Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

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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NewHere
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby NewHere » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:45 am

3) How often does the subway run at the Columbia stop (I recognize that this may vary by time of day)?
Every four or five minutes or so during the day. Less frequently during the night (maybe every 15 minutes?). If you need an exacter answer, you could look at the MTA website.

4) How long does it take to get to Broadway, Times Square, Greenwich Village, Midtown, etc?

What part of Broadway? One of the streets delimiting campus is Broadway -- the street runs over all of Manhattan, from South to North, and into the Bronx! So yeah, Broadway takes zero minutes to get to from campus.
Times Square = Midtown: about 15-20 minutes.
Greenwich Village: about 30 minutes.
Central Park: 5 minutes.

1) How remote does the campus feel? Do you feel like you are really getting the NYC experience, or does it feel like you live in the suburbs?
Not remote, it does have a city feel, but at the same time it does not feel like you're living in the middle of the city. The place isn't as busy as Times Square, it's more residential, but it's nothing like a suburb. You can get anywhere in Manhattan within an hour or so. While you may not make a trek to the Lower East Side every day of the week, a 20-or 30-minute trip to get somewhere is hardly surprising in a big city.

2) Are Bar Review and other social events usually close to campus, or do people go to other parts of the city a lot?
Both.

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Series70
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby Series70 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:25 am

democrattotheend wrote:
1) How remote does the campus feel? Do you feel like you are really getting the NYC experience, or does it feel like you live in the suburbs?


It's still Manhattan. Nothing like the suburbs at all. The area north of campus (120th and above) gets pretty quiet at night, and you never really have crowds like midtown, but, trust me, you won't mistake Morningside Heights for Long Island. (When friends and family would come to visit from the suburbs, they would inevitably groan, "I could never live in the city.")

democrattotheend wrote:3) How often does the subway run at the Columbia stop (I recognize that this may vary by time of day)?

Very frequently, less so late nights and weekends. You've also got express trains at 96th street.

democrattotheend wrote:4) How long does it take to get to Broadway, Times Square, Greenwich Village, Midtown, etc?

The times posted by NewHere seem to be for taxis. By subway, allow 40 minutes or so to get to 42st, although you can do it in 20 if you time things perfectly. Greenwich Village is a few more stops downtown on the 1. And if you're trying to catch a train at Penn Station on the weekend, allow up to 1h, just to be safe.

BTW--I'm a current grad student (and prospective law student) at Columbia.

democrattotheend
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby democrattotheend » Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:21 pm

Thanks for answering my questions about the location.

As a follow-up, if there is anyone here who is familiar with both DC and NYC, could you tell me if in terms of location only, the difference between NYU and Columbia is comparable to the location difference between GW and American? Or maybe Georgetown v. American is the better comparison...but is Columbia's location in NY comparable to American's location in DC, or is it more urban/less remote than where American is in DC?

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NewHere
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby NewHere » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:15 am

The times posted by NewHere seem to be for taxis.


Not intended that way. I never take cabs anywhere. If you take the subway from 116th Street it's about 20 minutes to Midtown. (If you live far from the subway station, then obviously it's going to be longer, but if you come from campus, then that's how long it takes, give or take a few minutes.)

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby viking138 » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:00 pm

I have what is likely a silly question but one I am curious about nonetheless.

How do people generally dress at Columbia? Is it similar to college where there was a mix of fashion plates, sweatpants and pajama pants, and just jeans with t-shirts? Or is there a more uniform look of, say, Banana Republic-outfitted young professionals?

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:50 pm

viking138 wrote:I have what is likely a silly question but one I am curious about nonetheless.

How do people generally dress at Columbia? Is it similar to college where there was a mix of fashion plates, sweatpants and pajama pants, and just jeans with t-shirts? Or is there a more uniform look of, say, Banana Republic-outfitted young professionals?
I'd say the norm is neat casual. I don't see sweatpants or pajama pants too often, although sweatshirts aren't all that uncommon. For guys, standard dress ranges from jeans & a t-shirt to dress pants & a dress shirt, and the typical outfit is probably jeans or chinos with a collar and/or a sweater.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby viking138 » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:54 pm

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:
viking138 wrote:I have what is likely a silly question but one I am curious about nonetheless.

