Location
New York, NY
Undergrads
7,236
Tuition
$47,246
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 999 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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5 College Freshman

Facilities: Just the name brand education of Columbia university opens up so many doors, even after just one year. The city just makes it unrivaled for the ivys, NYC is just amazing, especially when you aren't from here and its your first time in a big city with a whole bunch of other college kids.
I hear CO-OP was one of the funnest experiences for many people who did it, and I really wish that I did it as a freshman.
The opportunities that appear after attending Columbia are just endless, and if you can afford it, it will likely be worth it in the long run.

3 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: I personally am biased against this question about campus strictness because of a few bad experiences I have had with the judicial affairs office. Most of the RAs are really chill and do not mind drinking at all, even noise is excused. However, there are the occasional strict as shit RAs, such as the 5th floor carman RA this year.... The judicial affairs office is run by a few people that just hate kids apparently, they constantly have meetings for small offenses, such as drinking in dorms. They hate when rooms get written up with beer pong tables and hate kegs so much, so maybe thats why they were extra douche-y to me when I got written up. They usually start with a warning only, but weed they take pretty seriously, which is unfortunate when you come from california where it is essentially legal... The police don't do s*** though, its just the RAs that you have to worry about, so its not that bad if you are smart about parties.

5 College Freshman

Overall Experience: I absolutely love it here, but it might just be because I also am loving my classes/major as much as I am loving the social aspects of the city. Most of the professors are great, its easy to find a good group of friends (assuming you live in Carman or John Jay!), and overall the atmosphere is really vibrant, active and exciting. Some of the core classes are absolutely awful though, ie. Frontiers of science and some of the global cores, and especially UNIVERSITY WRITING. but some of them are great as well.

3 College Freshman

Greek Life: There are a few better and "normal"ish frats here, but 3 of them are losing their houses because of the drug bust. With all the bars nearby though, greek like never really played too much of a role in the partying. During NSOP week the frats are really fun though, but as the year continues they definitely decline.
The sororities seem pretty chill, little to no hazing, good friendships made and really really fun open bar formals at clubs downtown. they don't throw parties too much though, but with all of the city you don't really need it

4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: Morningside heights has become such a college town, the blocks from 106-120 are essentially a private neighborhood and it has become so gentrified. I was really worried about Harlem being nearby before I came, but I have not felt afraid about anything since arriving here. (except when homeless people follow you screaming for money, but not really near campus usually).
Health services are pretty good, but it is very annoying in my opinion to have to give your key to a person at the front desk in all the dorms, but I guess in NYC you need that...

4 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Dining Halls – The food really is not that bad, but having a mandatory meal plan as a freshman makes it seem awful by the end of the year. I was very content with the dining halls for the first semester, but after not wanting to waste the 15 meals Columbia makes me have a week, I eat there way more than I would like to. Can't wait until next year when don't have a meal plan though!

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Guys & Girls: Diverse - but Busy Busy – A nice range to choose from - ethnically and economic status... you name it. Just everyone is very busy, and being NYC .. you need to make an effort to meet people. But very rewarding if you do make the attempt! :D

1 person found this useful Report
1 College Senior

Off-Campus Housing: VERY EXPENSIVE – Very expensive. Difficult to find anything below $800/mo. I did manage to find something cheaper, but it's a real dump and I can't wait to move out!

2 College Sophomore

Weather: Cold and Snowy – I am from southern california, so I dont deal well with the snow

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Diversity: Apples and Mangoes and Lychee, Oh My! In terms of diversity, you can't really have much more than Columbia -there's a whole staff devoted to making sure diversity ain't just a word around here! The HUGE amount of international students definitely helps (my best friend is from Transylvania and lives within walking distance of Dracula's castle!), but Columbia isn't just diverse in terms of where everybody is from. There's also representatives from every religion you can imagine and people of every political viewpoint, social standing, and sexual identity you've ever (and never) heard of.

4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: A Bite from the Big Apple – Take one step off campus, and you're surrounded by two things- restaurants and book shops! In terms of restaurants, there's a little bit of everything, but then, what did you expect? It's New York City!

Close to campus, there's Ollie's, a popular Chinese restaurant that's not completely wonderful- but, it makes up for the taste with the price. Very cheap! Also, we have Tom's Diner (the one from Seinfeld) if you like the touristy thing, and about a million little asian shops scattered around everywhere.

My favorite though is probably the Halal cart on 115th and Broadway. The guy who runs it is super nice, and you get a full dinner for $5! Also, Koronet's on 111th is the best pizza place in Morningside. The slices are (literally) bigger than my head!

