Trip Report: Barnard and Columbia (Part 2)

26 Aug

Last week I wondered out loud whether the wide disparity in admission rate between Columbia and Barnard Colleges causes any tension between their students.  In other words, does unequal admission rate lead to unequal treatment?

On our Barnard tour, one parent asked the student tour guide this question.  The tour guide, a rising sophomore from New Jersey, acknowledged that initially, she was a little concerned about this.  Barnard and Columbia students participate in the same first year orientation activities and she felt that some Columbia female students regarded her with less respect and prestige.  (She noticed that the male students didn’t seem to care whether she was from Barnard or Columbia).  However, as soon as classes started, any differences disappeared because usually no one can tell whether you are a Barnard or Columbia student.  This issue is also discussed widely online in some of the college forums.

So it appears that Barnard students have to learn how to handle or ignore disparaging remarks or loss of prestige from their Columbia compatriots.  This in itself is an education about life.  One Barnard alumni notes that Barnard successfully turns out women who are confident and who feel that they can accomplish anything.  Those who attend Barnard are usually seeking the experience and value of a women’s college and those who attend Columbia’s liberal arts college are attracted to its strengths like the Core Curriculum.

Differences aside, tuition for either school is expensive.  A year of Barnard tuition, room and board can run you at least $53,496 depending on the type of housing and meal plan selected.  At Columbia, tuition, room and board for 2010-2011 will cost about $53,876.  Housing is guaranteed for all four years at both places.  Both institutions conduct “need-blind” admissions, which means that an applicant’s financial ability to pay is not considered in determining admissions.  In addition, the Columbia admissions officer indicated that they provide financial assistance to foreign students, one of the few universities that do.

Some famous Barnard alumni:

  • Martha Stewart
  • Anna Quindlen
  • Twyla Tharp
  • Joan Rivers
  • Margaret Mead

Some famous Columbia alumni:

  • Barack Obama
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Emanuel Ax
  • George Stephanopoulos

One Response to “Trip Report: Barnard and Columbia (Part 2)”


  1. President Obama to Speak at Barnard College « Bound 4 College - March 7, 2012

    […] has also publicly exposed simmering tensions between Columbia University and Barnard. I noted in a post from 2010 that some Columbia students believe that Barnard students are inferior to them, either because […]

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