Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Home / FAQs / Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are a list of frequently asked questions from across Student Affairs collected here in one place for your convenience. You can browse by topic/department or search by keyword.

Judicial Affairs and Community Standards

Frequently Asked Question From Faculty

1. Do I have to attend the hearing?

Faculty members do not attend the hearing. Once OJA receives from an instructor evidence alleging academic dishonesty, the hearing officers use this information, in conjunction with the student’s statement, to determine if a violation of policy has occurred. The student’s adviser attends in order to offer guidance and support.

2. How is an outcome determined?

The standard of proof used to make a determination of responsibility is that of “preponderance of the evidence”. This standard allows hearing officers to find a student responsible if the information shows that it is more likely than not that a violation occurred. If the student is found responsible, the degree of seriousness of the offense and the student’s previous disciplinary record, if any, will determine the severity of the sanction to be issued.

3. How will reporting this incident impact the student?

As it is a disciplinary process, a student found responsible for academic dishonesty will be subject to appropriate sanctions. However, the Dean’s Discipline process is also an educational one designed to challenge students to make better decisions and facilitate a broader understanding of the impact his/her behavior may have on the Columbia Community.

4. What is OJA’s role in handling academic dishonesty?

Through the Dean’s Discipline hearing process, OJA seeks to support the faculty in ‘the intellectual venture in which we are all engaged’ by promoting the ‘highest level of personal and academic integrity’. (Faculty Statement on Academic Integrity) Academic dishonesty undermines our academic community and we have a shared responsibility to promote intellectual honesty and scholarly integrity.

5. Who conducts the hearing?

For cases involving Columbia College or Columbia Engineering students, two staff members from the Dean of Student Affairs Office serve as the hearing officers. For cases involving students from General Studies, one staff member from OJA and one staff member from the GS Dean of Students Office serve as hearing officers.

6. Why report incidents of academic dishonesty to OJA?

It is important to report academic misconduct so that we can challenge students to reason through ethical situations they encounter as part of the learning process. Reporting academic misconduct is also important for promoting consistency, fairness and accurate record keeping, particularly when students are found to be repeat offenders.  Academic integrity is essential to the success of our mission as educators and it is our shared responsibility to address behavior that is counter to our values.

7. Will I be informed of the outcome?

While a student’s educational record is protected the by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), any instructor who reports an academic dishonesty incident will be notified whether or not a student has been found responsible.

Frequently Asked Question From Students

1. Does the disciplinary process affect my grades?

Professors reserve the right to determine the grades that his/her student receives. The grading process, even in cases involving alleged academic dishonesty, is determined separately from that of the disciplinary process.

2. Can I postpone my hearing?

Yes. A student may postpone the hearing if there is an academic conflict (for example, a class, a midterm or a final examination).  Please contact the OJA staff for assistance.

3. What happens if I do not attend the hearing?

The hearing will proceed in the student's absence.

4. Who will be at the hearing?

Two hearing officers from the Dean of Student Affairs staff and the accused student will be present for the hearing.  The student's Advising Dean may also be present in cases of Academic Dishonesty to support the student.

5. Can I bring someone else to the hearing with me (for example, an attorney)?

No. As the Dean’s Discipline hearing process is not a legal or adversarial process, neither attorneys nor other advocates are permitted in the hearing. However, there are a variety of University resources available to assist students with questions or concerns about the hearing or the Dean’s Discipline process in general.

• A student can speak with a Dean’s Discipline Process Resource Person. These individuals are trained to assist students with many aspects of the Dean’s Discipline process. They can answer questions about the Dean’s Discipline process, the hearing, as well as provide guidance regarding general preparation for the hearing. However, it is the student’s primary responsibility to prepare for his or her hearing.

• A student can speak with their Advising Dean. An Advising Dean's participation as a support for the student is required in cases of alleged academic dishonesty/misconduct. This participation is optional for cases of alleged behavioral misconduct.

• A student can contact the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Standards and request to meet with a staff member to discuss general information about the Dean’s Discipline process prior to your hearing.

Students are also encouraged to speak with staff members in Counseling and Psychological Services should one begin to feel overwhelmed while going through this process. Family and friends or others in their personal support network may also serve as helpful points of contact.

6. Can I bring witnesses to the hearing?

No. Witnesses are not permitted to attend the hearing. A student may provide the hearing officers with the names and contact information of individuals who may help the hearing officers determine whether or not a violation took place. The hearing officers will determine whether or not they need to speak with said individuals. Students are permitted to present statements from witnesses during the hearing.

7. Will the person who accused me attend the hearing as well?

No. The written report, sometimes called an incident report, or a written complaint by the accuser will serve as the statement for the person who has brought forward a report of a policy violation. However, if deemed appropriate (by the hearing officers or the student), the hearing officers will contact the accuser in order to obtain additional information when necessary.

8. Do I have to dress up for my hearing?

No, students are not required to dress up for a Dean's Discipline hearing.

9. What will I be asked at the hearing?

The hearing officers will ask a student for his/her account regarding the incident report. They may also ask students to provide thoughts on the incident itself.

10.Who will know about this (the hearing and/or decision)?

Disciplinary proceedings conducted by the university are subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, also called the “Buckley Amendment”). There are several important exceptions to FERPA that will allow the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Standards to release information to third parties. For example, it is important to note that the release of student disciplinary records is permitted without prior consent to: University officials with legitimate educational interest such as a student's Advising Dean, the Office of Preprofessional Advising, faculty members in academic dishonesty cases, and Columbia Athletics for student athletes; victim/s of an alleged crime of violence or of an alleged sexual assault; and parents of a student who is financially dependent.

Please refer to Essential Policies for the Columbia Community for a complete list of exceptions under FERPA.

11.Can I review the information OJA has (my file) prior to my hearing?

Yes. File information shared with the accused student during the hearing may also be accessed before and after the hearing.  An appointment may be scheduled by contacting the OJA staff at least 24 hours in advance. 

12.What is a file/record?

A file/record contains information related to the incident. Minimally, the contents will include the incident report, correspondence with/from the OJA, hearing notes, and an outcome letter. A student's file/record is maintained by the OJA.

13.What if I disagree with the contents of my file?

• If a student has a disagreement with the incident report itself, he/she may inform the hearing officers during the hearing.

• If a student has a disagreement with the notes taken during the hearing, he/she may speak with the OJA staff. If the OJA hearing officer chooses not to change the notes, students are permitted to make a written addendum and have this information added to the file.

14.Can anyone view my file?

Please refer to question #10.

15.Can I have the violation expunged from my record?

No. Columbia College and Columbia Engineering do not have a policy regarding expunging a students' records.

16.Will this go on my transcript?

A transcript notation may be placed on a student’s transcript if the student has been expelled.

17.Will this go on my record?

A student's record in this case is their judicial file. Many students believe that a judicial record equates to your transcript however, this is not the case. A transcript represents a different type of record. Please refer to the answer to the previous question.

18.What does the appeals process entail?

The appeal is considered a review of the record and the process, not a new hearing. Therefore, the appeal officer will not conduct an in-person meeting.  Appeals should be typed and submitted electronically.  Specific instruction is provided on the outcome letter if a student is found responsible. 

There are three grounds upon which a review of a decision of responsible may be made:

  1. If a student has new information, unavailable at the time the hearing
  2. If a student has concerns with the process that may change or affect the outcome of the decision
  3. If a student feels that the sanction issued is too severe.

The student will be contacted if further clarification is needed.  The appeal officer will contact the student in writing once a decision is made.  It is possible for the decision to sustain, overturn, or modify the original decision made by the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Standards.  The decision of the appeal officer is final. It is important to note that a modification of the original decision may result in a sanction that is more severe.

 

19.Will the appeal officer accept letters of character?

It is not necessary to submit character reference letters unless the person writing on your behalf has direct information about the actual incident that was not originally submitted as part of the hearing process.

20.Will graduate schools, medical schools, law schools, dental schools, or my future employers find out about this incident?

Please refer to the answer to question #10. You may also speak with a staff member in the Office of Preprofessional Advising for questions related to medical schools, law schools, dental schools, and with the OJA for all other inquiries.

Frequently Asked Question From Parents

1. How can I learn how my student is doing?

The best approach is to discuss your student's status with your son or daughter directly. Communicating with young adults isn't easy and they are not always as forthcoming as you might like. The college years are a period of remarkable growth and maturation, and students' ability and willingness to share information and insights usually grows, particularly as they acquire the confidence that comes with assuming greater responsibility for their own lives.

2. How will I know if my student is subject to University disciplinary action?

The OJA will generally not contact parents to notify them about a disciplinary issue their student is having unless there is a specific concern about the student’s safety or the student’s disciplinary case has resulted in a sanction of probation or higher. While the OJA generally does not contact parents, students can give members of the OJA permission to speak with parents about their disciplinary issues if they choose to do so.

3. Who can I call if I have additional questions about student privacy rights?

The Office of Parent and Family Programs is a resource for all questions related to your student’s experiences at Columbia. Please feel free to contact the office by calling 212-854-2446.

Scholars Program

CUSP FAQ

Are there any networking opportunities with Columbia Alumni and Alumni of the Scholars Program?

We are constantly seeking out alumni connections for our current Scholars. Through intimate, small-scale dinners, we unite students and alumni interested in a variety of fields - business, medicine, and even fine cuisine. We are also expanding our alumni database to promote more alumni internship opportunities for CUSP.

Are there special opportunities for Scholars?

Yes! As a Scholar, you participate in an academic enhancement program featuring speakers, cultural events, meals with faculty and alumni, and year-long and summer internship and research assistantship programs. We are always looking for new opportunities to enrich your experience here at Columbia.

Can I defer a year, take a year off, or study abroad, and still be a Scholar?

Yes! You will still be a Scholar, and a welcome participant in our community, even if you take some time off from Columbia.

Can I make suggestions for guest speakers?

We welcome suggestions for future speakers - in fact, some of our most exciting and thought-provoking programs have come about as the result of a Scholar's request for a certain speaker (Ernest Drucker, Diane Ravitch, Philip Gourevitch, Samantha Power, and George Bizos, to name just a few).

