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Columbia College vs Carnegie Mellon (CS and Music)

deadgirldeadgirl 87 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
I feel like I'm back every week with a new college thread asking for help and I'm extremely sorry for that! But I literally just got admitted of the waitlist at Columbia College (I'm pretty disappointed it's not Stanford). I can't decide between these two colleges (shocker!)!!

1. So my initial concern with CMU was that I would be unable to double major in music but I would be able to do this at Columbia college very easily because there's no audition! :-) I'd also be able to do this awesome concentration in jazz and learn from some of the greats by taking jazz composition lessons. I'm not sure if they offer classical voice lessons though?? Also not sure if their chamber choir is any good???

2. I would be getting a B.S. from CMU and a B.A. from Columbia. I'd prefer a B.S. because it would involve more tech oriented courses but you cannot double major between SEAS and CC at columbia.

3. The core curriculum at CC is nasty if you don't enjoy it LOL. I've heard nightmares. The physical requirements and music/writing requirements are fine to an extent, but I despise studying stuff I won't use.


edited May 10
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Replies to: Columbia College vs Carnegie Mellon (CS and Music)

  • happymomof1happymomof1 29395 replies170 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 29,565 Senior Member
    BS vs BA is meaningless. What matters is the specific coursework that you take. Match the course lists for the two programs. Are there truly any critical "tech oriented" courses that you would be absolutely unable to get at CC that you would be able to get at CMU? Likewise, it won't matter that you can't formally declare a double-major if you can still fit in the classes that you want to take. Ask CC whether any of the classes you want are restricted to majors only.
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  • LonghaulLonghaul 2616 replies137 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,753 Senior Member
    @deadgirl , can you specify the location of Columbia College as there are several.

    If you are referring to the one in Chicago then:

    Columbia College Chicago doesn't have a cohesive residential experience. They are working hard to change that. Columbia courses are taught by working musicians and through that you'll get to know the scene in Chicago. This is a great choice if you want to perform off campus as early as possible.

    CMU has a more serious reputation and will hone your craft before releasing you to perform. More technical.
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  • deadgirldeadgirl 87 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    Columbia College the ivy league
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  • deadgirldeadgirl 87 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    Please help! I don't have much time to decide!
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  • CardinalBobcatCardinalBobcat 153 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 154 Junior Member
    edited May 10
    Congratulations on your acceptance off the waitlist! From your post, you do sound much more excited about Columbia than about CMU. If that's accurate, go with your gut. I agree with happymomof1 that it absolutely doesn't matter between BS and BA. Being sure that you don't want to take classes you "won't use"... that's tough to determine before you've completed them. Some of my most interesting and memorable college classes were unrelated to my major or future plans, and thank goodness they were required or I might not have had the chance to fondly look back on them years later. :-)
    edited May 10
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5030 replies65 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,095 Senior Member
    @CardinalBobcat amen to that!
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  • deadgirldeadgirl 87 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    edited May 10
    I sort of feel strange turning down the #1 computer science school in the nation though! I love being challenged. But at the same time, Columbia is good in all aspects.
    edited May 10
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  • vpa2019vpa2019 516 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 526 Member
    edited May 11
    i would definitely make sure you are ok with the Core i agree that taking classes you don’t “need” for your major can be enlightening and interesting but it can also be annoying when they take up space you’d like to use for classes you do want to take. The vibe at those schools is very different as well. Hopefully you had the chance to visit them in person.
    edited May 11
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76570 replies665 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,235 Senior Member
    deadgirl wrote:
    3. The core curriculum at CC is nasty if you don't enjoy it LOL. I've heard nightmares. The physical requirements and music/writing requirements are fine to an extent, but I despise studying stuff I won't use.

    1. Take a look at the core and see if all of the requirements are acceptable to you.
    2. If you want to do two majors like CS and music, count up requirements to see if you can fit both majors and any non-overlapping core requirements into the number of courses you would take in eight semesters.

    https://www.college.columbia.edu/core/
    http://bulletin.columbia.edu/columbia-college/departments-instruction/computer-science/#requirementstext
    http://bulletin.columbia.edu/columbia-college/departments-instruction/music/#requirementstext
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  • deadgirldeadgirl 87 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    I'm very sorry. This post comes off a little bit disrespectful, ungrateful and I truly feel terrible about it. I was in a bad headspace this afternoon after getting my waitlist results! The core curriculum may actually be a good thing because it would allow me to explore interests I may not know I have! I'll have to see when I visit soon!!
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  • LindagafLindagaf 8973 replies485 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,458 Senior Member
    @deadgirl it's Columbia University.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26588 replies174 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 26,762 Senior Member
    ^^well, technically, its Columbia College at Columbia University, as the latter also offers the College of General Studies (which many on cc have discussed) as well as Barnard and an Eng school, among other schools. :wink:
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  • CU123CU123 3315 replies58 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,373 Senior Member
    If you have more than one undergraduate college then it should be called a University according to "standard" nomenclature. As an example Harvard college is the only true undergraduate college at Harvard university (which includes its graduate schools). Of course its all very convoluted when colleges have separate "schools" within them. Personally I think if you have to apply to a schools within a college then it really is a University. If you are in a college and can major in any of the undergrad degrees offered (including engineering) without having to apply to the school separately, that is a true college IMO, how about that for a convoluted explanation.
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  • deadgirldeadgirl 87 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    I actually took a look at some of the classes and they actually seem very interesting! I think the core would give me the opportunity to find what I really like.
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  • leidenleiden 15 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 15 Junior Member
    Go to UMD, unless Columbia offered you financial aid.
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  • aquaptaquapt 1948 replies37 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,985 Senior Member
    It does seem as if Columbia may offer a better balance and a more blended program for your mix of interests than CMU. You haven't said how much Columbia would cost, but perhaps you're just more excited about Columbia and therefore less ambivalent about having your parents pay. Assuming that Columbia and CMU are similarly expensive, I would make a firm decision as to your preference between the two, and then weigh whether that front-runner is worth the extra expense over UMD, which is still a good option as well. My sense is that you weren't excited about either of your options before, and Columbia is filling the excitement void now - if so, and if the cost is manageable, then go for it and congratulations!
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  • merc81merc81 10017 replies148 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,165 Senior Member
    If, by reading the course descriptions, you think you would benefit from classes such as CC and Lit-Hum, then I think you would benefit from the Core in general.
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  • deadgirldeadgirl 87 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    UMD is actually no longer in the picture. I committed to Carnegie Mellon and now have to decide between Columbia and Carnegie Mellon.
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  • deadgirldeadgirl 87 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    edited May 12
    I committed to CMU's school of computer science, but was let off the WL for Columbia University in NY (the College, not SEAS) recently. At both of these schools, I plan on studying computer science and something related to music. I'm pretty dead set on these subjects and I'm pretty much completely certain I won't be changing majors or anything. In the future, I hope to have a career both working as a software developer (e.g. making websites/applications/software or pen testing) and working in music professionally (e.g. professional choirs and city music or composition gigs) or possibly somehow combining the two fields with a job that encompasses both (not sure yet).

