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Reviews 888 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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3 College Junior

Weather: New York City is beautiful but the weather is not.

5 College Junior

Diversity: Columbia strives to create an atmosphere that fosters diversity and intellectual exchange. As a result there is a much higher percentage of international students along with students from all over the United States, who represent virtually every culture, social and economic strata.

2 College Junior

Athletics: Columbia University is not known for its athletic programs. While that is not to say there are not successful sports teams the truth of the matter is that Columbia has little school spirit. Most sporting events, with the occasional exception of a basketball game, pass by unnoticed by the student body a problem that is compounded by the football team's lack of success.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Health & Safety: Columbia does a great job of maintaing a safe place

3 College Sophomore

Party Scene: It's New York City--there's plenty to do, but you have to pay for it. I hear a lot of freshman go out to the bars that don't card and parties, but thankfully it's relatively tame compared to real party schools (because people actually have to pass their classes here). I was 22 when I got to Columbia. I grew up in NY and had been going to bars in the city since I was sixteen, so I was kind over the whole bar scene by the time I got here, so take my view with a grain of salt. It may just be that people are actually making deep, life-long friendships and finding the meaning of life over $15 margaritas.

The university puts on a lot of movies/events for the students, so there's that stuff too. Given that I live off-campus, I don't hear about most of these until they are happening or have passed, but it seems like a lot of people get involved with that sort of thing. I've attended a few, and I have to say I had a good time or at least a good laugh.

1 College Sophomore

Athletics: There are athletics at Columbia?

If you like gigantic, overcrowded gyms, Columbia's Dodge Fitness Center is the place for you...

1 person found this useful Report
1 College Freshman

Weather: It gets very, very cold here. Walkways become slippery and it can sometimes be hard walking to classes if you don't have shoes with grip. Also, the buildings act like wind tunnels and if you don't have the right gear you will freeze. When it isn't freezing, such as the summer months, it is very hot! and if you don't have AC or a fan in your room it turns into a sauna. The only upside is the cool fall and spring months.

3 College Junior

Campus Quality: The problem with Columbia is that it is stuck in the middle of crowded Manhattan. This limits the availability of space for new facilities, or renovations. I personally do not like that the campus gym is underground, but there is no room for a gym anywhere else. We have take a bus 100 blocks to the tip of Manhattan to use our football field! I also wish we had more green spaces. There are the two prized always-green fields in front of Butler Library, but access onto those fields is limited.

5 College Junior

Diversity: Columbia University prides itself on the vast range of diversity within the student body. Students come here from many countries, religions, and cultures. Every ethnic/racial group, religion, sexual orientation, and political group can be found somewhere on campus. And there are student groups for all of these different communities. In general, everyone is very accepting of diversity here.

2 Recent Alumnus

Greek Life: Greek life isn't big at Columbia. Very small minority of students are greek. It has a pretty limited effect of campus life aside from the big rager parties.

2 people found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Drug Safety: With the exception of ADHD medication (often used to help study) drugs aren't huge at Columbia. Alcohol is more popular. But of course their are users and dealers (usually marijuana), as well as some crowd where drugs are a big deal and others that are completely clean.

3 College Junior

Campus Food: There is sufficient variety in locations but food is average and prices are on the high side. The road-side food trucks are amazing though!

4 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: Off-campus housing in the Morningside Heights neighborhood is very comparable to other Manhattan neighborhoods. Rents are on par with the rest of the area. Parking is readily attainable on the side streets, but you won't need your car to get around.

4 College Junior

Local Area: Columbia is great because it is in the heart of Manhattan! It is between Midtown (Times Square, 5th Avenue, plays, etc.) and Harlem (great restaurants, historical neighborhood), and right next to the Hudson River. There are nearby bike paths and parks everywhere. The neighborhood is safe, clean, full of restaurants, bars, and shops, and very student-friendly.

3 College Junior

Campus Food: The restaurants and cafes on campus are decent quality and fairly priced for NYC. In the Columbia neighborhood there are tons more restaurants and cafes to eat at, with a wide variety of ethnic and special-needs places as well.

4 College Junior

Campus Quality: The athletic facilities are nice, although there are not enough machines for the number of people using it. I personally have not used the student center very much, and there are almost no campus-wide events. There are multiple beautiful libraries, and only students can get in with their school ID. The libraries are old and have a very prestigious feeling :)

4 College Junior

Campus Quality: The school has a lot of up-to-date facilities that are available to students as part of their mandatory tuition payments. The School of Social Work is in a beautiful new building with all needed services for students. However, there is a lot of logistical protocol to organize any students groups or events that are not directly sponsored by the school. They do not let you put up fliers and charge a lot to provide students with meeting space. Another critique I have of the University as a whole is that there is not a lot of inter-school social interaction. Each school within the university has its own rules, buildings, and social events. One great thing that the school offers is a set tuition charge and then you can take unlimited classes per semester, at any of Columbia's schools.

5 College Freshman

Diversity: Columbia University's identity is largely about the diversity of the students in terms of race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, and activities. About half of our student body identify as "students of color." Columbia also has a large number of international students. This diversity further manifests in a diverse amount of activities and clubs.

1 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: Living in New York, university housing is undoubtably the best possible options for students in terms of convenience and especially cost. There are university owned apartments available outside the main morningside heights campus, however, I don't know anyone who would spend the outrageous amount of money on non University housing in New York.

2 College Freshman

Greek Life: Greek life definitely exists. Many fraternities and sororities have their own brownstones and hold weekend parties and events as well as other types of societies and communities. However there is Columbia is not known for Greek life because it doesn't consume the lives of the students who are part of these communities, but is there when you want it.

3 College Freshman

Athletics: Varsity sports are not that large at Columbia. We rarely win events in our major sports like football. That said, Columbia students have fostered a amusing campus unity surrounding our loosing streaks. I find the athletes to be extremely dedicated because they are not on scholarship and can quite at anytime.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Administration: When it comes to campus safety, the campus security is rather strict about things like swiping into buildings, throwing items out windows (which results in immediate loss of dorm housing), and going onto roof tops. Understandably, these restrictions are to maintain student safety. As a "wet campus" underage drinking is rarely enforced unless a medical team is called to a scene in which case underage drinking is reported and sometimes penalized.

3 College Junior

Administration: I haven't been here long, but it doesn't seem to be too strict of a school.

5 College Junior

Academics: Professors are amazing. They are very available. The curriculum is challenging, but if you study hard, you will do well. Registration is very easy. All is done online, so you can do it from your room.

5 College Junior

Academics: As a narrative medicine grad student, I am very very satisfied. The professors are amazing, the students are great, and you learn so much.


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Overall ExperienceWhat's this?

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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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