How do people generally dress at Columbia? Is it similar to college where there was a mix of fashion plates, sweatpants and pajama pants, and just jeans with t-shirts? Or is there a more uniform look of, say, Banana Republic-outfitted young professionals?
I'd say the norm is neat casual. I don't see sweatpants or pajama pants too often, although sweatshirts aren't all that uncommon. For guys, standard dress ranges from jeans & a t-shirt to dress pants & a dress shirt, and the typical outfit is probably jeans or chinos with a collar and/or a sweater.


Thanks! And what about girls?

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby deneuve39 » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:04 pm

viking138 wrote:
MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:
viking138 wrote:I have what is likely a silly question but one I am curious about nonetheless.

How do people generally dress at Columbia? Is it similar to college where there was a mix of fashion plates, sweatpants and pajama pants, and just jeans with t-shirts? Or is there a more uniform look of, say, Banana Republic-outfitted young professionals?
I'd say the norm is neat casual. I don't see sweatpants or pajama pants too often, although sweatshirts aren't all that uncommon. For guys, standard dress ranges from jeans & a t-shirt to dress pants & a dress shirt, and the typical outfit is probably jeans or chinos with a collar and/or a sweater.


Thanks! And what about girls?


For girls, I would say it's also neat casual. Definitely less sweats/sweatshirts than in college but not business casual. For example, most girls wear leather boots, jeans, and a sweater/top of some sort.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby democrattotheend » Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:47 pm

If anyone here had any luck negotiating merit aid last year (or a previous year), I would love to hear about that.

Also, I noticed that the student budget allows $1,259 per month for housing including utilities, but many of Columbia's student housing options (most of the ones for law school students, it seems) cost substantially more than that. Does that mean that the law-school-only housing is only open to those who have savings or trust funds? It seems weird that the student budget would exclude many of their own housing options.

More info on housing in general would be great. Someone here mentioned cheaper UAH housing that's not law-school-only, but I couldn't find much info about this on their website. I would prefer to live with other law students, but they just seem so expensive. Also, if anyone lives in the cheaper law school building (the one that's not Lenfest or Lionsgate), info on that would be appreciated.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby deneuve39 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:42 pm

democrattotheend wrote:If anyone here had any luck negotiating merit aid last year (or a previous year), I would love to hear about that.

Also, I noticed that the student budget allows $1,259 per month for housing including utilities, but many of Columbia's student housing options (most of the ones for law school students, it seems) cost substantially more than that. Does that mean that the law-school-only housing is only open to those who have savings or trust funds? It seems weird that the student budget would exclude many of their own housing options.

More info on housing in general would be great. Someone here mentioned cheaper UAH housing that's not law-school-only, but I couldn't find much info about this on their website. I would prefer to live with other law students, but they just seem so expensive. Also, if anyone lives in the cheaper law school building (the one that's not Lenfest or Lionsgate), info on that would be appreciated.


As far as negotiating, I have heard that it's the most effective if you send them scans of your aid offer letters from peer schools (think Michigan, NYU, UChi, etc.) in your e-mail to them.

Also I think if your housing is more than 1259, you can request the amount to be increased so you can take out more GradPlus loans (which are capped at what CLS says the budget is). This is what people do if they want extra money to cover the cost of education-related expenses like a laptop. The other cheaper law student-only housing is the buildings on 115th street, which are mostly furnished 3-bedroom units where each person pays 1100-1200 a month. If you want this, request it in the housing form and if you turn it early enough you will probably get it. As far as the cheaper UAH housing, it basically consists of buildings anywhere from 110th to 126th (Riverside to Morningside). Prices start at 800 a month and probably wouldn't be higher than 1300 or so (assuming not a 1-bedroom). If you want this, I have heard that people get lucky if they request very specific things on the sheet, e.g., "I want to live in an unfurnished 2-bedroom UAH unit between 110th and 116th street."

