Welcome to Barnumbia! You still have a bit of time before you have to commit, but now that you’re in, start reading as much as you can about your potential new school. Required Reading can help you out with that. If you want to see what life is really like on the upper west side, make sure you subscribe.
Days on Campus is fast approaching. If you’re anything like me, many of you may have heard about it and wondered, “Wait, what is that? I thought I had until orientation to get my act together. This is all happening so fast!”
To put it briefly, Days on Campus (or as we’ve been abbreviating, DoC) is an opportunity for students admitted to CC or SEAS to spend a couple of days on campus in order to get a glimpse of what life at CU looks like. You get to sit in on lectures and informational talks, eat in the dining halls, meet faculty members, enjoy an evening bus tour of NYC, stay overnight in a residence hall with a host student, and much more.
You’ve done all the work required to get in—now all you have to do is show up. Really, though, there’s no need to feel pressure—DoC is just a way of helping you decide whether Columbia is the right fit for you.
Who should attend Days on Campus?
The program is open to all students admitted to CC or SEAS, and you don’t need to commit to Columbia before coming. If there’s no doubt in your mind that come fall this is where you’ll be, it would probably further heighten your anticipation and give you the chance to start making connections.
But if you’re still considering all your options, it could convince you that Columbia is the right place for you or, at the very least, give you a lot of information and insight you wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else. DoC is actually intended mostly for students who haven’t yet committed and want to make more of an informed decision, so don’t think you’ll be like the odd sheep out if you’re not calling yourself a Lion yet.
When is Days on Campus, and should I stay overnight?
The exact dates will be made available on the official website soon if you’ve been admitted, but they are typically sometime between the beginning and the middle of April.
The program consists of scheduled events over the course of two days. You aren’t required to stay overnight with a host student, but if you want a taste of getting up early, going to class, getting the full student experience, etc., I’d recommend it. Back in the day, I stayed in Schapiro Hall during DoC, an upperclassman residence hall, and loved it so much that I lived there my sophomore and junior years. Who knows—you just may stumble upon your dream dorm if you decide to spend the night.
What kinds of events are planned?
The official list of events will be made available to admitted students (on that same website). Basically, you’ll have the chance to hear from faculty, learn more about research and academic opportunities, get acquainted with campus, and just get a feel for what being a Columbia student is like.
What I remember most clearly about my DoC experience was sitting in on a sample Lit Hum lecture, taught by the chair of the course—it kind of blew my mind. And of course the evening bus tour of the city, during which current students led us in singing our fight song, “Roar, Lions, Roar,” over and over again until we’d all memorized it. I couldn’t get the song out of my head for weeks afterward… but that’s not entirely a bad thing.
Am I going to make friends?
A handful of people I know actually did meet their best friend during DoC. On the other hand, a lot of others who went didn’t really meet anyone they clicked with in so short a time. So yes, you might get really lucky, but don’t count on it. At the same time, don’t get discouraged—you’ll have plenty of time to form your network of friends during orientation, the fall semester, and your four years here.
How much downtime will there be?
As much as you want there to be. Most of the scheduled events are optional, though it might be beneficial to go to most of them if you’re on campus anyway. However, you’re basically an adult, so you can use the time however you want on whatever will allow you to get the most out of the experience.
Most of the events I remember going to were super interesting and informative. I remember going to a couple of theater show previews that were fun, or you can skip a lecture or bus tour to hang out in the dorms or walk around campus—anything goes. Just don’t get too crazy… the goal (hopefully) is to get here in the fall without getting kicked out or anything.
Whether or not you end up attending Columbia, give Days on Campus a shot if you can—in addition to Required Reading, it might be the best way to get a glimpse of what makes us who we are. We hope you’ll like what you see!
Tina Watson is a Spectrum trainee and Columbia College junior. Bus tours and the fight song are now inextricably associated with one another in her mind, all because of Days on Campus. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org