Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
Snooker
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby Snooker » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:15 am

Not going to lie - there are some really big dbags at Columbia. This has been intensified a bit by the economy and tougher competition for jobs. Some people seem a little more on edge.

That said, I think you will find this at any law school, and in addition to the dbags, there are a lot of people who are quite friendly, nice, and who have good perspective on things.

Basically, you're going to have to deal with some jerks, but if you're afraid you won't find people like you/whom you enjoy hanging out with, you shouldn't be. It's big enough that you'll find a lot of people you get along with no matter what.


Sorry to hear about the jerks there. Everyone at my law school is really nice, haven't met any jerks yet. I think it has to do with the southern culture down here; I went to undergrad in NY and was shocked left and right at the number of jerks in undergrad. I can't imagine how law school would be in NY. The law students in Texas are nicer than the undergrads in NY. It's one of the reasons I decided to stay out of NY for law school.

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irie
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby irie » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:41 pm

I'm reviving this thread, now that all of the info is suddenly relevant to my future :shock:

my gf dropped a question on me yesterday that I couldn't answer, despite having lived in Manhattan for several years (I've only been up to morningside heights once or twice and always during rush hour). how long does it generally take to get from Columbia to lower midtown--I guess to around the MSG/Times Sq. area? I assume the fastest way would be to take the 2, 3 from 96th street to Times Sq.? or is there a bus that goes faster?

also, how much are cab rides from say, midtown west to morningside heights on a friday/saturday night after going out downtown?

finally, a few of my friends from undergrad (currently working in various firms in manhattan) currently live around the low 100s/amsterdam area. i've only been there once and it seemed like a pretty nice area. would you guys recommend moving in with them for my 1L year? their rent is ~$900 a month (which I think is in the range of Columbia grad dorms), and it isn't bad by NYC standards. they are all bankers that work until 3am daily so they wont be there to distract me from sleep/study at night.

I have two concerns about this situation:

1. I'd like to meet and become friends with people in my year (and other years of course!), would living 15 blocks from campus inhibit that in any way? or is it something many people do in their first year?

2. Is it highly inconvenient to live that far away considering all the time spent in the library/in class/frequent meetings, etc? Is the area between CLS and low 100s/amsterdam safe to walk late at night (I have a bike I can ride too if that is something a lot of people do).

sorry for all the random questions and thanks so much in advance for any replies!!! :)

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:00 pm

irie wrote:I'm reviving this thread, now that all of the info is suddenly relevant to my future :shock:

my gf dropped a question on me yesterday that I couldn't answer, despite having lived in Manhattan for several years (I've only been up to morningside heights once or twice and always during rush hour). how long does it generally take to get from Columbia to lower midtown--I guess to around the MSG/Times Sq. area? I assume the fastest way would be to take the 2, 3 from 96th street to Times Sq.? or is there a bus that goes faster?

also, how much are cab rides from say, midtown west to morningside heights on a friday/saturday night after going out downtown?

finally, a few of my friends from undergrad (currently working in various firms in manhattan) currently live around the low 100s/amsterdam area. i've only been there once and it seemed like a pretty nice area. would you guys recommend moving in with them for my 1L year? their rent is ~$900 a month (which I think is in the range of Columbia grad dorms), and it isn't bad by NYC standards. they are all bankers that work until 3am daily so they wont be there to distract me from sleep/study at night.

I have two concerns about this situation:

1. I'd like to meet and become friends with people in my year (and other years of course!), would living 15 blocks from campus inhibit that in any way? or is it something many people do in their first year?

2. Is it highly inconvenient to live that far away considering all the time spent in the library/in class/frequent meetings, etc? Is the area between CLS and low 100s/amsterdam safe to walk late at night (I have a bike I can ride too if that is something a lot of people do).

sorry for all the random questions and thanks so much in advance for any replies!!! :)


Columbia to MSG/times square is probably 30 minutes by subway (including the switch at 96th). If you live near 96th it's probably 15-20 minutes. Obviously less at rush hour, more at off-peak times, but you get the idea. A cab would be maybe $15 including tip.

I live on 96th and Amsterdam. Logistically, it's not a problem. It takes me 20 minutes door to door (walking, bus or subway). It's a little less convenient because I can't go home for lunch, or to grab something if I forget it, but I never feel it gets in the way of studying or activities.

