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Transfer Season - taking questions

AristorortyAristororty 135 replies7 postsRegistered User Junior Member
edited September 2010 in Columbia University
So transfer season is approaching. If you guys have some questions regarding how, why, what, etc., feel free to throw them this way. I transferred in last semester.
edited September 2010
83 replies
Post edited by Aristororty on
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Replies to: Transfer Season - taking questions

  • sophiarsophiar 38 replies21 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks for taking questions! First of all, I want to talk about why Columbia interest me, basically there are specific programs and institutions within CU that aren't offered at other Universities, how much should I talk about that in my essays? Is that what you did? Also, what is it like to be a transfer student at Columbia, are people warm and welcoming, or do you have to find your own way? Also could you possibly post your stats, or your range of stats and ecs, please? i think that would be really helpful. Thanks again!
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  • AristorortyAristororty 135 replies7 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    1. Talk about it a lot. It is not only great, but essential, to talk about specific programs. It demonstrates your knowledge of the institution and paints a better picture of you as transfer candidate. I did it a lot in my essays.

    2. Being a transfer is certainly different from being a regular student. However, like anything else, it is what you make of it. Socially, it will be more challenging than coming in as a freshman. But of course, this does not imply that transfers can't integrate themselves into the general population. And everyone is warm and welcoming. No one will discriminate against you for being a transfer.

    3. I'm not gonna go big into my stats, but here is a general picture: did not live up to potential in high school, did really well in college. College GPA: 3.9. Great rec, wrote a mean essay. High school: SAT: 2000 (690 CR, 620 M, 690 V (12/12 essay)). Three 5's on AP tests. GPA: eh.
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  • jahdudejahdude 44 replies6 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hey, its pretty great that you are answering questions. Well I had a question about transferring. I currently attend UBC-Vancouver, and I am planning on transfering from UBCV to Columbia either this year or next year, although I am not too sure about two things.

    1) If i actually stand a chance, my high school stats were unimpressive (or just not good enough), where I had a 3.6 GPA (on a 4 scale), and a low SAT score (1980), and SAT2's were 750,760, and 700. But now at UBC I am doing decently 9especially considering it is a weeder school, meaning they try to get rid of a lot of people in 1st year). I estimate i will have a GPA between 3.8 and 3.95 (on a 4.33 scale). But problem is, i have not done any EC's in Uni.

    2) I am not sure if my intention to transfer is, well a good one, given that I do love UBC and my friends here and well everything about it, and the sole reason i personally am thinking of transferring is the better reputation and the extra prestige I will get.

    Anyway any help/advice would be appreciated!
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  • AristorortyAristororty 135 replies7 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    You're scores are not an issue. Neither, really, are your ECs.
    What is an issue is (2). There are a number of things you need to consider.
    - You'd be leaving a sure thing for big fat (?). It is hard to find a school you like, with friends you like, etc. Once you leave, there is no going back. Someone very close to me transferred here for the same reason. But he came in from another NYC school - his friends are 20 minutes away. He hates the atmosphere of Columbia (though he is enjoying his classes). He would be miserable if he had no where to go. Needless to say, from Thursday night to Sunday morning, he won't be found on the Upper West Side.

    -- In short: not a good reason to transfer. And not because it is wrong (or right) to pursue prestige. It just isn't worth the risk to your educational experience. You deserve to be (and stay) happy.

    General note: It is also very rare that anyone is able to transfer with this mentality. Without a genuine narrative, admissions can read right through your application, and would throw it right out. You just aren't what they are looking for. This isn't a challenge; it's just a fact. Most professors, too, want to know why you are transferring. I know some professors will not write recommendations if they feel the student doesn't know what he or she wants.

    If you want to transfer, you need to have some genuine misgivings about your current institution, plain and simple. Don't try too hard to find them; it just isn't worth it.
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  • JasonNabilMalkiJasonNabilMalki 28 replies13 posts- Junior Member
    I attended Rutgers University and I could not afford my textbooks because the financial aid was not enough for me to cover all of the fees, so my grades suffered. I finished with 12 credits and a 2.5 GPA. I then went the United States Marine Corps. I am now at a community college and I am taking 12 credits and I believe that I will be finishing with 12 credits and a 4.0 GPA leaving me at a 3.25 GPA and 24 credits. I also have my own business that is booming. Do you think that I have a chance of getting into Columbia GS? Also, what is the work load like at Columbia GS? Despite only having a 2.5 GPA at Rutgers University it was a cake walk. If I had my text books and had no financial distractions, I would have been in the 3.0 to 4.0 GPA range. I made the honor roll times five times and I had a 3.75 GPA during one semester of my Junior year at a top 20 New Jersey public high school (100% graduation rate). I am sending in my application in Spring 2010 with my grades from my community college in May 2010. The deadlines is June 2010. Do you think I have a chance of getting into Columbia GS in the Fall semester 2010? ANY RESPONSE WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.
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  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d 435 replies17 postsRegistered User Member
    Aristoroty, you have no idea how extremely happy posting your stats made me. I definitely did not live up to my potential in high school either, but Columbia is my dream school and I was extremely afraid they'd turn me down solely for that. In short, you've given me hope. Thank you so much!

