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The best thing about Barnard is the community. I never planned on going to a small school, but Barnard really does have an am...
The best thing about Barnard is the community. I never planned on going to a small school, but Barnard really does have an amazing, close-knit community of students, faculty, and administration. Sometimes when I tell people that I go to Barnard they don't know what it is, so I usually tell them that it's part of Columbia. Morningside Heights is a college town in itself, but I would challenge all Columbia students to try and escape the Columbia bubble more often- all of New York City is at your fingertips. I came to Barnard in spite of its status as a women's college, but I really appreciate the emphasis on feminism that's inherent in a lot of the curriculum.
Lots and lots of Jews here. The Jewish community on campus is HUGE. Lots of people identify really strongly with their ethnic and religious groups, so they're pretty popular on campus. In general, students are very trendy. People sometimes wear pajamas or sweatpants to class (but not me). Most students here have money, but not all of them. It's incredibly expensive to live in the city, obviously. Definitely, definitely, definitely very politically liberal. There are probably four Republicans in the entire student body.
Obviously not. It's a ridiculous notion. A Columbia professor once told me that he can always tell the difference between the Columbia and Barnard women in his classes, because the Barnard students are more engaged, more involved, and better communicators.
All of my classes this semester are small seminars; the biggest is 25 students and the smallest is 6. Some students study a lot, but I don't study that much. If I studied more, I would be much less stressed out though. It's definitely a very, very intense academic environment. More reading than you could ever imagine. Barnard students definitely have intellectual conversations outside of class- that's one big thing I notice whenever I hang out with my friends from home, the complete lack of intellectual stimulation compared to the conversations here at school. The best class I've taken is Women and Leadership, taught by Liz Abzug (whose mother was a famous feminist). The professors here are all very distinguished and accomplished and most of them are great teachers. Don't worry about picking up any actual skills... this is a liberal arts college, we're here to learn and read, not to figure out anything practical.
I'm in the Alpha Delta Phi Literary Society and it has saved my life at college. I absolutely love it and spend most of my time at the house. Greek life is important here, but I think the percentage of students actually involved in a Fraternity or Sorority is pretty low. There are lots of guest speakers, events, panels, etc. and the speaker list is generally impressive. So far... the dating scene sucks. I mean, it's a women's college, but I haven't met any especially appealing Columbia males either. If I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday, which I usually am, I'm probably procrastinating. Or doing work. Everyone's party schedule is different. Some students party a lot, others never leave the library. I usually spend the whole night out at least once a week; I roll in between 6am and 8am. Then I might go out one or two more times that week. But I study a lot less than most people, I think. There is so much to do off-campus! You're in New York City!
Some Columbia students, mostly Columbia girls, argue that Barnard women are not as smart as CC students. Also, one occasionally hears that Barnard students are all lesbians.
As a first year at Barnard, life is pretty terrifying. The city is scary, the prestige of the school is intimidating, and th...
As a first year at Barnard, life is pretty terrifying. The city is scary, the prestige of the school is intimidating, and the freshmen dorms emanate a summer camp feel. Once you adjust enough to emerge from your small room, though, you are forced to become an independent, opinionated, and confident woman. The small size of the school creates a heightened sense of academic competition while providing a more comprehensive student support system than larger institutions. Like any city school, the social life on campus is lacking because students tend to venture off campus and into the city. This diminishes school spirit a bit, but by the time senior year approaches, students feel a deep reluctance to leave Barnard. Seniors graduate from Barnard well prepared for the real world, demonstrating a sophistication and level of professionalism unparalleled by other liberal arts schools.
Alternative, shocking, and loud, students at Barnard are seriously amazing women.
Certain dorms at Barnard can be pretty physically unpleasant. Brace yourselves!
The stereotype of Barnard does not give the college enough credit. Although Barnard is slightly easier to get into than Columbia, the courses are usually at the same level of difficulty. Also, most students enrolled at Barnard tend to take most classes on their own campus. As for the social aspect, there is some friction between Barnard and Columbia women; however, when standing next to each other, they are impossible to tell apart.
The relationship between students and administration is amazing. Barnard has an extremely low student/faculty ratio, and it shows. Classes are small, and learning is optimal. As a student at Barnard, academics are your life. It is rare to eavesdrop on a conversation on campus at any given time without hearing sophisticated academic jargon. Unfortunately, the course registration process can be quite frustrating. Also, there is an implicit sense of cut-throat competition that pervades every academic department at Barnard. I assume, though, that these qualities are prevalent on the majority of American campuses.
