Columbia students taking questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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mel2010
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Columbia students taking questions

Postby mel2010 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:12 pm

Didn't see one of these yet for this cycle, so here it is. Ask away, and I'll do what I can to help with my limited 1L knowledge! Congrats if you got in and welcome if you're attending!

FYI, past threads:
2009 and 2010 admission cycles
Another 2010 admission cycle
2011 admission cycle

P.S. other CLS students please feel free to help out!

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:06 pm

What is the housing situation like for you? Happy with it?

Any tips for someone coming from outside NYC?

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Guchster
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Guchster » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:07 pm

Sure. My crazy ass will play too. Just don't ask me about NYU, cuz y'all know how I feel about that.

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Guchster
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Guchster » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:14 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:What is the housing situation like for you? Happy with it?

Any tips for someone coming from outside NYC?


It's NYC so you have plenty of options. I have friends that live in the Bronx (both at The Arbor--which is faux Bronx--and the real borough itself), Brooklyn, and even one friend in Queens (she says the bus isn't that much of a hassle; around 30-45 min. ride from Astoria). A large percentage of my friends that live off campus live down the stairs in Harlem. Much cheaper housing and a short 5 min. walk away.

If you prefer grad housing, it's decent. Slightly overpriced, but I took it because I was too lazy to go apartment hunting on my own, and I didn't want to look for roommates. Mine is furnished, which is LOLtastic because it's dorm room furniture (like my furniture looks like this: http://feeds2.yourstorewizards.com/1660 ... hair-1.jpg). You can also pay the rent 6-8 months late without them noticing/caring, lol.

I live in a 2br, with a doorman and elevator. Around 1000 a month, and a block away from lawl school (sometimes I wish I was further away). There are pictures lurking around these forums somewhere that are identical to what my apartment looks like.

ETA: here are other people's perspective. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=147465&start=25

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Guchster
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Guchster » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:19 pm

Also, I'm sure we could get piccolittle and kwais in here to help. They actually have brains.

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puppylaw
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby puppylaw » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:34 pm

Thanks for answering questions.

I'll probably be moving to New York with my non-law student significant other. We're both about 25. What neighborhoods should we look at? What websites should we use? When should we start looking and try to sign a lease? Any other tips for a couple?

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Guchster
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Guchster » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:41 pm

puppylaw wrote:Thanks for answering questions.

I'll probably be moving to New York with my non-law student significant other. We're both about 25. What neighborhoods should we look at? What websites should we use? When should we start looking and try to sign a lease? Any other tips for a couple?


If you're not down with Columbia housing, I would look at Harlem first, and then make your way towards other parts of Manhattan and Brookyln. If you couldn't find something you like, then maybe I'd move towards the Bronx/Queens. Look for something along the "1" line (upper west side is a great option for a couple). Also related to the "1" is the "2,3," which you can cross over pretty easily at express stops (72nd, 96th, 125th etc.). The B/C lines are not as close, but they're about a 6-8 block walk from the law school if you don't feel like transferring at 59th street.


I don't know of any websites, but I'm sure the CLSers that live off campus will post something soon.

Are you planning on coming here this summer? I guess timing of your lease depends on when you're looking to move/start paying NYC rent and how fast you're looking to get out of your apartment after a year (and where you plan to be for the summers)

In terms of tips for couples, you should call Columbia and ask to be in touch with CLSers who are married. While I realize you're not married, they'd be the easiest targets for getting couple advice.

No rational human being would date me or many of my classmates

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kwais
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby kwais » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:46 pm

What up Guch.

I think grad housing is fairly reasonable. also, for the above poster, have you looked into couple's housing? My ladyfriend is joining me next fall and we will be attempting to do that. I have friends in couple's housing. It is a good deal with two incomes. If I make some cash-ola 2L summer (lord knows that ship sailed for 1L summer) I would consider moving to another neighborhood, like maybe Columbus in the 70's-80's. I love that area.
My general advice would be to sign up for grad housing your first year if you are not from NYC. Then scope the area and see if you are comfortable with Harlem and/or commutes.