Can I use the CUSP Office as an additional academic and general advising office?

Of course. In addition to the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program, the CUSP Office was responsible for prestigious national fellowship advising for several years. As you consider graduate school options, we can assist you with your fellowship search and application process. In addition, we are here to advise you on academic matters, as well as any other questions or concerns you may have.

How does one become a Scholar?

Scholars are selected by the Office of Admissions during the application process, based on their academic and extracurricular achievements during high school. All applicants are considered for participation in the Scholars Program; there are no special application forms required.

Is there a financial package involved in being a Scholar?

While participating in the Program may help you with your financial aid needs, all Scholars' aid packages are determined on a case-by-case basis. Your financial aid officer can assist you with questions regarding educational financing.

What is required of me as a Scholar?

Throughout your four years at Columbia, we expect you to take full advantage of the resources and programming our office presents. As a first-year, we expect you to attend three of the five large lecture events, as well as the Columbia Journey Seminar series (if you are a first-year Scholar). Most Scholars attend our events regularly throughout their Columbia careers for the intellectual stimulation, social engagement, relaxed atmosphere, and the unique opportunity to interface with remarkable leaders.

Why are certain meetings and events mandatory?

We want to help you make the most of your time here, and we expect you to make the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program a priority. Certain events are mandatory for first-year Scholars to enable you to experience the breadth of activities and events our office presents, and to develop new friendships with fellow Scholars, professionals, and the CUSP administration.

Will participating in the Scholars Program help me get a job? An internship? Summer employment? Accepted into graduate of professional schools?

Participating in the Scholars Program will broaden your horizons and challenge you to view the world in a new light. We offer ideas and issues you may not encounter in the classroom, and this element of your education - the exploration of current issues through an academic and intellectual lens - will serve you well in whatever field, discipline, or occupation you pursue. While participation in CUSP is a great honor (of which you should be proud), it is the intrinsic gains you reap from participating in it, which will be the most beneficial to you.  You should take full advantage not only of the CUSP Speaker & Dinner Series, and the opportunity to be advised and mentored by the CUSP administration, but also of the tailor-made internships and research assistantships that the Office creates and implements especially for its Scholars.

CUSP Summer Enhancement Fellowships

Can I apply as a senior?

No.  Currently this fellowship is only for Scholars in their first, sophomore, and junior summers.

Can I apply for this as a team project with other people?

yes you may apply for a joint project. However, each Scholar has to submit a separate application.  We always encourage Scholars to work collaboratively where applicable.

Can I apply to this fellowship if I have not secured an internship/research position by the deadline?

Scholars without secured internships may apply for the internship/research position but will not be considered until the position is official.  Please speak with a CUSP Advisor if this applies to you.

Can I get credit on my transcript for my summer internship?

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering do not provide credit for internships.

Can I indicate more than one internship/research position on the fellowship application?

Yes. Please prepare a complete application packet listing the different internship/research positions .  Please submit only one set of recommendations.  For further information, please see a CUSP Advisor.

Can I use this money anywhere in the world?

Yes.  This fellowship can be applied anywhere in the world.

Can my CUSP Advisor write a letter of recommendation for me?

CUSP Advisors cannot write letters for the CUSP Summer Enhancement Fellowship. However, they are happy to write for any other fellowship or internship.

Do we have to research with a Columbia faculty member?

No.  While we encourage Scholars to seek and develop relationships with Columbia faculty, we support research endeavors with faculty from other universities as well.  If you have chosen a research advisor who is not a professor at an accredited institution, please see a CUSP Advisor before submitting your application.

Does this cover summer school?

This fellowship does not cover traditional summer school (i.e. courses to meet CORE/major/graduation requirements); however, some summer programs will be considered if they contain a strong research, fieldwork, or experiential education component.  Please see a CUSP Advisor prior to submitting your application if your project falls in this category.

How do my recommenders submit my reference letters?

Recommenders can submit reference letters directly to the CUSP Office by emailing Laura Schiraldi (ls3126).

I am a SEAS student. Do I have to apply to the CUSP-ACEC program?

No.  SEAS Scholars are welcome to apply for the internship and/or research grant.

I am applying for the CUSP ACEC Program. Can I apply as well to the CUSP Summer Enhancement Program?

Yes.

I am not a SEAS student. Can I apply to the CUSP-ACEC program?

No.  This opportunity is only open to Engineers.

If I apply for the fellowship this year, will it hurt my chances of winning next year?

No.  Scholars can apply annually for this fellowship until their year of graduation.

If I get an internship abroad, will my airfare be paid?

All grants are based on availability of funds. Please note that CUSP cannot guarantee that you will receive the full amount that you requested.

If I secure a low-paying internship, can I apply to supplement my expenses?

Yes.  Yes, you can apply. Please be sure to include all sources of funding that you have secured for this internship and please note that CUSP cannot guarantee that you will receive the amount that you request.

What is the average amount awarded?

The average amounts awarded vary.  All grants are considered based on availability of funds.  Please note that CUSP cannot guarantee the amount that you request. 

Who chooses the fellowship winners?

The CUSP Fellows Selection Committee selects the CUSP Fellows.

Will there be interviews?

Applicants will be asked to interview with the committee.

Currently Enrolled Students

Are there other charges or expenses that I should be aware of?

Additional billed costs you might accrue include laboratory and language fees (for certain classes) and laundry service (optional).  Some courses, particularly in the sciences and the languages have fees ranging from $5 to $150.  Laundry service costs begin at $20.  These charges will not appear on the first Student Account Statement, but will appear on subsequent Student Account Statements.

You should plan for additional unbilled costs for books and miscellaneous expenses.  Miscellaneous expenses may include such things as academic supplies, personal items, and recreation.  Our office uses a figure of $2,100 for these books and miscellaneous items when figuring the student’s cost of attendance.

In addition, you should budget for the cost of travel between home and New York.  Students who will be flying to school are encouraged to take advantage of the lowest student fares available by booking as early as possible.  If you do not have a travel agent, you may want to contact STA Travel at 800-777-0112 or the STA Travel Web site. We also encourage students to check online for bargains by doing a search for “student travel”.

Do I have to maintain a minimum GPA?

There is no minimum GPA requirement to qualify for financial aid.  However, the student must be maintaining satisfactory academic progress towards a Columbia degree.

Do I have to pay the Health Service fee if I am covered by my parents’ medical insurance?

Yes.  The Health Service fee is unrelated to medical insurance.  It is a mandatory fee that gives students access to primary care, counseling, health education programs and other medical services offered by Columbia.  Please consult the Guide to Health and Related Services for detailed information regarding what is covered by this fee.

How and when should I submit the renewal application for financial aid?

The deadline to submit the renewal application for financial aid is early May.  We will contact you in early March with instructions on how to complete the renewal application process.

How do I apply for the New York State TAP?

The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  If you are a New York State resident, the federal processor will automatically send your FAFSA information to New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).  HESC will then send you a personalized TAP application for your signature.  You must sign this form and return it to HESC in order to receive your TAP award.

How do I get a work study job?

Federal Work Study jobs are listed on the Federal Work Study Office website.

After you find a job that interests you, you must bring an Employment Authorization Form (available from the Federal Work Study Payroll Office in 207 Philosophy Hall) directly to the employer. If you are hired for a work study position, your employer will complete the Employment Authorization Form, which then must be returned to the Federal Work Study Payroll Office.

Non-Federal Work Study jobs are listed on the

Center for Career Education

website.

How do I obtain an IDOC cover sheet?

All continuing students are expected to submit their renewal application materials through the College Board’s IDOC service.  We will mail instructions regarding the IDOC process to your home address by mid-March.  If you do not receive your IDOC instructions by this time, you can print the form from the IDOC Web site.  You will need your (student) social security number and date of birth in order to access the IDOC cover sheet.

How do I waive the medical insurance if I am already covered?

Aetna Student Health manages the medical insurance waiver process for Columbia, which is separate from Health Services. An overview of the Health Insurance information may be found online at http://www.health.columbia.edu/docs/csmip/overview/index.html. There is an online waiver form, which you must complete and return every year during the summer prior to the beginning of the academic year (and no later than September 30 each year). When they receive the waiver form and are able to determine that you receive adequate medical coverage, Aetna will take appropriate action, and you will not be billed for medical insurance. We encourage you to complete this process no later than July 15 so that an anticipated charge for medical insurance will not appear on your Student Account Statement for the fall term. Please note that the online waiver will not activate for the upcoming academic year until summer: http://www.health.columbia.edu/docs/csmip/waiver/index.html.

How do outside scholarships affect my Columbia financial aid award?

The scholarships you receive from outside sources will be used to reduce the work study portion of your financial aid package. For example, if you are awarded a $2,000 National Merit Scholarship, your work study expectation will be reduced by the full $2,000. Only after your work study has been completely eliminated will your scholarships begin to reduce any Columbia Grant you may have received.

How will I receive my earnings? Do my wages get deposited directly to my student account?

Student employees generally receive biweekly paychecks for the hours they worked.  These earnings do not appear as credits on any bill received from Columbia.  Instead, a paycheck will be given to the student and the money earned may be used to purchase books and other personal items.

Wages for work study jobs range from approximately $7 to $12, depending on the job and your qualifications.  Most first-year students earn approximately $7-8 per hour and therefore work about ten to twelve hours a week to fulfill their work study allocation.

How will my aid change if I become a Resident Advisor (RA)?

As an RA, you will not be charged for your housing and as a result your Student Account Statement will not contain room charges.  Your financial aid is adjusted to reflect your lower charges, as you will have a “Resident Advisor Stipend” as part of your financial aid package.  The stipend will reduce the self-help portion of your financial aid package.  If the amount of your stipend and any outside scholarships you receive exceed the self-help portion of your package then any remaining funds will be used to reduce your Columbia grant.

I will be studying abroad next year/semester. How does this affect my financial aid?

