Columbia HSP: Revealed

<p>IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING ATTENDING, PLEASE TAKE THIS INTO CONSIDERATION. DO NOT DISREGARD!</p>

<p>Let me begin by sating that I have, well had nothing against Columbia University prior to attending. When I began the search for summer camp I knew that this was the camp I wanted to attend. Perhaps too naively I rushed to apply, without paying attention to the minor details;</p>

<p>1) No financial aid was provided. This was a problem because my parents do/did not have 6,300 (give a few) for a measly three weeks, but somehow we pulled through. Even with that said, that should have set off a switch because no financial aid means no diversity in wealth. The end result; a bunch of rich kids with unlimited credit cards roaming around and polluting the air with cigarette smoke.</p>

<p>2) It says on the website that meals are provided Mon-Fri. Though it was carelessness on my part, a three thousand dollar meal plan should have covered weekends! Not to mention the commuter students who did not have to buy one were allowed to waltz right in for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!</p>

<p>3) The website does not name a lot of on-campus activities. That’s because there are none. EVERYTHING there was for you to do, with the exception of lie around on the grass, costs money. There were virtually no on-campus activities. What about midday? Crap. All the glorious midday turned out to be is a bunch of counselors playing Rockband in a dimly lit room in Lerner with a cart of game boards…yippee.</p>

<p>If I had paid more attention, I could have avoided Columbia, but since I was so naïve, I fell into a whole bunch of trouble in which Columbia is to blame;</p>

<p>1) Some of the counselors are no help at all. Now, I know you’re bound to find bad counselors everywhere, but I’m particularly disappointed because I was not happy with my living arrangements and was led to believe that room changes were not possible for one whole week before my MOTHER had to talk to the head counselor because I was having such a bad time.</p>

<p>2) THEY HAD NO ON-CAMPUS ACTIVITES </p>

<p>3)There was no unity in the camp what-so-ever. I felt like I was lost, couldn’t be seen (not in class though, my class only had 13 people). I’m very social but I felt like it was impossible to meet people.</p>

<p>The biggest thing about this camp that irritates me to no end is that you have to have a lot of money to do things. Broadway trips, expensive restaurants; that’s all Columbia had to offer. </p>

<p>So, what does it all mean?</p>

<p>Bottom line: This program is despicable. Purely money-making and not worth your time, unless you’re very wealthy and want to be thrown into the city with no supervision, able to do whatever you want until 11 (12 on weekends) except drink. I thought that I wanted to be in the city, do whatever I want, but the truth is that I didn’t. Metrocards need to be filled pretty quickly and having to stay in the dorm because you can’t afford to do anything is no fun, no fun at all. I personally need something that gives me options to do things instead of wander around campus aimlessly. My suggestion, try Cornell’s summer college, that’s what I’m doing.</p>

<p>The exploitation of wealthy parents hoping to garner an advantage for their wastrel children through summer programs is hardly uncommon in the Ivy league circuit.</p>

<p>Were people randomly hooking up?</p>

<p>Yeah, it's just a way of making money off of rich people. Then again, that's the purpose of college for some universities as well. How the hell do you think Bush got into Yale?</p>

<p>WARNING - failure to read may lead to unnatural expectations:</p>

<p>"Students are expected to cover expenses such as admission fees, transportation, and [weekend] meals. Though many of the off-campus trips are inexpensive or free, we suggest that residential students have access to a minimum of $700 per session." - 700 bucks for weekend expenses is pretty slim here. </p>

<p>Your 3000 covered housing and dining, that seems reasonable for the period. Columbia's dining halls aren't open on the weekends during the summer, but it said that - I am not sure if you wanted them to open it for you, or what your thought is there. </p>

<p>If your family could not afford it, why didn't you call to ask for support or not attend. Is it because you think this program gives you an advantage in admissions?</p>

<p>I think that you hit it on the button here in two ways - 1) you might not be ideal for a city, 2) you are naive. Consider - when I see a city, my first instinct is to do anything and everything, which doesn't mean I have to spend money doing it. You have Central Park for x sake 10 mins from campus. Now perhaps that doesn't sound sexy by itself, but how about a free opera concert, or hearing the philharmonic for free, or how about this website of all free things - FreeNYC</a>? - NYC's Premier Guide to Quality Free and Cheap Events. If you don't like to spend money on the metro, you can walk down Broadway and in 30 min end up at 72nd street and hang out. But I think the fact that it clearly stated everything on their website should have given you ample information and expectation. Consider this to be one of your first big life tests - and the result is that you feel the need to complain about it when in reality a lot of the blame is on you.</p>

<p>I make it a point not to apologize for this program or others because it is an unnecessary expenditure of money. It is too short to really get a sense of living in NYC, it is too long to just get a preview - can draw out too much. And if you want college credits, you probably have a local uni/college you can go to, or find a professor to do research with that will be far more satisfying and cheap. About the most compelling reason to do the program is to figure out if you are a city person or not - if you have the tough skin to make it, but even that is a quality most people develop when they go to school like Columbia. </p>

<p>Alas, I am sorry your experience was less than ideal. Trust that it could have been avoided. And if you want a 'summer camp' well, perhaps a college program is not for you.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Your 3000 covered housing and dining, that seems reasonable for the period.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Hah, are you kidding? $3000 for housing and dining for 3 weeks is reasonable? $1k/week? That is a RIDICULOUS price.</p>

<p>Let us be unreasonable and assume that housing costs $1k/month. That puts weekly housing at less than $250. Let's also assume that you pay $10/meal, M-F. That's $100/week. So at MOST, this should be costing $350/week. But $1k/week? Holy crap, that's expensive. I live in Chicago, for Christ sake, and I spend about $150/week on food and housing - and that's with meals 7 days a week.</p>

