Mar

10

We Didn’t Save Latin

Written by

The diploma in question

For a few years now, the General Studies Student Council has lobbied to receive a diploma written in Latin–like the College and Law School currently give. (GS, along with the other 13 schools, award an English diploma.) Peter Awn, the GS dean, took a break from being totally awesome to let down GS students easily:

Dear GS Students,

In recent years there has been an initiative led by members of the General Studies Student Council (GSSC) to move from conferring a School of General Studies diploma written in English to a GS diploma written in Latin, the language of the diploma conferred by Columbia College. Currently 13 Schools of the University confer diplomas written in English while only 2 continue to confer diplomas written in Latin. (The second school is Columbia Law School.)

I take quite seriously the concerns expressed by members of the student councils past and present, as well as the contributions from many students who have expressed support for the Latin diploma and those who have expressed support for continuing to offer the English diploma. As you know, last January I postponed a decision on the Latin diploma in order to focus the attention and resources of GS on navigating an increasingly complex economic environment. I promised at the time to revisit this issue when the University returned to a more stable financial footing. While the impact of the recession will continue to be felt for years to come, I am now able to make a decision on whether or not we should move to conferring a diploma written in Latin.

After listening to alumni and students’ thoughts and concerns over the past 18 months, I have decided, along with the 13 other Schools of the University, to continue to use the English language diploma-design approved by the University Senate in 2005. I do this for reasons that I have discussed with the GS community in a number of different forums, private and public, over the past year and a half. Let me share with you, briefly, some of the reasons that have led me to this decision.

First, it is my belief that a Latin diploma does not represent appropriately a college that was founded in 1947 and that embodies a cutting-edge approach to undergraduate education in the United States. At GS, we are not only steeped in the Columbia educational tradition, but also thoroughly modern and innovative. I would find a General Studies diploma in Latin to be regressive, given our mission and identity. While our full integration into the Columbia undergraduate community is a goal we all share, in this case, I believe our difference from Columbia College is a strength, not a weakness. In addition, I find it difficult to grasp why any student would want a diploma written in a language that he or she could not understand.

Secondarily, after researching this issue in some detail with multiple offices around the University, it became clear that offering a Latin diploma would create numerous logistical complications and expenses that seem excessive in a time of fiscal constraint. While I want to be clear that the reason for my not supporting a move to a Latin diploma is based principally on my conviction that the English diploma better represents GS as a unique college at an Ivy League university, these financial and logistical concerns are considerable and serious.

Finally, I think it is important to note that, while the language in which the GS diploma is written may differ from that of Columbia College’s diploma, the text and design of the two diplomas are the same, as well as their significance in the world outside of Columbia.

I know that some of you will be disappointed by my decision. I hope, however, that we can agree to disagree on this issue and begin to focus on other major concerns of the GS student body, faculty, and administration. Thank you for your patience in allowing me to take time to review all of the aspects of this issue.

For your information, I have included an image of the design of the diploma below.


Sincerely,

Professor Peter J. Awn

Dean

Tags: , , ,

124 Comments

  1. Not to start off on an unhappy note,  

    but a CC degree and a GS degree do not share the same "significance in the world outside of Columbia." I'm sorry, but they don't.

    • agreed  

      took the words right out of my mouth.

    • CC '12  

      Care to explain that asshatted logic?

    • ???  

      And this, from someone who really knows a lot about the outside world, right? Why do you have to shout out your insecurities? Obviously you are someone who realizes they lack intelligence and talent and thus has to put other people down. Sometimes I just want to send a compilation of these kinds of abusive posts to a dean of CC so they can see what ugly monster idiots they breed in this school. Oh wait, they already know that and they don’t care. It’s exactly that belief on the part of you and your parents — that going to Columbia College makes you better than EVERYONE ELSE THAT EVER LIVED— which convinces you to give your money to them. Seriously, you know most people in the United States haven’t heart of Columbia University. That’s right, most people in the United States are not wealthy privileged monsters like you and the family you came from.

    • Flag posts  

      Bwog,

      Can't you make a function that allows users to flag inappropriate posts? Seriously, this all gets so old. Can't you just remove these irrelevant tirades? It really makes me want to stop reading this blog, and it drowns out all the interesting, relevant, funny, and enlightened comments that actually respond to the post at hand. You'll probably never see my comment, Bwog, lost in a sea of verbal abuse. But that's my point. Allow us to flag comments like "suck it GS" as inappropriate. That way we can show those people that those kind of immature opinions and insults are not tolerated by the vast majority of intelligent people here -- and in the real world! Take a lesson about "the real world" those of you who constantly feel the need to put other people down - you won't get far in life insulting people.

      • Hans  (Bwog Staff)  

        Thanks for your suggestion; we'll take it into consideration.

        • Flag posts  

          Yes, it would really be a valuable function. And flagging a post as inappropriate wouldn't mean that any user could just delete another person's post - it means that Bwog staffers would have to review a post flagged as inappropriate. If enough people flagged it, it would send a message to Bwog that a large number of their readership do not appreciate comments like this and would prefer to see more germane, intelligent comments that actually had something to do with the post. The readers should have a say one what kind of material crosses the line as abusive. Most other blogs and news sites do the same thing.

      • no!  

        you can't get rid of a comment, no matter how immature, just because you don't like it!

        • Flag posts  

          Read the above post. Also, yes, a group of readers can decide if a post crosses the line. Flagging something as inappropriate doesn't mean that anyone who didn't agree with what the person said could have it deleted - it just means that people could flag irrelevant comments for Bwog to consider removing, or comments that a large group of people found particularly offensive and purposefully insulting.

  2. Stupid GS  

    Go suck one

  3. as someone who

    didn't take Latin ever in their life...my CC diploma bores and confuses me. thanks columbia college for this useless piece of paper that may very well say, "thanks for your money, loser" for all I know. i wish Peter Awn was my dean.

  4. sounds like a cool dean  

    and i think the rationale is sound.

  5. Anonymous  

    they're lucky they receive degrees that say columbia on them, regardless of which language they are in

  6. Latin, Schmatin

    My GS degree might as well be in Latin, it's unintelligible.

  7. Paternalism rears its ugly head

    Lucky? We pay more to attend Columbia, work harder to get in the door and have a higher collective GPA.

    I've never understood how the over-privileged think they are more deserving of a Columbia education. GS students are told we're lucky we were able to attend Columbia. Yet no one ever tells a rich, dumb student they are lucky to attend Columbia.

  8. ITT:

    Snobs. Lots 'o them.

  9. