Thursday, July 26, 2012

New York, New York

When we disembarked the train at the Pennsylvania Station in New York, the first thing we immediately realized was the excellence in our planning - the weather was absolutely gorgeous. We took advantage of it shortly after we dropped off our things at the Empire Hotel as we trekked through Central Park on our way to Columbia University. 

In the Garment District of NY.
A firetruck struggles to permeate the city traffic.
The lobby of the Empire Hotel.
Central Park.
The Dakota, former Beatle John Lennon's home.
Times Square.

Our feet being tired after days of intense walking, we decided to utilize the city's public transit system and take the subway to Columbia University. Once there, we engaged ourselves in an informational session and campus tour at Columbia, and learned about what the undergraduate students' options were at the institution. We also had the chance to sit down for a private session with the admissions officer for the Bay Area. She and an accompanying student of Columbia were kind enough to have a seat with us to answer any questions that we had. 

At Columbia, prospective high school students may apply to one of two undergraduate schools - Columbia College, and Columbia Engineering and Science. Though both schools are distinct in terms of concentration, all undergraduate students must complete the Core Curriculum, similar to general education requirements. Regardless of their major, in order to provide a splendid liberal arts education as well as shape young students into well-rounded individuals, the Core is rigorous, yet undoubtedly rewarding. Fulfilling a science, global core, foreign language, and physical education requirement is required. 

Most prospective students groan at the idea of Core; however, all of the students that I spoke with at the dinner this evening asserted that it was one of the best aspects of Columbia. Not only does it open students to classes such as writing and art humanities; it also provides a sense of community among the students in the fact that every person is taking the same class and a common experience is shared. 

The company of the several current Columbia students was pleasant; I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with them regarding student life and academia. 

After dinner, our cohort decided to seize what we had left of the day to explore New York City. We visited Times Square, Grand Central Terminal. 

New York is such a vibrant city, during both the day and the night. Hopefully this will not be the last time I am back.

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