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Interview with GS Dean Peter Awn

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Replies to: Interview with GS Dean Peter Awn

  • tsar10027tsar10027 Registered User Posts: 242 Junior Member
    I don't blame people for "giving it shot." But the exorbitant cost was there before you enrolled, and it will be there after you leave/graduate. How attending GS for a mere 4 months made you reassess the inherent worth of a Columbia degree is beyond me. To be honest, outside of the gates of Columbia and south of 114th street, the CC, SEAS, and GS distinctions become blurred. I know from people who are GS grads. The only people who might intrinsically care are some CC alumni who will not be able to get over the differing admission's standards. But who would want to work for someone who is going to judge you on how hard it was to get into college, rather than what you did while you were there.

    Maintaining a 4.0 or 3.9 at Columbia University, GS or not, is quite an accomplishment, and employers will take note.

    BA (insert major here), Columbia University 2013 summa cum laude; is a relatively marketable addition to anyone's resume (grad school notwithstanding).

    And maybe it's just the people in my immediate inner circle, but nobody I know has used, or ever will use, their respective alumni connections. You make your own connections, period. And if you need a university system to make those connections for you, then you’re probably not going to make the kind of money that you’re hoping for (this a general “you’re” and is not directed at MC, or anyone on this board).
  • BoolaBoolaBoolaBoola Registered User Posts: 149 Junior Member
    How attending GS for a mere 4 months made you reassess the inherent worth of a Columbia degree is beyond me.

    And if I were to leave after two semesters? Three semesters? Where would that put me but deeper into the bank's pockets? It's not a question of reassessing the "inherent worth" of a Columbia degree. Time to cut my losses.

    It's a cost/benefit analysis that comes from the strain of seeing the possibility of six figures of debt every f**king morning. Unless you're staring down the barrel of that gun and living with that understanding every single day, I'm not sure you're in a position to really understand what kind of pressure that creates or how it can very quickly make you reassess your motives and your goals.

    I don't need a scolding from a stranger that I was "acting irresponsibly" and I'd prefer not to wrangle with semantics. At one point I thought I could deal with the FinAid situation. I now realize that was an error.
    I understand your point though, but the "ivy allure" you allude to is never worth 100k in debt. Prestige chasing is a dangerous game when the cost is as astronomically high as GS.

    Yes, it is. I hope that the people reading this board will consider that.

    I should also point out that I'm not slamming Columbia or GS here. Columbia's a fantastic school and my friends here are some of the best under the sun.

    This decision isn't an easy one to make, but the reality of it has really sunk in this semester and despite the fact that I'm "doing well" here, the financial pressure trumps whatever benefits I think I stand to gain.
  • hellojanhellojan Registered User Posts: 1,632 Senior Member
    "[...]but having a chance to study at one of the finest universities in the world is priceless."

    No education, in real dollars, is priceless to me. I'm going to walk with, if my FA stays roughly the same, thirty-something grand. That's absurd for someone who receives Pell Grants. A hundred thousand is absolute robbery.

    I've managed to keep my cost down by working two jobs and paying all of my living expenses out of pocket. But, because I've had to do that, I feel like I've missed out on a lot of things the university has to offer.
  • chrisnyc1chrisnyc1 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    "However many folks aren't aware of that, so hearing "GS" implies BGS, which sounds sucky."

    I am a senior at GS, and I have never heard of a BGS, because IT DOES NOT EXIST! Where are you getting this false information from? Source please! GS students earn the exact same = equivalent = on par = degree that CC students receive. We take the same classes and sit side by side with the same professors. Major requirements are identical. We use the same library, shop in the same bookstores, get coffee together at the same cafes.

    If you want to talk about real differences, consult a matriculating student like myself. Here are some of the disparities:

    GS students do not have the same access to financial resources that other students have, because the endowment is smaller. At CC, if your parents make a combined income under a certain amount, you get a free ride. Not so at GS. This is why so many GS students leave for other schools.

