Monday, July 13, 2009

The 5-year program


Today we met with David Buckwald, one of the admission officers of Columbia University. He was very welcoming and told us about the core curriculum at Columbia U and about student life. I really admire the core curriculum as it allows students to meet and interact with others with different interests whereas they might never do so if the students had only taken classes that matched their goals. It really ties in with connecting with one another and I think that community is really a big part of Columbia U. I love how there's something for everyone to be able to talk about with each other because of the core curriculum.

Mr. Buckwald also answered all of our questions completely and gave us information pamphlets about Columbia U. He even went out of his way to give me an engineering pamphlet as I had displayed interest. I'm very happy that I was able to talk to him and it was a very pleasant meeting. He invited us to e-mail him with any questions that we'd get later and talked with us for about one and a half hours! That's one hour more than we expected! I'd originally felt really nervous about applying to colleges because I had always imagined admission officers to be faceless cold scary people and they'd reject me without a thought but it turns out that they're actually really nice people (based on meeting Mr. Buckwald). I'd like to thank the Ivy League Connection and Mr. Ramsey for setting up the meeting with the admission officer because it really gave me a confidence boost about what I can accomplish.

I was also pleased to learn that Columbia U offers a Combined Plan Program (a dual-degree program). This is basically a 5-year program where a student can earn both a B.A. and a B.S. degree in 5 years. It's structured in two different ways, the 3-2 program where one 3 years at Columbia College (Columbia's undergraduate school) and 2 years at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science or the 4-1 program where one takes 4 years at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and 1 year at Columbia College. It means one more year of undergraduate studies than other students but it really is a viable option for someone like me who's considering doing something in both an engineering field and in an arts and sciences field. One down-side is that Columbia U doesn't have a business school so I won't be able to receive a B.A. degree in business which was my original plan. However, Columbia U does offer many other subjects so this is something that I really have to consider.



Charles Tillman Ramsey said...


What does this all mean? How are you different now then when you showed up in New York City? Let us know what this all means to you. I know David and I am not surprised that the meeting went well? How did he persuade you that Columbia is a good fit?

What does it mean to have this experience when you know that when you return to El Cerrito High School that the majority of students will not be able to relate to your experience. Does this sadden you? Or will you become a campus leader and take to the "stump" and wake up the student body?

I hope that it is not just about you and your journey, but that you have the spirit to compel others to search within themselves to strive for the best. The ILC is about excellence and the ability to move outside the "box". Joseph Young summed it up best in his final post on the Brown blog. I would strongly recommend that you read it and read it to others. It sums up what is the Ivy League Connection.

One of my favorite movies is the Breakfast Club. It speaks to how one must decide who they are and that a person cannot be defined by others. Please rent it and you will find out why it is one of the best movies for young people. No, the Breakfast Club is not a panacea for all that ills our current youth, but it is a movie that will highlight the need to stand up and be counted.

I want you counted and I want you to get the most out of the time on the East Coast. In reading your posts, I see that you have.

Please continue to work hard, keep an open mind,and remember there is a lot more to society than the CSU's and the UC's.

Take care.

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District

Don Gosney said...


Thanks for the update and the 411.

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