Socially, you will be a bit more detached from the campus scene, but it's really not a big deal. I still have many friends from school (both in my section and outside of it), go to parties on campus, etc. I think the only real downside is you lose the day-to-day social aspect of walking across the hall for a study break to chat with a classmate, but to me that's not a big deal. You do have to be a bit proactive - if you're living with friends (as I am), you'll often be tempted to hang out with them instead of meeting new people at the law school, but as long as you're willing to balance, it will not be a problem.

It's relatively uncommon for 1Ls to live off-campus (unless you're older/married), but I personally love living off-campus. Law school gets a little all-absorbing sometimes, and it's good to have another outlet and people to talk to who aren't law students. It's also been nice having an existing network of friends, instead of having to build a new life and group of friends during 1L. If your friends will not be distracting and you would enjoy living with them, I'd recommend it.

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irie
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby irie » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:08 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
irie wrote:I'm reviving this thread, now that all of the info is suddenly relevant to my future :shock:

my gf dropped a question on me yesterday that I couldn't answer, despite having lived in Manhattan for several years (I've only been up to morningside heights once or twice and always during rush hour). how long does it generally take to get from Columbia to lower midtown--I guess to around the MSG/Times Sq. area? I assume the fastest way would be to take the 2, 3 from 96th street to Times Sq.? or is there a bus that goes faster?

also, how much are cab rides from say, midtown west to morningside heights on a friday/saturday night after going out downtown?

finally, a few of my friends from undergrad (currently working in various firms in manhattan) currently live around the low 100s/amsterdam area. i've only been there once and it seemed like a pretty nice area. would you guys recommend moving in with them for my 1L year? their rent is ~$900 a month (which I think is in the range of Columbia grad dorms), and it isn't bad by NYC standards. they are all bankers that work until 3am daily so they wont be there to distract me from sleep/study at night.

I have two concerns about this situation:

1. I'd like to meet and become friends with people in my year (and other years of course!), would living 15 blocks from campus inhibit that in any way? or is it something many people do in their first year?

2. Is it highly inconvenient to live that far away considering all the time spent in the library/in class/frequent meetings, etc? Is the area between CLS and low 100s/amsterdam safe to walk late at night (I have a bike I can ride too if that is something a lot of people do).

sorry for all the random questions and thanks so much in advance for any replies!!! :)


Columbia to MSG/times square is probably 30 minutes by subway (including the switch at 96th). If you live near 96th it's probably 15-20 minutes. Obviously less at rush hour, more at off-peak times, but you get the idea. A cab would be maybe $15 including tip.

I live on 96th and Amsterdam. Logistically, it's not a problem. It takes me 20 minutes door to door (walking, bus or subway). It's a little less convenient because I can't go home for lunch, or to grab something if I forget it, but I never feel it gets in the way of studying or activities.

Socially, you will be a bit more detached from the campus scene, but it's really not a big deal. I still have many friends from school (both in my section and outside of it), go to parties on campus, etc. I think the only real downside is you lose the day-to-day social aspect of walking across the hall for a study break to chat with a classmate, but to me that's not a big deal. You do have to be a bit proactive - if you're living with friends (as I am), you'll often be tempted to hang out with them instead of meeting new people at the law school, but as long as you're willing to balance, it will not be a problem.

It's relatively uncommon for 1Ls to live off-campus (unless you're older/married), but I personally love living off-campus. Law school gets a little all-absorbing sometimes, and it's good to have another outlet and people to talk to who aren't law students. It's also been nice having an existing network of friends, instead of having to build a new life and group of friends during 1L. If your friends will not be distracting and you would enjoy living with them, I'd recommend it.


Great, thanks for the answers! nice to know at least some people chose off-campus life first year. I haven't been in dorm since sophomore year of college, which was like 4-5 years ago, just can't really picture myself in one again :?

on a completely unrelated note: after being accepted how long did it take for the paper copy of the letter to arrive in the mail?

edit: to answer my own question above-- paper copy of the letter came in plain vanilla envelope day after acceptance email. only one page, exactly the same as the pdf.

24peckslip
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby 24peckslip » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:46 pm

irie wrote:
1. I'd like to meet and become friends with people in my year (and other years of course!), would living 15 blocks from campus inhibit that in any way? or is it something many people do in their first year?

2. Is it highly inconvenient to live that far away considering all the time spent in the library/in class/frequent meetings, etc? Is the area between CLS and low 100s/amsterdam safe to walk late at night (I have a bike I can ride too if that is something a lot of people do).



I live around there and it's definitely not inconvenient -- it's about a 10 minute walk to campus.