Hope this info helps!

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby Lem37 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:47 am

democrattotheend wrote:If anyone here had any luck negotiating merit aid last year (or a previous year), I would love to hear about that.

Also, I noticed that the student budget allows $1,259 per month for housing including utilities, but many of Columbia's student housing options (most of the ones for law school students, it seems) cost substantially more than that. Does that mean that the law-school-only housing is only open to those who have savings or trust funds? It seems weird that the student budget would exclude many of their own housing options.

More info on housing in general would be great. Someone here mentioned cheaper UAH housing that's not law-school-only, but I couldn't find much info about this on their website. I would prefer to live with other law students, but they just seem so expensive. Also, if anyone lives in the cheaper law school building (the one that's not Lenfest or Lionsgate), info on that would be appreciated.


I negotiated merit aid last year. It was actually super-easy and surprisingly successful. I sent them an e-mail attaching scans on my other merit-scholarship letters, and heard back from them fairly quickly.

I live in student housing, and pay $950/month for a huge apartment on 111th, down the street from one of the most gorgeous cathedrals in New York, St. John the Divine (multi-faith, too!). This is literally what looms above me as I walk to class in the morning:

--ImageRemoved--

Here's a picture of the entrance into our living room, taken when we were just moving in and setting up. The living room is gigantic, lots of light and open spaces. I think our apartment it one of those that can be viewed at ASW next Thursday morning.

--ImageRemoved--

I may have just lucked out, but I'm definitely keeping my apartment next year. My roommate is also a 1L, but not everyone in my building is a law student, or even a student. I think this is kinda nice, because I meet lots of grad students and adorable families in the building, and then get inundated with classmates when I go up to the school.

Obviously, unfurnished apartments are less expensive than furnished. I'd lived by myself in Brooklyn for 2 years before starting at Columbia, so I just brought all my furniture with me. If you have budgetary concerns, definitely specify them in the Comment section of you Housing Application (I set a limit to what I would pay for different things, for example - up to $X for a one-bedroom, etc). Oh, yes, also - one bedroom/studio is a LOT more expensive than having roommates. This is true for basically anywhere. I know some people like their privacy, but you'll be saving a ton of money AND you'll make some friends if you check off the "Roommates" option.

Oh, also, for those wondering about subway times, I go downtown every other day. Morningside to:

Times Square: 15-20 minutes
Chelsea/West Village: 30-35 minutes
SoHo: 25-30 minutes
LES: this is trickier since you have to transfer, but usually 35 minutes
Park Slope: 1/2/3 go here directly, so maybe 40-45 minutes.

If you go with friends or your iPod, the time seriously flies.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby hiro86 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:53 pm

Do the apartments on 115th street vary a lot? How are they size wise?

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:38 am

How many bathrooms these student apartments have? I didn't see that mentioned anywhere. Is it hard to find 2br/2bath or 3br/3bath apartments?
Also, I know very few people own cars in NYC but I am a driving enthusiast and not having access to a car, even if it's only for weekend driving is my nightmare. What's the parking situation around Columbia? Do any student apartments have parkings?

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby deneuve39 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:50 am

hiro86 wrote:Do the apartments on 115th street vary a lot? How are they size wise?


They don't vary a whole lot. The biggest difference is that some of them randomly have an extra room that's supposed to be a dining room. The people who have those generally use it as a guest bedroom (putting in one of the twin beds their rooms came with) or just as storage. You're not allowed to sublease it. The bedrooms themselves within the unit vary a lot by size, so I recommend you request the largest bedroom in the unit if you are already requesting to live in the 115th street buildings. To give you some dimensions, my living room is 13' by 11.5' and my bedroom (the largest one) is roughly 13' by 11'. The smallest bedroom in my unit, though, is only 8'8" by 11'.

