Facilities

Location
New York, NY
Undergrads
7,236
Tuition
$47,246
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews

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4 College Junior

Facilities: Overall, I love Columbia's campus. It is incredibly compact, and with the space constraints of New York, most of the buildings are old and tall. The gym sucks, the greens are small but beautiful, and it is a miracle we have them at all, considering the location. And the architecture is gorgeous. Lerner (student center) is often mocked but totally adequate. The libraries are numerous and beautiful, though they will be totally filled during finals. Cafes in the area take up the overflow.

3 College Sophomore

Facilities: The campus is beautiful, but it is pretty small (since there isn't much space in NYC). Most of the good spaces open for studying are crowded.

3 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Facilities: This question is really obscure so I'll say Columbia is awesome. 10/10. Would definitely recommend.

4 College Sophomore

Facilities: There's always something to do, no matter what your interests are.

5 College Senior

Facilities: The General Studies program at Columbia University was established in 1947 to support students who had had a break in their education, focused mainly around men who had been drafted during World War II. The school has opened up more and accepts many students classified as non-traditional. This program has provided many people with second chances at their education and first chance at one of the most well known colleges in the country. The program even continues the tradition of those who have served in the military, holding a Veteran population of over 400. General Studies students typically do very well at the school and professors enjoy the life experiences and insight brought into the classroom. It truly is a unique and incredible opportunity for many.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 81st
    Best Library
  • 298th
    Best Performance Venues
  • 474th
    Greenest Campuses
  • 565th
    Best Student Centers
  • 1312nd
    Best Athletic Facilities

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Sara Cervantes
Hometown
Austin, TX
Major
English and American Studies
Grad Year
2014
View all previous student authors

Walking onto Columbia's Morningside campus, one immediately notices the gorgeous, neoclassical architecture of the buildings. Columbia certainly looks its age, in that most buildings were built with a specific, traditional style in mind, which gives most of the buildings on campus a sense of cohesion. However, this focus on traditional aesthetics can be seen as harmful in that Columbia is not as technologically up-to-date as it should be, considering its resources and ranking as one of the top colleges in the nation. There are some modern buildings (Lerner Hall and the Northwest Corner Building) which do not fit with the aesthetics of the campus, but are decidedly more useful for students.