Personally, I don't walk up Amsterdam alone late at night if I can help it. When I come back from a night out, I walk up Broadway for as long as I can and cross over to Amsterdam when I have to. The neighborhood creeps me out late at night (I'm talking past 2AM, before that when the restaurants are still open, it's fine) because I've often come home to crazies sitting on my stoop.

I've found that by living away from campus, I haven't gotten to know my classmates as quickly as some of them have gotten to know each other, but the trade off is worth it to me because like you, I lived in this city before law school and I have lots of non-law school friends. I'm slightly older than most of my classmates and I just wasn't into the whole reliving undergrad thing.

Congrats on your admission by the way. :)

Oblomov
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby Oblomov » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:15 pm

Sometimes I am insecure in my study habits, but I'm afraid that I won't be able to get into a good study group given my good but not stellar undergrad transcript and mediocre resume. Is there still a study group at Columbia that would take me?

24peckslip
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby 24peckslip » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:19 pm

Oblomov wrote:Sometimes I am insecure in my study habits, but I'm afraid that I won't be able to get into a good study group given my good but not stellar undergrad transcript and mediocre resume. Is there still a study group at Columbia that would take me?


Sorry, no. Try NYU.

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:19 am

Oblomov wrote:Sometimes I am insecure in my study habits, but I'm afraid that I won't be able to get into a good study group given my good but not stellar undergrad transcript and mediocre resume. Is there still a study group at Columbia that would take me?
Lol, I was waiting for the AboveTheLaw post to come up. I'm surprised it took this long! I remain unconvinced the rumor is at all true. I know the girl who it's supposedly about, and she's quite nice. And even if some 1L actually required potential study group members to "apply" using a transcript, it's a very isolated incident and in no way reflects my experience here. I have more thoughts on these shenanigans, but since your post was obviously a joke I'll leave it at that.

24peckslip
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby 24peckslip » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:27 pm

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:Lol, I was waiting for the AboveTheLaw post to come up. I'm surprised it took this long! I remain unconvinced the rumor is at all true. I know the girl who it's supposedly about, and she's quite nice. And even if some 1L actually required potential study group members to "apply" using a transcript, it's a very isolated incident and in no way reflects my experience here. I have more thoughts on these shenanigans, but since your post was obviously a joke I'll leave it at that.


Haha, yeah I gotta say, I know the world at large seems to think we're all a bunch of dbags right now, but yesterday everyone was smiling at everyone wishing each other luck on the torts exam and it seemed sincere...I dunno, people are nice at CLS and I'm happy with my choice.

hiro86
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby hiro86 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:45 am

I have a strange fear of going to Columbia and being overwhelmed with the cost-of-living. It seems like even the Columbia run buildings have really high rent, like so high that what Columiba sets the COL at would barely cover the rent, let alone food, etc. Am I completely wrong about this? Also, do you feel like you have based on the COL allowance enough money to go out and have some drinks/eat moderate priced food once in a while? I know this isn't an issue unique to Columbia, but as a suburb followed by very cheap urban area dweller my entire life I really have no grasp of how to think about finances in places with high COL.

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:42 pm

hiro86 wrote:I have a strange fear of going to Columbia and being overwhelmed with the cost-of-living. It seems like even the Columbia run buildings have really high rent, like so high that what Columiba sets the COL at would barely cover the rent, let alone food, etc. Am I completely wrong about this? Also, do you feel like you have based on the COL allowance enough money to go out and have some drinks/eat moderate priced food once in a while? I know this isn't an issue unique to Columbia, but as a suburb followed by very cheap urban area dweller my entire life I really have no grasp of how to think about finances in places with high COL.
New York isn't cheap, but living within the COL budget is doable, particularly if you do a lot of cooking for yourself and generally take the subway instead of cabs.

The rent estimate actually seems pretty good. I'm in nicer than average non-Lenfest housing, and my rent is $100 cheaper per month than the COL allotment for rent.

The board estimate also looks pretty reasonable if you cook for yourself most of the time, and occasionally order delivery or go out with friends. However, if you always order delivery or eat out, that food budget might be pretty darn impossible to stay within.

Earlier in the thread, imchuckbass 58 said, "I spend about $2250 per month in living costs, but I live a bit less frugally than I should. You could get by on a good deal less." That sounds like a fair assessment. The 9-month CLS budget allots $2200 per month for 9 months.