If you are participating in a study abroad program you will be charged regular tuition as if you were enrolled at Columbia.  Your financial aid budget will be adjusted to reflect your costs while abroad.  If your financial aid credits exceed the tuition charged then you will be issued a refund to help cover any costs incurred while abroad (e.g., room, board, books, personal expenses, travel).

May I appeal my financial aid package?
  1. YES, if your family’s financial circumstances changed after you submitted your financial aid application.
  2. YES, if you have complicated circumstances, and you would like us to take a second look at how we interpreted your family’s financial situation.

All appeals should be submitted in writing and you may do so at any time during the year. If you would like to discuss your award, please call the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing to speak with one of our financial aid advisors: 212-854-3711.

What happens if I change dorms or meal plans?

Your financial aid budget includes the cost of a standard residence hall room and the standard meal plan, both of which all first-year students are required to purchase. After your first year, you will no longer be required to sign up for a meal plan, however, your financial aid budget will include a food allowance based on the availability of kitchen facilities in your dorm. For dorms with no kitchen, your food allowance will be equal to the cost of the standard meal plan. For dorms with kitchens, your food allowance will be lower than the cost of the standard meal plan, since you will be able to cook some of your meals for yourself. If being on a meal plan is important to you, you should select a dormitory without kitchen facilities, so that you do not spend more on room and board than your budget allows.

What is your policy towards renewing my financial aid?

For each year of attendance at Columbia, you will need to submit a new financial aid application which will be evaluated using the same methods and criteria that were used when you were admitted.  Since the cost of attendance increases each year, for the typical family the financial aid package will increase in order to keep up with the cost increase.  However, if your family circumstances have changed (e.g., changes in income, number of people in the household, the number of children who are full-time undergraduate students), then your financial aid award will be adjusted to take these changes into account.

When and where are bills sent?

At Columbia we call each bill a Student Account Statement.  You will be sent the first Student Account Statement for the fall term in late July or early August, and the first statement for the spring term in early December.  The payment due date will be approximately 30 days after the first Student Account Statement for the term has been sent.

In addition, you will receive monthly Student Account Statements when there is a current activity on your account (a new charge or credit), or if a debit or credit balance remains on your account.

Student Account Statements will not be mailed home.  Instead you will be able to view your Student Account Statement via Student Services Online (SSOL).  Also, on SSOL you may authorize your parent(s) to view the E-Bill.

When will I receive my financial aid award letter?

Financial aid award letters for continuing students are mailed the end of June.

Admitted Students

Are there other charges or expenses that I should be aware of?

Additional billed costs you might accrue include laboratory or language fees (for certain classes) and laundry service (optional).  Some courses, particularly in the sciences and languages have fees ranging from $5 to $150.  Laundry service costs begin at $20.  These charges will not appear on the first Student Account Statement, but will appear on subsequent Student Account Statements.

You should plan for additional unbilled costs for books and miscellaneous expenses.  Miscellaneous expenses may include such things as academic supplies, personal items, and recreation.  Our office uses a figure of $2,100 for these books and miscellaneous items when figuring the student’s cost of attendance.

In addition, you should budget for the cost of travel between home and New York.  Students who will be flying to school are encouraged to take advantage of the lowest student fares available by booking as early as possible.  If you do not have a travel agent, you may want to contact STA Travel at 800-777-0112 or the STA Travel Web site. We also encourage students to check online for bargains by doing a search for “student travel”.

Do I have to maintain a minimum GPA?

There is no minimum GPA requirement to qualify for financial aid.  However, the student must be maintaining satisfactory academic progress towards a Columbia degree.

Do I have to pay the Health Service fee if I am covered by my parents' medical insurance?

Yes.  The Health Service fee is unrelated to medical insurance.  It is a mandatory fee that gives students access to primary care, counseling, health education programs and other medical services offered by Columbia.  Please consult the Guide to Health and Related Services for detailed information regarding what is covered by this fee.

Does Columbia match financial aid packages from other schools?

It is not our policy to automatically match other offers, and we do not negotiate financial aid awards. We will not match offers from institutions that offer merit-based awards. However, if you fax us a copy of another need-based offer, we will review your application to determine if a change is appropriate. We do this because different schools may have different information at the time the application was evaluated. Or perhaps your circumstances are complex and have been interpreted differently by another school. The new documentation you provide our office may give us a better understanding of your family’s financial circumstances.

How do I apply for the New York State TAP?

The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  If you are a New York State resident, the federal processor will automatically send your FAFSA information to New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).  HESC will then send you a personalized TAP application for your signature.  You must sign this form and return it to HESC in order to receive your TAP award.

How do I get a work study job?

Federal Work Study jobs are listed on the Federal Work Study Office website.

After you find a job that interests you, you must bring an Employment Authorization Form (available from the Federal Work Study Payroll Office in 207 Philosophy Hall) directly to the employer. If you are hired for a work study position, your employer will complete the Employment Authorization Form, which then must be returned to the Federal Work Study Payroll Office.

Non-Federal Work Study jobs are listed on the

Center for Career Education

website.

How do I waive the medical insurance if I am already covered?

Aetna Student Health manages the medical insurance waiver process for Columbia, which is separate from Health Services. An overview of the Health Insurance information may be found online at http://www.health.columbia.edu/docs/csmip/overview/index.html. There is an online waiver form, which you must complete and return every year during the summer prior to the beginning of the academic year (and no later than September 30 each year). When they receive the waiver form and are able to determine that you receive adequate medical coverage, Aetna will take appropriate action, and you will not be billed for medical insurance. We encourage you to complete this process no later than July 15 so that an anticipated charge for medical insurance will not appear on your Student Account Statement for the fall term. Please note that the online waiver will not activate for the upcoming academic year until summer: http://www.health.columbia.edu/docs/csmip/waiver/index.html.

How do outside scholarships affect my Columbia financial aid award?

The scholarships you receive from outside sources will be used to reduce the work study portion of your financial aid package. For example, if you are awarded a $2,000 National Merit Scholarship, your work study expectation will be reduced by the full $2,000. Only after your work study has been completely eliminated will your scholarships begin to reduce any Columbia Grant you may have received.

How will I pay for books and other personal expenses?

We include a standard amount of $2,100 in every student’s cost of attendance for books and other personal expenses.  Normally, students use the earnings from their term time job to help cover these expenses.

How will I receive my earnings? Do my wages get deposited directly to my student account?

Student employees generally receive biweekly paychecks for the hours they worked.  These earnings do not appear as credits on any bill received from Columbia.  Instead, a paycheck will be given to the student and the money earned may be used to purchase books and other personal items.

Wages for work study jobs range from approximately $7 to $12, depending on the job and your qualifications.  Most first-year students earn approximately $7-8 per hour and therefore work about ten to twelve hours a week to fulfill their work study allocation.

May I appeal my financial aid package?
  1. YES, if your family’s financial circumstances changed after you submitted your financial aid application.
  2. YES, if you have complicated circumstances, and you would like us to take a second look at how we interpreted your family’s financial situation.
  3. YES, if another need-based school has provided you a different interpretation of your family's financial circumstances.
  4. NO, if your sole reason for the appeal is that you are asking us to consider merit-based offers from other schools.

All appeals should be submitted in writing and you may do so at any time during the year. If you would like to discuss your award, please call the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing to speak with one of our financial aid advisors: 212-854-3711.

What if my financial aid application is still incomplete?

Once you submit the missing documents we will attempt to notify you of your aid eligibility within a week.  If you have any questions regarding any of the missing materials please call of the Office of Financial Aid & Undergraduate Financing at 212-854-3711.

What is your policy towards renewing my financial aid after my first year?

For each year of attendance at Columbia, you will need to submit a new financial aid application which will be evaluated using the same methods and criteria that were used when you were admitted.  Since the cost of attendance increases each year, for the typical family the financial aid package will increase in order to keep up with the cost increase.  However, if your family circumstances have changed (e.g., changes in income, number of people in the household, the number of children who are full-time undergraduate students), then your financial aid award will be adjusted to take these changes into account.

Will I have to work during the summer?

Yes, Columbia students are expected to work during the summer, incoming first-years are expected to earn $1,850 during the summer before entering Columbia.  This amount should be available to contribute toward your educational expenses during the academic year.

Will my financial aid award change after I have received my original award?

Possibly, but only if the verification process has revealed that certain information you provided during the application process is not accurate.  We realize the financial aid forms are complicated and that our deadlines may require you to provide estimated information.  As a result, initial financial aid awards may be based on inaccurate estimates provided by a family.

Parents and Families

Are there other charges or expenses that we should be aware of?

Additional billed costs you might accrue include laboratory and language fees (for certain classes) and laundry service (optional).  Some courses, particularly in the sciences and the languages have fees ranging from $5 to $150.  Laundry service costs begin at $20.  These charges will not appear on the first Student Account Statement, but will appear on subsequent Student Account Statements.

You should plan for additional unbilled costs for books and miscellaneous expenses.  Miscellaneous expenses may include such things as academic supplies, personal items, and recreation.  Our office uses a figure of $2,100 for these books and miscellaneous items when figuring the student’s cost of attendance.

In addition, you should budget for the cost of travel between home and New York.  Students who will be flying to school are encouraged to take advantage of the lowest student fares available by booking as early as possible.  If you do not have a travel agent, you may want to contact STA Travel at 800-777-0112 or the STA Travel Web site. We also encourage students to check online for bargains by doing a search for “student travel”.

Can families apply for financial aid in future years if they do not apply the first year?

Yes. A family that experiences a change in circumstances may apply for financial aid at any time. For example, it is not uncommon for a family to suffer a job loss or illness or for a younger sibling to begin attending college. Please note that institutional aid will usually be awarded only in cases that involve an involuntary change in circumstances. Parents who decide to retire early or to invest in a business start-up may not be awarded institutional aid. It is a good idea to include a letter describing your family’s change in circumstances with any new financial aid application.

Please note: foreign students and transfer students who were admitted without institutional financial aid are not guaranteed institutional financial aid even if there is a change in circumstances.

Does Columbia offer merit scholarships?

