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Columbia GS Review

PalmierPalmier 10 replies1 threads New Member
edited July 2018 in Columbia University
Having spent 1 year at Columbia GS, I just wanted to educate those about Columbia GS in case you were sitting on the fence.

What is Columbia GS: An undergraduate college within Columbia University that offers the same graduation requirements and classes as the college, with a traditional BA program for nontraditional students

Who should apply:
1. Older students who can't get the same academic opportunities elsewhere at a peer school (Like Penn, Duke, Harvard etc)
2. Students who are solely concerned about academia and studies - the GS BA degree is viewed in the same light from a graduate admissions perspective, for all courses (including MD and JD) except "prestige-focused" ones like a top ranked MBA (H/S/W)
3. Students seeking a decent job (think P&G, Deloitte, PwC etc)

Who should not apply:
1. Those breaking into Investment banking - GS has the same OCR and career office, but alums (who conduct interviews and OCR) are almost 100% CC/ SEAS and will discriminate against you to some extent
2. Those who got into a peer school (Any traditional Ivy League undergrad program + Stanford + MIT is preferable to Columbia GS, except maybe Cornell's public colleges. Note: Cornell's CAS and engineering school is on par, if not better than Columbia's traditional college career and academics wise)

What should you be prepared for if you enroll at GS:
1. 40% of CC/ SEAS/ Barnard students will discriminate against you, not outrightly, but it's noticeable
2. You will be barred from all CC/SEAS specific events, so don't count on full integration like GS mentions
3. You will have to take GS specific Core classes, so dont count on full academic integration
4. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have legacy status for your kids
5. Contrary to popular belief, most GS students are not nontraditional but are traditional Community College students with no prior life experience. Us milvets, ballet dancers, bankers etc are in the minority
6. If you want to break into Investment banking, good luck with that if you're not a US milvet because the banks seem to think GS is subpar and will only recruit a handful of people from GS
7. Financial aid is terrible, in part because the school is new
8. GS is a cash cow (with a heart); the administration cares but you know its a cash cow when the number of students enrolled in GS have increased by 60% in the last 10 years, while the number of students in the other undergraduate schools have remained constant.

Hope this was useful.
edited July 2018
9 replies
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Replies to: Columbia GS Review

  • SnekfestSnekfest 127 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Do you regret getting in?

    Would you recommend GS for a community college transfer if they get into another good school just not on the same level as Columbia?

    How powerful is the C bomb when getting interviews besides investment firms? Any other companies you heard some of your mates got into? Tech especially.

    Any help is truly appreciated thanks for your time!
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  • donutoperatordonutoperator 16 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I second the above questions, out of sheer curiosity.
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  • sithlordsithlord 16 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I'm a GS Student. I feel there are a lot of people who come to GS wanting to experience the traditional Ivy League college experience an 18-22 year old would have. In my personal experience it's those people who are unhappy with GS - not including financial aid/legacy status which I completely agree with. I've heard financial aid has gotten better and it wasn't until a couple years ago that GS asked alumni to donate back to the school. Let's be honest GS and Columbia University were badly managed for decades.

    Investment banking is incredibly competitive. A lot of traditional students don't get internships or job offers. And you're competing for few spots with students from Columbia and other Ivies. I personally never faced any issues with CC/CEAS students regarding the fact I'm in GS. I look a lot younger than my age and I've always mentioned I'm 26 which cleared things up. If you enter GS and work for a 3.5+ GPA you shouldn't face any issues. CC/CEAS alumni all know we take the same classes. Also your attitude on the GS/CC difference will determine how people view you.

    Yale, MIT and Stanford are ranked higher than Columbia CC so that isn't a GS issue.

    We only take a couple core classes separately and it's meant as a way to create a GS community. 95% of your classes will be with CC/CEAS.

    I would say a third of the GS students are traditional aged students who are in joint programs with another university. A third are military vets and the rest are a solid mix of older nontraditional students with life experience and younger community college kids who took a couple years off for various reasons and went back to college. Everybody I know had a 3.9/4.0 in recent coursework, work/life experience and strong recommendations.

    My only issue with GS is the legacy and financial aid but I'm confident that that will change in the near future. The school is undergoing numerous changes after 50+ years of mismanagement. GS is becoming more well known and more competitive. I strongly recommend it for someone who understands it's a nontraditional college and that you will need to prove yourself at Columbia (just like other CC/CEAS kids).