There is a diversity of student activities at Barnard, but the temptations of the city steals the college activity board's thunder. There is definitely something for everyone on campus, but New York City proves too tempting for most to stick around long enough to find an on campus passion. As for your social life .. you can try to have one, but at Barnard, it more about getting ahead and getting the good grade than it is about getting drunk and going to parties to have fun.
Barnard is thought of as a liberal haven of fiesty women who seek a top tier education in an extremely broadminded campus. Barnard is also known as the "easy in" to Columbia, and it is sometimes seen as an ivy wannabe. Socially, Barnard women have the reputation of being promiscuous on account of the male-free campus, and Columbia women are known to dislike Barnard girls due to the competition they pose
As you will read in any pamphlet from the Barnard Admissions Office, it boasts of being a unique institution that contains th...
As you will read in any pamphlet from the Barnard Admissions Office, it boasts of being a unique institution that contains the best of all worlds- a nurturing, small liberal arts college for women that has access to the resources of Columbia University, and further beyond that, all of New York City. This sums it up in a nutshell. At Barnard you will feel safe and comfortable and cared about, without feeling stifled or as if you could ever outgrow the school. It's pretty "just right." Barnard is in Morningside Heights, which is a quaint little part of the city chock full of restaurants, grocery stores, and babysitting jobs galore. Morningside Heights is also home to the rest of Columbia University (grad schools included), Manhattan School of Music, and Union Theological Seminary- so there are always a lot of students/young people wherever you go. The 1 train is right outside your door when you go to Barnard, and all the basic things you could ever need are walking distance away. As far as the "wow" factor your grandparents will enjoy when bragging about you to their friends, Barnard packs a mean punch among educated people in the tri-state area, but otherwise there is a good chance people won't know what it is. Don't let this deter you- people who know what it is will think you're a little smarty-pants (if that's what matters to you).
Barnard is definitely a liberal 4 acres in the city, and students don't blink an eye at anything different or unusual. I think the Columbia Democrats pretty heavily outnumber the CU Republicans. Most people here are pretty idealistic and want to help make the world a better place. For example, many of the pre-med students I know have a fantasy of going to Africa for "Doctors Without Borders." I think it says a lot that the school has no business major or anything remotely in that realm. Upon graduation, anything goes: some people go straight to grad school, some to travel around Europe, some get a job in investment banking, and others decide to try their hand at auditioning for shows in the city (one last chance at fame before growing up or something). I think at all colleges people dress relatively the same; you have a range from the "I just woke up 30 seconds ago and ran here" look to the very neat, clean, "put-together" look at the other end. Most people just dress normal. I don't really know what normal is, but it's like me. You know, not flashy but not a hot mess. You walk a lot in the New York, so uncomfortable shoes are just silly.
Of course not. To the chagrin of many Columbia boys, most Barnard students are not hungrily looking around for mating prospects- on the contrary, I've found the supportive environment to foster confidence, independence, and careful decision making among myself and my friends. Of course, I cannot speak on behalf of the entire student population- college is a time when people question, test, and figure out their ideas about their own sexuality, and I don't think it is too different here from any co-ed institution. As for the Columbia issue, nobody worth their salt actually believes this (or at least says it out loud). Everyone here loves Barnard for what makes it special (more on that later). For the record, I went on tours of both Barnard and Columbia and decided to apply early decision to Barnard, specifically because it was a women's college with a warm atmosphere and strong academics, not to mention it felt like home.