There are no academic, athletic or talent-based institutional scholarships at Columbia as all of our institutional financial aid is need-based. Our students are often the recipients of merit-based scholarships from outside organizations (state grants/scholarships, local/national merit-based awards, etc.); however, no merit-based aid is offered directly from Columbia University.

Does Columbia offer scholarships and if so, how many?

Columbia College and the undergraduate division of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science provide need-based financial aid to students, awarding grants, loans and on-campus work-study jobs to applicants on the basis of their family’s financial circumstances. There is no limit on the number of students who receive need-based financial aid as each application is considered individually.  In 2007-2008 the average financial aid package was over $30,000.

How and when should we submit the renewal application for financial aid?

The deadline to submit the renewal application for financial aid is early May.  We will contact you in early March with instructions on how to complete the renewal application process.

How do we obtain an IDOC cover sheet?

The College Board will mail the IDOC cover sheets to your home address by mid-March.  If you do not receive your IDOC cover sheet by this time, you can print another one from the IDOC Web site.  You will need the student’s social security number and date of birth in order to access the IDOC cover sheet.

May we appeal a financial aid package if admitted?

YES, if your family’s financial circumstances changed after you submitted your financial aid application. YES, if you have complicated circumstances, and you would like us to take a second look at how we interpreted your family’s financial situation. YES, if another need-based school has provided you a different interpretation of your family’s financial circumstances. NO, if your sole reason for the appeal is that you are asking us to consider merit-based offers from other schools.

All appeals should be submitted in writing and you may do so at any time during the year.  If you would like to discuss your award, please call the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing to speak with one of our financial aid advisors: 212-854-3711.

What are some options for how we may pay the bill?

There are a few payment strategies that Columbia parents commonly use:

Payment Plan: Some families simply take the total billed costs minus the total amount of financial aid and pay the remaining amount through the 10-month payment plan.  If you choose this option you would make ten equal monthly payments starting July 1.  Remember that unbilled expenses are not included in this scenario.  For example a family with billed costs of $30,000 would make ten $3,000 monthly payments.  A family receiving some financial aid that has $15,000 in unbilled costs would make ten $1,500 monthly payments.

Long-Term Financing: Some families choose to borrow most or all of the cost of education, thereby spreading out the payment of educational expenses over ten years.  For example, a family may take a $30,000 Federal PLUS loan to cover the billed costs and would begin making monthly payments of approximately $372 to the lender, beginning sixty days after the second Federal PLUS loan disbursement.  The second disbursement typically occurs in February since the loan is disbursed one-half for the fall term and one-half for the spring term.

Unlike the payment plan only strategy, long-term options like the Federal PLUS loan allows families to finance unbilled costs like books, miscellaneous expenses and travel.  Therefore, a family may choose to borrow more than the billed costs, resulting in a small credit balance for the student each term.  Credit balances are made available as a refund to the student.

Please note that there is usually an origination fee associated with long-term financing options and, therefore, the net proceeds received by the school will be slightly less than the total amount borrowed.

Combination Strategy: We realize that many families do not have the cash flow or liquid assets to accommodate the payment plan strategy.  In addition, many families strive to keep borrowing to a minimum.  As a result, we often counsel families to use a combination of payment plan and borrowing that fits the family’s circumstances.  In general, it is best to pay as much as possible, interest-free, through the payment plan and borrow the rest using one of the long-term financing options.  For example, a family paying $15,000 may choose to sign up for a $10,000 payment plan and borrow the remaining $5,000 using a Federal PLUS loan.  In this case, ten monthly payments of $1,000 would be made to the Payment Plan and a monthly payment of approximately $63 would be made to the Federal PLUS lender starting sixty days after the second Federal PLUS disbursement.

For more detailed Information regarding loans available to students and parents please visit the Student Financial Services Web site.

What is your policy towards renewing the financial aid award after the first year?

For each year of attendance at Columbia, you will need to submit a new financial aid application which will be evaluated using the same methods and criteria that were used when you were admitted.  Since the cost of attendance increases each year, for the typical family the financial aid package will increase in order to keep up with the cost increase.  However, if your family circumstances have changed (e.g., changes in income, number of people in the household, the number of children who are full-time undergraduate students), then your financial aid award will be adjusted to take these changes into account.

What percentage of Columbia students receive financial aid?

Approximately 50% of Columbia undergraduates receive some sort of financial assistance. In addition, about 80% of first-year students applying for financial aid for the 2007-2008 year received a need-based financial aid award.

When and where are bills sent?

At Columbia we call each bill a Student Account Statement.  The student will be sent the first Student Account Statement for the fall term in late July or early August, and the first statement for the spring term in early December.  The payment due date will be approximately 30 days after the first Student Account Statement for the term has been sent.

In addition, the student will receive monthly Student Account Statements when there is a current activity on the account (a new charge or credit), or if a debit or credit balance remains on the account.

Student Account Statements will not be mailed home.  Instead the student will be able to view their Student Account Statement via Student Services Online (SSOL).  Also, on SSOL the student may authorize you to view the E-Bill.

When will we receive the financial aid award letter?

Financial aid award letters for continuing students are mailed at the end of June.

Will the financial aid award change after we have received the original award?

Possibly, but only if the verification process has revealed that certain information you provided during the application process is not accurate.  We realize the financial aid forms are complicated and that our deadlines may require you to provide estimated information.  As a result, initial financial aid awards may be based on inaccurate estimates provided by a family.

Prospective Students

Can families apply for financial aid in future years if they do not apply the first year?

Yes. A family that experiences a change in circumstances may apply for financial aid at any time. For example, it is not uncommon for a family to suffer a job loss or illness or for a younger sibling to begin attending college. Please note that institutional aid will usually be awarded only in cases that involve an involuntary change in circumstances. Parents who decide to retire early or to invest in a business start-up may not be awarded institutional aid. It is a good idea to include a letter describing your family’s change in circumstances with any new financial aid application.

Please note: foreign students and transfer students who were admitted without institutional financial aid are not guaranteed institutional financial aid even if there is a change in circumstances.

Can I be released from my Early Decision contract because of my financial aid package?

It is extremely rare for a family to ask to be released from the Early Decision commitment for financial reasons. However, on occasion possibly due to a lack of understanding of need-based aid (i.e., they were expecting merit-based aid, they did not submit complete information when using a financial aid estimator, etc) families have requested to be released from their Early Decision contract.

It is the family’s determination that they cannot afford to pay for a Columbia education that allows them to be released from the binding early decision admission offer. The family must first speak with a financial aid officer, before the release is granted. Ultimately, it is the family’s decision whether or not they feel capable of accepting the need-based Columbia financial aid award.

Those who do opt out of their Early Decision contract are released to pursue lower-cost school options, such as state schools and/or schools that award merit aid. The admission offer at Columbia is then cancelled. A candidate who declines Columbia’s Early Decision offer will not be allowed to reconsider Columbia’s financial aid estimate during the spring Regular Decision cycle and will not be able to reinstate the original offer of admission.

Does Columbia match financial aid packages from other schools?

It is not our policy to automatically match other offers, and we do not negotiate financial aid awards. We will not match offers from institutions that offer merit-based awards. However, if you fax us a copy of another need-based offer, we will review your application to determine if a change is appropriate. We do this because different schools may have different information at the time the application was evaluated. Or perhaps your circumstances are complex and have been interpreted differently by another school. The new documentation you provide our office may give us a better understanding of your family’s financial circumstances.

Does Columbia offer merit scholarships?

There are no academic, athletic or talent-based institutional scholarships at Columbia as all of our institutional financial aid is need-based. Our students are often the recipients of merit-based scholarships from outside organizations (state grants/scholarships, local/national merit-based awards, etc.); however, no merit-based aid is offered directly from Columbia University.

Does Columbia offer scholarships and if so, how many?

Columbia College and the undergraduate division of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science provide need-based financial aid to students, awarding grants, loans and on-campus work-study jobs to applicants on the basis of their family’s financial circumstances. There is no limit on the number of students who receive need-based financial aid as each application is considered individually.  In 2007-2008 the average financial aid package was over $30,000.

How do outside scholarships affect my Columbia financial aid award?

The scholarships you receive from outside sources will be used to reduce the work study portion of your financial aid package. For example, if you are awarded a $2,000 National Merit Scholarship, your work study expectation will be reduced by the full $2,000. Only after your work study has been completely eliminated will your scholarships begin to reduce any Columbia Grant you may have received.

How much financial aid is available for transfer students?

Columbia admits transfer students on a need blind basis.  However, Columbia has a limited amount of institutional funds for transfer students.  In order to be considered for financial aid transfer applicants must have a complete financial aid application on file at the time of their admission.

Is financial aid available for foreign students?

Though Columbia is not need-blind in its admission of foreign students, if you are admitted then we will meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need.  If you plan on applying for financial at any point during your four years of study then you must apply for financial aid at the time you apply for admission.

May I appeal a financial aid package if admitted?
  1. YES, if your family’s financial circumstances changed after you submitted your financial aid application.

  2. YES, if you have complicated circumstances, and you would like us to take a second look at how we interpreted your family’s financial situation.

  3. YES, if another need-based school has provided you a different interpretation of your family’s financial circumstances.

  4. NO, if your sole reason for the appeal is that you are asking us to consider merit-based offers from other schools.

All appeals should be submitted in writing and you may do so at any time during the year.  If you would like to discuss your award, please call the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing to speak with one of our financial aid advisors: 212-854-3711.

What is the percentage of Columbia students who receive financial aid?

Approximately 50% of Columbia undergraduates receive some sort of financial assistance. In addition, about 80% of first-year students applying for financial aid for the 2007-2008 year received a need-based aid award.

Will my chances for admission be affected if I apply for financial aid?

For United States, Mexican and Canadian citizens, permanent residents of the United States and students granted refugee visas by the United States: Admission to Columbia College and to the undergraduate division of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is need-blind. This means we will consider your application without regard to your financial need.

For foreign students (students who are NOT Citizens of the United States, Mexico and Canada, permanent residents of the United States or students granted refugee visas by the United States): Financial aid is available for foreign students, but candidates should be aware that the admission process is not need-blind.  As a result, their applications are read in a more selective process. However, Columbia is committed to meeting the full need of all applicants admitted as first-year students regardless of their citizenship status.