Guchster is slightly over-exaggerating. We have a few (FEW) hotties in the class

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puppylaw
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby puppylaw » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:50 pm

Guchster wrote:
puppylaw wrote:Thanks for answering questions.

I'll probably be moving to New York with my non-law student significant other. We're both about 25. What neighborhoods should we look at? What websites should we use? When should we start looking and try to sign a lease? Any other tips for a couple?


If you're not down with Columbia housing, I would look at Harlem first, and then make your way towards other parts of Manhattan and Brookyln. If you couldn't find something you like, then maybe I'd move towards the Bronx/Queens. Look for something along the "1" line (upper west side is a great option for a couple). Also related to the "1" is the "2,3," which you can cross over pretty easily at express stops (72nd, 96th, 125th etc.). The B/C lines are not as close, but they're about a 6-8 block walk from the law school if you don't feel like transferring at 59th street.


I don't know of any websites, but I'm sure the CLSers that live off campus will post something soon.

Are you planning on coming here this summer? I guess timing of your lease depends on when you're looking to move/start paying NYC rent and how fast you're looking to get out of your apartment after a year (and where you plan to be for the summers)

In terms of tips for couples, you should call Columbia and ask to be in touch with CLSers who are married. While I realize you're not married, they'd be the easiest targets for getting couple advice.

No rational human being would date me or many of my classmates


We'll move to New York pretty much as late as possible. So if we want to move in early August, when should we look for a place and sign a lease? I think we'd rather live off campus, but should we consider living on campus?

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camelcrema
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby camelcrema » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:54 pm

puppylaw wrote:Thanks for answering questions.

I'll probably be moving to New York with my non-law student significant other. We're both about 25. What neighborhoods should we look at? What websites should we use? When should we start looking and try to sign a lease? Any other tips for a couple?


I'll play. I know of at least one friend who is happy at the Arbor up in the (faux) Bronx. It's university housing, so you get all the benefits of dealing with the university (like being able to pay rent late) and you also get to live in a modern building. http://www.cuf.columbia.edu/arbor/index-2.html
Apparently the area is pretty nice, and there is a Columbia shuttle that takes 20-25 minutes to get to the school. For better or for worse, you probably won't be around the law school as much, but you will also probably be less likely to go out and explore NY.

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puppylaw
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby puppylaw » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:57 pm

camelcrema wrote:
puppylaw wrote:Thanks for answering questions.

I'll probably be moving to New York with my non-law student significant other. We're both about 25. What neighborhoods should we look at? What websites should we use? When should we start looking and try to sign a lease? Any other tips for a couple?


I'll play. I know of at least one friend who is happy at the Arbor up in the (faux) Bronx. It's university housing, so you get all the benefits of dealing with the university (like being able to pay rent late) and you also get to live in a modern building. http://www.cuf.columbia.edu/arbor/index-2.html
Apparently the area is pretty nice, and there is a Columbia shuttle that takes 20-25 minutes to get to the school. For better or for worse, you probably won't be around the law school as much, but you will also probably be less likely to go out and explore NY.


That looks really nice. Any idea about the cost? Can we live there together, being not married?

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camelcrema
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby camelcrema » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:00 pm

puppylaw wrote:
That looks really nice. Any idea about the cost? Can we live there together, being not married?



Yea, my friend who lives up there isn't married either. You will have to show the university that you have lived together in the past. I think they want to see either a joint credit card statement or joint mailing address from at least 1 year ago. Not 100% on those criteria, but I think that's it. I will ask my buddy about the cost, but I believe it's relatively cheap compared to what you might pay for housing on the UWS. Probably comparable in price to Harlem, but it's in a nicer neighborhood and is a nicer building. It's the commute that is a pain.

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Guchster
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Guchster » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:00 pm

kwais wrote:What up Guch.