    The C name is strong especially with a strong GPA attached to it.

    If you can't afford it do not come. Financial aid isn't the best especially when you factor in living costs.

    Honestly for older students it's great knowing that there is a large community with a similar background to you.
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  • sithlordsithlord 16 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Also one last thing, I don't know why certain people keep stating how GS degrees are viewed less than a CC degree. GS and CC are both undergraduate colleges at Columbia. The acceptance rate for GS this fall was reportedly 15%. And that's for a self selecting group of people - not everybody can apply to GS. At the end of the day a Columbia degree, CC or GS, isn't going to get you into a top rated MBA program or an investment banking job at Goldman Sachs. There are 3 different undergraduate colleges with their own Deans and diplomas (signed by the undergraduate Dean). Engineering and CC students don't have the same diploma either. Do they complain about it?

    I'm gonna sound harsh but a lot of GS students seem to have a chip on their shoulder. Sure some CC kids will look down on you but so will some Stanford/Duke/Berkeley/UCLA kids who got in straight from high school. Transfer students face some stigma at all colleges. There will be a sort of unspoken mentality that you have to prove you belong there.

    Some CC alumni might look down on your application if you went to GS but the same thing could happen if you transferred to any other college and an alumni who spent all 4 years interviewed you. This will not be a huge issue if you're a strong candidate.

    Trying to get an IB job straight out of GS is gonna be tough unless you're a vet. It's not because you're in GS but because of the age. You'll probably do fine in a boutique or regional office but will struggle at a big firm in NYC. If you really wanna do IB and also want an MBA I recommend doing something else after GS for 1-2 years then go to a strong MBA program. You'll have a stronger chance of IB at a top Bank since they recruit older post MBA associates with no IB experience. IB analysts are usually between 22-26. The fit is the main issue not GS. If you're gonna graduate GS at 24 you'll find it easier to land an IB job than somebody who is older.

    I'm really sick of GS students complaining about stupid things like being lesser than CC. Chris Dixon is a GS alumni, is involved with Columbia Entrepreneurship Club and went to Harvard Business School. That's already one alumni connection that would be a stronger connection for GS students than CC.

    Honestly I find GS students limit themselves with their insecurity.
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  • SnekfestSnekfest 127 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @sithlord cannot thank you enough for all the detailed posts mate. I'm familiar with Chris Dixon actually and want to go the tech route as well. Not really sweating it for IB even though I will be young by graduation. Already on a good track for my prospective career but lots of jobs want a degree today especially for my field that depends heavily on internships.

    For others who will view the post:
    In terms of discrimination against transfers. This is the BIGGEST part that really is pushing me towards GS. It seems no matter where you go, even 2-year transfer programs, transfers are often looked down upon. So I'll leave that up to you all to decide!

    Sith, forgive me if asking too many questions but...

    Is the stress culture as real as people make it out to be? For technical classes at least

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  • incogneatoincogneato 155 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Just for what it's worth, this is my third month at GS and I haven't experienced any direct discrimination at all. Granted, I do look a bit younger and a few people have mistaken me for a CC senior (very flattering). That said, I agree with most everything above. There is a really supportive community that I've found in GS that I can't say I've seen reflected in the CC population.

    The thing is that Columbia has a very real stress culture and it can be hard to talk about what's stressing you out, but there are options. There are so many resources that it's actually overwhelming, especially when you first arrive. I'm happy to answer any new student perspective questions!
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  • myname99myname99 7 replies0 threads New Member
    Hi. I’ll be turning 20 right before the fall and I have narrowed my choices down to UCLA, Cal Berkeley and Columbia GS. I have kept Columbia in the mix because it’s a smaller school, I like NYC and I think I would feel more comfortable amongst older students. Do you think it would be a mistake to go to Columbia GS over the other two schools?
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  • CongratsCongrats 58 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Hey myname99, you are very similar to me. I'm turning 20 to, and desperately wishing to transfer to Columbia in 2020 spring. Are you in CC, or 4-year college? I am in a 4-year college, just finished my first semester. (I'm a January freshman)
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  • myname99myname99 7 replies0 threads New Member
    Hi Congrats. I took a couple of gap years directly out of high school to work, thus will be a freshman in the fall. I have decided to attend Columbia in the fall. Looking forward to it!
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