Required Reading
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Aliya Schneider / Senior Staff Photographer

You may have noticed the hordes of 18-year-olds roaming campus with lanyards around their necks these past few weekends. Admitted students from all over the world traveled to Morningside Heights for Days on Campus, a weekend for admitted students to experience what it’s like to live and breathe Columbia.

Considering the variety of feelings certain Columbia students hold towards the school, Spectrum wanted to know what compelled these prospective students to apply, and in certain cases, commit to Columbia.

When asked why they chose Columbia or Barnard, prospective students gave a range of answers. A lot seemed to be New York City fans, emphasizing that location played a big role in their decisions. Others focused more on academics, explaining that Columbia and Barnard offer great programs for their area of study. Most were just excited to be on campus, describing how enjoyable Days on Campus was for them—which is understandable, considering the warm weather and the charming campus ~vibes~ we’ve all been enjoying the past couple weeks.

Here’s what the Class of 2023 had to say about why they decided to apply to Columbia and Barnard:


Aliya Schneider

“I’m really excited because I think Barnard is a really empowering experience. I’ve heard from a lot of people that it’s been a really life-changing place to be at. And I’m from a really small Texas town so I think it’s an opportunity to be immersed in a really exciting and active city where there are a lot of people that are interested in social justice, and being really strong women. So I’m excited!” —Claire, prospective Barnard student


Aliya Schneider

“I really like the close environment, but it still has access to a big research institution, which is really important to me because I want to go into astrophysics so I want [to do] research.” —Maya, prospective Barnard student


Aliya Schneider

“I come from a public school where there’s like 40 students in one class and maybe 30 seats available. So, in a school where there are like six students, or 10, 15, I feel like you get the individualized attention and you get the needs that you need and get to talk to the teacher that you want to and actually have that connection.” —Jackeline (left), prospective Barnard student


Aliya Schneider

“I love the culture here, definitely. Just being in New York City … it’s a very cultural place. One of my favorite places is Harlem because I wanted to understand the gentrification better.” —Abel, prospective Columbia College student


Aliya Schneider

“I’m interested in architecture and the architecture program is really great. I also think it’d be really cool to be in New York City and there are a lot of opportunities that come with that. Also just like the campus is beautiful, which always makes me happy. And it’s obviously an amazing school.” — Izzi (left), prospective Columbia College student


Aliya Schneider

“Well, I’m into jazz piano and so being in New York City would be really great for that. So that’s a big reason I wanted to come here.” —Xander, prospective Columbia College student


Aliya Schneider

“I really like New York City obviously, and the campus is really beautiful and the people are really nice. They have my perfect major and area of study, which is human rights.” —Steven, prospective Columbia College student


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We also decided to ask the students if there was anything they were apprehensive about coming to Columbia or Barnard next year. Once again, they gave a range of answers from financial reasons to questionable dining services.

Here’s what the Class of 2023 had to say when asked if there were any reasons why they might not choose Columbia or Barnard:


Aliya Schneider

“Just going away from home, living independently.” —Sadia, prospective Barnard College student


Aliya Schneider

“One of the concerns was the financial aspect but we actually just had a meeting with financial [aid] people, which was pretty helpful. But I think that was the only reason … right now I think I’m coming.” —Maya, prospective Barnard College student


Aliya Schneider

“Nothing yet, but that’s because I’m waiting for my financial aid, but for the most part I’m ready.” —Everett, prospective Columbia College student


Aliya Schneider

“I’ve heard from different people about what the culture is like here. How stress is really big … and how people are kind of distant and all over the place. So, that makes me a little nervous.” —Adrian, prospective Columbia College student


Aliya Schneider

“Sometimes it seems really intimidating cause everyone is so accomplished. I’ve heard it’s harder to make friends here but I think I’ll manage.” —Dalia, prospective Columbia College student


Aliya Schneider

“Nothing really, I’m just kinda worried about making new friends and just living in the city because it’s so busy in general but other than that I’m very excited.” —Nicole (right), prospective Barnard College student


Aliya Schneider

“What I’m apprehensive about is whether or not you really get to take in the city because you’re going to be spending a lot of time on campus doing schoolwork and getting in campus activities ... If New York City is right across the street you’re pretty much in that environment.” —Beatrice, prospective Columbia College student


Lula O'Donnell

“Just the financial stuff I guess, but then I don’t know, I just realized I really wanted to go here so it was better to do ED and figure that stuff out later.” —Catherine, prospective School of Engineering and Applied Sciences student


Lula O'Donnell

“One of the things I’m worried about, well, I like New York City, but I’m a little worried that it’s kind of in the center. … I’m from the suburbs near Los Angeles so I’m not used to being in a city this big, but everyone’s been so nice and they say there’s a lot of resources here” —Olivia, prospective School of Engineering and Applied Sciences student


Lula O'Donnell

“I guess the thing that intimidates us about Columbia is the Core. I think right now it’s only intimidating because we don’t know that much about it cause we haven’t experienced it yet. … I’m scared of writing … we’re STEM people.” —Maria, Alejandra CC/SEAS


Overall, the prospective students seem to share the same feelings of excitement and apprehensions on coming to Columbia next year. In any case, congratulations to the Class of 2023—we are really excited to see you on campus next year!

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the Columbia/Barnard experience before you arrive in August, keep up with us through Required Reading! Required Reading is your crash course guide to Columbia that gives you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a student here, teaches you to live your best college life, and helps you make a decision on whether this is the place for you. Sign up here for tips, hacks, and answers to all your questions throughout the summer.


Staff Writer Lina Bennani Karim can be contacted at lina.bennanikarim@columbiaspectator.com. Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

Columbia Barnard Days on Campus College Acceptance
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