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Reviews 884 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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4 College Sophomore

Academics: Great Experience – I study Economics and German Literature and am very excited about my choice. While the German Literature major gives me the opportunity of analyzing different texts and see different views on life, the Economics major helps me be up to date with what is going on in the world. Working with great professors, who are known world wide for their work gives me an interesting perspective over the current situation, definitely constituting an advantage in the internship search.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Overall Experience: Must Love Stress – Being a student at Columbia University means that you will be stressed. From the never ending amount of work to the always talked about need to find/have jobs and internships, Columbia students never take a break. However, that does not mean that we do not know how to have fun. The saying Work Hard Play Hard definitely applies. I mean, we do live in NYC. Columbia students are some of the most interesting, unique, and intelligent individuals you will ever meet.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Party Scene: The on-campus nightlife is virtually non-existent besides small in room pre-graming. The real nightlife is in the bars around Morningside Heights and if you have the time and money, downtown New York City. There are many bars around campus that are very good, each with its own atmosphere. However, it is hard to get in if your under 21. Of course then you have all of downtown NYC. The clubs, bars, speak-easies, everything you could ever want! (for both cheap and expensive...the only trick is mustering the energy to make the trek down there)

4 College Junior

Academics: Core Curriculum – Unaware of the Core Curriculum upon deciding to attend Columbia University, I grew to both love and hate it. I was ready to jump into my major, but instead found myself taking two years of classes I never would've chosen for myself. While I suffered through the classes, in retrospect I am very grateful for the knowledge I attained in these courses. I know have a general knowledge of most subject matters. However, be warned this is a very hard working school. Expect a lot of work for almost every course, not matter how many credits.

3 College Freshman

Campus Food: Food on Campus – The places around campus are good.Can't complain about dining hall food.

4 College Student

Transportation: Don't Drive – There really is no need to even have a license here or a car here. New York's MTA system will take you anywhere you need to go. Everything on campus is within walking distance if you don't care to travel around and see New York.

5 College Student

Diversity: One of the Most Diverse Schools in the U.S. If you like a lot of diversity on campus, then CU is for you. You name the student organization and they have it here. There are a very large number of foreign transfer students here as well (my Russian roommate happens to be one). Many students coming from Asian countries, like China, find this to be one of the best schools to attend I hear.

I think offering so many transfer students the opportunity to study here is good but it also makes the classes notoriously challenging to register for, even during the early registration window. Also, the campus feels kind of crowded at times...

There really aren't any issues with diversity here, regardless of the context one chooses to frame it in; whether economic, political, or sexual. Columbia prides itself on being a leader in global diversity and succeeds quite famously.

3 College Student

Health & Safety: Being that Columbia is in the heart of Manhattan in NYC and is adjacent to Harlem, I would say that Columbia has a unique challenge in contrast to other universities to ensure the health and safety of the students here.

That said, I believe Columbia could be more efficient in that endeavor. That's not to say that people are running into bad situations on a regular basis, but the occasional theft (often outside of the main campus) does, in fact, happen. Columbia has a staff of dedicated law enforcement officers on 24 hour watch and have good communication with the Office of Public Safety. Regular patrol vehicles can be seen in and around campus to minimize any potential crime threats.

With the kind of security they have at Columbia, one would think this place was locked up tighter than a drum. Unfortunately, Columbia is also a very public institution; such that it could even be considered as simply a New York public park. They have to maintain that kind of freedom because of, again, the unique challenge that being in the heart of NYC presents.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Food: Great Options, Tasty Food – There are many places to eat in the area, both on and off campus, and the University makes an effort to accommodate those with all types of dietary restrictions and allergies. The food in the dining halls is tasty, and the restaurants in the area are fantastic. So much variety!

