Location
New York, NY
Undergrads
7,236
Tuition
$47,246
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 1087 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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5 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Columbia has a postbaccalaureate program, which isn't as common as one would imagine. It is wonderful because they understand that as time goes on things change. Students may need other courses before applying to graduate school. The workload is hard when coming back after taking six years off from university, but it is doable.

5 Recent Alumnus

Majors: It is so nice to have a university that devotes faculty to postbaccalaureate students. A number of universities I considered were unresponsive and disinterested. I really love Columbia for this.

3 Recent Alumnus

Health & Safety: I Don't Have the Full Picture – There are security guards at the entrances to the university. They are helpful when asking for directions but I haven't seen them do anything besides sit there. The area surrounding the campus is much safer than it used to be. I have also never seen a campus with better security.

Recent Alumnus

Campus Dining: I Don't Use – I don't use the dining halls. There are a few places on campus for postbaccalaureate students such as Brads. Outside of campus are a number of options as well as grocery stores for fresh food.

5 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: It's NYC – New York is the cultural hub of the United States and as a Columbia student you gain free access to museums like the MET and MOMA and discount tickets to places such as Carnegie Hall. If museums and classical music aren't your thing, there are more than enough sports teams in just about every sport, some of the locations are a bit more difficult to reach but others are just a train ride away. There are concert venues, parks, and free events throughout the city. You just have to be willing and able.

5 Recent Alumnus

Transportation: Easy as – New York City is the easiest US city to navigate. You can walk, bus, train or taxi. The only option I don't recommend is driving, tickets rack up quite quickly. Columbia is on the 1 local train. It is easy to transfer to the 2 or 3. I don't take the buses on route around campus but that is only because I live about 45 minutes away and take the subway.

2 Recent Alumnus

Scholarships: Unless You're Completely Broke, Don't Bother – The title says it all. Unless you AND your family are nearly destitute don't bother applying for financial aid. You're better off looking at private funding and scholarships. Though I've heard you can leverage your offers with other schools to get a better deal when entering.

4 Recent Alumnus

Majors: Great Classes, Make Sure You Have a Game Plan – I graduated with a joint political science and economics degree. The program has great instructors, but classes for those instructors can fill up quickly. It's easy to graduate without a lot of specificity in your courses, but if you want to be prepared for post-university life, you'll want to build that specificity in yourself.

3 Recent Alumnus

Overall Experience: Good Academics, Not So Good People – Almost all of the people that I encountered at the school were stuck up for one reason or another- they thought they were smarter than everyone else, or richer than everyone else (which is probably true), or prettier/more handsome than everyone else. The sense of entitlement overran the place, so the people, in general, were not to my liking.

With that said, the school had a very good academic environment, if you're goal oriented and know what you want out of school.

3 College Senior

Overall Experience: The courses are interesting but they are renewing the curriculum next year so it feels like my class is getting the leftovers.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Academics: Improve the Admin – The class schedule was not up by July 1 when we had to register on July 16. The administration could use some work in order to bring advising, scheduling, financial aid discussions to the standard expected of an Ivy League school.

4 College Senior

Campus Strictness: Very Safe Campus – Some people I talk to are concerned with the safety in a big city like New York. Columbia does an excellent job in providing adequate security and a feeling of safety on and around the campus. I never feel unsafe, and they quickly address any issues that present themselves.

5 College Senior

Overall Experience: I really love it here at Columbia. Living in NYC is fantastic, and the school tries to take advantage of the opportunities the location presents as much as possible. The professors are great, and the facilities are impeccable. I would highly recommend it to anyone serious about getting a great education.

5 College Senior

Drug Safety: What If You Don't Drink, Smoke, or Do Drugs? I don't drink, smoke or do drugs, and yet I am thoroughly enjoying my experience at Columbia. If you don't want to participate in those activities, it is still possible to be social and have a good time without feeling pressured.

3 College Junior

Facilities: Some Things to Do – Columbia University is an absolutely beautiful campus, and is very well maintained. Dodge Fitness Center is crowded sometimes, but a great place to work out, and Baker Field would be great, if it wasn't so inconvenient to get to. There are campus events sometimes, but the school leaves it up to the students to use New York as their playground.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Nightlife: There are a few bars in the Morningside Heights area, all of which card, and it is very hard to go out without having a fake ID. Even a fake ID is not helpful when it comes to going out in New York City, and it is definitely hard to be under 21. Best bet - find a local bodega that doesn't card and party in your dorm.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Diversity: There are so many different kinds of people at Columbia, from many countries, religious backgrounds, ethnicities, etc. There is an amazing atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance that pervades the majority of the student body, and I personally have had so many interesting experiences with exposure to new cultures and traditions.

