"Why Columbia?"

<p>How many people do you think actually put "Because it's an Ivy League school in New York City" as their personal statement?</p>

<p>That's obviously a crude way of putting it, but for most Columbia students that's probably what it boils down to.</p>

<p>well perhaps many applicants feel this way, but not many of them get in. Even the ones who feel this way would be retarded to put that as their reason to come to Columbia (and many will feel this way but not show it). In the end the admissions process is pretty good at screening who's actually done research into the college and has a more tailored reason to come to Columbia and benefit from an education here.</p>

<p>Other than those who put it as a joke, I'd say none.</p>

<p>if you go to an information session at Columbia and the head of the adcom talks to you, she tells you that the majority of applicants write that it's in Manhattan and that it's an ivy. She raged pretty hard and said if you put that you're basically insta-rejected.</p>

<p>^ That's exactly why I asked.
I went to one of the information sessions, and the admissions officer (I forgot her name - but she was really pretty) said that that was a bad answer & that many applicants have answered in this way.</p>

<p>I just kind of find it hard to believe that there's more than one person dumb enough to put that.</p>

<p>Could " Because I live in Harlem and Columbia is close to my home" Fly? :)</p>

<p>But what if part of the reason you want to go there is because of the resources of NYC?</p>

<p>It's perfectly fine to mention that you like how it has access to the resources of New York or something along those lines, but you can't just say "it's an Ivy League school in New York City" because that's meaningless (and clich</p>

<p>even if the reason you want to go to columbia is for the resources of nyc, id advise you to try to find another reason . As an admissions officer told me at an info session, there are many other good schools in new york...so why columbia and not those ones.</p>

<p>A friend of mine who was accepted last year wrote about Columbia's accessibility to New York. She is an art major and talked about the many museums nearby. This was just part of her answer though.</p>

<p>Not mentioning NYC in an essay would be weird imo. The city is such a large part of Columbia's overall institutional personality.</p>

<p>^wrong, you could write pages and pages on why columbia without once mentioning nyc. I'm pretty sure my why columbia essay did not include nyc once, it isn't weird just because you haven't come up with other reasons. In terms of institutional personality the core is probably a bigger aspect than NYC. I didn't mention either once, I think I talked about specific community service and research opportunities and specific professors / classes.</p>

<p>My Columbia essay was all about nyc and the core and some bs about how when I stepped on the campus I felt like I was home. </p>

<p>In retrospect, I feel like the Why Columbia question is not really going to be a deal breaker or app maker (though at the time I agonized over it).</p>

<p>1) the why columbia can be a deal breaker, depending on the applicant; borderline applicants if they don't nail the why columbia it is harder to believe that the student actually knows about and cares about columbia - there are hundreds of borderline students, the why columbia operates as the best velvet rope to determine interest in the university. </p>

<p>but for some applicants that for whatever reason are just very strong or fit some priorities, the why columbia has to be truly abominable perhaps to stand as a deal breaker. for a student that really is closer to a rejection an incredibly well-written why columbia could open up a re-evaluation of the student, a belief maybe that there is some talent that was harder to perceive before. so it is not always treated nor does it operate equally.</p>

<p>2) it is about nuance and not generalities - the reason why saying i want the resources of NYC a bad answer is because it doesn't go back to why columbia, if you want the resources of NYC, you can go to 70 different other universities. how does columbia interact with the city that interests you.</p>

<p>3) the more you can sound like you actually care about the institutional character of the university outside of its location, the less cliche you'll sound. </p>

<p>4) the less you list, and instead concentrate on the one or two key issues that excite you about columbia and that you believe makes columbia stand apart, the better your why columbia.</p>

<p>should you agonize over it? agonize sounds so negative; you should try and write something that is succinct, clear in purpose, demonstrates your knowledge and interest in columbia, and that shows your own voice. which for however few characters it offers is a challenge, not something to write just before submitting the application, but if you outline it, think about it, think about your voice, it is certainly something you don't have to spend forever working on.</p>

<p>I think ConnColl hit the nail on the head: talk about specifics. If you want, mention the resources of the city and the structure of the Core, but also talk about specifically why Columbia is a good fit for you. For instance, I wrote my "Why Columbia?" about an experience I had while I was staying overnight with a freshman at Columbia. When I met my contact at the Gates, he explained that a 'famous writer' was giving a talk in Dodge Hall and he was going to go listen to him, so I decided to tag along. It turned out to be a writer for the New Yorker whose pieces I had just started reading a few days before. I loved his talk, and even got a chance to speak to him afterwards. For me, that confirmed my decision to apply ED, and really showed the benefits of attending a major research university in the city. It's a specific example that means a lot more than just saying it "has access to the cultural resources on New York."</p>

<p>
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It turned out to be a writer for the New Yorker whose pieces I had just started reading a few days before. I loved his talk, and even got a chance to speak to him afterwards.

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<p>I heard talks from a senior writer and 27 year tenured cartoonist at the economist, I had been reading their articles and enjoying the weekly cartoon for years by then and I got to chat with them, and actually stayed in touch and became facebook friends with one of them, it was a dream come true. I also heard michael bloomberg and several heads of state talk in the flesh, which were pretty amazing. There's one tangiable benefit to your prestige + large research univ + specifically nyc location.</p>