Hattori Hanzo wrote:How many bathrooms these student apartments have? I didn't see that mentioned anywhere. Is it hard to find 2br/2bath or 3br/3bath apartments?
Also, I know very few people own cars in NYC but I am a driving enthusiast and not having access to a car, even if it's only for weekend driving is my nightmare. What's the parking situation around Columbia? Do any student apartments have parkings?


Most of them (UAH and law student only) have only one bathroom. However, I do know of someone in UAH unit that has a second half bath attached to her random extra room. So, if it's important to you I recommend you put it on the info portion of the housing application and you may get something.
As far as parking, none of the buildings that I know of have attached garages or anything like that. You could of course find a private garage somewhere on the UWS but that will be absurdly expensive. The people that I know who had cars just found street parking and moved their cars around a lot. I recommend you just sign up for zipcar though.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:40 pm

Hattori Hanzo wrote:How many bathrooms these student apartments have? I didn't see that mentioned anywhere. Is it hard to find 2br/2bath or 3br/3bath apartments?
Also, I know very few people own cars in NYC but I am a driving enthusiast and not having access to a car, even if it's only for weekend driving is my nightmare. What's the parking situation around Columbia? Do any student apartments have parkings?


Most of them (UAH and law student only) have only one bathroom. However, I do know of someone in UAH unit that has a second half bath attached to her random extra room. So, if it's important to you I recommend you put it on the info portion of the housing application and you may get something.
As far as parking, none of the buildings that I know of have attached garages or anything like that. You could of course find a private garage somewhere on the UWS but that will be absurdly expensive. The people that I know who had cars just found street parking and moved their cars around a lot. I recommend you just sign up for zipcar though.[/quote]


How hard is it to find street parking? And how often do you have to move the car (I assume it's for street cleaning?) I was thinking about bringing one track car and one daily driver but it looks like that's be completely out of question :(

Edit: also, how safe are the streets?

Edit 2: Is the multiple bedroom single bathroom the norm for NYC or just the university housing?

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby NewHere » Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:52 pm

How hard is it to find street parking? And how often do you have to move the car (I assume it's for street cleaning?) I was thinking about bringing one track car and one daily driver but it looks like that's be completely out of question :(
Sorry, but this makes me laugh. It's hard to find a spot, and if you find one, you'll have to move your car either daily or every two/three days, depending on what street you're on. Or you could pay for parking in a garage, in which case you're free to leave it as long as you like, but you pay something like $300 per month (for one car).

Edit: also, how safe are the streets?
Very safe.

Edit 2: Is the multiple bedroom single bathroom the norm for NYC or just the university housing?
Off hand I can think of only one person I know who lives in a two-bedroom-1.5-bathroom. Generally apartments come with one bathroom.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby toaster2 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:16 pm

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Last edited by toaster2 on Tue May 25, 2010 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Hattori Hanzo
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:02 pm

NewHere wrote:Off hand I can think of only one person I know who lives in a two-bedroom-1.5-bathroom. Generally apartments come with one bathroom.


Thanks for the info. Looks like I won't be a happy camper living in NYC :(

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby NewHere » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:05 am

Looks like I won't be a happy camper living in NYC


I think you'll get used to sharing a bathroom in no time.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby Lem37 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:36 pm

Hattori Hanzo wrote:
NewHere wrote:Off hand I can think of only one person I know who lives in a two-bedroom-1.5-bathroom. Generally apartments come with one bathroom.


Thanks for the info. Looks like I won't be a happy camper living in NYC :(


I've only seen (seen, not rented) one apartment in NYC that was a 2BR/2 bath, and it was in Brooklyn and cost a fortune. It's really not standard at all here, unless you're willing to shell out a ton of money.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby 00TREX00 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:25 pm

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Last edited by 00TREX00 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby chris0805 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:34 pm

00TREX00 wrote:I'm living in a 2/2 - it's not Columbia housing, but is in the UWS. There are actually some pretty good deals in the Columbia area and farther south - CLS students, though, are unimaginative and stationary, and for some reason everyone seems to think that their law school or university housing is being subsidized (I think, if anything, its overpriced).