    Students who study at Columbia and the Jewish Theological Seminary are GS students. This joint program falls under Columbia General Studies, but not all joint programs do. For example, the Juilliard joint program is now only under CC. At one point GS had a joint program with Juilliard, but it was cancelled. There was no grand father clause for students who came to GS with the intent of attending Juilliard concomitantly. The dean also did nothing to protect them.

    GS students enjoy generally nice accommodations, but they are not directly on the campus. Sometimes they are one block away, some much farther. Although GS housing is nicer than traditional dorms, the trade off is distance.

    GS students do not have the same access to facilities as other students. The ID swipe does not get GS students into certain buildings, and the issues seems like it will never be resolved. Again, the administration in general, and the dean of GS in specific really could care less.

    GS students can no longer attend Teachers College. This was a wonderful cross registration program that the dean of GS, Peter Awn, ended a few years ago. He never gave a reason why, as he seldom does about anything.

    GS does not bind its students to the university through social processes as well as other schools. Yes, we have a yearly gala, but not everyone can go do to size limitations. Accordingly, those who don't attend end up subsidizing those that do, because the cost of ticket is only a fraction of the real cost of the event. Regardless, our orientation process is not as strong as other colleges within the university. Does anyone even know the lyrics to our Alma Mater? They don't even play it at graduation any more. That is definitely NOT the case at CC.

    Now, here are some things you may not realize about GS:

    GS has the premiere postbac premed program in the country. GS sends more students to top medical schools than any other college in the nation, and yes that includes CC.

    Many GS students are celebrities. I've taken classes with numerous television stars, a Miss Universe, and the daughter of a national political figure. GS tends to draw the Hollywood crowd, in my opinion, simply because of its location in New York City. GS also does not punish you if you need to leave for a semester or even a year to do a project, like a movie. This is very alluring to actors in particular.

    Many many many GS students go on to Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Stanford, Yale and just about any other so called "elite" institution. GS students are sought out and highly regarded in grad school admissions. I have already been accepted to Harvard and Stanford, both typical schools that continually accept GS students. When I went to Stanford for an interview, they were most impressed that I attended GS, not CC.

    So there you have some basic facts about Columbia School of General Studies. We would all be better off if you would stop posting conjecture as fact and myth as reality.
  • tsar10027tsar10027 Registered User Posts: 242 Junior Member
    The only buildings we don't have swip access to are CC/SEAS dorms.
  • tsar10027tsar10027 Registered User Posts: 242 Junior Member
    "GS students do not have the same access to facilities as other students." What facilities other than dorms?
  • Studies12Studies12 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    I think that for as many people you can get together in a room that's how many differing stories we can share about whether or not it has been worth it to spend our money here at Columbia. These are very personal stories for each of us. We are the students that have successful careers, lapses in our education, time in the military. We don't have a mom or dad that's paying our tuition and expenses so it's really tough sometimes.

    I'm graduating this May. I came to Columbia with a master's degree with a goal to obtain a degree in a totally different discipline. It's been really tough sometimes, and it is expensive. However, without any hesitation, if you were to ask me whether I should have attended the local university or Columbia, I would vote for Columbia. From my own experiences, I know that a state university education is nothing compared to an education from Columbia. I was recently accepted into a graduate program and was ready to attend in September until I noticed that their courses were the exact same ones that I took as an undergraduate.

    And yes, it is a big deal out there to graduate from an ivy league university. It was a big deal to this graduate program that I'm graduating from Columbia and now they are offering me an assistantship as an incentive to attend. Where I currently work (MAJOR financial institution in mid-town), they don't even want to talk with you unless you've graduated from an ivy league.

    And for the last time: there is NO SUCH THING as a BGS diploma. We tell our potential employers and graduate programs that we've graduated from Columbia University. It doesn't matter if our home base is CC, Barnard, GS, or the School of Engineering...we graduate from Columbia.
  • jim008jim008 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    The main advantage here is being able to connect with the top people of your field and most of these guys don't care about what school you're from. I am currently interested in working for Wall Street and have interviews lined up with hedge funds and banks. Not a single banker ever asked which school of Columbia University I came from because anybody who's put themselves through here understands that a 3.8+ GPA in a quantitative degree is hard.