Barnard prides itself on being a school that hires professors who are not only great scholars but also dedicated to their students. In my experience this is 100% true, and really a key factor in making my experience so positive. My friends and I have sat in wonder, talking about how we can't believe how brilliant our professors are and yet how much they seem to care about us! I would equate it to the coolest, most popular person in middle school paying attention to you, and you sort of wonder, "why are you paying attention to me!?" That's pretty much the deal. Because the professors are so invested, students feel comfortable participating in class- it's encouraged. Of course, like at any school, there are lectures and seminars. In many seminars you will find the professors relinquishing varying degrees of control to class discussions, more often than not leading/shaping the conversation to the interest and direction of the class. A lot of professors here have a knack for spinning student comments into really interesting ideas for everyone to chew on. In lectures, students aren't technically supposed to participate, but many professors in my experience try to devote as much time as they can to questions and comments. Most don't like to feel that they are just talking "at" a room full of students; they want to make sure everyone is engaged. The biggest class I ever took was an Intro Bio course that had 300 people, and the smallest class was a really terrific women's studies class with 5 students. Most of my classes are generally 10 - 25 people, and the 25-person classes are usually the lectures that luckily end up small. Barnard has its general education requirement, the Nine Ways of Knowing. It is very flexible in what courses fulfill the requirements. I enjoy these requirements because they give me an excuse to take many of the classes I'm interested in and to try out a lot of different disciplines. Additionally, freshmen have to take First Year English and First Year Seminar- one each semester. This guarantees that first year students get to have the small seminar experience. I'm going to be an English major, and Barnard's English department pretty much has a 100% approval rating from anyone who has ever had anything to do with it. People love it. I came to school thinking, "I don't want to be an English major, you just sit around talking about books. What a redonkulous way to spend your time." I wanted to do something gritty, in the trenches. I was also turned off by what a popular major it was; I thought I wanted to do something sort of "different." But you can't go wrong being an English major here, and ultimately I just wanted to take all the required classes. Barnard students are motivated and highly intelligent, but by no means competitive. There is a really strong sense of comradery and support- people work together when they can, and don't compare grades. One great thing Barnard has to offer is its Writing Center (shameless plug, I work there), which is a place where Barnard students can come to have a peer read a paper they are working on and discuss it with them. The class that I took to train to be a Writing Fellow is one of the best classes I ever took at Barnard, and pretty much everyone I took it with agrees. It is the ideal Barnard class- amazing professor, students who work their butts off and really want to be there, and great readings and assignments that change the way you think. This in mind, a Barnard education definitely focuses on learning for its own sake... all the better to prepare you for a satisfying, meaningful kind of career in my opnion. Of course, as for acquiring some of the more commonly known marketable skills, i.e. computery-ish kind of stuff and... I don't even know what other skills are, but the kind that will pay for your plumbing, electricity, and food someday, you're on your own. This is a liberal arts school to the core. But we do have the Office of Career Development to counteract that, and being in New York City, there are opportunities up the wazzoo to get job experience- and being in the city all year, you have an edge over everyone else getting internships during the school year.
Barnard students definitely subsribe to the belief that "busyness is happiness." Most everyone here is juggling at least her courseload, a job, and a club, and that's at the very least. People just want to do everything! Surprisingly, the women here are really on top of their stuff- they get their work done, go to their activities, and have social lives, and even sometimes get sleep (sleep is usually the first thing to go among these things). Write a book if you get through four years here without pulling an all-nighter - I'll buy it! I'll pay you a million dollars for it! I've had great experiences getting involved in performance groups on campus. My freshman year I was in an a cappella group, and first semester of my sophomore year I was in the CU Musical Theatre Society's production of Into the Woods. Columbia theatre is a ton of fun with many traditions of student run/created productions. I meet most of my friends through my activities, where I live, and my classes- I know how shocking that must sound! I think it's important to always branch out and try new things in college- your spare time is so precious, and you have to really discriminate who and what you give it to. It's not like high school where you had to feel married to a club for four years- you can dabble around in a lot of different things and everyone will still love you. As for dating, a legitimate concern for prospective students who don't aspire to be nuns: the opportunities are there, even though it's a women's college. All the clubs and activities are mixed with Columbia, so there are always strapping young men around (and by strapping young men I mean, well, at least a pre-screened dating pool... at least you know they're smart!) Do not blame the school for your love life- or do, if it's convenient and your mom is continually reminding you that she met your father in college. It completely depends on your personality. If you liked dating boys in high school and are comfortable with yourself, that won't suddenly change when you get to Barnard. However, if you find yourself tempted to block out relationships and their complications, it is all too easy to do that here. This can be good and bad, depending on your state of mind. But if you want to meet someone, it's not that different from being at a co-ed school- the first thing you have to do is leave your room. And finally, the weekends. I want to start this by saying I only wanted to go to college in a city, because I was absolutely positively certain I did not want to be in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do but get drunk (beer guts don't become me). So, problem solved, I'm in New York. There are always a million things to do, for free or for a lot of money. You can go downtown and get student rush tickets to a Broadway show, hit up a museum (for free with your student ID), attend one of the many special events in the city- read Time Out New York to see what's going on! There are always events on campus on the weekends- parties, performances, you name it- so if community is what you crave, fear not. The nice thing about Barnard is that while you are allowed to have parties in off-campus suites (not really in the quad, but you wouldn't want to in your little room), most of the parties are at Columbia, so you can go have your fun and then return to the quiet sanctity of your room.
