Remember our delegation's visit to New York University that we reported last week? Today we're about to share their discoveries about Columbia University, the Ivy League research universities in Upper Manhattan, New York City usually cited as one of the world’s most prestigious universities.
When mention about Columbia University, people would think of President Obama and Roosevelt and the fact that the University is particularly notable for its School of Journalism. That's what most people know about Columbia. But we want to know more, something more specific and the unusual facet about it, and that's what we want to tell you through our field visit to Columbia.
Undergraduates are given great attention at Columbia. The only people in dorms on the Columbia's campus are undergraduates; the gym is primarily for undergraduates; the large library with the Greek names is primarily for undergraduates. And Columbia has the same faculty and teacher at undergraduate level in the entire school. "As far as we see it, there are three Ivy League universities who are also at least 50, if not 60 percent, dedicated to undergraduate teaching: Princeton, Yale and Columbia."
Core curriculum is the signature academic sweet spot of Columbia. It is the set of common courses required of all undergraduates and considered the necessary general education for students. Begun in the early part of the 20th century, the Core Curriculum is one of the founding experiments in liberal higher education in the United States.
The courses include Literature Humanities which is about masterpieces of western literature and philosophy ranging from the Holy Bible and Confessions to Essays and To the Lighthouse; Contemporary Civilization which deals with social, religious and political thought; University Writing, designed to help undergraduates read and write essays; Art Humanities; Music Humanities; Frontiers of Science which is to challenge students to think about questions of science and about the world around them.
"So it's actually an intellectual bootcamp for students that really helps them approaching difficult works that may not be familiar with them. Because that is college, which is to try on new things, not memorizing things, but thinking things through, understanding them and being able to applying them."
"What we advise is when you come to Columbia in the first semester, maybe in the first year, take 4 courses, not 5. Because it is a different approach to education, much more nuances than just memorizing and learning. It is important to understand the material. We recommend a very patient approach in the first year."
For a typical student, that might be a core course, a companion science core course. The writing class in the second semester is very helpful: how to write a clean expository paper. As we were told, "many students, no matter how bright they are, are really not very efficient writers." So this course is another bootcamp approach to what is the most efficient way to transfer from your thoughts from your head to your printer. And then as to other courses, there will be more such as maths course, science course, e-com course, etc.
"I think the atmosphere is not peer competitive, or cutthroat", said the admission officer at Columbia, "It is a place where almost everybody are serious about their academics. That's a positive atmosphere because everyone is taking a different programme. Sixty different majors. There aren't people doing the same things you are doing. So you don't really have the sense that you are competing with them."
"But I think the student that does well here is someone who is independent, meaning not dependent on what people think, not dependent on their parents, who are not afraid to assert themselves, who are outgoing, assured of themselves. Because if you are kind of shy or stay within yourself, you are missing out on the many opportunities. You wouldn't get nearly as much out."
Columbia require standardised tests and scores like SAT1, SAT2, ACT, AP or IB. Then they look at what is the personal makeup of the student, what are they talented in, what is their personality, what are measures of character that presents from the school's recommendation. "It depends on the story of school that is providing ……but in many cases, it is that personal aspect, along with very strong academic profile that is the difference maker as to who's in and who's not."
1、Columbia has very few classes on Friday. So students have to be an idiot to schedule a class on Friday. So the weekend starts on Thursday night.
2、Every student has to pass the swim test as indicated by graduation requirements, expect the Engineers. One of the theories for the requirement is: Manhattan is an island. Engineers can build boats.
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