of it's advising system to heart and a year or two ago instituted a program where an advisor is assigned to every incoming frosh. I think that they are called class deans - this is a person who advises full time and not a professor trying to fit his/her advisees in between their own teaching responsibilities. I also think that a departmental advisor is eventually assigned. My daughter has been very satisfied with the arrangement thus far and has felt that her advisor was most helpful in getting her through her first registration and course selection process.
The Core does have specific reguirements but if you do well on the school's placement tests you can tweak your schedule even your first semester. My daughter chose not to opt out of any subject because of her AP standing but was very interested in being at a more challenging level in one or two courses. Coming from a very small high school program there was a bit of shock at registration because you don't always get into every section that you want....but with her advisor educating her as to the ways of Columbia, everything seems to have worked out just as she had hoped.
The campus is contained which makes it easy to keep secure and getting into any building without an ID check is an impossibility. The neighborhood off campus is well lit at night and very busy even though you have to remember that you are in a city and not behave stupidly.
The best thing that my daughter did to help with the adjustment of being at Columbia was participate in one of the pre-orientation programs. They last for four or five days before orientation and can be an outdoor program in the Catskills or a public service program in the city. My daughter's was well organized and quite challenging. She returned with a group of friends who continued to be the people that she met up with when attending orientation activities. She loved it. One huge perk, if you do one of these programs, is that you get to move into your dorm early....it was a piece of cake.
Sorry to have gone on and on....she is happy as a clam there but is still in the honeymoon period. I will pop back as the year goes on.
|By Ml41588 (Ml41588) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 09:28 pm: Edit|
Elleneast- your experience/your daughter's experience with columbia is really helpful! thanks so much for posting, and i hope you keep us updated!
|By Elleneast (Elleneast) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 11:50 am: Edit|
I should clarify one thing....when I said that an ID check takes place, I meant to say that they take place at the dorms. I suspect that you can' t enter any building without a check but I do not know that for certain.
FYI, the government has a site where crime data is listed for most colleges campuses and their surrounding neighborhoods. See below...
|By Sac (Sac) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 02:00 pm: Edit|
Thanks, Elleneast. We have visited Columbia and agree with you about the neighborhood, which we found urban of course, but not threatening. We come from a city of sorts -- Berkeley -- with a lot of pathology out on the street, so it's not really city life so much as the sheer size of NYC that's a little daunting. But in our case, there's also the matter of being 3000 miles away.
It's good to hear that your daughter found the class dean system works, since I believe they are each responsible for hundreds of students. I will also pass on the advice about the orientation options to my son, should the time come that he's accepted. I asked the question about expenses because my son's passion is jazz, and I notice in the Sunday NYT that the clubs cost about $20 with $10 minimum. That's steep for a student.
Please keep up the posts over the coming months. Does your daughter have a professor or t.a.s teaching her core course and is that an issue for her? It's nice how her APs gave her some leeway. Does she think she'll be able to fit in enough electives to explore new things, given the heavy core requirements and whatever her major requirements turn out to be. (Do you know what her major might be yet?). Are faculty approachable? Thanks so much. There's nothing like experience to get beyond the gilded tours.
|By 52122 (52122) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 12:00 pm: Edit|
Don't agree with any of this discussion. My kid just checked into columbia and finds the system byzantine,kids swarming around in tri-state cliques, phones broken,the feeling anonymous, has been closed out of every class,profesors snotty,and is extremely disappointed. As for me, as a tuiton-paying parent, I'm livid.
|By Sac (Sac) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 12:44 pm: Edit|
Ah, please detail.
|By Elleneast (Elleneast) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 01:40 pm: Edit|
I am sorry that it is not going well. My daughter went knowing no one and I guess was quite lucky to have connected with some people. Did your son/daughter come to school late?
