That's a very odd thing to say, since Sachs moved to Columbia more than three years ago! How old did you say you are? How could you be such a professed admirer and have been unaware of this fact?
Exactly how old were you when, 4 years ago or more, you decided that the reason you "wanted to go to Harvard more than anything, was to study under Jeffrey Sachs at the Center for International Development?"
if you can you should definately visit before you apply. another site you could check out to get a better taste of each uni is **************.com
in terms of prestige harvard does rank higher but i dont think that columbia is far behind, as someone who has also lived abroad, harvard, yale, columbia, cambridge and oxford are the unis that are considered the most prestigious.
academically i think both unis are somewhat the same, columbia has very good english and poli sci programs. and also in terms of diversity, columbia has around a 10% international population and considering the fact that it is in NYC, you ought to have a diverse experience.
I'm 22. ;D Five years ago, when I was 17 and about to start my undergraduate degree I wanted to start at Harvard, so I could study under Sachs.
Whether or not undergrads get to study under professors like him I do not know. In Denmark we don't have the same strict split between undergraduate and graduate school.
Now, or three years ago, Sachs has moved to Columbia ergo studying at Columbia for grad school is not a bad idea.
It's unfortunately a bit difficult for me just to "drop by" Columbia and Harvard. I live in Denmark so a ticket isn't exactly easy to come by. And with a full-time job vacations aren't all that easy to come by either. Would've been great otherwise. I was in New York and Boston this february though - boston had this pretty cool feel to it.
I have made my desision for now though... I am going to take a shot at the LSE/Columbia degree and I can't wait.
Thanks for your help guys.
Mavi, if you're going all the way to America for school, or for just about anything else for that matter, go to New York. You'll be fine there. It's very safe and manageable now, and getting more so all the time (while Boston's murder rate, I recently heard, is on the rise). I grew up in Boston, and I can tell you that though it's quite elegant in some parts, it's very minor and forgettable. It has zero excitement or electricity. As a European, moreover, you could well find its provincialism insufferable, as you probably would most of America.
That's true. I have decided for LSE and Columbia so even though there's always going to be something in me saying "but it's harvard" i'm trying to ignore it and go for lse/columbia. I don't want to wait a year to go to Harvard (which is what I would have to do) and living in major cities is cool.
I went to Columbia and absolutely hated it. Academically, you must devote at least one third of your credits to the core. Classes range from mildly interesting to mind numbingly idiotic. These classes only detract from what you really want to study. Moreover, the classes are often taught by grad students, and the disciplines are often not even within their academic purview. Some of the majors are fine, some are not. I was in a joint program with Juiliard. After my third year, the program was dissolved, but I was never informed of it. There were 8 students participating, and all but my self let. Many went to UC Berkeley, but since they were from California and considered in-state applicants, they were easily accepted. I was not, and remained at Columbia. My choice was to find a new major, of leave the school. Ostensibly, Columbia can and will change programs with or without notice, and the school does not have to grand father clause you in. I ended starting up in a new discipline, Sociology. I waisted an extra three years of my life getting a degree in something I could care less about at a school that I despised. Not good.
As far as the administrators, they are insensitive, unethical, and inaccessible. I was horribly harassed by another student who had a history of drug and alcohol abuser. He also harassed another student to the point where she was forced out of her dorm room (they both lived in the same freshman dorm). Yet the school hired an attorney to protect the harasser, because his father was an alum of the school. Everyone I encountered, from Kevin Schollenberger (dean of Columbia College) to Roxy Smith (Provost), to Susan Glancy (Vice President), where disingenuous, rude, unethical. SHAMEFUL!
Columbia borders on one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. Commuting students seldom use the express subway A train, because walking to the campus is a menacing experience. There was a murder right off the campus last year. A student was leaving a Deli, and was shot as he crossed the street. Murders, suicides, rapes, and harassment occurs far more frequently than what is reported to the police. My incident alone was never addressed, and the NYPD said it got lost in the shuffle. This is how they operate. Columbia and the NYPD precinct by the school have a special relationship where information is suppressed. The reported crime statistics have been modified, as not to make Columbia seem as bad as it is.
The campus itself is very small, aesthetically unappealing, and poorly maintained. There is soot on everything, and the interiors are crumbling in many buildings. Columbia also only has a handful of trees, which is a shame because there is room to create green quad. The land is kept barren, because this is where they hold graduation ceremonies in May. This is very sad, considering Columbia owns the soccer fields to the north, which can more than handle the thousands of people attending graduation. Moreover, all of the campus is bisected with hedges. You are not allowed to walk on the grass, because everything is hedged off. The campus literally screams go away, not very welcoming indeed. Resultantly, Columbia has the leas appealing campus of any of the Ivy League Schools. It's ugly, dirty, and uninviting.
Professors range from knowledgeable to dim witted, and are often not accessible. Classes range from as little as four students to over 300. It's very hard to say what you are actually going to get when signing up. Like any school, instructors have their favorites, and exams are often geared to those students. On my last exam in the religion department, the question pertained to feminism in Buddhism, which is not the focus of the class. We never spent a lecture discussing feminism, read a book about it, or had to write about in on assignments. However, some of the girls wrote their term papers on Feminism,and all of a sudden the instructor though it was fair game to place that question on the final exam. For those of us who actually studied what was presented in class, and the readings, feminism was not on our raider. Moreover, for the male students, this question was difficult if not impossible to answer. These kinds of favoritism bleeding over into exams happens far far far to much at Columbia.
