Location
New York, NY
Undergrads
7,236
Tuition
$47,246
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 1071 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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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.

3 College Sophomore

Greek Life: Only 10% of Columbia students are Greek. They throw several parties. No pressure for getting into one.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: Good Enough – There are choices of getting a suite, single room, walk through double (a room split in half by a door or wall for two people), double, or suite. There are nice options on and off campus. Columbia tries to renovate the housing as much as possible and keep a social environment in them.

2 people found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Computers: Plenty of Labs – A lot of labs and a lot of computers in them. Always a computer available.

4 Recent Alumnus

Majors: The education I received and the relationships I forged are priceless. Columbia University's School of the Arts Theater Department gave me the opportunity to collaborate with exciting and talented artists - both students and faculty. I grew as an artist and a person. However, in terms of getting a job...not very helpful. But that's just the nature of art school.

1 Recent Alumnus

Parking: Cars are unnecessary and often a burden in New York City. In the ten years I lived there, I believe I only knew one person who had a car. I certainly never met a student with a car - it's just not a car-culture-city. There is no parking on campus and while there is street parking in the surrounding area, it can be incredibly difficult and frustrating to snag!

5 Recent Alumnus

Majors: The Playwriting MFA program accepts around ten students per year. To apply, you must submit two playwriting samples (one full-length and another full-length or one-act), a statement of artistic purpose and letters of recommendations from theater professionals. After your submission packet is received, an interview is scheduled with the head of the Playwriting Department.

5 Recent Alumnus

Majors: Ample Opportunity – Columbia University's School of the Arts internship program is excellent - if mostly due to the ample opportunities New York City affords. The school does have good connections and will help get your foot in the door.

3 College Senior

Guys & Girls: Smart but Hard to Find a Relationship – Girls here are very smart, but their intensity and focus makes it really hard to find one who has the time to date. Also, tensions between Barnard and Columbia girls complicate the whole dating scene.

3 people found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Academics: Professors Are Great – Top schools have top professors. As long as you get one who is willing to teach, there is a high probability that he/she will be amazing. Though there are mediocre professors as well, watching the reviews will help you find good professors. Those professors are amazing and can make class a joy. It's amazing how much you can learn in a week here.

4 College Sophomore

Weather: Other Than Rain and the Cold, Campus Is Beautiful – Columbia's campus is what really made me want to go. The hot summers and cold winters of NYC is not the best, but it does do wonders to the landscape. Inside campus, it can be like a wonderland in winter and a scenic park in summer. The only draw back is the rain. Whenever it rains, it floods the streets so that everyone wears rain boots. Umbrellas and rain boots are a must.

4 College Sophomore

Academics: Ivy League Professors Tend to Be Very Smart but Also Very Busy – Columbia is an amazing school academically. This comes without saying since it is one of the top 5 schools in the US. I came to Columbia because I thought the professors were great. However, getting famous professors who are at the forefront of their specialty comes with some drawbacks. They often have their own research and priorities that may interfere with how often they are around. Of course, this depends on what major you are. History professors for example, would contribute more to the class when they are doing their own research. Environmental Science professors on the other hand, may be flying out to do research and give talks at various times throughout the year.

4 College Sophomore

Facilities: You Have Everything You Need – The gym can get a little packed at typical hours of the afternoon, but there are all of the weights, machines, and activities you need. There are many libraries on campus, and they have many computers, scanners and photo copy machines at your disposal. Columbia has great events like StressBusters, where students give your free massage and cookies so you can feel less stressed from the assignments and upcoming exams.

3 College Sophomore

Parking: All Right – Since people are moving around, you can finds a parking spot. But again, in the city it's difficult to find one for your car. Having a car isn't necessary in the city since there are buses and trains that can take you anywhere you want at a good price.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: The campus has a nice scenery and outside there are farmer's markets, diverse restaurants, and the school's theater to take advantage of. Riverside Park is a great place to run and experience nature at its finest in New York City. Columbia has a nice balance of the city life and nature if you need it.

1 College Freshman

Parking: It's NYC – Really, you don't need a car. Student parking doesn't really exist in NYC. Public transit or just walking is the way to go!

5 College Freshman

Diversity: Pretty Great! Columbia is hands down one of the most diverse colleges in the country. I've met people who are rich and poor, young and old, of all sorts of religions and sexual orientations, and from nearly every continent (sorry, Antarctica). The only area that isn't quite as diverse as the others, I'd say, is political beliefs, as the school attracts a slightly more liberal crowd. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't a solid group of conservatives, independents, etc. on campus.

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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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