As a foreign student, you should determine what amount you feel you and your family could afford to pay each year for four years of study. If you conclude that you and your family will be unable to assume the estimated total cost of attendance, you should apply for financial aid at the same time you apply for admission. If you are traveling to Columbia from another country, you will also want to consider travel expenses.

Residential Life

Residential Programs FAQ

Can commuter students apply for a position?

No, you must have guaranteed housing status.

Can graduate students apply for a position?

No, you must be an undergraduate SEAS or CC student with guaranteed housing status.

How will the RA position affect my financial aid package?

You should go speak with your financial aid adviser and consult with him or her about your particular situation.

Which classes are eligible to apply?

Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to apply.

Center for Student Advising

Time Away

Does Columbia offer credit for internships?

Columbia College, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Columbia School of General Studies, do not provide credit for internships. There is no doubt that internships are valuable experiences for students seeking an introduction to a range of careers and professional cultures.  However, we expect companies to appropriately compensate students for work performed during internships. This policy is one adopted by many of our peer institutions and also is in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and NY State’s Minimum Wage Act and Wage Orders. CCE has posted some helpful information regarding unpaid internships at:

http://www.careereducation.columbia.edu/employers/policies#Unpaid

We will continue to support student participation in internships and will be happy to provide letters acknowledging this support if such letters are requested by employers. To receive a letter of support, please see your advising dean.

In order to volunteer at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, your Advising Dean must fill out this form.

For full internship listings from a variety of employers, consult LionShare and the Center for Career Education.

How do I study abroad?

Columbia College:

The minimum requirements to be permitted to study abroad are:

  • GPA above 3.0
  • Sufficient progress on Core requirements
  • At least 4 semesters of language study (or the equivalent) in the language of the country in which you wish to study abroad
  • One course about the country or region in which you wish to study abroad

CC students should meet with a study abroad adviser in the Office of Global Programs.

Columbia Engineering:

  • GPA above 3.0
  • Sufficient progress on First-Year Sophomore requirements

Engineering students should look through the Engineering Global Initiatives website and plan to meet with Dean Leora Brovman.

How do I take a leave of absence?

Talk to your Advising Dean. 

Voluntary Leaves are taken for a variety of reasons. For more information, review our FAQs for Voluntary Leaves.

Medical Leaves are for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. For more information, review our FAQs for Medical Leaves.

How do I take a summer class/take a class outside Columbia?

Columbia College:  Please note that summer study outside Columbia is only approved for students who are behind in credits or who are studying a language.  Read our CC Summer Study Fact Sheet to learn about summer study at Columbia and at other institutions. 

If you have read over the criteria and procedures and are eligible to take summer courses outside Columbia, please fill out and submit the CC Outside Credit Form to your Advising Dean.

Columbia Engineering:  Read our SEAS Summer Study Fact Sheet to learn about the options available to you.

If you wish to receive credit for courses taken outside of Columbia and have read over the criteria and procedures, fill out and submit the SEAS Outside-Summer Credit Approval.doc to your Advising Dean.

Classes

How do I add a class?

During the Change-of-Program period (the first 10 days of the semester, also known as Add-Drop): Use normal web registration procedures.

After the Change-of-Program period: Students must petition the Committee on Academic Standing.  Find all instructions and forms HERE.

How do I audit a class? (For CC Seniors only)

The mark of "R" or registration credit is equivalent to auditing a course.  Please note that no points/credits are earned.  The "R" credit option is available only to Columbia College seniors who submit a completed petition found HERE.  

"R" credit petitions will only be authorized if:

  • the courses are in excess of the 124 points required for the B.A. degree
  • the courses are not used to fulfill a requirement for the B.A. degree, and
  • the student has the permission of the course instructor.

For more information regarding the "R" Credit option, please see your Advising Dean.

How do I drop a class?

During the Change-of-Program period (also known as Add/Drop): You can use normal web registration procedures.

After the Change-of-Program period and before the drop deadline (also known as the Post-Change of Program Add/Drop Period): Students may request to add and drop certain courses*, subject to approval by their school and/or the instructor, through SSOL.  For more information, please review the Post-Change of Program Period Student Quick Guide.  Students not able to complete their request via SSOL should  complete a Registration Adjustment Form  and submit it to the Center for Student Advising in 403 Lerner. SEAS students will also need their CSA adviser’s signature on the form. 

*Please note: The deadline to drop Columbia College Core Curriculum courses is the second week of the semester.

After the drop deadline:

  • Columbia College students may elect a "W" or Withdrawal from classes from the drop deadline to the P/D/F deadline. Students must complete a CC Acknowledgement of Course Withdrawal Form and submit it to the Center for Student Advising in 403 Lerner.
  • SEAS students must petition the Committee on Academic Standing. Find all instructions and required forms to petition to drop a course after the deadline HERE.
How do I get a course approved for the Science or Global Core Requirements?

Science Requirement: Columbia College students who wish to request an exception to the Science Requirement should go to the Dean's Office in 208 Hamilton Hall.

Global Core/Major Cultures: Students who wish to request an exception to the Global Core or Major Cultures Requirement should meet with their advising dean at the CSA and submit the Global Core Petition Form.

How do I go over points?

To take more than 22 (CC) or 21 (SEAS) credits during one semester, submit the Petition to Register Above the Credit Limit form to your adviser in CSA. Find all required forms and instructions HERE.

How do I Pass/D/Fail a class? How do I uncover a P/D/F grade?

CC Students (Pass/D/Fail): All students registered in Columbia College during the regular academic year may elect one course each semester during the regular academic year on a Pass/D/Fail basis. This is in addition to any courses that are given only on a Pass/Fail basis. Students who do not utilize both Pass/D/Fail options during the academic year may elect, in the summer immediately following, to take one Summer Term course on a Pass/D/Fail basis. Courses used to meet the stated degree requirements (except those only given on a Pass/Fail basis) may not be taken Pass/D/Fail. All courses used to meet the requirements of a major or concentration, including related courses, are also excluded from this option, except the first such one-term course taken by the student in his or her eventual major, unless otherwise specified by the department.

The purposes of this option are to encourage students to take courses of interest to them outside of the field of specialization and to permit those who have not decided upon a major to test their talents in a particular field that may be of interest. Students who wish to exercise the Pass/D/Fail option must designate a course for the grade of Pass/D/Fail when registering for each term in the College. A Pass/D/Fail course may be changed to a regular course or a regular course to a Pass/D/Fail course until mid-November in the fall term and until mid-March in the spring term regardless of whether a student has received a midterm grade for the class before the relevant date.

In order to encourage students to engage more fully in the courses they elect to take for a grade of Pass/D/Fail students are allowed to uncover a grade of Pass within two weeks of the start of the semester immediately following that in which the grade of Pass was received. Students have until the end of the add period in the spring semester to uncover the grade of a fall course and until the end of the add period in the fall semester to uncover the grade of a spring or summer term course. Seniors who graduate in May have until June 1 to uncover the grade of a final spring course.

The grade of Pass is not used in calculating grade point average; the grades of D and Fail are used.

SEAS Students (Pass/Fail): SEAS students can take up to 6 credits of non-technical courses pass/fail and the courses will count towards their non-tech requirement. Courses must be at the 3000 level or higher. Students should check that the department offering the course allows courses in their department to be taken pass/fail.  Students cannot take any core classes or language instruction classes pass/fail.  Only one class per semester may be taken pass/fail.  (This restriction does not include courses that are only offered pass/fail).   The course grade cannot be uncovered. Courses taken pass/fail cannot count towards a minor, all courses taken for a minor have to be taken for a letter grade

Before the Deadline: The Pass/D/Fail deadline is usually the 10th week of classes.During the change of program period, students may elect to change the grading option via SSOL.During the post change of program period and before the deadline, students should email the Registrar at registrar@columbia.edu with their request.

After the Deadline: Students must petition the Committee on Academic Standing.  Find all instructions and forms here.

 

How do I take classes that overlap?

Students who wish to register for courses that overlap must submit a Course Overlap Petition to their CSA Adviser before the end of the Change of Program period. Find all forms and instructions HERE.

 

 

Where can I find a tutor or other extra academic help?

If you are struggling in a course, you should always first contact your professor or teaching assistant to discuss expectations, go over previous exams and papers, and clarify concepts and the material. It's also a good idea to contact your advising dean, who can help you review your study habits and create a plan. 

For more assistance, you can look for a tutor or visit a help room. Help rooms are sponsored by the academic departments and are staffed by graduate students. They are open at various times for students to drop by and ask questions about homework and material.  There are also a variety of tutors available. Academic Success Programs offers a free group tutoring service in a variety of subjects. Here is a list of department-sponsored private tutors and help room information.

Majors

How do I change a major or concentration?

Columbia College: Complete the CC Change Major/Concentration Form and bring it to the CSA in 403 Lerner.

Columbia Engineering: Complete the SEAS Change Major/Minor Form, get departmental approval and a signature, and bring the form to the CSA in 403 Lerner.

How do I declare a major?

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students declare their majors online during the major declaration period in their sophomore year.  Engineering students declare in October; CC students declare in March.  Look for an email from your Advising Dean with a clickable link, or visit SEAS Major Declaration/CC Major Declaration to get started.

Some College majors require departmental signatures to finalize online major declaration.  If your major is housed within one of the following departments, download the CC Major Declaration Form and bring it to 403 Lerner:

  • Architecture
  • Comparative Literature & Society
  • Creative Writing
  • Drama and Theater Arts
  • Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • East Asian Languages & Cultures
  • Film Studies
  • Italian
  • Latin American & Iberian Culturals
  • Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
  • Psychology (majors online, concentrators do not need departmental approval)
  • Physics
  • Sustainable Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Visual Arts
How do I find out more information about a department or program?

Each department and academic program in Columbia College has a Director of Undergraduate Studies, a faculty member who can answer your questions about requirements for the major or concentration, guide your choices about placement level, discuss opportunities to study abroad, and assist you in planning your program. A complete list of names and contact information is here.