    I would really appreciate if people who are in similar situations to me, have children who were in similar situations to me, or know a lot about each school would help me out because that's usually the advice I find most helpful. Without further ado, here are my qualms about each school.

    1. I am not interested in Carnegie Mellon's BCSA / Music and technology degree programs. I don't like how the major requirements are cut in half. I feel like it won't allow me to get enough of an education in both. Carnegie Mellon would require me to internally transfer into their music program for me to double major or double degree. There's always the chance I could be rejected and have to apply again and again. Apparently, speaking to students who go there, the faculty is pretty understanding and will help me with portfolios/auditions through private lessons. At Columbia, their music program accepts everyone because it's a BA. It has similar classes in theory, ear training, etc and it also has a jazz concentration. I know that they also have professional-level voice repertoire classes taught at Barnard which I most likely would not be good enough to take at CMU.

    2. Both schools have private musical lessons (Is CMU's faculty better?). Carnegie Mellon has a fully produced opera which would have been cool to do. I don't think Columbia has that though.

    3. At CMU, a double major would likely take 4-5 years depending on if I decide to take summer classes (I feel like those would be boring in Pittsburgh). At Columbia, I would most likely try and transfer into the 3-2 program which is a B.S. and a B.A. but I would be forced to do all the major requirements for both SEAS and CC which seems like a lot of work. Alternatively, I could just double major in CC. I would again possibly take summer classes for Columbia.

    4. Financially, I haven't received my FA package from Columbia yet, but as long as it's around the same as Carnegie Mellon, it doesn't really matter. The main thing I'm concerned about is the student life. I'm assuming people at Columbia enjoy going to expensive restaurants and clubbing in the city for social activities rather than chilling in dorms and going to different house get-togethers at Pittsburgh. Financially, I don't think I can afford to go out every weekend and do crazy expensive things. I feel as though maybe I'd miss out at Columbia but I'm not sure about this.

    5. Carnegie Mellon has the best computer science school in the country and very possibly, in the world. One of the things they told me when I visited was that they don't teach specific languages, they teach CS so that even as the field constantly changes over time, the information learned remains applicable. I don't know if Columbia does this. I also like CMU's teaching style: they use note packets rather than textbooks a lot of the time. I feel like Columbia's teaching of CS would be more old-school since it's an ivy. I'm not sure if this is correct, however. I think I like CMU'S SCS better.

    6. Someone from Columbia said they had no trouble getting interviews.. but that they failed their interviews.. I don't know if they're credible though, but that worries me.

    7. The core curriculum at Columbia for the college takes up 14-16 classes. Apparently, a student from Columbia laughed at someone from Brown's (open curriculum) writing sample because it was terrible writing and they never had done any core English classes. I fear not being a good writer and having a condensed outlook on the world. A Columbia alum told me that the majority of people who haven't read the works they were forced to read in CORE are truly missing out intellectually. The problem is that I'm truly terrible with the humanities. Particularly, my analytical writing has always been bad and I'm a very slow reader and have a lot of trouble understanding the language and literary devices used in old anglo-saxon works. In school, when reading Shakesphere, I would always have to use resources such as "No Fear" to help me understand my readings. This wouldn't pass at Columbia.. Also, the thought of taking 14-16 humanities classes is something I'm not 100% sure I'd enjoy because truly, I've never done something like that. A lot of double majors at Columbia have expressed on college confidential that they'd rather be more involved in their major classes and I fear I won't have the opportunity to take all the classes I want.

    I feel like the core curriculum is the same for Carnegie Mellon, however. I know that there are gened requirements that I'd have to take in the humanities and literature (Barely any AP credit). Does anyone know if it's the same amount as Columbia? Because, if so, then the core curriculum really won't be that big of an issue since it's the same for both schools!

    I have limited time to respond to their waitlist offer. Please let me know your thoughts! I'm not really sure how to determine my "fit". I love NYC and would love to live there, but at the same time, I want the flexibility to travel across the country and even across the world. I'm really really stressed trying to decide this because I'm scared I'll make the wrong choice! Thank you very much for all your wonderful help! I really cannot thank you enough. I apologize in advance for any grammar mistakes.
    edited May 12
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