    And if you don't mind, some questions:
    1. What does Columbia look for in transfer students? I'm a biology major who takes pictures recreationally, socially advocates for LGBT rights, and have decent college grades. I'm really afraid this would not be enough for them.

    2. What's the Core curriculum like at Columbia? This is the #1 reason why I want to go. I'm a premed student, and I heavily believe that successful doctors are the ones who are able to combine the logic of sciences with the compassion of humanities, and I think the UCs cannot offer me the latter. They are too skewed towards the sciences and not enough towards the arts as most research universities, but Columbia stands out to me because while it still is a research university, it requires knowledge in both disciplines.

    3. What's the cost of housing like for Columbia, both on and off campus? I am paying for college on my own, and am deathly afraid of Manhattan costs of living.

    Thanks!
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  • AristorortyAristororty 135 replies7 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Columbia is essentially looking for interesting candidates that fill certain niches in the student body. So, for example, take your passion for biology. Admissions might say, hm, we could use some more science students who have a respect for the humanities. In such a case, you would fit the bill. But let's say you liked poly sci, and there had been an influx of poly sci majors that year, or a lot of poly sci transfers applying. Then it would hurt you. But the point is, this is completely out of your control.

    The reason grades no longer hurt you (as much) is because transfer stats don't affect admissions stats. This allows them to have a more diverse population of transfers, highschool-GPAwise.

    What you need to do is tie all of your interests together into a coherent life philosophy/narrative/portrait. Demonstrate how everything you do supports certain principles that you hold dear.

    Admissions likes transfers who like the Core. And for the most part, the Core is exactly what you think it is. Small classes, great opportunities for discussion and delving into texts. But, like anything else, what you put into it will largely determine what you get out of it. Judging by your comments, it would seem this is a non-issue for your case. Generally, if you know you want the Core, you will probably enjoy it.

    Columbia is needs-based financial aid. I would check their website for more details; I don't know how it works for students paying for themselves. They usually base it off of parent/guardian salaries. If your parents make under 60k a year, you will get a full ride. As far as costs of living, it doesn't need to be as expensive as you think. It is feasible to spend 7-10 dollars a day on food if you go grocery shopping.
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  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d 435 replies17 postsRegistered User Member
    Thank you very much for your answer, Aristoroty, it's really helped me!
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  • JasonNabilMalkiJasonNabilMalki 28 replies13 posts- Junior Member
    I am applying for the fall semester 2010 in May 2010, so it will be regular decision. I don't think that I will get in for the fall semester. The stats are about 1 out of 5 early action students are admitted and 1 out of 18 regular decision students are admitted. I will be applying for the spring semester 2011 early action, so I will have a better chance of getting in then.
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  • JasonNabilMalkiJasonNabilMalki 28 replies13 posts- Junior Member
    Aristororty,

    Thank you for the inbox response, that was VERY helpful; also, great thread. Is Columbia University everything that you expected it to be?

    Thank you,

    Jason
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  • steezesteeze 149 replies27 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    How bad did you want to go to columbia? was it your first choice or what?

    I also took the ACT today, but just learned that the ACT will send scores 5-8 weeks from today...the deadline for columbia is in march. How will this work out?
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  • AristorortyAristororty 135 replies7 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Jason: That seems like a good strategy. For someone in your situation, it seems better to wait.

    Generally, my academic experience has been everything that I expected and hoped for. I've met some really passionate people and have had some extraordinary professors.

    Steeze: Out of high school, Columbia was not on my radar. I simply did not have the stats to justify the application fee. Things changed significantly after my first semester at my previous school. I took demanding classes, got to know some important people, and earned a high GPA. But I found that I wasn't entirely fulfilled by the academic experience I was having. A professor encouraged me to explore transferring, and I applied to two schools: Columbia and Yale. I didn't get into Yale, but I would have chosen Columbia regardless. It was never my dream, though, to go to Columbia, because for most of my life, it was a pretty far-fetched idea. The whole process/change really sort of snuck up on me.

    Steeze - are you a freshman? I'm not sure retaking the SAT/ACT is the best move to make. I also didn't know you could do that. In any case, I would speak to your academic advisor about your decision to try transferring and whether or not it would be a good idea to submit standardized test scores earned in college.
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  • steezesteeze 149 replies27 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I go to a community college right now, and I am a sophomore. I spoke to my counselor and she agreed. Not only did she agree, but it seems that its not rare that ppl retake the SAT/ACT before transferring in order to try to be as competitive as they can be?

    I scored poorly on the SAT in my high school years, I was in the low 1700s.