I think grad housing is fairly reasonable. also, for the above poster, have you looked into couple's housing? My ladyfriend is joining me next fall and we will be attempting to do that. I have friends in couple's housing. It is a good deal with two incomes. If I make some cash-ola 2L summer (lord knows that ship sailed for 1L summer) I would consider moving to another neighborhood, like maybe Columbus in the 70's-80's. I love that area.
My general advice would be to sign up for grad housing your first year if you are not from NYC. Then scope the area and see if you are comfortable with Harlem and/or commutes.

Guchster is slightly over-exaggerating. We have a few (FEW) hotties in the class


Kwais delivers, as usual, with some excellent pointers here. CLS has couples housing, which is important to ask CLS about cuz it's more spacious and opens up options that you can't get if you're single (like me). I think all you have to do is get a joint checking account. And you don't even have to put any monies in it, if you're afraid of your S.O. stealing all your cash (u scared bro?)

Central Park West/Columbus/Broadway (70-78) is somewhere I would LOVE to live--even more so in the winter time with the lights being lit up. It's clean, spacious, safe, busy (but not crowded or noisy)--like a cheaper, but equally charming upper east side.

I have friends at CLS that live there and I am JEALOUS as hell. Kwais has me plotting my move now.

I would echo the italics.

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mel2010
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby mel2010 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:03 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:What is the housing situation like for you? Happy with it? Any tips for someone coming from outside NYC?

puppylaw wrote:Thanks for answering questions. I'll probably be moving to New York with my non-law student significant other. We're both about 25. What neighborhoods should we look at? What websites should we use? When should we start looking and try to sign a lease? Any other tips for a couple?

I'll answer all at once because my answer relates to all. I'm living with my non-law SO here, and that disqualified us from Columbia housing.*

[WARNING: LONG RAMBLY PARAGRAPH ABOUT MY HOUSING SEARCH]
We came up to check out apartments in late July, and it was a mess but I guess nothing unmanageable. First we looked around ourselves (craigslist and similar apartment listings online), but that was going nowhere except leading us to sketchy realtors. Then we found a "legit" realtor (one of the two that are recommended by Columbia) and came up to see some units with them. They were all not great, but we decided on one and were about to submit our application materials when the building manager said it was unavailable. That happened at a couple more units until we found a huge place just across Morningside Park. We applied and were accepted but due to a holdover tenant we had to abort that plan. At that point it was August and classes were going to start soon so we ended up finding a 1 month sublet on craigslist to patch over (since actual leases are almost exclusively starting on the 1st of the month, some 15th). I talked to OCHA (link) and as I was going through the database in their office they pointed out a particular listing and said they knew the particular agent and could recommend her. So we talked to her, saw a few units (within the limits of campus, at that) and found one for a price we could handle. We really like it, and may be renewing for another year if the price is right. It's a big 1BR for $1900 (heat/water/elec included), which is expensive but not really for the area, and splitting rent two ways makes it quite manageable. That was long-winded and probably not too helpful, but I guess the point is be prepared for a hassle but you'll find something eventually if you keep looking and are not too committed to an imaginary ideal apartment.

I really like Morningside Heights, but maybe I'm just lame. For a non-city-folk like myself, I feel like it's got enough going on to be interesting without being overwhelming; it still has a neighborhood-ish feel. Anywhere else is a subway ride away, anyways, and I'd rather have a long commute when I want to go out than have a long commute every day for class.

*To qualify for couple's/family housing through Columbia, you need:
Columbia Housing wrote:ONE of the following items:
-Documentation of marriage or domestic partnership.
-Joint mortgage or lease.
-Documentation showing, for a period of at least six months prior to the application for housing, an actively used joint bank account, joint credit account, or joint ownership of a motor vehicle.

Or TWO items documenting that the applicant and his/her partner have resided together at the same address for a period of at least six months prior to the application for housing (such as drivers' license, voters' registration, utility bills, etc.).

We may be eligible next year since we're going to have some more of those documents, but I'm not sure we're going to apply.

