This week, Murilo (from Team LP Brazil) is traveling all over the East Coast, touring and learning all about some of the best universities from New York to Boston. Follow him here for his insights into the various colleges -- what they're like and what it takes to get in!
Next Up: Columbia University
Why is this school awesome?
Murilo: The students are socially engaged and there is a strong sense of community-- you can feel that you're a part of something big! Columbia has strong, classical academics, and as a student, you are debating the important issues with your classmates and teachers.
Favorite spot on campus?
Murilo: Low Memorial Library (which, fun fact, is not actually a library!). I like to refer to this building as "The Dome."
5 words to describe campus?
Murilo: COHESIVE, SCHOLARLY, EXPANDING, EVERLASTING, WELL-ROUNDED
The "typical student" is...
Murilo: The Columbia student is socially engaged, well-rounded, debating hot topics and big issues that move American society and the world.
Murilo: Our tour guide didn't say the word "diverse," but he didn't need to because you can see it all around campus. I love the idea of the core curriculum, although it could be a challenge for international students.
Julia: The school is 17% international!
Special programs/offerings applicants should consider?
Murilo: Core curriculum and the engineering school.
Julia: Columbia has a big protest culture. The students are edgy! I'd say probably the second most liberal Ivy League school after Brown.
Tips for the application process?
Murilo: Pay a lot of attention to your extracurricular activities and the ways that you would demonstrate engagement and impact. Also, pay special attention to the "softer part" of the application because everyone applying has the test scores and grades to get in.
Julia: Essay writing requires introspection. What exactly are you looking for in a college experience and what about Columbia specifically appeals to that? They want to know how you engage with ideas out there in the world, books and magazines you read, exhibits you go see, etc. I'd recommend focusing on sustainability and social responsibility in your application.
Also, it's first and foremost a research university! It's important to think about what research means in the context of your interests in, say, medieval art history or island languages.
Murilo: This was the funniest college tour in the world and the guy wasn't even trying to be funny!
Julia: I'm pretty sure our tour guide was trying to be funny... Columbia is home to the original sculpture The Thinker by Rodin! Also, all students must pass a swim test to graduate except for engineers! In case of emergency, they figure the engineers can just figure out how to build a bridge over the Hudson River instead of swimming through it.
Join us next time when Murilo visits Northeastern!