Columbia College Vs SEAS

<p>I'm interested in Columbia but I'm not too sure whether to apply to the College or the Fu Foundation Engineering school. Both have fields that interest me; however, my main question is regarding the required curriculum.</p>

<p>I know that for the College there are a variety of Core classes that are required for graduation such as Humanities, arts, etc. But are there required courses for the Engineering school?</p>

<p>My second question is whether you can use courses required for a major to complete those core requirements. For example, in the College, if I were to major in economics, would many of my econ courses fill the requirements?</p>

<p>Thanks any help appreciated.</p>

<p>I would do Columbia College. It is much easier to get into Fu than to get out of Fu. Fu Foundation really only wants kids who are SURE they want to go into engineering, so in your case I would apply to the College, and if you get in and decide at some point (early on) that you want to switch into Engineering it would be possible.</p>

<p>I understand it is harder to get into Engineering but what I'm wondering about is the required courses-- can someone shed any light on this topic.</p>

<p>Also-- is it really possible to transfer between schools (early on)?</p>

<p>In CC, the Core is pretty much set for you. No matter what, you have to take Lit Hum, CC, Art Hum, Frontiers, and UWriting. It is possible to get out of Music Hum by taking a test in the first week you're there, but in all likelihood, you'll have to take that, too. That leaves the foreign language requirement, the science requirement, PE, and Global Core. A good amount of people test of whatever foreign language through placement test, APs, and SAT Subject Tests, otherwise you have to take through Intermediate II of some language. The two-semester science requirement is separate from Frontiers; you can fulfill this with pretty much anything that's even remotely sciencey/mathy. PE can only be fulfilled through taking two PE classes or being on a varsity athletic team. Global Core is similar to the science requirement in that you can fulfill the two-semester requirement while simultaneously fulfilling requirements for a major or concentration. Oh! And the swim test, which you can fulfill by either swimming three laps of a pool in front of one of the lifeguards or by taking Beginning Swimming as one of your PEs.</p>

<p>Some SEAS kid feel free to correct me, but if I recall correctly, the SEAS core is a lot more pick-and-choose. You can choose one of Lit Hum, CC, and Global Core, as well as either Music Hum or Art Hum. Freshmen SEAS people have to take UWriting and, back in my day, all the engineers bonded over their hatred of Gateway, which has since become something different. You have to take Principles of Economics, unless you got a 5 on one of the AP Econs and at least a 4 on the other. And then there's all of the stuff that's actually relevant to engineering, the requirements of which I don't recall at present, but in a nutshell, some amount of physics and math, and at least one semester of both chemistry and computer science. SEAS also has the PE requirement but no swim test requirement.</p>

<p>I'm sure that this sounds like a lot, and it is, but it really does define your experience here, especially for the first two years. In CC, the Core is actually really enjoyable, though everyone does their fair share of complaining about parts of it. I'm a junior, and I'm finished with all of the "no-matter-what" classes, all of which I loved.</p>

<p>As for the internal transfer thing, I know of about five people who transferred from SEAS to CC after freshman year, but I don't know of any who transferred in the other direction. I wouldn't recommend applying with the mindset of "I can just switch schools if I hate engineering/not engineering!" because you'll probably have a lot of catching up to do in your sophomore year.</p>

<p>Thank you so much grickle for your detailed post. I guess the Core will really influence my time at the College! (Not too psyched about all the literature and humanities classes though...)</p>

<p>What do you know about the Financial Engineering major at SEAS in comparison with an Economics major at the College? and how does it compare job wise?</p>

<p>Thanks in advance</p>

<p>bumppp Any feedback regarding the differences between the 2 majors?</p>

<p>Columbia does have a 3-2 program where you get your BA from Columbia College in 3 years and your BS from Fu in 2 years. Best of both worlds, check that out.</p>

<p>Thanks, but at this time im only considering a 4 yr degree.</p>

<p>So... how does the Financial Engineering major at SEAS in compare with an Economics major at the College? How does it compare job wise?</p>

<p>The 3-2 program is a fairly bad idea. You spend $60,000 on an additional year of schooling for 2 bachelor's degrees, when you could have a Master's degree in that time. I only know 2-3 people who did the 3-2 Columbia program and they all did it in 4 years; an additional year is a waste of time and a waste of money.</p>

<p>It's not a fair representation to compare the FE program and Economics, because the FE program is already a self-selecting pool of top engineering students. It's akin to comparing the top 10-15% of the IEOR department with the top 10-15% of the Economics department. </p>

<p>Job-wise is hard to say. Employers are looking at the person way more than the major, i.e. can this kid learn on the job? Don't think of the major as training that you use on the job, but rather as a selecting mechanism to choose students with high GPA's to interview. At the end of the day, you'll learn everything on the job anyways.</p>

<p>Back to FE vs Economics, I really don't think there's much of a difference in terms of finding a career. FE is much more quantitative than the base Economics degree and even the Econ-Math degree. If you're interested in Finance, I'd highly recommend the Economics degree because of it's flexibility as well as the fact that it's much easier and graded higher. At the end of the day, no one is going to choose a 3.6 FE major over a 3.9 Economics major to interview (if same statistics otherwise) so choose the major that's more flexible. You can always challenge yourself in Economics by taking FE classes but you cannot choose to avoid quantitative classes in FE.</p>

<p>Thank you very much beard tax for that detailed response. So the drift I'm getting is that majors don't matter as much for a job than I may think... so choose a major that's easier gradewise ;)</p>