I think this definitely true at the moment. When I came into law school 2-3 years ago, however, I couldn't find a similar apartment in Inwood for less than I was paying. Things have changed significantly in the real estate market in the last couple years. These days, I could probably find something close in price in the Columbia area. Also, I seem have one of the best deals that I've heard of in UAH so that could be a factor.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:10 pm

chris0805 wrote:
00TREX00 wrote:I'm living in a 2/2 - it's not Columbia housing, but is in the UWS. There are actually some pretty good deals in the Columbia area and farther south - CLS students, though, are unimaginative and stationary, and for some reason everyone seems to think that their law school or university housing is being subsidized (I think, if anything, its overpriced).


I think this definitely true at the moment. When I came into law school 2-3 years ago, however, I couldn't find a similar apartment in Inwood for less than I was paying. Things have changed significantly in the real estate market in the last couple years. These days, I could probably find something close in price in the Columbia area. Also, I seem have one of the best deals that I've heard of in UAH so that could be a factor.


I had the exact same experience during my undergrad at UCLA. UAH was definitely overpriced. I should start hunting on CL. It's kind f hard to tell which areas are good w/o ever having been there. Any recommendations? Any specific areas that I should stay away from?

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Series70
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby Series70 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:36 pm

^ You really can find great deals outside UAH. It's ridiculous that Columbia automatically raises the rent of their "subsidized" housing 5% a year, even if rents go down elsewhere. I mean, if you look at the price they rent single rooms for in apartment shares, and realize that those rooms are always filled by tenants who are basically guaranteed to pay their rent, it all adds up to quite a hefty profit for them.

I used to live in UAH housing at Claremont and Tiemann, on the first floor. (I think it was around $800 for a room the size of a closet, and that was a few years ago.) There is a building on Tiemann between Broadway and Riverside that seems to have cheap rent (I knew some undergrads who lived there). Personally, I didn't like it because people would always be hanging outside my window at night, talking and drinking (and depriving me of sleep).

My wife and I also lived in UAH housing on 122nd between Broadway and Amsterdam. We each ran into trouble a few times walking on Broadway near the General Grant Houses, and then had a serious problem with a neighbor, and so had to move out.

I had another friend, female, who lived between Columbus and Manhattan. She saw drug deals going down outside her building all the time, but it didn't really bother her. Her one-bedroom was much cheaper than anything you'd get through Columbia, and that was before the crash. I also had a friend who found a great deal up in Washington Heights. (Again, her only complaint was people in the street making noise all night, fighting, etc. There's also a lot of gang activity up there.)

Other people will probably tell you that anywhere in NYC is safe, safest big city in the U.S., every neighborhood is great, blah blah blah etc. Personally, if you stay near campus, I would try to look for something west of Morningside Park and south of 125st street. South of campus near Broadway would be fantastic, as would further down the West Side. But I know plenty of people who are happy living in Harlem just east of Morningside, for example, or even over in Spanish Harlem.

I highly recommend coming to the city during the summer, as September is probably the most difficult month to find a place, and you can always rent just for the summer months and then explore neighborhoods before you commit yourself for a year. Really, it all depends on what kind of environment you feel comfortable with. I mean, you could always move out to Flushing and commute. (I live in Brooklyn, and I plan to commute if I decide on Columbia; I know of other people who do this as well.) Look on google maps, too, to see each area in a bit more detail. HTH.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:18 am

Series70 wrote:I highly recommend coming to the city during the summer, as September is probably the most difficult month to find a place, and you can always rent just for the summer months and then explore neighborhoods before you commit yourself for a year. Really, it all depends on what kind of environment you feel comfortable with. I mean, you could always move out to Flushing and commute. (I live in Brooklyn, and I plan to commute if I decide on Columbia; I know of other people who do this as well.) Look on google maps, too, to see each area in a bit more detail. HTH.


Thanks a lot!! I think I will be there at the end of July. I hope that gives me enough time to look around for a good deal. Meanwhile I should apply for UHA just in case. Are these apps binding?




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