|Welcome to Madison Square Garden!|
|One of the pristine lakes in Central Park.|
We arrived promptly at 2 PM for the information session. The admissions director who delivered the session, Diane McKoy, had been at Columbia for over thirty years. One could see she knew the breadth and depth of the school. She covered a myriad of things during the information session, such as the general SAT score range for admitted students (2130 - 2380), the many programs Columbia has available for cultural enrichment (including a Directed Arts program that pays for tickets to city operas, plays, and concerts), and of course, the famed (and sometimes infamous) Columbia core. She outlined the exact courses we needed to take, and when, including a sports course in addition to another physical education course, a writing workshop, contemporary studies, and a set math program. The core had existed in Columbia for decades -- meaning that it is obviously a system that works for, at least, some people.
|The Low Library, the central administration building for Columbia University.|
|The main quad, otherwise known as the "Urban Beach"|
Next, we had dinner at Trattoria del Arte with ECHS alumnus and current Columbia student Matt Arcinega and a few other Columbia undergraduates. I specifically spoke with Evan Munro (Matt's roommate) and Andrea Hazday about the student life at Columbia. They affirmed that while sports school spirit was not necessarily the best, it was compensated by other clubs and activities throughout the campus.
They also expressed their love of the core, as the system allowed each of them to study a wide range of topics that was uniform throughout the school. I also spoke quite a bit with Matt about Columbia, as well as other subjects, such as his brother Joe (whom I attended Cornell with last summer), Boy Scouts, and the Yale Ivy Scholars program (he was one of the first participants in the program).
Before I visited Columbia, I was rather iffy about applying there. I knew a little about the core and it's stringency turned me off from the school. But after speaking with the students and learning was the core consisted of, I became much more open to applying there. The decision for that is only a few months away, but right now, I am considering applying. And I can't thank the students and the admissions staff enough for justifying my reconsideration.
After dinner, Mr. Litvin took us to Times Square, Grand Central Station, and Bryant Park. New York City is truly an marvelous spectacle at night, with the grandeur of ancient Gothic and Greco-Roman-influenced architecture contrasted with the neon lights and mass hordes of people that crowded the streets. It is an experience everyone should undergo at least once in their lives.
|Bryant Park at night, with the backdrop of the city.|