I am not an alum or was not cheerleading for the school in any way when I posted. I am just calling it as seen by myself and reported by the D. She did have to go to a class with an add/drop slip and speak with the Prof to get in. She also spent a couple of days playing with the sessions for particular subjects to get it the way that she wanted it.
|By Ml41588 (Ml41588) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 02:54 pm: Edit|
52122..I's sorry to hear this. I hope things are looking up for you child. Anymore particulars on what's going wrong?
|By 52122 (52122) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 03:03 pm: Edit|
someone asked for detail on the negatives of the columbia experience. re scheduling classes, it's all computerized and very difficult to even get onto the server. my kid has tried to change or drop classes without any luck or civility. professors will not initial change requests even for introductory courses with prerequisites (says class is overbooked; i know that students will inevitably drop classes so there's probably room, plus, at other more personalized schools, exceptions are made). Although columbia "boasts" that they are the "smallest" of the Ivies, it doesn't feel small or personal at all. Many of the students in the classes seem to be grad students or possibly from school of general studies..who knows. many kids are walking around in packs from the high schools, parochial schools or prep schools. any problem merely gets directed to a website or voicemail; people are distancing and proforma if you get them on the phone. hope it turns around, but right now it feels like we've been hyped and that it's the wrong place for an undergraduate. my guess is that there are a lot of students one never hears from who actually "hate" columbia once they get there...actually that's more than a guess, an editorial in the orientation newspaper and in a recent spectator talked about this..lack of student services is why it's #11 in the us news survey and while yale is #3.
|By Aparent (Aparent) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 03:40 pm: Edit|
Yes, there were two discouraging pieces in the Spectator: http://www.columbiaspectator.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/08/28/3f4e1a5e9f1fa
|By Sac (Sac) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 01:26 pm: Edit|
Thanks for those links. Obviously, it takes some fortitude to get the most out of Columbia. But I also hear it's somewhat of a "tradition" among both students and faculty at Columbia to be highly critical, especially in public. They don't do well in football, so maybe criticism is the campus sport.
But seriously, please keep the personal experiences coming. It already seems as if Elleneast's daughter's orientation session was really key to her running start on her freshman year there, which is a great piece of information to have.
|By Aparent (Aparent) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 06:45 pm: Edit|
Sac, I agree with you re the tradition of being critical. A Columbia student pointed out on another thread that students there are very idealistic and that, as such, they are prone to cynicism and irony. I thought that was a good point. Also, New Yorkers aren't big on gushing. I think students at Columbia may be picking up some local "attitude," which sounds a lot more negative than it really is. We have visited Columbia quite a few times and found the students very enthusiastic about their activities and very supportive of one another.
Also agree, please keep posting the personal experiences. It is so helpful.
|By Sac (Sac) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 07:29 pm: Edit|
Aparent, do you have a senior who will be applying to Columbia? If so, what are his/her interests and what appeals about Columbia? Care to describe any more experiences/impressions from your visits?
|By Elleneast (Elleneast) on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 06:20 pm: Edit|
I asked about getting on the server during registration when the D called today and she said that she also had difficulty. The school assigns you a time to go online to register and during her appointment time she could not get in....she found a phone# to call in her orientation packet and registered that way. Her roommate got online with no problem and easily registered for everything that she wanted.
The protocol seems to be that a student registers for five or sometimes six majors and, during the following week, drops one or two. That means that if you don't get into a class that you really want you attend anyway and hope that someone will drop it. Sometimes if there is a huge demand they will open another class session. There is a one or two week drop/add period when students "shop around" and when the D did not get into a higher level session that she wanted her advisor told her to be patient and it all might work out as people dropped out.....luckily it did. Four courses are said to be the norm....some take five....I am sure that a few amazingly driven kids find a way to take more.
Fortunately, her father went to a university that handled things in a similar way and let her know that you might not get to take everything that you want at a particular time but over the course of four years you will get into just about everything. He also thought that some of the courses that he hadn't planned on taking were the best of his college career.
The D has professors and at least one TA teaching her this term. Her Literature and Humanities course (one of the core curriculum courses) is being taught by a TA who she feels speaks well and is into the subject matter.
Sac- I asked the D about jazz clubs or other activities on a student budget and she said that people told her to look in the Village Voice. I don't know about jazz clubs but occasionally there are performers getting ready to tour who go to smaller venues to get reactions....the D went to a comedy club recently for free. She did complain that the student tickets for the popular shows on Broadway were $40, which is better than full price but a bit steep for a student.
The D went in as a possible chem major with medical school in mind but we have encouraged her not to fixate on any one thing. Undergrad is a time to explore a little.
|By Elleneast (Elleneast) on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 06:56 pm: Edit|
"The D has professors and at least one TA teaching her this term. Her Literature and Humanities course (one of the core curriculum courses) is being taught by a TA who she feels speaks well and is into the subject matter."
The D thinks that it is a TA but is not sure.
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