2 things to note:
-The COL estimate only covers 9 months. If you have a Summer Associate position, the other three months will be easy to cover. If you do public interest, CLS gives you $4,200, which is really awesome and more than covers rent, but you'll almost certainly spend more than $4,200 over the course of the summer.
-It's easy to blow through cash quickly when going out at night. Drinks and cabs are not cheap. However, the subway is a cheap alternative to cabs, and some local bars have awesome drink specials. Also, we have Bar Review once a week. Bar Review is a weekly CLS get together with drink specials. It's always at a different bar, it's a lot of fun, and drink specials are always a nice perk.

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doyleoil
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby doyleoil » Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:51 pm

TTIWWODrunkenPofLex

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:37 pm

doyleoil wrote:TTIWWODrunkenPofLex
Edit: never mind, I figured out what this means. It just took me a while. It's finals period, and my brain isn't working. I need to regrow some brain cells over winter break.

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superserial
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby superserial » Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:46 pm

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:
hiro86 wrote:I have a strange fear of going to Columbia and being overwhelmed with the cost-of-living. It seems like even the Columbia run buildings have really high rent, like so high that what Columiba sets the COL at would barely cover the rent, let alone food, etc. Am I completely wrong about this? Also, do you feel like you have based on the COL allowance enough money to go out and have some drinks/eat moderate priced food once in a while? I know this isn't an issue unique to Columbia, but as a suburb followed by very cheap urban area dweller my entire life I really have no grasp of how to think about finances in places with high COL.
New York isn't cheap, but living within the COL budget is doable, particularly if you do a lot of cooking for yourself and generally take the subway instead of cabs.

The rent estimate actually seems pretty good. I'm in nicer than average non-Lenfest housing, and my rent is $100 cheaper per month than the COL allotment for rent.

The board estimate also looks pretty reasonable if you cook for yourself most of the time, and occasionally order delivery or go out with friends. However, if you always order delivery or eat out, that food budget might be pretty darn impossible to stay within.

Earlier in the thread, imchuckbass 58 said, "I spend about $2250 per month in living costs, but I live a bit less frugally than I should. You could get by on a good deal less." That sounds like a fair assessment. The 9-month CLS budget allots $2200 per month for 9 months.

2 things to note:
-The COL estimate only covers 9 months. If you have a Summer Associate position, the other three months will be easy to cover. If you do public interest, CLS gives you $4,200, which is really awesome and more than covers rent, but you'll almost certainly spend more than $4,200 over the course of the summer.
-It's easy to blow through cash quickly when going out at night. Drinks and cabs are not cheap. However, the subway is a cheap alternative to cabs, and some local bars have awesome drink specials. Also, we have Bar Review once a week. Bar Review is a weekly CLS get together with drink specials. It's always at a different bar, it's a lot of fun, and drink specials are always a nice perk.


Don't forget about cab tabs! If you take a cab there, Pourhouse will give you that amount on a bar tab. If you ask your cabbie for someone else's receipt that is much more expensive than yours, and tip him nicely, cab tab can be a pretty profitable way to drink.

If you live in Lenfest or housing that is more expensive than Columbia's budget permits, financial aid will give you a loan increase if you submit appropriate documentation to the financial aid office. If you live in a building that charges for utilities, you can get an increase for that too.

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asfasdagdsfawe
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby asfasdagdsfawe » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:29 pm

Thanks for taking questions!

How is the general aesthetic of the law building and facilities?

Are there good places to run/bike near campus?

Does New York ever get too overwhelming or suffocating as a place to study in for three years?

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:40 pm

hiro86 wrote:I have a strange fear of going to Columbia and being overwhelmed with the cost-of-living. It seems like even the Columbia run buildings have really high rent, like so high that what Columiba sets the COL at would barely cover the rent, let alone food, etc. Am I completely wrong about this? Also, do you feel like you have based on the COL allowance enough money to go out and have some drinks/eat moderate priced food once in a while? I know this isn't an issue unique to Columbia, but as a suburb followed by very cheap urban area dweller my entire life I really have no grasp of how to think about finances in places with high COL.


The estimate on the website is pretty accurate. Living within that necessitates some frugality, but doesn't require you to be a shut in or deprive yourself.

That said, if you look at the cost of living, it's pretty high.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:44 pm

asfasdagdsfawe wrote:Thanks for taking questions!

How is the general aesthetic of the law building and facilities?

Are there good places to run/bike near campus?

Does New York ever get too overwhelming or suffocating as a place to study in for three years?