Barnard is a women's college, so people like to make sweeping generalizations about the sexuality of the entire student body- most commonly that we're a testosterone-deprived and therefore desperate (read: easy) community of women ("Hey, let's go to 1020 and pick up some Barnard freshman!" - a joke at last year's Columbia Law Revue) The other obvious thing about Barnard to the general outsider is its relationship with Columbia Univeristy, and there seems to be this idea that all Barnard students would go to Columbia College if only they could, but they were just not quite smart enough to make the cut.
Best thing about Barnard: a small liberal arts college located not in a corn field, but in New York City, with access to a la...
Best thing about Barnard: a small liberal arts college located not in a corn field, but in New York City, with access to a large research university. Best of both worlds, period. If I could change one thing about Barnard, I'd try to create a stronger sense of community among all students. With about 2400 undergrads, I feel that Barnard is just the right size. Just when you feel like you know everyone in your year, you meet someone new. Generally, if you tell someone from the East Coast that you go to Barnard, they know what you are talking about and be impressed. Anywhere else, besides maybe California, you might have to explain that Barnard is in New York City, is affiliated with Columbia, etc. When I'm not studying or in class, most of my time on campus is spent hanging out in friends' apartments or dorm rooms. Currently, there is not a student center on Barnard's campus -- construction of "The Nexus," Barnard's new student center, is underway and set for completion by Fall 2009. The design is beautiful, so it should be a great addition to campus. New York poses a unique atmosphere in which to attend college. A more typical college town may offer a warmer sense of community and connection between the college and other residents, nothing could match New York City’s pace, diversity, and cultural offerings. Also, it's important to remember that there are TONS of students here. Therefore, there are a lot of advantages the city provides, such as student discounts for Broadway, ballet, opera, concert, or movie tickets. Barnard students, as well as students of other New York colleges and universities, also get free admission to most of the city's museums. Barnard's administration is pretty great - generally quick to respond to complaints and/or queries, visible, and cares about the students. In response to one of the most common student complaints about the antiquated course registration procedures, the administration launched a pilot program to test a new system. The students were informed by email about the pilot program, and told that if it is successful, the change will be instituted by next year. The biggest controversies on campus this year were actually more focused on the Columbia side than at Barnard. As this year demonstrates – Iranian Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmedinejad coming to speak in the Fall, several hate crime incidents (a noose hung on a Black professor's door and several racist messages scrawled on bathroom stalls), and a week-long hunger strike by several students protesting Columbia's expansion into Manhattanville and lack of a strong Ethnic Studies program – the campus is never short on political controversy. Barnard is definitely less "ra ra" than the average big-ten university because people do not really care about the sports teams, which all exist through Columbia. Although Barnard students do participate in Varsity sports, there is not a lot of interest from the rest of the student population. The school spirit of Barnard comes out most at events like Midnight Breakfast, to be explained later. I think the most unique aspects about Barnard are its location, existence as a college devoted to women in the 21st century, and its relationship with Columbia University. If you want a small liberal arts college in the middle of one of the greatest cities in the world, a warm academic environment, and access to a premier research university's resources, Barnard is the only place to get it.
Although sometimes it feels like everyone at Barnard is Jewish, the college is actually quite diverse. I think that there is a varied enough population here that it would be hard not to fit in somewhere, unless you prefer a place where people are more laidback about academics and there's a party going on every night of the week. Also, Greek life on campus is not very popular, although the inter-fraternity council was just officially “recognized” by the Student Government Association with the intention to better incorporate Greek organizations into campus life. Student style ranges from jeans and a Barnard or Columbia hoodie to quite trendy threads. Although people don't seem to judge you on what you wear, it's definitely a bonus if you look good without looking like you thought about what you put on that morning too much.
Yes and no. Those of the occidental opinion are far more accurate than Columbia College students who either feel they must compensate for some twisted superiority complex or just really hate Barnard. Of course there is a contingent of Barnard students who may have come here just to be in New York and don't really have a lot of intellectual capital, but for the most part Barnard girls are extremely well-read, talented, sophisticated, and intelligent. Any professor, either at Barnard or Columbia, will tell you that he or she would not be able to tell the difference between a Barnard or Columbia student in class, except maybe that Barnard students tend to be a bit more stylish.of Barnard students who may have come here just to be in New York and don't really have a lot of intellectual capital, but for the most part Barnard girls are extremely well-read, talented, sophisticated, and intelligent. Any professor, either at Barnard or Columbia, will tell you that he or she would not be able to tell the difference between a Barnard or Columbia student in class, except maybe that Barnard students tend to be a bit more stylish.