<p>Columbia ripped you off. It was definitely naive on you and your parent's end, but I don't see how you could justify Columbia's actions here. They know they have something that people want and so they're charging ridiculous amounts of money for it. Which is fully within their rights, I suppose. Then again, it's fully within Goldman Sachs' rights to bring the economy crashing down if there's no one to regulate their actions.</p>

<p>phuriku: NY is not Chicago. Big differences my friend. Not sure how old you are, but living costs are on the higher end in New York. The real shock is when you notice a place like Cornell's program actually costs a student in the same ballpark.</p>

<p>and students are essentially covering overall costs for having to turn on entire buildings even if the buildings are not full. also paying for a/c units, electricity, salaries for 24/7 security, for residential advisers. from knowing costs at CU - my guess is that the program makes very little profit per student, but tries to compound that profit across many students. it just is to show you that everything costs money and life is not cheap. try renting an apartment in new york for $150/week ;) and tell me what you get.</p>

<p>CU</a> Off Campus Housing- CU Student Housing and Apartment Rentals</p>

<p>I'm well aware that expenses in NYC are greater than those of Chicago, but I don't think the difference is overwhelming. I assumed that housing costs should be $1k/month. I don't think that's unreasonable at all, given the prices in the above link. (I live in a pretty nice place in Chicago for $400/month.) Even if you assume that the costs would be $2k/month, he should still only be paying $600/week. For $1k/week to be justified, you would have to assume that dorm costs would be a little bit above $3k/month and $25/meal. Those dorms better be fscking palaces, and they better be eating off of gold plates.</p>

<p>By the way, I know a friend that went to Cornell for an REU once. Including groceries, the total dorm costs were $300/month. I don't know if this was somehow sponsored by Cornell, though. I assume not, since they were already paying her $4000 for 8 weeks of research.</p>

<p>Well, had you known it beforehand, you could have rented a nice studio apartment, possibly one-bedroom elsewhere (more civilised area) with that money and simply enjoyed NYC on your own.</p>

<p>phuriku - 1) 1k a month doesn't get you much in new york, 2k sometimes just gets you as our friend says a nice studio. but if you add in all the incidentals that cu covers, the cost for 3 weeks it is not absurd as you think (maybe because I have lived here for awhile that I get it, sorry that you don't). but the important thing to note is that the person KNEW the costs beforehand.</p>

<p>Also: Cornell's summer program costs 800 dollars a week just for the residential fee (or $2400 for 3 weeks housing/dining), which considering the large difference in cost of living, I would say it is just as expensive. </p>

<p>And an REU is not the same as a high school summer program and are often run by different departments.</p>

<p>I could break out the anecdote of someone I know that lived in New York on $75 a week, so let's use facts then. Is New York more expensive than other cities? </p>

<p>Average</a> Rental Rates and Prices in Top US Cities-- rentBits Rental Marketing Blog
Cost</a> of Living Index for Selected U.S. Cities, 2005 — Infoplease.com</p>

<p>New York City is not cheap, does that mean you can't live cheaply? Of course you can, I did/have. But the greatest tragedy is how can places like New Haven, CT and Ithaca, NY that are not nearly at the same cost of living as New York charge about the same for housing and dining. And if you don't understand that heading into a situation of course you are going to be disappointed. I wish the OP would have messaged me before he left, I would have told him all of this beforehand. But with that in the past, I hope he recognizes this and doesn't put too high expectations the next time around. The devil is in the details.</p>

<p>I'm sorry that your Columbia experience didn't live up to your expectations. It is an incredibly expensive program. My friend is one of the counselors, and she told me that there's often friction between SHP students and lower-income students who are on-campus for a different summer program (one that's more academically oriented).</p>

<p>It's definitely easier to enjoy this program when you have lots of money to spend. However, as admissionsgeek pointed out, you are told beforehand how much money you should bring. $700/3 wks spending is a bit steep (I think), but counselors are told to organize a certain number of outings per week, and the whole point is to give you a taste of New York. </p>

<p>Perhaps, like the Columbia college experience, this summer program requires some initiative on your part. There are lots of cheap things to do in the city, but they require some searching. Also, did you try asking your counselor to find more low-cost options? </p>

<p>Blatant money-making scheme? Probably. But that's not unique to Columbia. I remember naively applying for Harvard's summer program before realizing that it cost 10k to take one class. (There was very limited financial aid.)</p>

<p>Anytime you want to start the woe-is-me routine over a program at a college that is not the core full-time studies program and is intended to be revenue-generating... just remember how International students are treated. By and large, unless you get merit aid (i.e. at a non-Ivy-League school), you're not going to get financial aid. The vast majority of international students at top universities pay the full sticker price for the school, and don't even have the benefit of subsidized loans. In practice, they end up subsidizing the education for all the domestic students who get more financial aid, which they get because the internationals are paying so much more each year.</p>

<p>That's the real underlying economics for why college prices have increased at a rate outpacing inflation by a good 4-5% each year. It's because there's differential pricing depending on who you are.</p>

<p>Similar things are true for summer programs, evening programs, part-time programs, and anything else where you're essentially buying your way in to a school that otherwise has extremely competitive admissions. Such offerings are priced to sell.</p>

<p>I wanted to do this program during this summer and I live in NY so I would be a commuter student but the 'no financial aid' thing really turned me off but they really had a course I liked tho the markeing pr course in sec. 2 but oh well I would rather save money and go to NYU Precollege for free (which I am lol) but all in all the program is prestigious i guess cuz its columbia but for an ivy i was surprised at the money situation but to each his own :) </p>

<p>-Sandra</p>