Yes, and people usually venture into the neighborhood and buy stuff. (theres tons of stuff, and a lot of it is affordable) There's a really long post about this on the 2016 Facebook group that I can PM to anyone interested.
Hi, I'm interested in the dance program at Barnard and the newspaper at Columbia, but am not sure of which school to apply to. To what degree do students from the colleges mix? What are the main differences in the campus cultures? Thanks so much for the help!
@neiro6 Can you elaborate on course load and the type of assignments? I spend about 3 hours on homework a night and have been writing analytical papers on everything from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to Outliers (2010, I'd recommend it to anyone contemplating the meaning of success) since 9th grade; what should I expect?
It depends on what classes you take and what you major in! Given your focus on English papers, I'll assume you're planning to be a humanities major. You probably won't find it that different from your high school workload; if you spent 3 hours reading each night, and wrote analytical papers on the weekend, you'd be fine.
You'll have a lot more freedom, both in terms of classes (if you don't like math, you'll never have to do problem sets which should free up a lot of time) and time management (since you're only in class for 3 or 4 hours/day, you have lots of free time to do homework—or go out with friends, or do extracurriculars.
For an intro or intermediate lecture, the workload will probably be 2 short (5–6 page) analytical papers, plus a final and maybe a midterm or weekly responses. The reading for each class will probably be around 50 pages/week.
Thanks, that helps a lot. I'm actually thinking about majoring in Biology because I want to go to dental school, and minoring in Art History, but if I could get away with majoring in some humanity and still end up in dental school I would.
Biology is a whole different kettle of fish, then. Your freshman year will probably be dominated by taking one of the three chemistry tracks, most of which involve a lot of work and at least one semester of a lab. (Disclaimer: I am not a bio major, so I can't speak to the exact workload myself.)
I have been here literally all of three months so I will defer to pwoods on best and worst experiences. I will say that class registration *at any school* as a freshman is awful, so just be prepared.
I think it's better to frame the question in terms of asking both students at Columbia and other schools "how did you make your friends?" I'm sure there's some kids who find it really hard to make friends here, and some who find it easier because of the city. Asking where and how they met their friends will probably give you better answers. That helps you evaluate the social situation on your own terms, rather than someone else's.
@clssnr: Yeah, bio/pre-med/science will be a very different experience than a humanity track. You won't have many papers (yay?), but you will have weekly problem sets, required labs, and multiple midterms. Like neiro, I'm not a bio major—I'm an anthro major—so I can't speak to the exact workload.
@Adam: Columbia's location in NYC absolutely changes the dynamics of our community. With very few exceptions, we don't have the kind of campus-wide events that you see at other schools. Columbians also tend to be a lot like New Yorkers—individualist, cosmopolitan, and sophisticated. That also factors into the Columbia community feeling very different from your "typical college" community. It isn't that difficult to make friends if you join clubs and make an effort to meet people, but you definitely have to meet people. I wouldn't say Columbia is worse than other schools when it comes to community; it's just different.