    I'll be submitting my application in a month, so I guess the only thing I can really try to "change" is the personal statements. I guess I can call Columbia up and ask when is the deadline they can receive standardized test scores...

    thanks
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  • AristorortyAristororty 135 replies7 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Well that answers that question!
    Have hope, though - schools are generally flexible when it comes to score submission.
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  • minjminj 5 replies8 postsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you so much for posting this thread!
    It really has helped me a lot in writing my essays and etc. :)

    I have a question for you.. do you know anyone who transferred from a community college?
    I didn't have any choice other than going to a cc because of my financial situation and did my best at academics, took demanding classes for three semesters and earned a 4.0..But I'm still so worried about these "chances" cause the transfer chances are so low. Do you possibly know if the admissions look at the GPA from a four-year institution and a cc any differently?

    I would appreciate any kind of comments. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
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  • AristorortyAristororty 135 replies7 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I believe there were at least two students this year who transferred from a community college. I am not sure if they look at these stats any differently, but it is certainly not out of the ordinary for community college students to successfully transfer.
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  • tsakashvilitsakashvili 178 replies15 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hi, I'm currently a Freshman at Vassar College interested in transferring to Columbia. Among many other reasons, my main reason is that I can't study what I want to - the Middle East and Arab World - at Vassar. I'm really interested in Columbia's MEALC program. So my first question is: do you know anyone who takes Arabic classes or other Middle East classes in MEALC, and if so what are they like? Second: How do transfer students do the core curriculum. It seems like doing the 7 classes a semester that would be needed to complete the core in one year (after taking one year off the foreign language requirement for work done at the previous school) would be very difficult. Can transfer students do the core without taking 7 or 6 non PhysEd classes a semester, or is that the only way to do it? I really like the idea of a core curriculum, particularly literature humanities, contemporary civilization, and the global core; I just don't know how I could manage 7or 6 classes for two semesters. Thank you for reading this an I hope to hear back from you soon.
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  • dbest31dbest31 2 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    I am applying to Columbia GS for Fall 2010. I'd like to include my grades from Spring 2010, as my six As will raise my GPA. To wait for these grades to be included on my transcript, I have to apply after the early action deadline, but still before June 1.

    My question is whether or not the admission rate is higher for early action applicants. If so, do you think I should wait to apply to Spring 2011. This way, I can also include Summer grades in my transcript, which also will be A's if I continue my work ethic.

    Thanks!
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  • AristorortyAristororty 135 replies7 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    tsakashvili - I don't know anything about that program, but you can try posting a new thread about it. You wouldn't have to take that many classes per semester. Most incoming transfers are exempt from University Writing, don't need to take Frontiers of Science, and can cross-apply credits for math/science and global core. You will likely have a normal courseload, 4-5 classes a semester.

    dbest31 - Early application acceptance is generally higher. This essentially comes down to your decision and whether or not you think your other characteristics make you a viable candidate. You might also want to check with admissions and ask if you can list your expected grades.
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  • TecherdzTecherdz 260 replies1 posts- Junior Member
    Aristororty. I have completed the transfer admissions essay for Columbia University and it was the last university on my wide list that I wanted to transfer to. I too am a Biology major with work experience, starting my own food drive, being a vice president of the politics club and tutoring over spring break. My SAT score is above the 2250 mark and my GPA is currently a 3.9 at a tier 4 school. Like many others, my high school experience was good but not fabulous. The last time I took the SAT in high school I scored a 1980 but in college I retook it and made above a 2200 on it. Also I went to a competitive high school where everyone would be a top student elsewhere, anyways I have some questions:

    1. Is it true that all transfers are placed in the less prestigious general studies program? If so does this look bad on your grad school resume and job resume?

    2. I attend a tier 4 university, my high school GPA when I was applying to colleges was around a low B but in college I made a dramatic change. I heard that usually Columbia and other Ivies take transfers from other top schools and other Ivies, is this true? Can you go from a tier 4 school to Columbia?

    3. Sorry if my questions are getting irritating but I want to know this, what are transfer students restricted from when they transfer into Columbia? Is it true that transfer students cannot go on abroad trips or play sports?


    If you are curious, reasons I want to transfer to Columbia.

    1. I want a higher level of competition and I want to compete with the top kids to see how far I can go in terms of academics.
    2. Will help me when I apply for the top grad schools but only that, it will give me the chance to work with other top students on my major.
    3. I would be able to do more in NYC and find more volunteer work, internships and other opportunities to help me get into the top business or law school (I am aware that biology majors can get into both).
    4. Well renowned University where I will be surrounded by a lot of kids who want to learn and are ambitious, the competition will bring out the intellectual depth within me.
    5. It is in the Northeast, my favorite region of America, going there will give me more motivation to succeed because I went to high school and currently attend college in a really conservative area of the US. I lived in the Northeast before high school.
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