Graduation and beyond

How do I get a recommendation letter?

If you are applying to graduate school and would like the CSA to gather and send out recommendation letters on your behalf, use the Dossier Service.

If you are applying to law school or health professional school, please contact the Office of Preprofessional Advising.

How do I get information about the 3-2 Combined Plan Program?

You can find information about the 3-2 Program in this brochure.  Take a look and contact your CSA adviser if you have further questions.

How do I get information about the 4-1 Program?

You can find more information about the 4-1 Program in this brochure. Additionally, you can learn about the 4-1 Program in the Columbia College Bulletin and the SEAS Bulletin.

How do I get information about the SIPA 5-Year MIA/MPA Program?

Read the CSA fact sheet regarding the SIPA 5-Year MIA/MPA Program. Contact your CSA adviser if you have further questions.

How do I plan for graduate school?

Read the CSA fact sheet regarding the graduate school application process.

MTAC FAQ

For whom is MTAC intended?

MTAC is intended to help students at all levels achieve mastery. The program is open to students at Columbia College, School of General Studies, and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science who are currently enrolled in BIOL C2005-2006/F2401-2402.

Who are the MTAC coaches?

MTAC coaches are current students who have already mastered the Contemporary Biology sequence, and who receive specialized and ongoing training in academic coaching strategies and methods.

How is MTAC different from tutoring or recitation?

The goal of MTAC is to complement, not replace, recitation sections and tutoring. Tutoring and recitation sections help students achieve mastery of course content, while MTAC emphasizes problem solving skills. Participating in MTAC is not a substitute for active recitation participation.

What should I expect from my MTAC group?

MTAC groups will be made up of CC, GS, and SEAS students working together to extrapolate key principles from lecture material and solve novel problems similar to those found on exams.

When and where do MTAC groups meet?

The specific details are still being worked out, but MTAC groups will be offered at a variety of times throughout the week, including morning, afternoon, and evening sessions. All meetings will take place on the Morningside campus.

What is expected of me as an MTAC participant?

The MTAC model works best when each member is prepared to participate actively in every meeting, every week. As such, if you accept a place in an MTAC group, you are committing to attending one 90-minute coaching session every week during the fall semester. If you miss more than two MTAC meetings, you will be asked to leave the program, so that another student can take your place.

Is it free for students to participate?

Yes, it’s free for students to participate, and the only materials necessary are those you will already have for the course.

Is MTAC endorsed by the Department of Biological Sciences and/or Professor Mowshowitz?

Yes, Professors Mowshowitz and Chasin have been actively involved in the development of the program.

How do I apply?

Please contact mtac@columbia.edu with questions about how to apply for the Spring 2015 semester. 

Whom do I contact with questions?

Please email mtac@columbia.edu with any questions or concerns, and a member of our team will respond as soon as we can.

Columbia Engineering

I’m a SEAS student. What classes should I take my first semester?

All first-semester SEAS students will be pre-registered for University Writing OR Art of Engineering. You should also plan to take General Chemistry; Calculus I or II; Physics; and one other class in consultation with the SEAS Bulletin.

I am a SEAS student. May I reverse the order of Art of Engineering and University Writing?

SEAS students must take the Art of Engineering and University Writing in the order they have been pre-registered.

Columbia College

What’s the difference between a major and a concentration?

Columbia College students may choose either to major or concentrate in a discipline. Concentrations usually have fewer requirements and thus free up a student’s schedule to take other classes of interest. CC students do not need to have a major to graduate and may instead choose a concentration. Please note that in the case of "Special Concentrations" (for example, the Special Business Management Concentration), a student must choose a major or a concentration in addition to the special concentration in order to graduate.

I want to major in economics. What should I take?

A sample schedule may include: Principles of Economics and Calculus I or Calculus III.

I want to major in a discipline in the humanities or social sciences. Which classes should I take?

Take courses in the subject matters of interest. For example, if you are interested in history, take some history classes that sound interesting. Typically, it is a good idea to take introductory classes that are 1000- or 2000-level.. Classes in the 3000- or 4000-level, especially seminars, are often taken by juniors and seniors who are more advanced in the subject matter.

I’m a CC student and am not sure what I want to major in. I’m interested in many things! Which classes should I take?

Take a variety of classes that interest you! Your first year is a great time to explore classes and to figure out what you are really passionate about. Peruse the Directory of Classesand the CC Bulletin, make a list of classes that interest you, and then put them intoVergil to see what might work best with your schedule. You may also take classes that fulfill your core requirements, such as a foreign language, a Global Core class, or a class that fulfills the science requirement.

I want to major in one of the hard sciences. What should I take?

Consult the requirements for your prospective major or concentration in the CC Bulletin. Students planning to study biology, chemistry, or physics should plan to take General Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus their first semester.

How do I request to change my section of Literature Humanities or Frontiers of Science?

The Core Office will consider petitions from students to change their pre-registered sections of Literature Humanities and Frontiers of Science sections beginning Tuesday, September 8, at 9:00 a.m. in 202 Hamilton Hall. Changes will only be made for students who have conflicts with another Core class, major requirement, or varsity athletic practice. All requests must be made in person by filing a petition with the Core Office in 202 Hamilton. Registration for all Core classes ends on Friday, September 18.

How do I request to change sections of University Writing?

To change your University Writing section, you must fill out a petition in person on Wednesday, September 2, by 4:00 p.m. You may change your section to reconcile conflicts with other courses, university-sponsored extracurricular activities, varsity athletic practices, or university-sponsored work-study hours. You will be allowed to change sections only if there is space available in another section.

How do I request to reverse the order of University Writing and Frontiers of Science?

Columbia College students with a compelling reason to reverse the order of their enrollment in University Writing and Frontiers of Science may fill out a petition in person on Wednesday, September 2, by 4:00 p.m. Petitions must include a strong argument as to why one course should take precedence over the other. Even with a compelling reason, the granting of a petition is not automatic, as it depends on availability in both University Writing and Frontiers of Science.

FAQs for All Incoming Students

Where can I find a list of classes offered in the fall 2015?

Please consult the Directory of Classes.

How do I know what classes are required for a major or concentration?

Please consult the CC Bulletin or SEAS Bulletin.

I plan to be pre-med. What classes should I take?

A sample schedule may include: General Chemistry I and Calculus I. Please consult the pre-med curriculum for more information. You should also attend the Pre-Health Workshop during the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP).

What should I do if the class I want to take is full?
  • Don’t panic! During NSOP and once classes start on September 8, it is likely that more spots will open up as all students finalize their schedules. You will have until Friday, September 18, to continue making changes to your schedule. September 8 through 18 is called the Change of Program Period.
  • You should check to see whether or not the course has a waitlist; if so, add yourself to the list.
  • If you still want to get into a class that is full, it is essential to attend the first class.
  • In case a seat does not open up, you should plan to attend the first class meetings of the next best options on your list. Twelve credits is the minimum required for all students. If you drop below 12 points, you risk being withdrawn from the term (except in your last term, when you are permitted to go below 12 points).
What should I do if I do not like the time/day a class is offered?

Everyone has their ideal schedule and class time preferences. However, sometimes you have to take classes at a day or time that is not your first choice. You can certainly try to join the waitlist for a section that is more preferable. However, if you are not added to the class from the waitlist, consider taking the class at a different time. Who knows, that class could wind up being your favorite class!

How do I know which level of a math, science, or language class to take?

Placement exams will be given during the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP). You will receive a list of all placement exams during NSOP. For languages, you may consult the Academic Planning Guide to see if AP or SAT II scores place you into either a higher level or place you out of the language requirement.

For the subjects below, please consult the appropriate department’s website for more information:

How do I purchase textbooks?

Students often purchase textbooks from the Columbia Bookstore or Book Culture.

I have AP/IB or other outside credit. How can I add that to my transcript?

Typically, advising deans add AP/IB and other outside credit to a student’s record the summer after his/her first year at Columbia. Please consult the Academic Planning Guide to see if AP credit or SAT II scores may place you into a higher level class or give exemption to a requirement.

I have non-academic questions about preparing for Columbia.
Student Engagement

Policies and Procedures for Student Leaders

How can I obtain a list of vendors that accept e-forms as a method of payment?

The vendor list is updated yearly and details all businesses and companies that will accept an eform in lieu of cash/check/or credit card. Student Engagement encourages all groups to take advantage of these vendors (many of which are in the neighborhood). The list is located in the Student Engagement office on the 5th floor.

How do I go about sending a voicemail to all students? How much will this cost?

Student Engagement has voicemail request forms that must be submitted to Communications Services at least five working days in advance of your message distribution. The cost is $375. If you want to record your own message, please make an appointment by emailing OCS at ocs-design@columbia.edu or by contacting OCS at 212-854-2897. Remember to keep your message short and to the point.

How do I obtain access to computer permissions for my group's e-mail alias and Web page?

You can request a club e-mail alias or webpage from your adviser. He/she must submit the request on your behalf to CUIT. For specific questions about the types of services available, you can e-mail askcuit@columbia.edu.

How long does it take to process a check?

It can take anywhere from two weeks to a month, depending on the time of year and whether the University has previously paid the vendor. Make sure to include all information including the tax ID number of the vendor and a detailed contract or invoice in order to expedite the process. You can choose to have the check mailed directly to the vendor or held in Student Financial Advising (Lerner 515) for pick-up.

If I am ordering something on-line, what are my options for payment?

You can (1) obtain an invoice from the vendor and request a check from Student Financial Advising in Lerner 515. (This must be done at least 3-4 weeks prior to the time you actually need the items if the vendor wants the check before shipping), (2) ask the vendor if they will accept a purchase order, or (3) pay for the goods with a personal credit card.
Whichever option you choose, you will need to submit an invoice from the vendor in order for Student Financial Advising to process the check request. If paying by credit card, please submit a copy of your credit card bill as well. Remember that you cannot be reimbursed for tax.

My group wants to have a spring barbecue. Where can I rent a grill?