At Barnard, I think academics are as competitive as you choose to make them. Everyone wants to do well, but they know that their success does not depend on someone else's failure. So I really have not experienced any cutthroat types here. Even my friends who are studying science and math say that people tend to work together and help each other succeed. I'm a comparative literature major and a psychology minor. The comparative literature department is quite small here, so it shares most of its professors with faculty from other departments (such as languages, film, or history). Thus, if I had known I wanted to do comparative literature before I came here, I might have looked at other schools to find one with a more established. However, both comparative literature classes that I've taken have been useful and enjoyable. And although having a small department can make class offerings erratic (for example, the intro course is only offered once per year) and sometimes limited, there are advantages as well, such as being able to get to know your professors, small classes, and lots of individual attention. The psychology department is supposed to be one of Barnard's strongest, and there are tons of psych majors here. However, I don't know if this is because the program is truly great, or that girls just tend to like psychology. Of the courses I've taken, I haven't found any to be extraordinary. However, I've heard great things about the neuroscience course taught by Russel D. Romeo and the drug use and abuse course. I'm sure that the non-survey, specialty courses are better than the big labs and lectures. For me, I feel that Barnard's academic requirements may as well not exist, because I ended up fulfilling them just by taking a varied course load in different areas that I'm interested in. However, lots of people hate the 2 semesters of lab science requirement. As a liberal arts college, Barnard does not offer strict pre-professional tracts such as business, journalism, or pre-law. However, there are plenty of people who do want to become doctors, lawyers or investment bankers, and there is also an architecture program. Because of this, some people find Barnard way too pre-professional. Also, many students intern or hold jobs at off campus organizations. So sometimes it feels like if you aren't doing an internship, you're being lazy. If you can't imagine attending college with so many "go-getters," and would prefer to be surrounded by people who are not worried about their careers and wish they could live in the ivory tower of academia forever, you might not enjoy Barnard.
There are so many student groups on campus – but the most popular include the comedy and a cappella groups. CU Bhangra, however, is probably the most-loved group by the campus. While this Indian dance group might seem a random choice to outsiders, it makes sense that on a campus where everyone works really hard, almost unceasingly, people would enjoy watching a group of their peers having a ball jumping around and making crazy faces – all in perfect unison – on stage. Community Impact, Columbia’s umbrella volunteer/community service organization, is also quite popular with several different tutoring, mentoring, and other community service groups such as Habitat for Humanity. Lots of people are involved in the Columbia Daily Spectator, the Columbia University daily newspaper, as well. After freshman year, students generally do not leave their doors open. However, in the corridor-style living areas, people are quite friendly to neighbors who they may not have previously known. Athletic events – although men’s basketball sometimes draws a decent turnout, Columbia sports are largely understood as a joke. The dating scene is tough going, especially if you’re a heterosexual girl – there are just too many of us. Many Barnard students seem to be in long-distance relationships. My closest friends are the people who I lived with my first year, which I think is pretty common for everyone. Either because we love free stuff or we just love to eat, the most popular Barnard traditions revolve around food. Every fall, the McAc committee holds Big Sub, an event where they line up tables stretching from the north to the south end of campus (about 4 city blocks) with sub sandwiches. My first year, an upperclassman (woman) practically shoved me out of the way so she could grab about 2 feet of sub to take back (presumably) to her suite. However, this year the scene was not quite as aggressive. The other favorite Barnard event is Midnight Breakfast, where all the head honchos of the administration, including the president, deans, trustees and other faculty members serve students a smorgasbord of pancakes, eggs, waffles, ice cream, bagels, doughnuts – basically everything you could ever want – at midnight the night before the first final exam each semester. Barnard students also take part in Columbia traditions such as Orgo Night – also the night before the first final exam – when the Columbia marching band marches through campus playing tunes and puts on a special routine in the Butler Library. As far as things to do to have fun, you’re in New York City. There’s always plenty to do, you just have to go out and find it.
It really depends on which side of the street you're asking. On the west side of Broadway, anyone will tell you that "Barnard girls" are generally smart, studious, driven -- perhaps even a bit pre-professional, and stylish. On the east side, you might hear that they are slutty idiots who just couldn't get into Columbia College.
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