Columbia Undergoing an Identity Crisis?

<p>I wanted to see opinions of non-Columbia sub-forum regulars on this:</p>

<p>There are the elite of the elite: HYPSM</p>

<p>And then there are the rest of the elite: Penn, Brown, Dart, Duke, Cornell, WashU, Caltech, etc.</p>

<p>Columbia seems to be stuck in the middle of these two categories. While clearly a top 10 school, I rarely see it grouped into one of these two with the occasional HYPSMC and even that is vague on whether the C is for Columbia or Caltech.
Columbia College has the lowest acceptance rate in the country this year (8.9%), and the engineering school had a huge increase overall, with a whopping 51% increase in ED applicants, so it seems more people are willing to commit themselves to the school, much like at other elite institutions.
The only thing seeming to be holding the school back is its USNews ranking, and, although most who are "in the know" agree this is just because of a few schools who play to the rankings, it's still stunting the growth of Columbia's prestige.</p>

<p> Columbia really somewhere in the middle? If so, does this mean it's rising to the top group, or it's just caught, sooner or later to fall back down?
Also, does anyone else see a similar situation with any other schools? I think Penn is the closest too it, but it seems Penn is more set on defining itself as "the best of rest (non-HYPSM)," rather than jumping up a tier like Columbia is in the process of.</p>

<p>Acceptance rate means nothing. I would consider it to be on par with HYPS.</p>

<p>Columbia's fortunes rise & fall with NYC.</p>

<p>In the 70s NYC was in the crapper, Columbia's neighborhood was dangerous, and Columbia, with 40%+ admit rates, was hanging out with Cornell & Penn near the bottom of the Ivy League. Columbia's current parent-age alumni base is of this vintage, for whatever that might mean in terms of alumni giving, networking, perception of the older generation, etc.</p>

<p>Also, it seems like all the city schools take advantage of their location advantage by curtailing to an extent their own offerings relating to on-campus experience for students. This reduces student/alumni loyalty to their school, somewhat.</p>

<p>It's current acceptance rate seems to me to have more to do with NYC being hot, and Columbia being the "best" school in NYC, than anything paticularly about the school itself. I don't know that there is anything particularly "better" about its actual academic offerings, relatively speaking, than was the case in the 70s when it was among the least selective Ivies.</p>

<p>The classroom experience of Columbia College students is shared to an extent with students from Columbia SEAS, Columbia General Studies, and Barnard College. Universities such as Penn and Cornell are also like this, but report the data on student admissions and selectivity on a more consolidated basis I believe. Consolidated reporting is almost useless for an applicant assessing their chance of admission to just one particular school of a university, but on the other hand it may be somewhat informative in trying to assess the average level and range of student academic capability that may be experienced in the classroom. The classroom composition may be more uniform at some other universities currently ranked above Columbia. And certainly more disclosed.</p>

<p>I've never seen any published admission stats (SATs, etc) for Columbia General Studies students.</p>

<p>A view from the bottom of the Ivy League, which is not at all a bad place to be, by the way. </p>

<p>In my time (I graduated from Cornell in 1976), none of my friends at Cornell would have gone to Columbia if you paid them, and we couldn't understand the motivations of those who did. It was not considered a better school than ours, it had a restrictive Core Curriculum, it was not yet co-ed (and Barnard was and is a separate and distinctive institution), and its sports were a joke. And many of us would not have wanted to be in dirty, dangerous New York City anyway (although others loved the place).</p>

<p>Its sports are still a joke, but other aspects of Columbia's reputation have improved drastically, thanks largely to the improvement in NYC's reputation. But if you took Columbia and transplanted it to a hill overlooking an isolated small city in Western New York, would it still be so many kids' dream school?</p>

<p>P.S. Of course Cornell reports its statistics for all of its schools. We're proud of our colleges of architecture and hotel administration, both of which are #1 in the country in their respective fields, even though their students, who are selected using admissions criteria different from those used to select students in engineering or arts and sciences, bring down Cornell's SAT averages.</p>

<p>Monydad, GS students are "nontraditional" and tend to be much older - the average age is 28 or 29. Because of that they are not required to submit SAT scores -- they have the option to submit them, but they may choose instead to take an exam that Columbia administers. The admissions process is no doubt far more holistic, taking into account the experiences the students bring with them. </p>

<p>My daughter says that the smartest students in her classes at Barnard or Columbia are the GS students -- they just seem to "get" things faster than everyone else. </p>

<p>So I am not sure how their "stats" would help in any way in terms of useful information. If anything it would be misleading, because if they submitted SATs that were many years old, the scores wouldn't reflect current ability. </p>

<p>I mean, bottom line: the GS students are grownups and you don't evaluate grownups on their high-school SAT scores.</p>

<p>That's your opinion. Mine is otherwise.</p>

<p>I know adults whose intellectual capabilities do not equal their maturity.
I would imagine many of these individuals that I know would in fact water down the right kind of high-tracked class. Even though they are old.</p>

<p>Neither SATs, selectivity or age per se comprehensively determine one's ability to contribute positively in a classroom environment. I don't believe that on the other hand any piece of this information may be completely irrelevant either. You, on the other hand, do.</p>

<p>Other cc readers may decide for themselves.</p>

<p>I think it would be interesting to see the data. Which is not made available. Forget SATs, I haven't even seen the admit %. Admit % is not high school information, it is current. Is just about anyone who fills out the form getting in there? I really don't know. But all these people are co-habiting Columbia classrooms.</p>