You can rent BBQ equipment from the University. Guidelines for BBQ events are available on the UEM website. Please work with your adviser so that your plans incorporate the current policies. Remember that you must submit a space request form to Lerner Hall staff to reserve outdoor space.

The speaker for my organization’s event is arriving by car. Can I arrange for temporary parking on College Walk?

You can try, but parking is very hard to come by at Columbia. Student Engagement has parking request forms that must be filled out and faxed to the parking office. You will need to know the make, model and color of the vehicle, the license plate number and state, the driver’s name, and the expected arrival and departure times. Remember to confirm the cost, budget for the expense and fill out an e-form.

Where can I find a vendor for customized give-a-ways, posters for cultural months, etc?

Student Engagement has many resources available to your organization. You can stop by and visit your adviser to look through various catalogues and give-a-way books. Vendors that we use frequently are:
Silver Screen Design
Ultimate Impressions
Imprint Products

Where can I find kosher food?

Barnard Dining Services provides kosher catering. They can be reached at 212-854-6653. In addition, there are several kosher caterers on the Upper West Side. Ask your adviser for specifics.

Where can I make photocopies?

There are University Copy Centers in the International Affairs Building (401 IAB, 854-3797) and in the basement of the Journalism Building (106 Journalism, 854-3233). Village Copier, who is one of our vendors, is another option.

Who makes those cool banners hanging in Lerner? How can I have mine hung?

Student organizations work with a wide variety of vendors. C2Media is currently one of the partners working on banners and other print materials. In order to hang your banner, you must request permission through your adviser. Lerner Hall staff will hang and remove your banner.

Preprofessional Advising

Other

How do I sign up for the prehealth listserv?

To subscribe, send an e-mail to listserv@cuvmc.ais.columbia.edu. Leave the subject line blank and delete signature lines. In the body of the text, type either "subscribe ccseas-pre-health Your Name" (no quotations or e-mail address).To unsubscribe, send a message to listserv@cuvmc.ais.columbia.edu. In the body of the text, type "signoff ccseas-pre-health".

Who is eligible to utilize the services of the Office of Preprofessional Advising, CSA?

Our office serves Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science undergraduates and alumni.

How do I sign up for the prelaw listserv?

To subscribe, send an e-mail to listserv@cuvmc.ais.columbia.edu. Leave the subject line blank and delete signature lines. In the body of the text, type either "subscribe ccseas-pre-law Your Name" (no quotations or e-mail address).
To unsubscribe, send a message to listserv@cuvmc.ais.columbia.edu. In the body of the text, type "signoff ccseas-pre-law".

Columbia Urban Experience

Columbia Urban Experince (CUE)

And, of course, parents/guardians always ask: "Will my son/daughter be safe?"

You betcha! Your son or daughter, who we already like very much simply because of his or her dedication to service, is with a CUE leader at all times, including the service sites, meals, and all night activities. Additionally, getting in contact with him or her is very easy because participants will have access to email.

How do I apply for financial aid to attend CUE?

Applicants may express their interest in receiving financial aid when completing the pre-orientation common application.

How much does CUE cost?

Our application process is completely need-blind. The program fee for CUE is $350.00 and covers housing, food, transportation, and the cost of night activities during the week of CUE. We offer partial and full financial aid to those who qualify.

International Student Orientation Program

International Student Orientation Program (ISOP)

Are meals included in ISOP?

Yes. All meals are included during ISOP. ISOP will communicate with selected participants for their dietary needs.

Are shuttle services offered from the NYC airports to campus?

There are no shuttle services from campus, but cabs are readily available. Let your driver know you need to go to "Columbia University at 116th and Amsterdam."  If you are traveling from the Newark, JFK, or LaGuardia airports, it is possible to use a variety of buses and trains to get to the University. Be mindful that this route will take some time and may involve multiple modes of transportation. Please visit http://www.hopstop.com or http://mta.info and use the "trip planner" tool to get a route to campus. Enter "Columbia University Main Campus" as your destination address.

Can I move into my room prior to the start of ISOP?

No, students may only move in when ISOP starts. If you need hotel accommodations, please visit the local hotels list provided by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Can my parents attend ISOP?

ISOP is for students only; however, there will be some concurrent sessions and events for families run by Family Engagement. Student participants will be extremely busy over the course of the program, and parents are encouraged to allow students this time on their own to make connections and become comfortable in their new home.

Please keep in mind that parents and family members who travel with their students will be responsible for their own accommodations.

How much does it cost to participate in ISOP 2015?

Selected ISOP participants will pay $50 USD for the program. Financial aid is available.

If I am accepted, when will I move to campus?

ISOP participants will move in to campus on Monday, August 24, 2015.

If I choose to participate in COÖP or CUE, will I miss receiving important information for international students?

We encourage students to apply to all pre-orientation programs that interest them. Information shared during the pre-orientation program will be made available to international students who do not participate in ISOP. There is also programming during the NSOP week that all international students should attend, especially those who do not participate in the pre-orientation program. In addition, there are on-going programs and one-on-one support for international students throughout international students' time at Columbia. 

Is ISOP mandatory?

No, ISOP is not mandatory. However, we expect students who choose to participate in the program to attend all programs scheduled during pre-orientation. Students who choose not to attend mandatory programs will be responsible for their housing fees and may be removed from the program.

Is it possible to participate in some of the sessions in ISOP? I would like to spend some time with my parents in New York City.

No, full participation is REQUIRED for all ISOP participants. If you would like to enjoy New York City with your parents, please plan to arrive New York City before ISOP starts. Keep in mind that ISOP is not responsible for expenses incurred prior to the start of ISOP.

What are the application dates and deadlines for ISOP?

The ISOP application is now closed. ISOP does not use the "rolling admissions" approach. All applications will be carefully reviewed as long as they are submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, May 31, 2015.

What are the application questions?

Below are the open eneded questions found on the ISOP application. It is recommended that you review the questions and develop your answers before accessing the application.

  1. What excites you most about living in New York City and the United States?
  2. What concerns do you have about moving to a new country/new school?
  3. Describe your experiences living/traveling in the United States.
What are the dates for ISOP 2015?

ISOP 2015 will start on Monday, August 24, 2015, and will end on Saturday, August 29, 2015.

What is ISOP?

The International Student Orientation Program (ISOP) is designed to help international first-year students comfortably transition into the Columbia University community before the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP). Programs during ISOP range from helping new students set up a phone or bank account to understanding the Columbia academic culture and getting to know New York City. ISOP participation is determined by application.

When do I find out if I have been accepted into ISOP?

Applicants will find out by June 11, 2015. If you do not get an email by June 11, 2015, please send us an email.

When should I make travel plans?

ISOP understands the desire to book your airline tickets sooner rather than later. If you choose to book your tickets before hearing about your acceptance and do not get acceptedyou will need to provide your own housing.

Who can participate in ISOP?

Any Columbia College or Columbia Engineering first-year student who is not a United States citizen or who, regardless of citizenship, self-identifies as an international student can take part in ISOP.

Orientation

Other

Are shuttle services offered from the NYC airports to campus? Can I get to campus by taking public transportation?

There are no shuttle services from campus, but cabs are readily available. Let your driver know you need to go to "Columbia University at 116th and Amsterdam."  If you are traveling from the Newark, JFK, or LaGuardia airports, it is possible to use a variety of buses and trains to get to the University. Be mindful that this route will take some time and may involve multiple modes of transportation. Please visit http://www.hopstop.com or http://mta.info and use the "trip planner" tool to get a route to campus. Enter "Columbia University Main Campus" as your destination address.

Are there shuttle services from local airports to campus?

There are no shuttle services from the airport to campus, but cabs are readily available. Ask the driver to take you to "Columbia University at 116th and Broadway."

Do I need any money during orientation?

Your orientation fee covers the cost of the program. However, you may want additional money for special events, subway rides, and off-campus dining.

How do I get to campus, and where do I park when I arrive?

When you arrive on campus on your move-in day, Public Safety will greet you, guide you to a temporary unloading area, and provide a map to nearby parking garages.

How do I set up a bank account?

Columbia University has a special banking relationship with Citibank, and you'll find Citibank ATMs on campus. Other banks can also be found within walking distance of the campus.

How do I update my address on file?

Once you establish your Columbia email login, also known as your UNI, you may log on to Student Services Online (SSOL) to change your address. For any issues in creating your account, please email studentservices@columbia.edu.

I have a disability. How will my needs be accommodated during orientation?

We have an incredible Office of Disability Services here at Columbia! Students are strongly encouraged to contact the office to discuss any disabilities prior to NSOP, to prepare for orientation week and the academic year. Please email the office by late July.

I have special dietary needs. Will I be able to eat during orientation week?

Kosher, vegetarian, and vegan dining options will be available during orientation week and beyond. Have allergies? Let our dining staff know!

If I've shipped items to campus, where do I pick up my packages?

Students with photo ID can pick up their packages from the mail room. The mail room does not deliver packages to the residence halls. Due to the high volume of packages delivered at the beginning of the semester, there may be a wait of more than a week to access your shipment(s). Please plan to bring with you or to purchase locally anything you'll need in the first 1-2 weeks.

My parents plan on staying in NYC beyond my move-in day. Will I have time to hang out with them?

While it is common to have family members stay in NYC for an extended amount of time to sightsee and/or visit other family and friends, the week of orientation is packed with mandatory and social programs and affords little time much else. It is a vital opportunity to learn the Columbia ropes, make connections, and build friendships within your new undergraduate community.

What is NSOP?

The New Student Orientation Program (NSOP) is a required program for all undergraduate students in Columbia College and Columbia Engineering.

What should I be doing to prepare for my classes?

Your advising dean in the Berick Center for Student Advising will reach out to you over the summer with the steps you should take to get ready. Be sure to check your LionMail account for his or her email! You can also take a look at these FAQs on advising and classes from incoming students.

Where can I learn about academic advising?

Please visit the Berick Center for Student Advising website, and look for an email from your advising dean over the summer.

Who can I talk to if I’m having a hard time adjusting during NSOP?