5 College Student

Local Area: There is a lot to do like go to Madison Square Garden

3 College Freshman

Administration: Not Too Strict – quite easy to be written up in the dorms but not too sreious. CAVAing is quite common and very annoying and you have to go to counselling afterwards but dont get in trouble the first time. you just have to go and see an advisor

1 Recent Alumnus

Scholarships: The financial aid department is truly a nightmare. Scholarship monies that were supposed to be credited to accounts due to adjustments in course credits never materialized. Resultantly, holds were placed on student accounts, disallowing students to register for classes. The issue took over one year to resolve. Moreover, students were forced to pay late registration fees o $150 because of Columbia's error. Students at The School of General Studies DO NOT have the same access to financial aid as those of Columbia College, even though their need is greater. It's time to merge the two schools two stop this systemic financial discrimination directed a segment of the student population. Shameful indeed.

2 people found this useful Report
1 Recent Alumnus

Health & Safety: Unsafe School – Murders, rapes, harassment, theft are all common at Columbia University. The school borders one of the worst neighborhoods in New York City. Campus security is a joke.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Weather: Rain and Snow. What is unfortunate is that we will never get a snow day because Columbia is So efficient at clearing all of the walkways. Rain is extremely irritating to walk through.

3 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: Crime's Been Creeping Around – Last semester we had quite a few attempted robberies of students one street away from my dorm. Luckily, Columbia's public safety team has been working harder to patrol the area constantly.

5 College Freshman

Transportation: Public transportations is very convenient and cheap. Subway and buses are very practical and, if ever in need, taxis are everywhere.

4 College Freshman

Local Area: New York City – The possibilities in NYC are endless. Whether interested in museum visits, Broadway shows, concerts or shopping, there is much to do. Even though NYC can seem overwhelming, there are actually many students and it is an easy city to navigate. The area around Columbia University is very student-friendly. A plus is that with your university ID, there are tons of attractions you can get in free of charge.

4 College Freshman

Drug Safety: No one really drinks at columbia. If you go to the bars you can see people smashed here and there...but everyone is usually studying on the weekends or needs to study the next day so too many people monitor their intake.

3 College Freshman

Local Area: The atmosphere sucks, but you can easily hop on the subway to head downtown. A lot of people feel boxed in on campus and don't usually take the effort to head downtown. I agree, and would have liked it if columbia felt more homey.

1 College Freshman

Party Scene: Of course, the nightlife in NYC is amazing... and you can go with a few people downtown and have an awesome time but you really don't get a sense of community at Columbia. The same exact few people go to a bar called Mels on Columbia campus every single thursday friday and saturday night. It gets really, really, REALLY, boring after a while and there is no change in pace. The frats and sororities are very exclusive so when they actually do throw a party, which never happens, it is usually at the only bar people go to so everyone's night is ruined because they can't get into the bar. Everyone is off doing their own thing and the students really are not inviting.

4 College Freshman

Technology: It Works – There are computer labs in every main academic building and in several of the living buildings. The labs are quite busy so it takes a while to find an available computer but it isn't uncontrollable. Each student is given a quota of 100 pages of black and white printing a week and most printing can be done on both sides of a a page. As for internet access, wifi is in several buildings across campus but is not available in most dorm buildings. An ethernet cord is needed for access to internet in dorm rooms.

4 College Sophomore

Majors: Undergraduate Lab Work – This summer, I got an internship at the National Institutes of Health, which was a great opportunity for me to learn and grow as a researcher. I am planning to work in a biochemistry lab on campus. The laboratory jobs are pretty accessible to undergraduate students, and you can even get credits towards your major by working.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Academics: Great Department Resources – The academic advisers really help you out-- especially if you start talking to them early on in your college career. I'm also pre-med, which is really great and helpful at Columbia. There are TONS of speaker events on campus, and TONS of opportunities on campus and in the city!

3 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: Only If You Want It – The drug scene is there if you want it. However, it is perfectly easy to avoid it. Alcohol is pretty visible on campus, but definitely a lot less than at most schools. I wouldn't say there's pressure to drink or do drugs. You have better things to do. After all, you have the entire of city of New York to explore!

3 College Sophomore

Majors: Easy to Get in, Lots of Requirements to Complete – No special application process, really. You just have to take the intro to the major course by the end of sophomore year and, once declared, meet with an adviser to plan out your courses. However, to complete the major requires a lot of careful planning in order to meet specific departmental distributions.


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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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