GS Fights the Power

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Never underestimate the power of disgruntled losers. First, members of New GS Order—the party that went down to more benignly-named Serious Goals, Great Solutions in last month’s GSSC elections—formed the Non-Traditional Student Action Coalition, and just today hit the web with a GSLounge, a site intended to foster GS community. And they’ve been advertising on, where the CC vs. GS debate takes up eight pages. Finally, there’s the vaguely apocalyptic message posted on GSLounge’s facebook group wall.

Bwog wonders: why all the raised hackles?

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  1. christ  

    it's bad enough that obsessed ivy-at-any-cost HS kids are always wondering if GS is some backdoor into the ivy league, and now GSers are actually trying to legitamize the back door arguement. yeesh.

    anyone who isn't a GS/JTS traditional student should be told to suck it up and be thankful they're getting a Columbia degree in the first place.

    private college is a privelege not a right- if you don't like that columbia is treating you like a cash cow (because you are, lets be honest) then enroll in another non-trad program at another school. NYU is always advertising on the subway!

    • niko cunningham  

      We should all be reminded that % of applicants denied is but merely one statistic in the US NEWS & World Report. Other factors play an important role in how "Columbia University" pans out in the rankings - not merely "Columbia College." What factors are these? Take a look at the rankings yourself. These are items that can't be gamed, as selectivity and SAT scores can be gamed by the administration. Peer assesment, faculty resources rank, % of classes under 20, student-faculty ratio, percent of faculty that are full-time, financial resources, alumni giving rank. Be ware that the vast majority of all of America's top universities have non-traditional programs for students. A recent USA Today report stated that the top two dream schools for many high school students are NYU and Columbia because of their place in New York. There are a tremendous amount of students who are unqualified to do work at Columbia who apply anyway, as a dream school. Remember this when you cite your selectivity rank. 12,000 applicants who apply here are not all cut out to be here - but it is their dream school nonetheless. Only 500 or so students apply to GS every year - these represent students from all over the US that have made a triumphant return back to school after serving in the armed forces, starting companies, raising children, etc... - All noble things that many high school students write about in their admissions essays - service to America. You'd be surpised to find out how many of our GS students end up in the world's best business, law, and medical programs. How many of them become the doctors you visit when you have a cold? How many of them perform on the stage your parents pay top dollar to se? Do we all have 1500 SAT scores - many of us do. But not all. Have we all served our country, our family, and our neighbor? Ask a GS student, and find out his story!

  2. hah.  

    "Sorry, I'm still a little confused Does this mean that if I get accepted to CC, I won't be able to double-major? I really need a school where I can do that."

    With her reading comp abilities, I'm not sure she's going to get into Columbia...

    • McFister

      Oh, that's not even the tip of the iceberg. College Confidential is about the biggest collection of bimbos and half-wits I've ever seen collected in one place.

    • yet another GS student  

      I like the site. I'm not yet sure what NSAC is pushing for, but I understand that its founder Niko Cunningham, won in a landslide, and was disqualified due to an email. Students in GS backed the New GS Order with the President of the council coming from that party, and so they must have tapped into something in GS that most of us believe rings true. I can't see the harm in having a student council and an activist council, if that is what NSAC aims to be.

  3. Saladin  

    Actually, the New GS Order won the election in a landslide. The incoming president is from the New GS order. The other candidate won his election as well, but was disqualified over addressing his candidate in an email. Not losers in my book.

    If CC kids can argue for more financial aid, why can't GS? The fact is, GS is not advertised as a cash cow, and the GS students should not have to accept less than their money's worth.

    • matt, nsac member  

      Hey, I'm Matt, a GS'er, and a member of NSAC. I just wanted to validate what "Another GSer" said. Right now, we're trying to create a dialogue. If you don't like something we're doing, come over to GSlounge and let us know--no matter what school you're in. NSAC is not meant to be a fringe group--it's meant to be a vehicle for change. I don't think anyone should have to (or would want to) pay more for their schooling than 90% of their classmates, don't you agree?

  4. GSer  

    As a GSer, I'm all for getting more financial aid and such. Of course I am. But I REALLY resent these new fringe GS groups that claim to speak for us all and who come across as militant and psychotic, because they only reinforce the GS = CRAZY stereotype. They make it harder for those of us in GS who are nearer to traditional age and saner than some of our counterparts to convince the rest of the Columbia community that we're not the bunch of violent, scary, old, mentally deficient morons that the Varsity Show writers think we are.

    • Another GSer  

      I know the guys doing the site, and I don't think they're trying to represent the GS body. The idea they're pushing is to get more GSers involved in the discussion, hence setting up the website as a forum for disscussion. If you resent how they come across, let them know.

      I don't think they come across as crazy if you relly read into what they're saying. I think much of the resentment is over the fact that GSers are trying to anything at ALL, instead of quietly accepting the status quo.

      If you want to keep your head down and try to blend into the CC crowd that's one thing, but I think it's self-destructive to work against what they're trying to do.

      Seriously though, beyond having someone from the New GS Order in the group, what has NSAC done in a "crazy" vein? Ooooooh, they want to arrange for GSers with industry experience to help out kids from the other schools trying to break into those fields. How "militant and psychotic".

  5. BCer  

    I think the New GS Order is totally sweet.

  6. GS Loungin'  

    "GS'er" has a very good point. If we continue to be shafted by Columbia and do nothing then we are the "mentally deficient morons" some people like to think we are.