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puppylaw
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby puppylaw » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:11 pm

So if we don't go the university housing route, the bet thing to do is find a broker through the school? Too bad craigslist doesn't work well in New York. We've used it and other websites in the past in much, much smaller cities.

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mel2010
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby mel2010 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:27 pm

puppylaw wrote:So if we don't go the university housing route, the bet thing to do is find a broker through the school? Too bad craigslist doesn't work well in New York. We've used it and other websites in the past in much, much smaller cities.

Well, you've got a few options:

-You can always try looking around yourself, but prepare to be frustrated. Especially since a lot of those postings still require brokers fees, so you might as well use a broker and have a reason for paying that money.
-You can use one of the big realty firms Columbia recommends: Citi Habitats and Prudential Douglas Elliman. They are supposed to offer a discount broker fee, but when I used one he didn't (claiming that it was only for certain listings). I wasn't really impressed with the services, to be honest. Didn't really listen to our input, always claimed there was nothing like what we wanted available, despite us finding better places on our own sometimes.
-You can browse OCHA's listings (LinkRemoved), which is how we ended up finding our unit. I had done searches on the site and nothing great came up, but eventually I went to the office and did one with a "counselor" and she pointed out one that didn't really match our needs but was listed by someone she recommended. We talked to her and visited some other units she had and found our place. But the people at OCHA can always talk you through any questions you have. They're not too great at responding to email, but phone or in person should be good.

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Ship87
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Ship87 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:31 am

I disagree with the previous comments regarding the attractiveness of the CLS class, which should really be your priority over trivial things like housing. Female-wise its much better than expected, and actually pretty good on an absolute level. I don't think the same goes for the guys tho, from what I've heard.

Housing is good, just be prepared for really loud heaters.

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby birdlaw117 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:44 am

Guchster wrote:Sure. My crazy ass will play too. Just don't ask me about NYU, cuz y'all know how I feel about that.

How jealous are you that you're so far away from the Village?

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camelcrema
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby camelcrema » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:52 am

Ship87 wrote:I disagree with the previous comments regarding the attractiveness of the CLS class, which should really be your priority over trivial things like housing. Female-wise its much better than expected, and actually pretty good on an absolute level. I don't think the same goes for the guys tho, from what I've heard.

Housing is good, just be prepared for really loud heaters.


+1 on the loud radiators, particularly in the old buildings.

-1 on advertising CLS guys as unattractive. Dammit Ship you're scaring away all the women.

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby viking138 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:53 am

camelcrema wrote:
puppylaw wrote:
That looks really nice. Any idea about the cost? Can we live there together, being not married?



Yea, my friend who lives up there isn't married either. You will have to show the university that you have lived together in the past. I think they want to see either a joint credit card statement or joint mailing address from at least 1 year ago. Not 100% on those criteria, but I think that's it. I will ask my buddy about the cost, but I believe it's relatively cheap compared to what you might pay for housing on the UWS. Probably comparable in price to Harlem, but it's in a nicer neighborhood and is a nicer building. It's the commute that is a pain.


I'm a 2L who lived in the Arbor for about 2/3 of 1L year. My BF and I moved when he got a raise because we hated the commute so much. Yes, it can be 20 minutes, but it can also be 30-45 in traffic, and the drivers are terrible, they frequently get in near-accidents, and actually did hit a car once while I was riding (but drove off since it was a parked car....). Additionally, the "shuttle" is just a set of large vans that run extremely sporadically on the weekend. They fit about 16 people, so you have to squeeze in since more people ride at peak times. And if you don't arrive 5-10 minutes before the van is supposed to be there, you might not get on and you could miss your class. Waiting outside especially sucks in the winter or summer when it's 15 degrees or 90 degrees.

The commute took about an hour altogether for my BF going to work in midtown, sometimes more, and we decided that him commuting 2 hours a day just wasn't worth it once we could afford the Upper West Side. If you're only going to Columbia I guess it's manageable, but if you have a significant other who is going to be commuting to someplace other than Columbia, living at the Arbor is really a huge pain.