4 College Junior

Off-Campus Dining: Going Beyond Morningside – There are some great restaurants in the Morningside Heights neighborhood, like Community Food and Juice and Le Monde, that are a bit pricy, but worth the expense. There are also basic chain restaurants like Chipotle, Five Guys, etc. However, the trick to finding great dining options is to hop on the 1 train and explore the city! There is nothing like living in New York City, and Columbia students who take advantage of events like Restaurant Week and other opportunities don't regret it!

4 College Sophomore

Weather: Very Cold in Winter, but No Snow – NYC has great weather all year round, with pleasant fall weather right up until November and great spring weather starting in mid-March. The period from November-March (of which you'll probably spend most of December-January back home) gets progressively colder and then warmer around March, with bitter cold winds. It's made manageable, however, by the fact that there's barely any snow in winter.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Great Variety and Taste – When you first eat at the dining halls, you will be overwhelmed by the sheer variety of foods available, and that feeling won't die for another month. As with all other things, campus food gets repetitive; luckily, however, there are quite a few locations that accept Flex/Dining Dollars on-campus (and Flex dollars off-campus) that have great food. There are also some _amazing_ places on campus that only accept cash (and they are the places you will not regret spending on).

A lot of people choose not to go with a meal plan after freshman year, and a lot of people do. See what works better for you - meals from your dining plan, or a lot of flex/dining dollars. You can get meals at the dining halls with Flex/Dining Dollars, too.

Dining halls that accept the meal plan: Ferris Booth, John Jay Hall, JJ's Place (this place is amazing for a late night snack)
Other great places on campus (Flex/Dining Dollars/cash/credit card): Carleton Lounge (Mudd building), Cafe 212, Cafe East (both in Lerner)
Great places on and around campus that only take cash/credit card: Joe Coffee (Northwest Corner Building; you'll never go to Starbucks again), Brownie's Cafe (Avery), Nussbaum and Wu Cafe (113th and Broadway), Hungarian Pastry Shop (112th and Amsterdam)

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Weather: It Is Okay.. summer...NYC is really hot..

Winter...NYC...it is really cold..

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Could Be Better – The food in Columbia's 2 dining halls is okay, but it get's old after a while. I greatly prefer Hewitt dining hall, which is right across the street at Barnard. The food there is great, and there are always free seats, but many students complain that it's too far away (it's literally right across the street).

4 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Go Find the Small Places Around Campus – Protip: get a meal plan with the smallest number of meals/most dining dollars. The cafeteria isn't bad by any rate, but even the best food will get boring if it becomes routine. So instead, use your dining dollars to eat at random sandwich shops and cafes around campus. If you're feeling super rich or adventurous, go off campus and experience the dining possiblities of NYC.

4 College Freshman

Computers: Generally speaking, being able to have your own computer or a personal printer is often unnecessary. Better spend the money on other things. Columbia's computer facilities are only heavily used in midterms/finals season, and you will really never exceed the weekly 100 sheet maximum for printing. The equipment is usually pretty new/up to date. Wifi in the dorms is top-notch and quite easy to use.

3 College Freshman

Athletics: Cool but Not Overwhelming – Varsity sports at Columbia are not super-emphasized. For fans, the events are well-attended, but we don't necessarily have top teams for major sports like football, basketball, or baseball. However, if you're looking to do a sport, there are many fun options regardless of fan base. I hear the rugby club is doing quite well. School spirit is strong, but none of the big sports are really up there.

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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Sara Cervantes
Hometown
Austin, TX
Major
English and American Studies
Grad Year
2014
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Columbia has a unique culture and school spirit. The intense workload and level of academic rigor bring students together in a culture of cozy complaint. Columbians constantly whine about their amount of work, but they also find a way to come together and persevere, and friendships are formed in this shared struggle.

Columbia is not for the faint of heart or those who need their hand to be held every step of the way through their college career. If you need help and seek it out, you will find it. But no one is going to sit down and explain everything to you, and Columbia can be pretty intimidating for that reason. However, this means that students are given the opportunity from the get-go to be independent and to decide for themselves what their college experience will mean for them. Columbia provides amazing resources and can help you achieve just about anything, or will at the very least encourage you to pursue whatever it is you want. The academics are amazing, and the Core Curriculum gives students a shared knowledge of Western thought, which is hugely influential in the way students will approach academics, careers, and life in general. The Columbia experience is an incredible one, and any student lucky enough to get in should definitely take advantage of such a wonderful, rare opportunity!

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