I got plan A, it seemed better to me to have 4 extra meals a week rather than 50 extra dinning dollars for the whole term.. but i guess it all depends how each person feels and if theyre planning to eat a lot in the dinning halls or not. I believe both plans cost the same (correct me if im wrong) so its really up to you.
I havent decided yet..but i think ill be getting the one with the most meals...i can always add dining dollars throughout the semester. IN any case though i think your allowed to switch plans during the first week or so as long as you pay like a $25 penalty..so im not that worried
If I were forced into a meal plan (I'm assuming you guys are mostly incoming freshman), I'd definitely go for Plan 2. I can just about guarantee you won't be able to eat all 19 meals each week. I know I rarely eat 3 meals a day anymore, it just doesn't work as well with the college schedule. Two meals per day is plenty. Besides, all the dining will be all you can eat...if you think you'll want more food you can always take back food for later.
Plus, there are a ton of places around campus you'll be sad you never got a chance to try because you were always trying to use up your 3 meals per day on campus. Even with the added dining options next year, after about 2 weeks you'll be dying for a reason to eat elsewhere every now and then.
I signed up for Plan 2. I'm not a fan of cafeteria food, and I prefer frequent small portions to infrequent large portions, so I'm utterly screwed by the meal plan. Since I need one, I'd rather get more dining dollars than meals.
Plan A is CLEARLY the better value, no question. 50 extra dining dollars is approximately 5 meals, or 10ish snacks. With Plan A, you sacrifice those 5 meals for the semester to gain 4 additional meals PER WEEK. Plan B is not only not as good, but also an outright scam. Ferris Booth and JJ's are both going swipe access next year, and those were by far the two most popular places to use dining dollars. So now, if you want to eat meals at either of those locations (both of which will be vastly superior to John Jay, almost certainly) you will need to use swipe meals. I've been told that the quality of the food will remain somewhat similar at JJ's--you'll order at a counter and the food will be brought to you. I do think that the quality of the food will decrease overall at both locations, simply in terms of cost. Plan A is still the better option.
Also, I'll note that if you really want those extra 50 dining dollars, you can add them in via ssol. So let's say you get Plan A, want +50 dining dollars. You pay the price of the meal plan (approximately 2k) and 50 dollars. With Plan A, you get +4 meals a week, so approximately +64 meals a semester versus Plan B. There's no question where you're getting your money's worth (if you can at Columbia dining).
Hmm... as a current student, I would argue that Plan A is the *worst* plan to pick, even if it does look like the best deal economically. Realistically, there is no way you will use all 19 meals every week, so you'll end up just losing the extra meals... and that kinda kills the whole efficiency argument.
Besides A, it really depends on the person and how much you think you'll eat on campus.
As a current freshmen, I suggest doing the smart, which is feeding upperclassmen with your unused meal swipes in exchange for old tests/homework help/career advice/anything academic orientated. There is actually a group called SSS that encourages, nay, organizes such arrangements, but I'm sure you wont have a problem finding a willing sophomore or junior on your own. Also, dining plans expire at the end of each semester, so dont despair if you picked the 15 meal/week plan and don't have any extra