- Class: Senior
- Major: Engineering
- Gender: F
- High School:
- Transfer Student: N
I like that Columbia has a great, small campus but then is in new york city so you have the best of both worlds. Columbia has a little bubble with local stores, restaurants, and bars but we also have the luxury of being able to "go downtown" and get away from campus really easily. Columbia is really passionate and really liberal so it can be overwhelming--there are always protests and rallies and sometimes tempers flare. (Having Ahmadinejad come and speak took over the campus for the entire semester, which after awhile, was pretty annoying...) Columbia's administration is very out of touch with the students' needs and there's a lot of frustration with the curriculum, housing, financial aid, etc. It's nice that because Columbia is so old (over 250 years and still strong), we have a lot of fun traditions, stories, and superstitions.
At Columbia, the quality of your education depends on your department. It can be phenomenal like in the econ dept where you'll be taught be Nobel Prize Winners or it can make you want to kill yourself like in chemical engineering for instance where the teachers are too smart to make sense to undergrads. Columbia has a core curriculum which creates a nice balance on campus. There are a lot of differences between the liberal arts college and the engineering school, including the core, class size, student competitiveness, and teacher interaction. In the engineering school, you'll really only have meaningful contact with a professor if you do research with him or her. It's also more competitive and engineers spend A LOT more time studying consistently throughout the year, as opposed to the college students who write a paper or 2 and have a final. Columbia focuses a lot on finance and the majority of students, regardless of major, go into some sort of finance--the career center is really helpful for that, but if you're not into finance you're basically on your own.
Conservatives feel out of place at Columbia. Columbia and NYC are super liberal and people assume you feel the same way so they don't bother to ask and it can be quite offensive. Columbia is diverse, but there are also way too many students from the Tri-state area and California. Also, racial/religious groups like the Black Students Organization or the Jewish Hillel lessen the effect of the diversity because the groups are intimidating, selective, and very intense. Columbia is very competitive and career driven as well as very political. If you don't fit that, you probably feel out of place.
The Best Things
Ridiculously smart people with ridiculously funny/interesting passions makes for great conversations and learning experiences!
The Worst Things
People are always protesting something and sometimes you just want them to chill out.