<p>If I may, I'd like to quickly interject regarding the 3-2 program. I'm sorry for posting on this thread when it's clear this doesn't help you gymclasshero, but as a participant in the program I can't hold my tongue. Some people want both a liberal arts education as well as an engineering degree plus the 3-2 program, or combined plan program, adds a lot of practical value to your education. In this job market have two undergraduate degrees is never a bad idea. A masters might make you overqualified for a position or put you in a higher salary bracket which could possibly deter an employer from hiring you. Let me also make it clear that the combined plan is not just between CC and SEAS, I came from one of over 90 other liberal arts colleges in this partnership. Going to a small school before Columbia not only earned me a second degree but allowed me to go to a small college with some high school friends and start off in a classroom of 15 not 150. At this school I was involved in several extracurricular activities, built up a strong GPA, and obtained some great internships. Now I'm at Columbia and doing well but that may not have been the case otherwise. If I had come to Columbia right away I may have found it frustrating that classes were so difficult. My previous degree was challenging but nothing like this. The combined plan isn't for everyone don't get me wrong, but I've come to be proud of being a 3-2 student and to completely discount the program and its students is the only "fairly bad idea" I can see here.</p>

<p>employment wise FE is valued by quant positions in trading and asset management. I know several teams at banks and several hedge funds who would rather interview a 3.6 FE than a 3.9 Econ. For investment banking 3.9 Econ wins and for consulting both would be on fairly equal footing. I knew several 3.9 Econ majors who got many first rounds but struggled to answer more quantitative questions in interviews, basically they were only good for banking and consulting offers. FE does open more doors but it is very difficult to do well. Resume screener do cut some gpa slack to harder majors but maybe they ought to cut a little more.</p>

<p>Finally there's the aspect that beard tax never talks about and that is doing well in job. More quantitative majors almost always help no matter what field you enter. Even in consulting you'll be surprised how much your manager / client appreciate some strong data analysis or programming to automate a simple process or handle a large data set. There's a reason Penn's program in Management and Technology (dual degree from wharton and Penn engineering) produces the most desirable candidates for banking, hedge funds, consulting and even to several large engineering firms</p>

<p>Confidentialcoll neglects the fact that in the College, you can always major in the joint program between Economics and Mathematics, which will look just as good as an engineering major. If you want to bump it up a notch, you can major in Mathematics and attain a concentration in Economics, which is even better than an FE degree.</p>

<p>I don't think confidentialcoll was ever in the FE program or actually knew people in the College who majored in the more quantitative fields. Needless to say, some of the best trading positions at GS were taken by Mathematics majors, not engineers. You're going to have more latitude to decide how you want to tailor your major and your career in CC. In engineering, it's quantitative or bust.</p>

<p>The most important thing on the job is to have a good attitude and be a quick learner. The benefit of being well-rounded and a sociable person in college outweighs the benefit of knowing programming and mathematics for most jobs. Needless to say, there are many more well-rounded and sociable people in the college than in SEAS, either as a function of self-selection or more likely the environment shaping individuals.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Confidentialcoll neglects the fact that in the College, you can always major in the joint program between Economics and Mathematics, which will look just as good as an engineering major. If you want to bump it up a notch, you can major in Mathematics and attain a concentration in Economics, which is even better than an FE degree

[/quote]
</p>

<p>1) doing well in Econ math is pretty much as difficult as doing well in FE, the math classes and the math majors at Columbia are incredibly bright and hard working</p>

<p>2) Math-Econ misses the stat and comp sci which most quant finance places look for</p>

<p>
[quote]
I don't think confidentialcoll was ever in the FE program or actually knew people in the College who majored in the more quantitative fields.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Dude, I've taken FE classes and a large chunk of my friends were math, phy and comp sci majors in the college. I spent four years at Columbia and wasn't under a rock. Doing well in a quant field in the college is incredibly difficult, they have huge drop out rates into econ or something easier. </p>

<p>
[quote]
Needless to say, some of the best trading positions at GS were taken by Mathematics majors, not engineers.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>yet I know two Columbia engineers both IEOR who are on two of the best desks at GS. I know quite a few GS securities guys.</p>

<p>
[quote]
You're going to have more latitude to decide how you want to tailor your major and your career in CC. In engineering, it's quantitative or bust.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>this is true, but coming into seas you probably already know that you want to study something very quantitative. You don't know that they'll dish out low grades in several classes, which needs to change.</p>

<p>
[quote]
The most important thing on the job is to have a good attitude and be a quick learner.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>in a normal job this is paramount, but you won't be hired to a more quantitative position if you lack the prerequisite skills. </p>

<p>
[quote]
Needless to say, there are many more well-rounded and sociable people in the college than in SEAS, either as a function of self-selection or more likely the environment shaping individuals.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I didn't really find this, both schools had their share of social and nerdy people. Perhaps there is some self selection working against SEAS, but I strongly doubt the environment makes anyone less social, let alone targeting SEAS students while leaving CC students social butterflies. I didn't find anyone losing their social skills because they were in SEAS, perhaps they lacked them to begin with. </p>

<p>Beard tax will relentlessly tell you to choose CC instead of SEAS. Fact is there are some valuable advantages to CC like flexibility of major and higher average grades. Both of which I would like to see SEAS change - i.e. SEAS needs to institute higher average grades on par with CC, and should make it easier for SEAS students to switch schools and vice versa. But sticking it out in a quantitative major and dealing with difficult problem sets and more work in general has served me very well in the work place. I have no qualms about coming in early or staying late, I'm more efficient with numbers and more numerate than peers who did not study something quantitative, and I learn logical concepts quicker. Some of this is just who engineering schools self-select, but some of it is training at SEAS. I also came in much more anti-social and diffident than I left.</p>