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Reviews 1201 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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4 College Sophomore

Local Area: Can't Beat New York – Being in New York City is awesome--never a lack of things to do. That can also be a problem when you really want to go out and do something, but also really need to get homework done. It is a tricky balance, but definitely worth it. NYC has something for everyone, whether it's Broadway, museums, parks, clubs-- you name it. And it's pretty easy to find student discounts for most stuff.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Overall Experience: Good, Sometimes Lonely – Columbia is good. You get here what you ask of it. NYC is fun and exciting but can be lonely. Especially at a school like Columbia. Its fun but can be overbearing. Balance is key.

4 College Junior

Health & Safety: Best Security in the States – Everyone gets freaked out about NYC, but per capita NYC is the safest city in the States. While there are some people who steal in the nearby area, nobody steals on campus. To the point that you can leave your computer unattended (not advisable) in the library and it will be there 3 hours later!

4 College Junior

Academics: You Get What You Came for – Columbia is intense, though diverse. We all came here for a good education that is challenging and demanding, you defintely get that. Depending on the class, teachers grade hard or easy. Its nearly impossible to fail a core class but very easy with other classes. Your peers are who fuel the competition of grades. Everyone is out for their own.

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Campus Quality: The Ivy League experience! Core curriculum! New York connections! Everything!

5 College Sophomore

Technology: Mac, Windows, Linux available - mostly Windows. Printers all over campus, 100 free pages a week. Network is usually good. Wi-Fi in most of the building, access growing. Most students have a laptop, usually a Mac. You could have either and do fine here. Few students have a printer.

5 College Sophomore

Academics: Workload is tough and challenging but one learns a lot. Facilities are excellent. Unique student centered research and engagement curriculum. Excellent career and education office support.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: Not Very Much at All. Apart from the odd cocaine snorter (it is an Ivy league school after all), drugs are confined to only a few people. Many smoked weed in high school and might smoke again if they come across people with it, and some really really like weed and get high several times a week, but about 70% of the people I know don't touch drugs and that rises to about 95% when you exclude the part-time and full-time weed smokers. Alcohol, obviously is not included.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: DON't LISTEN TO THE MYTH – So many people avoid Columbia because they have the illogical thought process of: Columbia is in New York. Furthermore, it is in Harlem. Harlem is poor. If I go to Columbia I will get stabbed.

New York has improved by leaps and bounds, especially under Bloomberg's tenure, and crime is really not an issue at Columbia. I've never felt unsafe, even at 3 or 4 am around campus. There are a few isolated incidents, a mugging here or there, but these are usually confined to people being unwise with their possessions.

For most people, as long as they aren't idiots about showing off their latest iPod or swinging around their laptop with a big sign saying "Look at me, I'm rich!", crime isn't an issue at all.

Also, campus police are big guys and quick to react for the most part.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Greek Life: Surprisingly Good, but Only for Some. I came to Columbia not expecting to have anything to do with Greek life - in fact, I think many of the people in the system believed the same. Actually, Greek life is a little bigger than most people imagined. The percentages cited here are wrong, its a bit more like 10-15% now of the total (read CC, SEAS and Barnard) population (smaller for Columbia girls because Barnard girls take up a lot of the spots) due to the war on fun in other areas, such as crackdowns on dorms.

In fact, many (most? probably not) of the most outgoing people are Greek, which creates a nice little community that you always see when out. It's not only meatheads that are Greek here either - while yes, some of the athletes may have slipped by the admissions process somehow, most athletes are nice guys and there are three non-athlete associated fraternities. I'd say a large proportion of the attractive girls here are in sororities (maybe not most, but definitely heavily overrepresented).

Downsides are that its a little shallow at times, and some non-Greek people snort at it but really this is not Animal House - it's still Columbia, and it allows some people to get more of a college experience while still enjoying everything Columbia has to offer.