<p>BTW I'm not disparaging GS students; I've no basis to. There is no public information upon which to form a basis, one way or another. Some may have anecdotal information/ impressions about some individual students they meet, but extrapolation to a group as a whole is difficult without group data.</p>

<p>There's no reason SATs have to be old, they could be required for admission. There is no age limit on who can take the SAT. My impression is that for most SAT-optional schools the assumption is that the scores if submitted would show the students to be academically weaker. In terms of the fundamental capabilities measured by the test. Which are different than maturity, drive, or other measure. Yet not irrelevant in a classroom setting either, IMO.</p>

<p>Moneydad what are you talking about? Columbia University Faculty have won many Nobel prizes in the last 10 years, e. g. Horst Stormer (Physics) Richard Axel (Medicine), Edmund Phelps (Economics), Joseph Stiglitz (economics-although he just came to Columbia), Orhan Pamuk (literature-new Faculty addition in SIPA), Eric Kandel (Medicine), William Vickrey (Economics-awarded 1996 now deceased), RObert Merton (SEAS grade-Economics 1997/I know this is not fair, but it's a recent one), RObert Mundell (Economics-1999), Richard Hamilton (foundation for Poincare Proof-over 40, but would have received Fields Medal otherwise with Pearlman), wow....Columbia University is def What is wrong with playing of the fact that Columbia is located in NYC (the greatest city by an objective measure in the US and maybe, just maybe the world)? Part of the college experience is gaining real-world (read internship) knowledge while in college to apply to various fields. While it is true any IVY will allow one to be competitive for a Wall-Street position, most other industries require work experience prior to the entry level job, e.g. Journalism, TV, Marketing, Fashion, etc. Perhaps all students want to go to Wall Street? Also, the Columbia area has improved (due to gentrification) by leaps and bounds. The endowment investment returns have finally started growing competitive to Columbia's peer schools, e.g. 18% last year. Renovations to labs and facilities throughout campus etc...I am tired of writing, but I await your response ;)</p>

<p>BTW, I got my MBA with many 28-29 year olds, such as myself. We had to take GMATs to gain admission. </p>

<p>MBA programs are generally considered the least academically focused grad programs, and most oriented towards crediting and evaluating post-college work experience. Yet, even though we were adults, the MBA programs evidently still found value from reviewing these [current] test scores along with the other items in our background, and giving them significant weight in the admissions process. As far as I can recall the GMAT was not so very different from SATs.</p>

<p>The GMAT averages and ranges for each of the graduate business schools are made readily available for all to see and evaluate. Nearly all of the students at these schools are above college age, yet this test score data is required and disclosed. And deemed to be of much relevance in admissions.</p>

<p>It is my opinion that if academic aptitude measures were actually totally irrelevant to evaluating likelihood of performance of 29 year olds, each with their various life and work experiences, in academic classes, then MBA programs would not require such testing be submitted to them as part of their admissions process. Much less give them substantial weight.</p>

<p>Yet even these require academic aptitude testing.</p>

<p>Fair enough, but justify the following quote in the context of what my previous post states: </p>

<p>"It's current acceptance rate seems to me to have more to do with NYC being hot, and Columbia being the "best" school in NYC, than anything particularly about the school itself. I don't know that there is anything particularly "better" about its actual academic offerings, relatively speaking, than was the case in the 70s when it was among the least selective Ivies."</p>

<p>Please show me another Ivy that has had this type of faculty run in the last 10 years...maybe Harvard or Princeton, but certainly not Yale and the rest...</p>

<p>The prestige and low acceptance rates remind me strongly of NYU. It seems both of these schools rise and fall with the environment of NYC. I remember reading that NYU wasn't that great of a school years ago, but is considered one of the best (now).</p>

<p>Virtually ALL the major big-city schools have leapfrogged in relative selectivity since the 70s, not just Columbia. Penn, NYU, UCLA are all tremendously more relatively selective now than they were back then. In fact, only Wash U has made a greater jump in selectivity since the 70s than NYU has. NYU was accepting over 70% of its applicants back then. </p>

<p>Perhaps its because of the great faculty run each and every one of these schools has separately had over the last ten years? Actually I think their biggest jumps in relative selectivity occurred more than ten years ago, but I wasn't following that far back. I know these fundamental patterns were already established in 2002-2003 when I started looking.</p>

<p>I have stated my opinion. CC readers may read it, and yours, and draw their own conclusions.</p>

<p>For continuity, in case readers are wondering, between posts #8 & #9 was supposed to go:</p>

<p>As for Hausdorff:</p>

<p>Please specifically replicate the sentence in which I stated Columbia was slipping. then I can respond. Perhaps.</p>

<p>Columbia's faculty is outstanding now. It was outstanding then as well. That was never the issue, so far as I'm aware. It was NYC, pure and simple. IMO.</p>

<p>And it's MONY, not money...</p>

<p>I did not say Columbia's star was not rising. I said it rose and fell with NYC.</p>

<p>I agree with your post at 11:45am Monydad (sorry about before), but Harvard and Columbia from 1900-1950 were considered the best schools in the especially...also Columbia at that time was the richest University in America...sadly it did not last :(</p>

Also, does anyone else see a similar situation with any other schools? I think Penn is the closest too it, but it seems Penn is more set on defining itself as "the best of rest (non-HYPSM)," rather than jumping up a tier like Columbia is in the process of.


<p>Praise by faint damnation from the biggest nemesis the university of pennsylvania has ever seen.</p>