The students tend to form cliques. It is very difficult to make friends at Columbia. If you are not a certain this or that, you are not. I've given up, and no longer try to make friends with anyone. I'm nearly done, and it's not worth it at this point. I've survived three and a half years in solitaire, a few more months won't kill me, although suicide remains a problem at Columbia. At least I won't have to send cards to people to stay in touch, because there was no on to stay in touch with. Very snobby and arrogant indeed.
As for New York City, all I can say I've never smelled so much garbage, seen so many beggars and homeless people (it really breaks your heart), or witnessed so much blatant crimes. Thefts, physical attacks, stalking, you name it... It all happens at Columbia.
The city is also terribly and needlessly expensive. I finally give up, and don't go out anymore. I'll keep my money, thank you.
All in all, Columbia is not a school I would recommend. If you like mind numbing courses removed from what you want to study, Columbia is not for you. I you want a physically and verbally safe college experience, Columbia may not be the school for you. If you want access to instructors, avoid student clicks, and want to be ignored by unethical administrators, then Columbia is definitely not for you. If you don't want to spend a small fortune on your college, Columbia is not for you.
Please heed this advice from a Columbia student. There are many, many, many Columbians who are so depressed, miserable, and genuinely unhappy attending Columbia. College Walk looks like the walk of the living dead.
My advice is go to Harvard, or Yale, or Rutgers, Michigan, Texas, Tulane, Rice, UVA, Duke, Clemson, Northwester, Emory, Pitt, Baylor, Bucknell, Williams, Amherst, Colgate, or your local community college. Any of those schools would provide you with a superior education at a fraction of the cost. Moreover, you would not have to worry about a corrupt administration, cliquey students, inane core curriculum, the inflated expense, the dangerous neighborhood, and the fact that many of Columbia's departments are sub par.
Although problems exist at every college, Columbia seems to care little about its students. Resultantly, students go through their four yeas like zombies. I wish I had chosen another school, because Columbia is the most disappointing, dreadful, and dreary place I've ever been.
Wow, this is quite a rant in response to a question asked over seven years ago. I do understand why you don't want to send your cards to anyone else, however. If you've spent three and a half years in solitaire, you clearly need them for yourself!
I completely disagree with MANY points the person above stated. I have been SHOCKED at the cleanliness and grace of the campus. I also think it's quite large-- almost too large for me. It's annoying to have to walk for ten minutes to get to some classes. I can't imagine a larger campus!! We are also VERY welcomed on campus-- anywhere on campus. If we are told not to go on a certain grass plot, it's because they are maintaining it and caring to it! I've always found everything gorgeous and very attended to. I have no idea what this person is talking about.
The poster also spelled "wasted" as "waisted". Also "were" as "where". This may just be a mistake or a typo, but people who get a Columbia education generally don't make grammatical errors like that... a bit skeptical as to whether or not she went there. But it's just a hunch, and really means nothing.
It is easy to make friends at Columbia... your floor should be more than accepting! Unless you are depressed or actively try not to make friends, I do not see why that should be a problem at all. No, Columbia is not the most nurturing community and it won't force you to be friends with anyone. But if you can't make friends in a normal environment, that is not Columbia's fault.
I will admit the teachers are not very helpful. But that isn't their job! We are not in highschool, and the teachers are not our best friends anymore. They have a job, we have a job, and we coexist. Most teachers are also researchers currently at the institution and honestly have better things to do with their time. I respect that. I'm sure that's not some people's cup of tea, but it sure is mine. I like the fact my teachers know more about their subject matter than how to teach. That sounds a bit strange. But I respect my teachers and learn a lot from them because I am not an idiot and know how to absorb information.
Honestly, I could keep going, but it's not worth it. That person obviously has some sort of issue that was NOT caused by Columbia. Do not let her post sway you.
I respectfully disagree with your assessment. I found Columbia to be the most horrific experience of my life. The tiny aesthetically unpleasing campus is indeed dirty. Every building is covered with soot. You can count the amount of trees, and forget about walking on the grass. The hedges literally scream keep off. Furthermore Columbia borders on Harlem, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New York City. Student have been mugged, raped, and even murdered. Many of the crime statistics, including what happened to me, are swept under the carpet. Columbia works in conjunction with the NYPD to veil crime, giving the false illusion the school is safe. Worst of all is the administration. From the Office of the President down to the Provost and Deans, they are as unaccessible as they are unethical. In my situation, they erected road blocks making resolution within the parameters of school protocol unattainable. They purposely created an atmosphere of harassment and intimidation making learning impossible, while coddling and protecting a known harasser. It was not until I obtained legal counsel, that my valid concerns were acknowledged. I wasted thousands of dollars and years of my life to rectify a situation that could have been remedied had anyone cared enough to follow established school policy. Shameful!
Again, I stand by my statements, and do not recommend Columbia to anyone. If you have a choice between Harvard and Columbia, pick Harvard. If you have an option between community college and Columbia, pick community college. I regret investing value resources and time on a school that went out of its way to make learning an impossible task. If it happened to me, it could happen to you.
I did not know there was a time limit in responding to posts. If so, why don't you inform pro-Columbia commenters that they are likewise responding to question that is seven years old? Moreover, I would hardly characterize my comments, which delineate my Columbia experience, as a "rant." Not everyone thinks Columbia is great. Those of us who had negative experiences have the same right to dissuade people from attending as those who had positive experiences. FYI, there are many more people who attended Columbia who disliked it than you realize.