Housing consists entirely of smallish brownstones that are still large enough to have decent parties at times (mainly in basements etc) which sometimes sprawl several floors. You don't have to live in the house.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Party Scene: Varied, Lots of Options – This varies whether you are Greek, rich or friends with a lot of upperclassmen. If you are not Greek, there are a few open parties available, with usually at least one open party during non-exam season (though this might decrease now that Pike and AEPi are shut, no one went to Psi U anyway).

For those who know people in upperclass dorms, East Campus is a common destination though the parties there tend to be a little cramped at times.

If you are rich and have a good fake ID (and I mean, really good, scannable and blacklight compatible) then you can venture downtown to the clubs which obviously are incredible, if a little pretentious at times. However, this requires people who are similarly wealthy/ID holding. The latter is obviously irrelevant when you turn 21.

There are several bars around campus that are relatively easy on ID (though you will still need one, it just means they don't have to be very good, photocopies sometimes work). These include Mels, 1020, the Heights (bouncer here stricter than most), and Cannons to name a few, each attracting their own kind of crowd.

Finally, if you are Greek, if you're a guy you often hold things (mixers, informal gatherings) at the house, and then usually end up at a bar afterwards.

So, overall you have a lot of choices, and often you'll have to pick whether to go to EC, frats, Mels etc etc in one night. Fake ID is a must though.

5 College Sophomore

Academics: Mostly Incredible Professors – I have completed my first year here and have had a total of 9 different professors (10 classes, Lit Hum you have the same teacher for both semesters). All but one has been great, with quite a few being fantastic. The one was in Statistics, where every school is liable to have a few teachers who don't speak great English. The fantastic ones always give lively lectures, some are quirky, many are well known nationally and internationally and there are a few who are lively, quirky AND renown. All in all, a great bunch.

5 Recent Alumnus

Weather: The weather in NYC is great. It's typically tolerable weather. It's always sunny. And, a few months out of the year it'll rain or snow. The streets are plowed when it snows. The weather doesn't affect public transportation. It's always running.

5 Recent Alumnus

Administration: Laid Back – The campus is very laid back and liberal. There are very few policies with regard to the academic and social life of students. The campus is based in NYC. And, lots of students live off campus in apartments.

5 Recent Alumnus

Academics: The academics offered at Columbia are quite varied which is one of the aspects that drew me to the school. The curriculum at Teachers College focuses on my field of study. The registration process is straight-forward, and the staff has been very helpful.

4 Recent Alumnus

Transportation: Transport Is Everywhere – Buses, subways, taxis. You can always get around the city at any hour.

5 Recent Alumnus

Campus Housing: Single rooms are available for all grade levels. Doubles and suites are more fun so you can get to know your classmates.

2 people found this useful Report
5 Recent Alumnus

Local Area: NYC has everything you need and is safe. Lots of free attractions, parks, museums. You can get discount tickets to broadway shows and sporting events. Check with the student center for details.

3 College Freshman

Scholarships: Limited Amount – There's a quota to how much scholarship money you can use for your student contribution. Also, the entire financial aid process was a bit tedious.

3 Recent Alumnus

Athletics: The main field is far off-campus. It's hard to generate school spirit for games.

3 Recent Alumnus

Guys & Girls: You'll experience a wide variety of characters and cultures at Columbia.

1 person found this useful Report
1 Recent Alumnus

Off-Campus Housing: You're best off going with on-campus housing because finding an apartment in NYC is so difficult and expensive and often involves brokers.

3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Quality: Lerner Hall – Lerner Hall is a good place to meet fellow students but there isn't a lot of space to sit for group projects and have study groups. The food is also really expensive in the cafe.

1 College Freshman

Parking: If You Have to Read This, You Should Visit the School – Columbia is in the middle of NYC. No one and I mean NO ONE drives.

3 College Freshman

Campus Food: Too Expensive for What It Is – you get a better value for better food at the many many many places around campus and in the city. No one is on the meal plan after freshman year.


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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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