While most Columbia students would rather venture off campus in search of fun, Columbia's student center (Lerner Hall) provides lots of space and resources for students to utilize in their free time. When students aren't taking advantage of Lerner, they are most likely studying in a library. The most popular library on campus is Butler, which is constantly packed and often filled to capacity during finals. Luckily, Columbia has 25 libraries from which to choose, so students will always be able to find a spot in which to study—as long as they don't mind searching a bit off the beaten path.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
1,003
Campus Size
299 acres
Student Centers
Alfred Lerner Hall
Campus Library?
Yes
Main Libraries
  • Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library
  • Butler Library
  • C.V. Starr East Asian Library
  • Mathematics Library
  • Monell Engineering Library
  • Science & Engineering Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • Café 212/Café East
  • Hartley Lounge
  • The lawns in the center of campus in warm weather
  • Lerner Hall
Bar on Campus
None
Bowling on Campus
None
Coffeehouse on Campus
  • Café 212 is a small café in Lerner Hall which offers standard coffee shop beverages and pastries, as well as more substantial offerings such as sandwiches and pasta.
  • Carleton Lounge
  • Joe the Art of Coffee is a relatively recent addition to Columbia's campus, serving up gourmet coffee and snacks in Columbia's Northwest Corner Building. This café serves as a popular place to study, but beware of the ridiculously long lines which occur after classes end.
  • The Butler Café serves essentially exactly the same pastries and coffee beverages as Café 212, at slightly higher prices (due to the convenient in-library location).
  • Uris Café is located in Uris, the building which houses Columbia Business School. The offerings here are similar to those at Café 212 and Butler Café, with the addition of a few more substantial food options (sandwiches, soups, etc.).
Movie Theater on Campus
Roone Arledge Auditorium in Lerner Hall
"Green" Initiatives
Columbia has several "green" organizations and initiatives which aim to promote sustainability on campus. The Green Umbrella is Columbia's network of environmental student groups which work together in order to coordinate efforts and make Columbia into a green community. Examples of projects include "Give and Go Green" sales, in which students donate unwanted items for purchase at the start of the next school year, and the Food Sustainability Project, in which students tend to a campus vegetable garden and reap the benefits by harvesting and consuming their crops.
School Slang
  • "The class is taught by a graduate student.": To your mother, this means that a TA or teaching assistant is teaching your class. To you, it means that someone who's quite close to your age will be responsible for instructing you and grading you.
  • Bwog: This is the name of Columbia's main student blog. Visiting bwog.com will definitely expose you to all the Columbia slang you could ever want to know.
  • CC: Contemporary Civilizations-the required political- and philosophical-thought course for second-year students
  • Courseworks: A website where professors post assignments and where students post weekly discussion posts for some classes
  • CULPA: This is the online resource for students wishing to glean what others think about professors at Columbia. Just type www.culpa.info, and you'll find out whether your teacher has the elusive golden nugget rating.
  • Frontiers/FroSci: Depending on who you talk to, most people will refer to "Frontiers of Science" (a required first-year science class) by either of these abbreviations.
  • HamDel: Hamilton Deli on 116th Street and Amsterdam, producers of all kinds of hangover-curing hoagies. They deliver.
  • Lit Hum: "Literature Humanities"; everybody, even the freshmen, enjoy this required first-year literature course dubbed "Lit Hum."
  • NoCo: This refers to the Northwest Corner Building, a building which houses lots of research facilities and sits at 120th and Broadway.
  • PrezBo: President Lee C. Bollinger's nickname. Though one wouldn't suggest calling him this to his face...
Traditions
  • Bacchanal: Every spring, Columbia hosts a free concert for students. Some examples of past acts include alums Vampire Weekend, rapper Snoop Dogg, and Of Montreal.
  • Orgo Night/Primal Scream/Campus-Wide Pillow Fight: These festivities occur every finals season in order to relieve some of the stress of cramming a semester's worth of organic chemistry or philosophy into your brain in the span of reading days.
  • Tree Lighting Ceremony: Every winter, Columbia holds a ceremony in which deans give speeches and free hot chocolate. After the ceremony, the lights which cover the trees lining College Walk are lit up, giving campus a festive glow for the holidays.
  • Varsity Show: Every year a group of talented Columbia students comes together in order to write and produce a musical based on Columbia and the events which have occurred that school year.
Urban Legends
  • A myth has been created in order to explain inconsistencies in the swim test requirement. Rumor has it that Columbia College students need to take the swim test in case Manhattan is attacked to ensure that students can swim to New Jersey. Engineering students, however, don't have to take the test because they will be able to build a boat!
  • The Alma Mater statue in front of Low Library doubles as a mythical matchmaker. It is rumored that the first boy to spot the owl hidden within her robes will be valedictorian, and the girl who finds it will marry him. Of course, this is an antiquated and sexist tradition, especially since many valedictorians are women, but members of the lonely-hearts club seek out this elusive owl anyway.
  • The tunnels which exist under Columbia campus have a mysterious allure, and lots of rumors exist about where entrances lie and where the tunnels lead.
Favorite Things To Do
Columbia's campus has several spots in which students can grab a snack, chat over coffee, or shoot some pool. Though the majority of activity may be happening in the rest of the city, the less adventurous student will still be able to find a way to pass any free time on campus.
Student Newspaper
Columbia Daily Spectator
www.columbiaspectator.com
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
Columbia boasts approximately 500 student organizations, ranging from dance groups and sailing teams to student government and literary societies. During the first few weeks of each fall semester, many clubs will try to recruit new members at activities fairs. Signing up for a listserv and attending the first few meetings is the easiest way to get involved. If for some reason you can't find a club to suit your preferences, making one is always a relatively painless operation.
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Concert band
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Marching band
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Opera
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Student-run film society
  • Symphony orchestra
  • Television station
  • Yearbook
ROTC
Air Force ROTC: Yes
Navy ROTC: Yes
Army ROTC: Yes
Did You Know?
  • Columbia University has the oldest college literary magazine in the country, with the first issue published in 1815.
  • Columbia's main campus on Morningside Heights used to be the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum. Still remaining is an intricate network of tunnels under campus that were used to transfer patients-they are now off-limits and used by maintenance, though many adventurous students have found ways to explore "the tunnels" while trying to avoid the wrath of Public Safety.

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 54 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

How would you describe the student center/union?    Based on 67 responses

  • 7% The student center is in need of a major renovation.
  • 27% The student center serves its purpose but is not a popular hangout.
  • 42% The student center is great but isn't central to student life.
  • 24% The student center is state-of-the-art and the hub of student life.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 56 responses

  • 4% I hate my school and have no school spirit.
  • 9% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 45% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 43% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.

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