Advice from Students

Get to know each school you’re considering inside and out – this includes academics, the student body, the location of the school, and the “vibe” on campus. Interact with the institution – reach the materials, speak with admissions officers, meet with students, and try to visit campus. Do anything you can do to determine if the atmosphere is one in which you can be successful and enjoy your college experience.”

Visit the colleges you’re considering, if you can. I was considering a college near home, but once I stepped on campus, I found out I was allergic to the trees there – an important aspect I would have overlooked had I not visited!”

Once you’ve compared financial aid opportunities, the majors available, the curricula, the requirements, and the activities, go with your gut. Just in the way that you should be authentically yourself in your application, let colleges be authentically themselves when you visit so you know the match is real.”

As an international student, I must encourage students from abroad to come to Columbia to pursue their academic goals. Situated in New York City, it is a great place to not only learn about American culture but also to find other international peers.”

Understand that all schools have a balance of aspects, and that you’ll love some parts more than others. ”

Applying to college should be fun – you’re deciding where you’re going to spend the next four years of your life! That’s awesome! But more so than missing out on the fun, you should be sure to also not miss out on the learning experience. ”

It is important to find the college that best suits you, academically and socially. You should try and figure out what you are looking for, and what different schools have to offer (size, setting, majors available, student-faculty ratio, emphasis given to undergraduate education, and so forth). Although it seems daunting trying to find your home for the next four years, anywhere you go there will be some positives and negatives, it’s all about finding the place that has the most positives for you.”

"Why Columbia" is a pretty typical question, and one that deserves a lot of thought as students are beginning to consider the college process. The thing is, you've got to pay a lot of attention, because there are SO MANY excellent colleges and universities in this country and across the world. It's definitely possible to find the place that will suit you, so you have to go with your gut.”

Know the school that you’re applying to, so that you’ll be more well-equipped to make your college decision.”

I would advise students going through the college application process to trust themselves. I remember when I was applying to schools that everyone had a strong opinion: my parents' friends, my teachers, even my hairdresser. Ultimately, you know best what is right for you. Listen to what people are saying, but if you have a gut feeling that you know what you want, it's okay to ignore everyone else and follow your dreams.”

With good time management, you can do most everything you hope to do in college. Make each and every moment count!”

Columbia is amazing! Don’t worry about fitting in here because even if you stand out, you will find a community.”

When you are visiting a school, try to talk to as many current students as possible. Are they people you could see yourself being friends with? Can you see someone you would like to be in an upperclassman? ”

Check out the actual academic departments you are interested in. You may find that departments under the same name at different universities do very different kinds of work. ”