    What does it say about Columbia as a whole if 1,300 "violent, scary" creeps can just pay to sit in classrooms with people who REALLY deserve to be here ?

    Would you be proud to tell people you graduated from a school that charges mothers and combat veterans higher tuition than traditional students? If you know this is happening, but you say or do nothing about it, how deserving are you?

    I know what I bring to the Columbia community and Columbia is privileged to have me as a student. I worked 36 hours per week and took four classes last semester for the right to call myself a Columbia student. If I see that something is wrong I defy you to tell me why I should not speak up.

    It is very sad that people feel it is okay to pick on GS students when we are clearly a minority group. If we were a racial minority or GLBTQ instead of non-traditional age, the jokes and jibes about GS would be tantamount to a hate crime.

    We represent less than 20% of the population and the school provides us with only 250 housing units per year. This fact alone prevents us from participating fully in the community or even defend ourselves when our integrity is questioned. There are many reasons like the one I mentioned why people are ill-informed about The School of General Studies.

    The point of is to create a forum for these discussions and to allow GS'ers tell our stories in our own words. Before you rush to judgement, see what GS'ers add to life at Columbia every day by visiting

  7. Observer  

    Here's something to chew on.

    What is the role of GS in teh greater scheme of things and how does it fit in with the traditional undergraduate schools? Columbia has built its reputation as an elite undergraduate institution along lines of the traditional definition of elite- that is exclusive. According to the current model of a schools reputation, exclusivity and selectivity are the primary currency. Attempts to elevate GS (even BC) to the same level as CC raises questions about CC, its eliteness and exclusivity. After all, what worth does 'getting into' CC (which is what people are essentially priding themselves on) have if getting into Barnard or GS gives you the same footing to call yourself a Columbia Undergrad? All of a sudden being one of only a handful to get into CC isn't a big deal, and from the outside that devalues a Columbia Education based on its reduced exclusivity and therefore eliteness.

    In a University where the College traditionally, and to some extent still, didn't receive much support from the central admin, the reputation for undergraduate excellence thats been painstakingly built in the last 20 years is being jealously guarded. In fact it's been a point of contention since GS was founded. The story goes that then Dean of CC David Truman was in tears after the University granted GS the right to confer Bachelors degrees. What's the point of an 'elite' CC if there's GS?

    I'm not saying that this arguement is right, or that I support it, but I think it underlies some of the issues. How are non-trads fit into peer institutions like Harvard Yale or lesser schools like Penn(zing...)? Does Columbia do a better worse or similar job? Would Columbia be starting something new or just finally catching up?

    The arguement that GS students bring world experiences and connections to the table that few fresh out of HS college students can bring, it's a model of undergraduate education that's directly at odds with the 'assemblage of select same-aged company who've 'won' the admissions game' model that seems to be the case across the board.

  8. Observer  

    I'll add that these issues of exclusivity and eliteness probably have little or no bearing on the real world where people have jobs. But right now when USNews has made school rankings a make-or-break insnae deal for HS students, the only way to attract top HSstudents to Columbia is to play by the rules of the game to get them to value us by USNews' standard of beauty, one which doesn't look favorably on GS or Barnard coming along for the ride.

    Mind you I think USNews rankings are crock (Penn better than Stanford? Duke better than MIT?), but they're dictating the rules. It's easy to say 'don't buy into them', but like they say, easier said then done.

    • Yet another GSer  

      If it's ranking that everyone is concerned about, why couldn't GS's real world experience, especially if applied to a mentorship program between GS and CC, actually raise CC's ranking? Adding students that have excelled in various fields outside of school could add a lot of value to the CC experience, enriching their educations far beyond what our competitiors have to offer. As far as the "assemblage of select same-aged company who've 'won' the admissions game,' how does adding to that mix a group of individuals who could only enlighten them on various subjects cheapen their experience? The point of a an 'elite' CC should be to accept 'elite' kids right out of high school, the point of GS should be to accept 'elite' individuals who have accomplished amazing things in their life, and have proven academically that they are on par with those in 'CC.' I personally had two offers for full scholarships at other universities but chose to come here because I love New York, and thought that being surronded by unique individuals with real world experience could only add to my experience. GS is not a backdoor into Columbia, it's a program that caters to students with a completely different set of needs. There are dot com millionaires, successful businessmen, and successful journalist who attend GS, and some have families. GSs Student Affairs office is setup to handle and understand the issues that they might deal with, which are a lot different than the issues that a CC student might face.

  9. Momv

    I have to say, after my first semester here, I have been treated quite nicely by all the students I have encountered. I am a GS student, and I don't try to seclude myself in the GS Lounge, or only hang out with fellow GSers. I know I deserve to be here. I don't feel like a second rate student, or that I somehow "lucked out" by some admissions snafu. I have worked hard to be here. I am a 43 year old mother of 5 kids & also work as a swim coach. Oh, and I also am a full time student. I have met many wonderful students here, from CC to Fu to Barnard & am surprised at the acceptance I have received. I haven't experienced the alleged mistreatment of GS students by other students here, thankfully. I am here for an education. Period. Please don't make any unfair assumptions about GS students. We are as individual as the rest of the Columbia Community & we have earned our place here. I'd like to believe I contribute as much as I gain from attending Columbia. To all of the students I have encountered, "Thanks for treating me like an equal". Because I certainly am.

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