    If I went to a state school there's no way I would made the numerous connections from all the recruiting sessions they have here. My fellow GS students didn't really run into obstacles getting summer internships for prestigious firms such as BlackRock or any of the bulge brackets.

    I openly admit to classmates that I'm GS and most of the time they just don't really care. None of the banker's I've ever talked to asked exactly which school I came from. The only people who even cares about this are the select few current students with over blown self importance. They're generally the more insecure undergrads and I have never met one personally, only on these forums do they even appear significant.

    Anyway for the question of whether or not the expense is worth it depends on what you're pursuing career wise. If you're looking to work in the public sector then no it's not worth it. It is definitely worth it for me since a lot of these financial firms wouldn't even consider you unless you're in one of 9 schools in the world.
  • hellojanhellojan Registered User Posts: 1,632 Senior Member
    The reason banks don't ask about which Columbia school you attend is because they already know. Part of the responsibility of being the new guy in finance or consulting is interpreting the transcripts/credentials of applicants from your university.

    For example, if your application comes in to my work, a recent Columbia grad like me will know that they can go to the university's site, search your UNI, and find your school affiliation in 15 seconds.
  • Studies12Studies12 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    To think that an employer cares if you graduated from Columbia College or from General Studies is utterly ridiculous. I have spent the past 15 years working as a national account manager carrying a 20 million dollar book of business and on my own generate a few million dollars of sales as well. I work at a MAJOR institution in midtown, and they couldn't care less if I graduated with my masters degree (from a different university) from the "good" part of the school or the "not so good" part. Now, I'm a graduating senior at Columbia having returned to school as a GS student for a completely different discipline. I was accepted into top universities to begin graduate work in September, and the departments are excited to have a Columbia University graduate in their system. No one cares if I graduate from GS or from any of the other undergraduate schools at Columbia. And, do you know why? Because we all have the same classes and are certainly not given any breaks. When high level executives come into my office and see the Columbia University coffee mug, they don't ask what school I was part of; they ask me about my major. So silly to think that going to GS is on anyone's minds. The Columbia College students don't even care.
  • sktchbooksktchbook Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    Okay, as a current GS student, I feel that I can add to this discussion. Let me tell you, the ONLY people that care whether or not you are in GS are seriously CC students and/or CC alumni. This is widely agreed upon because CC kids seem to have a prestige complex. CC students believe they are "above" Barnard, SEAS and GS - they just seem to think they are better than anyone. I know this because I have CC friends and co-workers who have expressed this kind of sentiment. They do not say bad things about GS in front of me, but I've heard them talk about Barnard and many of them say things like, "They think they are entitled to everything Columbia has," "They are a second-rate school," and "Barnard girls to bed. Columbia girls to wed." The sense of superiority among most/all CC students is pretty disturbing. So, it is not just GS that receives backlash from CC, but also, all of the other schools.

    I think anyone thinking about applying to GS should know this because I was not aware of this until I enrolled here. That being said, people who don't care what school you are in are: the professors, the other students, the administration, and graduate schools and employers (from what I've read on other posts).

    GS students have to take the exact same classes and have nearly the exact same requirements for graduation, so the prejudice that CC students harbor is ungrounded and even a little desperate. I have a theory that it is maybe because GS students consistently outperform GS, as a whole, that there may be latent bitterness. GS has had the highest GPA among all four undergraduate schools in all recent years while taking the exact same classes, so it is a fact that GS students perform "better" than CC students. In general, I have noticed that a lot of GS students sit in front of class, participate in class and generally try very hard. If I could characterize GS in a few words, it would be that they are the most humble, hardworking and sometimes eclectic of the four schools.

    Despite some CC students' need for validation, I have found my experience at GS to be great. For me, GS challenged me to be a better scholar and I improved my writing, reading and thinking abilities exponentially faster than in any other year in my life. If you want to broaden your mind and experience a the kind of scholarly and inspirational environment that you probably will never experience again, you should attend Columbia.
  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers Registered User Posts: 2,888 Senior Member
    GS probably can't cross register at Teachers College because, like the medical school and law school, TC is a graduate program. There are no undergraduate classes.
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