Being anxious or nervous is completely normal, and we’re here to help you in any way we can. Our NSOP staff and volunteers have all been in your shoes at one point.

We recommend reaching out to to your orientation leader (OL) or resident adviser (RA) with your concerns. If you would like guidance from a full-time administrator, staff are easy to locate and approach. Still not sure who to contact? If you email NSOP, a handful of individuals will receive your inquiry, and someone will follow up with you. We’re here to support you!

Will we learn how to navigate the subway lines, buses, and commuter rail system during NSOP?

One of the best parts of living in New York City is the ability to explore everything it has to offer simply by having a MetroCard and understanding how the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) works. Our OLs can teach you how to use a MetroCard machine, which has a simple touch screen interface. They can also help you understand how the various bus routes and subway lines, how they operate, and how to read an MTA map. We have plenty of programs throughout the city during NSOP, and travel to and from these will help you practice getting around. You’ll soon be a pro at navigating the city! We'll also let you know which websites and apps (like HopStop) can help you get from Point A to Point B.

New Student Orientation Program (First-year Students)

How do I register for NSOP?

You will receive a link to register for NSOP in the email with your housing assignment, sent in late June.

I heard that I’ll be meeting a lot of new people. Do you have any tips on how to remember everyone’s name?

Don't fret! This is why name badges were invented. Both staff and students will be wear one throughout orientation week. They are required for all NSOP events, so people’s names will always be accessible.

What events will be happening during NSOP?

You will receive a schedule upon arrival but may refer back to this website for periodic updates.

What should I do if I must arrive before NSOP?

If you must arrive before the general move-in date, are not participating in a special program, and do not have special permission from the Housing Office, you will need to secure off-campus accommodations. A list of area hotels and other options is avilable on the Columbia University Travel Portal.

What should I do if I'm coming from far away and can't pack everything?

There are many places near campus where you can purchase toiletries and other supplies for your room. We also offer a free shuttle bus to and from Bed Bath & Beyond during NSOP! You can ship packages to your school address starting two weeks before orientation.

When does NSOP officially begin and end?

NSOP officially begins on Monday, August 31, 2015, and ends on Monday, September 7, 2015.

When may I arrive on campus?

Students with primary residence in the following locations will move in on Sunday, August 30, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, Guam and Countries other than the U.S.

Students with primary residence in the following locations will move in on Monday, August 31, 2015, from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Students participating in the Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program (COÖP), Columbia Urban Experience (CUE), the International Student Orientation Program (ISOP), or another special program will receive communications regarding move-in directly from the program's organizers.

When will I receive information about moving in if I'm participating in COÖP, CUE, or the International Student Orientation Program (ISOP)?

If you're participating in one of these special programs, you'll get an email informing you of your acceptance and your alternate move-in date.

Where can I learn about resources on campus, like housing, dining, and health services?

Please visit the New Student website, which also provides a checklist of the actions you must take to complete requirements by given deadlines to prepare for your move to campus.

Will I have time to relax during orientation week?

While most days are packed with manditory programming, we have made a sincere effort to add numerous breaks to the week. To plan your week, we recommend marking required programs, events  of interest to you, and all of the breaks in your schedule book to make the week seem less hectic. Making time to relax and hang out with your new friends is very important!

Will there be an orientation program for families and parents?

Yes! Please visit the Family Engagement website for more information.

Will there be anyone to answer my questions during orientation week?

The orientation leaders (OLs) are always available to help you. Your resident assistant (RA) will be another invaluable resource for you throughout orientation and the rest of the year. In addition, the NSOP Committee Office will be running an information booth during the week of orientation, and you will also meet with your advising dean.

Columbia Urban Experince (CUE)

How selective is CUE?

There is a high interest from incoming first-years, and we can only accommodate 55 participants. For this reason, we encourage anyone interested in CUE to demonstrate why they would be a good fit for the program as candidly and thoroughly as possible in their application.

What are night activities?

Each night, CUE participants select their preferred activity from four amazing options in NYC. Past activities have included outdoor movies at Bryant Park and excursions to Upright Citizen's Brigade Improv Theater, the Nuyorican Poets Café, Yankee Stadium, the Brooklyn Bridge and Magnolia Bakery.

What do CUE participants eat?

Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners during CUE are provided by Dining Services.

What is Columbia Urban Experience (CUE)?

CUE participants spend the week with a team of three to five other participants and one leader, working at one of our service sites. They select their preferred site on the first day of the program, which they have already received descriptions of earlier in the summer. CUE-ers also engage in article-based discussions on critical and ethical perspectives of responsible service. Each evening, participants explore NYC with free night activities!

When does CUE happen?

Sunday, August 23 - Sunday, August 30, 2015

When is the application due?

All applications are due Sunday, May 31, 2015, by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

When will the application be available?

Applications will be available May 1.

Where do CUE participants sleep?

Participants receive on-campus housing during the week.

Who can apply to CUE?

All incoming first-year students from Barnard College, Columbia College, General Studies/Jewish Theological Seminary Joint Program and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science are encouraged to apply. At this time, we are not accepting transfer students.

Transfer and Combined Plan Student Orientation

What events will be happening during NSOP and Transfer and Combined-plan Student Orientation?

For what to expect the week of NSOP 2015, you can review the scheudle from last year: 2014 CC and SEAS Schedule Book.pdf.

What events will be happening during orientation week?

You will receive a schedule upon arrival but may refer back to this website for periodic updates.

What is orientation like for transfer and combined-plan students?

Between Tuesday, September 1, 2015, and Monday, September 7, 2015, transfer students will enjoy a number of transfer-specific academic and social programs, including brunches, student panels, advising sessions, and joint outings in the city with Barnard and Columbia transfer students. Your orientation group of 10-12 students will consist only of transfer, combined-plan, and visiting students. In addition, most social events during orientation are open to transfers, as well as first-year students. You will receive transfer orientation highlights in the packet sent to you in the summer.

What should I do if I must arrive before September 1, 2015?

If you must arrive before the program move-in date, are not participating in a special program, and do not have special permission from the Housing Office, you will need to secure off-campus accommodations. A list of area hotels and other options is avilable on the Columbia University Travel Portal.

When do I move in, and where do I check in?

Move-in day for transfer and combined-plan students is Tuesday, September 1, 2015. Check-in will start at 8:00 a.m. and go until 12:00 p.m. All students, whether or not they live on campus, need to check in at the tent in front of Hamilton Hall. Combined-plan students who are living in Carlton Arms should head there first and then come to campus.

Where can I get more information and connect with other transfer and combined-plan students?

Join the Transfer, Visiting, and Combined Plan Facebook group, and bookmark the newsletters geared towards transfer, visiting, and combined-plan students.

Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program

Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program (COÖP)

Does the menu accommodate people with special dietary needs (vegan, vegetarian, kosher)?

Our menu is vegetarian-friendly. In fact, all of our meals are vegetarian, with an option of tuna or the popular meat-stick. Vegans can also work with our menu, which consists of lots of rice, beans, fruits and veggies. While most of our food is kosher, we do not keep a kosher kitchen on the trail. If you have concerns about your kosher diet, please emailus.

How do we get to Columbia, and where does my family park?

COÖP family caravans usually park along 114th street between Broadway and Amsterdam (parking is limited), although any location around the Columbia campus is fine. Columbia Security will be available to guide you to where you can legally park your car. (Get directions.)

If I using COÖP equipment, when and how do I get it?

We will be distributing equipment pre-departure. 

If I wear contact lenses, what should I do?

Most contact lens wearers are fine on our trip, although some prefer to wear glasses for the four days. Whatever you decide, please bring a backup pair of glasses and/or an extra pair of contact lenses. Make sure to bring a flashlight for nighttime removal of lenses. Past COÖPers have also appreciated antibacterial hand gel.

Should I pack all my stuff for COÖP move-in or should I send packages separately?

As a COÖP participant, you are typically moved directly into your fall housing. If driving to campus, bring everything. If you are flying, you may ship the belongings not needed for your COÖP trip to your Lerner Hall mailbox. You will receive your mailing address/shipping information in mid-summer from Columbia Housing.

Should my parents/family/loved ones come on the first day of regular orientation?

Your families will receive registration information for Family Oreintation, which occurs at the start of the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP) after returning from the COÖP trip. Families are welcome to stay until or return for Family Orientation. However, Family Orientation is not mandatory, and some COÖP families choose not to attend. Students are also welcome to arrive alone and have their parents meet them after the COÖP trip. If your parents/family are interested in staying in a hotel room, Columbia provides a list of area hotels.

What kind of food will I eat on the trip?

COÖP staples include GORP (similar to trail mix), macaroni and cheese, pita, hummus, oranges, s’mores and much more. Come hungry!

When does COÖP take place for 2015 incoming first-year students?

Move-in will occur on Wednesday, August 26. A fun-filled afternoon and evening is planned with first-year students and COÖP trip leaders, and each of the three trips depart Columbia the next morning, Thursday, August 27. All trips return to campus on Sunday, August 30.

Who can sign up for the Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program (COÖP)?

COÖP is open to incoming first-years enrolling in Columbia College (CC) or The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). At this time, the program is not open to Barnard, General Studies (GS), transfer, or Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) students.

Who plans COÖP?

COÖP is a student-run program supervised out of Student Engagement, within Undergraduate Student Life. The student coordinators for the 2015 trip are Nia Hollister-Bernier, Hannah Milnes, Lizzy Trelstad, Dylan Ptacek; they can be reached via coop@columbia.edu. Our staff administrator is Ryan Scherr. He can be reached at (212) 854-1196 or emailed at rps2144@columbia.edu.

Whom should my parent(s) contact with questions?

We strongly encourage students to communicate with COÖP on their own. At the same time, we know that parents often have questions, and so we have provided the following FAQs. If you should have further questions or concerns, please contact our advisor, Ryan Scherr (rps2144@columbia.edu), or one of the four student coordinators at coop@columbia.edu during our office hours, Tuesday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Will I be able to spend time with family on the evening before the trip departure?

Students should be considered unavailable for any and all non-COÖP interactions beginning at 2:30 pm, the afternoon before departure.