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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Niche User

Health & Safety: Security is fairly good. I'm never really scared to walk around campus by myself at nighttime. When I feel stressed and like I need some air, I always head out for a walk around campus, even if it's 2 a.m.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Health & Safety: There is a safe haven program where various shops and such around the area can call Columbia directly to get you an escort back to campus should you ever feel uneasy about heading back on your own. You can call for an escort at any point if you don't feel it's safe for you to return by yourself.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Health & Safety: The campus itself has many precautions. You have to use your Columbia ID to get into most places on campus, particularly the library, Lerner Hall (the student center), and any dormitory. Anyone who doesn't have an ID has to be signed in otherwise.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Health & Safety: Security is everywhere on campus. You hear about more crimes from students than you do from neighborhood people, but then again, if you're drunk and wandering around the sketchy streets at 3 a.m., you're just asking for trouble.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Health & Safety: Despite any fears your parents might have, Columbia is extremely safe. Yes, Harlem is next door, but there's nothing unsafe about it. Even former President Bill Clinton hangs out there-his office is in Harlem on 125th Street. Bars are open late, and dining establishments that cater to drunk students are open even later. On non-school nights, there are numerous students stumbling down Broadway drunk, and they would probably be really easy to jump or rob. Does it ever happen? Probably, but it has never happened to anyone I know.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Health & Safety: There are literally cop cars parked on every other block. Seriously. There are NYPD squad cars with two policemen in them. They aren't there to bust underage drinkers; they are there to make sure all the students, many of whom are sons and daughters of rich kids, stay safe. You don't have to worry about safety.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Computers: Here, I would say that it depends on your major. The labs are big, and there is usually space, but if you are going to do English or political science where you will have to write a lot of papers, you should bring your own.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Computers: Having not owned a computer for my first year at Columbia, I can say with some authority, bring or buy a computer, even if it's old. The worst thing is having to run to campus at 4 a.m. to finish a paper in a lab, then realizing that others procrastinated as much as you did, and the room is packed.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Computers: I think it is best to bring a computer, but computer labs in less populated dorms are well-kept secrets, and they're virtually always available.

Niche User

Computers: The computer labs are great, though at times, overcrowded. But most people respect the quiet rule (take all of your cell phone conversations outside), which they do not respect in the library. You definitely need your own computer in order to survive here.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Computers: I'd bring my own computer because it makes life a lot easier. Computer labs are really crowded during exams and midterms, but there are also a bunch of computer labs that students don't generally go to. For example, Mudd is generally emptier than Butler Library.

Niche User

Computers: Computer labs are crowded during the day, but if you don't mind waiting, computer access is not a problem. The limited number of Macs on campus is not good, but the fact that they are not always operational can really be a problem. That said, there are plenty of working PCs. However, the same cannot be said about the campus printers. There are about two printers in each computer lab, and it is rare for both (or even one) to be working properly. Expect long lines for printers.

Niche User

Computers: Finding space in a lab is usually easy, but bring your own computer. I got by without my own printer, but the network printing system isn't always that convenient. The network is fast, but bandwidth restrictions can mess you up for no reason (like if your roommate is on KaZaa all day, your account can suffer).

Niche User

Computers: Having your own computer is a must for convenience and academic sanity. There are plenty of computers available on campus, but the last thing you want to do is put all of your faith in being able to concentrate at the lab while pulling an all-nighter for a paper that's due the next morning.

Niche User

Computers: You definitely should bring your own computer and printer. It's just easier than always having to scout for an open terminal. There are various computer labs on campus, but it's almost always a lot of stress to locate one that's actually available.

Niche User

Computers: The computer labs are good and not always crowded because students bring their own computers. If you do bring your own computer, you have access to the Internet in your room.

Niche User

Computers: Most people have their own computers. I'd suggest having one, but computer labs usually have room in them, so it's really just a convenience thing.

Niche User

Computers: Bring your own computer for sure-you'll want it for AOL Instant Messenger.

Niche User

Computers: There are computer labs in every building, and in some buildings, there are two or three labs. Many of them stay open for 24 hours, but I prefer my own PC. It's better to have one in your room so that at any hour of the day, you can do your work without walking to the lab.

Niche User

Computers: The Ethernet connection in all the dorms is awesome. It definitely beats my dial-up connection at home. There are plenty of labs around campus that you can access, but it's also pretty convenient to have your own computer.

Niche User

Computers: The computer network is great. It's fast and convenient. The labs are sometimes crowded. The printers are out of paper sometimes. You could get by without your own computer. People do that. But it's more convenient to have your own, especially during those last minutes before a paper is due. It's bad when you just need to print something out, and the printer is either crowded, broken, or out of paper! Personally, I would rather have my own.

Niche User

Computers: You definitely don't need your own computer, but if you do decide to get one, get a laptop. I learned the hard way this year that laptops are so much better than desktops. You really don't need them because the school is well equipped with computer labs. However, if you don't have one, you'll miss out on the best part of college-AIM and downloading from Morpheus or KaZaa.

Niche User

Facilities: The facilities are beautiful. No other campus in NYC rivals it. And it is one of the only places in New York where grass is present. The gym is crowded but nice-truly the best place on campus to spot hotties.

2 people found this useful Report
Niche User

Facilities: The libraries are staffed by people who actually know what they are doing, and the stacks are well maintained. The media centers can be crowded, especially in the course reserve section. If you have to watch a video for a class, watch it early because there are usually only one or two copies on reserve.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Facilities: An area that receives constant complaints at Butler Library (the main library on campus) is the digital editing equipment. There are only two stations for the entire undergraduate population, and there is a two-hour limit per session. This makes it very difficult to finish film projects.

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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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