I think the law school is very nice inside. They recently renovated it so it has very modern classrooms (except one). The law library is meh, but you don't go there to be architecturally blown away (that said, Butler, the main university library, is pretty nice architecturally). I dislike the exterior aesthetic of the law school, but some people like it. College Walk (on the main campus) is pretty nice - just google "Columbia University" and you'll see it.

Riverside Park and Central Park are both close and great for running/biking, with two qualifications. First, it will be too cold to run or bike for at least 4 months of the year. Second, I would not run or bike in either park at night.

As far as NYC being overwhelming/suffocating, I would say no, but you shouldn't listen to me because I'm from here.

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irie
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby irie » Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:23 am

A few of us EDers received our one-page letters back in the first week of December and it's been crickets since then. Did anyone here get in ED? If so, when might we expect to receive more information and access to the accepted students webpage?

Thanks!

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M51
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby M51 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:48 pm

irie wrote:A few of us EDers received our one-page letters back in the first week of December and it's been crickets since then. Did anyone here get in ED? If so, when might we expect to receive more information and access to the accepted students webpage?

Thanks!


End of January, there's no special ED package, you'll start getting stuff within a week of when the first round of RD acceptances go out. Relax for now, they're going to eventually send you so much stuff you actually get annoyed at them (just a little :) ).

alex1243
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby alex1243 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:01 am

I had a housing question actually- one of my buddies (Columbia 2L) told me the housing is subsidized at 60% of the market rate. I've got a girlfriend who will most likely be working on Manhattan, and we were talking about moving in together. Is that allowed in Columbia housing? Thanks!

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irie
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby irie » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:49 am

M51 wrote:
irie wrote:A few of us EDers received our one-page letters back in the first week of December and it's been crickets since then. Did anyone here get in ED? If so, when might we expect to receive more information and access to the accepted students webpage?

Thanks!


End of January, there's no special ED package, you'll start getting stuff within a week of when the first round of RD acceptances go out. Relax for now, they're going to eventually send you so much stuff you actually get annoyed at them (just a little :) ).


haha, thanks man, that ought to let the few of us hanging around here breathe easy for the next few weeks.

happy holidays!

toaster2
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby toaster2 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:36 am

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Last edited by toaster2 on Tue May 25, 2010 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

SaraT
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby SaraT » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:22 am

Does anyone know what the chances are of getting in if you're deferred from the ED pool to March?? I really, really want to go to Columbia but Im thinking its not gunna happen :( And is there anything I can do to increase my chances, besides sending a letter of continued interest??

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:24 pm

alex1243 wrote:I had a housing question actually- one of my buddies (Columbia 2L) told me the housing is subsidized at 60% of the market rate. I've got a girlfriend who will most likely be working on Manhattan, and we were talking about moving in together. Is that allowed in Columbia housing? Thanks!


I'd also add if you're willing to put in the effort, you can find better housing near Columbia for the same price. I think the 60% discount is probably boom prices.

I'm paying 2/3 as much as Lenfest (nice studios and 1brs) and the same as the 115th street shares (cheapest housing on campus), and I'm living in a doorman building with all new appliances, terrace, 21st floor, etc., near the 96th street express.

Maybe you don't want to live of campus, but worth considering perhaps.

yqsong
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby yqsong » Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:34 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
asfasdagdsfawe wrote:Thanks for taking questions!

How is the general aesthetic of the law building and facilities?

Are there good places to run/bike near campus?

Does New York ever get too overwhelming or suffocating as a place to study in for three years?


I think the law school is very nice inside. They recently renovated it so it has very modern classrooms (except one). The law library is meh, but you don't go there to be architecturally blown away (that said, Butler, the main university library, is pretty nice architecturally). I dislike the exterior aesthetic of the law school, but some people like it. College Walk (on the main campus) is pretty nice - just google "Columbia University" and you'll see it.

Riverside Park and Central Park are both close and great for running/biking, with two qualifications. First, it will be too cold to run or bike for at least 4 months of the year. Second, I would not run or bike in either park at night.

As far as NYC being overwhelming/suffocating, I would say no, but you shouldn't listen to me because I'm from here.


i went to undergrad in a small town, so new york is a quite refreshing change of scenery, however i find the new york subway system extremely dirty and full of weirdos

and i second on the exterior of the law school...college walk is nice, there are always tons of tourists during the day and i think it is a tradition to eat lunch on the steps of lowe library

the university gym is underground, so it kinda sucks




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