That said, the apartments are really nice, the staff is terrific, and if it weren't for the commuting I'd still be living there. But I'd really caution against underestimating the frustration level of the commute.

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mel2010
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby mel2010 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:28 pm

viking138 wrote:But I'd really caution against underestimating the frustration level of the commute.

Like I said above, I live "on campus" (although in a private building), so I may not have the authority to do this but...

+1

I love being a 5 minute walk from class; it means that:
-I don't need to worry about factors outside my control as to whether I get there on time or not
-if I feel lazy I can stay in bed until 15mins before class :oops:
-when my schedule ends up like today (class 9:10-10:30, 1:20-2:40, and 6:20-7:20) I can go home in between for meals/rest/work (in order of decreasing likeliness) and not be marooned in Jerome Greene all day.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:32 pm

Any thoughts on the 1L cirriculum or the grading of LRW?

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby viking138 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:36 pm

mel2010 wrote:
viking138 wrote:But I'd really caution against underestimating the frustration level of the commute.

Like I said above, I live "on campus" (although in a private building), so I may not have the authority to do this but...

+1

I love being a 5 minute walk from class; it means that:
-I don't need to worry about factors outside my control as to whether I get there on time or not
-if I feel lazy I can stay in bed until 15mins before class :oops:
-when my schedule ends up like today (class 9:10-10:30, 1:20-2:40, and 6:20-7:20) I can go home in between for meals/rest/work (in order of decreasing likeliness) and not be marooned in Jerome Greene all day.



I personally love living off campus just because I like having that separation, BUT I'm living with my boyfriend. If I wasn't coming home to someone, I'd rather live closer to campus. And it's definitely annoying when you have a super spread out schedule. But the remove from law school life is nice.

Tiago Splitter wrote:Any thoughts on the 1L cirriculum or the grading of LRW?


Again, I'm a 2L, but that means I've gone through a whole 1L year and can maybe provide a bit of perspective on the year as a whole. LRW is not graded, it's high pass/pass/low pass/fail. I've never heard of anyone failing or getting a low pass.

The 1L curriculum is very standard. You do Civil Procedure, Contracts, and (as of this year) Torts or Property during your fall. I love that you have the three classes as opposed to four during your fall, it helps ease you in a bit. Then in your spring, you take an elective, Torts or Property, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law. I think the curriculum is fine, but your experience will vary a lot based on the professors you get.

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mel2010
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby mel2010 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:55 pm

viking138 wrote:I personally love living off campus just because I like having that separation, BUT I'm living with my boyfriend. If I wasn't coming home to someone, I'd rather live closer to campus. And it's definitely annoying when you have a super spread out schedule. But the remove from law school life is nice.

Agreed. I'm in the same situation (living with SO), and I probably spend more time hanging out with college/HS friends who are in the city than other 1Ls. I value the removal quite highly :lol:

Tiago Splitter wrote:Any thoughts on the 1L cirriculum or the grading of LRW?

Second everything viking said. All I'll expand is that ungraded LRW means the first semester effectively consists of only 3 "real" classes, which is a nice way to warm up to law school. From what my LRW prof said, it sounds like no one fails, and if you're in danger of getting a low pass they warn you early enough that you can change your ways in time for a pass.

lakerfanimal
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby lakerfanimal » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:28 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:Any thoughts on the 1L cirriculum or the grading of LRW?


Excited to see all of you prospective 1L's

1L curriculum is pretty cool? It's going to be fairly standard everywhere that's on a semester system I think. Subject wise the classes are fun/interesting. I think first semester the school sort of coddles you because you get a lot of time to prep for finals and it seems like all of us had at least 1 great professor if not all the professors.

I like that LRW is high pass, pass, low pass. That class is supposed to teach a skill and so it's nice being able to try to master a skill on your own without grading pressure.

Spot on with the comments about student body attractiveness. The women here are way more attractive than I expected.




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