Not to forget, we also have the requisite Starbuck's on every corner, although Oren's Daily Roast serves a much better coffee if you don't mind a few extra minutes of walking.

Oh, and the Hungarian Pastry Shop on Amsterdam has free WiFi and AMAZING pastry! Bring your laptop and manage to snag a table, and you can make a cup of coffee and a Danish last through an entire 6 page paper!

5 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: And Never the Twain Shall Meet (Part 1) – Can't decide between big city or tight-knit campus? I couldn't either until I visited Columbia for the first time for Days on Campus. I touched down in LaGuardia and was immediately thrown head first into the NYC hustle and bustle - the sweet sounds of honking taxis complete with drivers flipping you off for walking in front of them and hot dog sellers on every street corner. In terms of city life- what city can really claim to rival "The Big Apple"?

Needless to say, Broadway is amazing, but there's also Soho, Hell's Kitchen, Chinatown, and Lincoln Center. (Lincoln Center is awesome if you have an unexpected night free- show up an hour before the show and get a student rush ticket for $15!)

Plus, with a Columbia ID you get free admission into almost every museum in NYC, and if you want to party- NYU is just a subway ride away.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Parking: The school offers parking optins, but your best bet is to take the subway. It is most conveinenant and you will never have to drive in NY.

4 College Sophomore

Athletics: The athletics department at Columbia is great and it offers all types of clubs and student athletics. The team spirit is great here and everyone seems to get involved in a different club. There is alot of diversity here.

5 College Sophomore

Academics: The academics at Columbia are simple amazing. You will find that the College has many connections to advance careers and one really has to focus to make the best of it. The name Columbia rings a bell with every major company and it has a great reputation. The academics are unlimited and it is very focused and organized. Any student wouold be happy to come here.

2 College Sophomore

Scholarships: Adequate university grants are extremely difficult for students to receive if they come from a middle-class family or have any kind of special circumstances. Financial aid advisors are unavailable and impossible to contact long-distance (a serious problem for parents and students who are away from campus - for example, during summer). Students are generally very unsatisfied with the financial aid office.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Transportation: Subway Is Best Option – New York's MTA offers cheap public transportation and Columbia has their own subway stop for the local 1 Train located near the center of campus (116th/Broadway). For a fare of $2.25, a student can travel anywhere in Manhattan on the subway. MTA buses run frequently and usually on-time as well, for the same fare. Taxis are relatively expensive but very convenient and easy to catch.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Facilities: Dodge Athletic Complex – Columbia's main gymnasium is quite nice, offering many classes, personal trainers, and well-functioning, available equipment for all work-out needs.

3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Good Options – Columbia has a nice variety of food offerings, but everything does get old after a while. I do think, however, that a lot of students here complain more than necessary... everything's pretty good. Can't say much about the meat, but they have a lot of vegetarian/vegan options.

4 College Junior

Scholarships: I received a good amount of financial aid once I filled out the necessary paperwork. The financial aid advisors are easy to get in contact with and the office usually has walk in hours all throughout the year. And the waiting period is not long at all.

4 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Local Atmoshpere – The local atmosphere of New York City is great. There is always something going on and something to do no matter what kind of activity one is looking for. The area Columbia is located is safe, as a girl living off campus I have never felt endangered in any way.

4 College Junior

Academics: The academics here are very good. As a transfer student I can see the difference in quality of education at Columbia compared to my old school. All the professors want to teach here and are good at it. The workload is a little above average although there are many classes to chose from so it is not hard to find an interesting class where one might even enjoy doing the work

3 College Junior

Greek Life: Although there is greek life at Columbia it is not the center of Columbia's social life. There are parties but mostly freshman and sophmores go to them

1 Recent Alumnus

Guys & Girls: Snobs, Snobs, Snobs – Columbia is a very isolating experience. The only friends I made transfered out. Mostly rich entitled snobs who look on down on everyone, especially GS students. Truly sickening.

6 people found this useful Report
2 College Senior

Nightlife: Go to NYU – If you want a more legit party, head downtown to the NYU paty scene or go to Brooklyn. Columbia has its raucous parties filled with Four Loko and sometimes even with hired bartenders in dorm rooms, but parties tend to be less crazy than expected at a university. Frat parties are fun freshman year, but the allure dies after that. Parties at Columbia are kind of how you'd expected Ivy League parties to be: conversation too often leans toward the intellectual or political, music is eh, and alcohol is the only thing keeping it going.

2 people found this useful Report
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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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