Am I a candidate for General Studies?

I am a community college student in my very early 20s, GED recipient, and formerly homeless youth. I have maybe one year of high school credits. I took my GED while homeless at 16 as life (intermittent teen homelessness and loss of single parent to cancer) dictated the sporadic community college route. I entered the workforce at a young age and have held quite a few insight-offering jobs in the public and private sectors. My current job has afforded me the opportunity to travel continents, write for a living, and immerse myself in a variety of local histories. My, albeit entry-level, experience in the practical workforce has only strengthened my passion for the humanities, commitment to questions and concerns of ethics, and dedication to global justice.

My paradigm shift toward my education occurred when I was commended as the most competitive applicant to a vocational nursing program at my county district at 18, by my scores and essays. I ended up not doing the program due to a combination of “shooting higher” and personal grief.

Overall, I do have a 4.0 college GPA in a philosophy/English-oriented liberal arts path.

My plan was to transfer to my state flagship (University of Florida) or try my luck and shoot for some of the smaller LACs.

If it matters at all, I’m a female URM. I am a US-born citizen, but I also partially grew up in third-world Latin America.

Does General Studies accept cases like mine? I’m not a parent or vet.


The school is for returning and non-traditional students. You don’t need to be a parent or a vet.

Per the website
“The School of General Studies of Columbia University is the finest liberal arts college in the United States created specifically for returning and nontraditional students—those with a break of a year or more in their educational paths—seeking a rigorous, traditional, Ivy League undergraduate degree full or part time.”

You can also contact the school directly and ask. 408 Lewisohn Hall, MC 4101, 2970 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 | Phone: (212) 854-2772 | Toll free: 800-895-1169 | Fax: (212) 854-6316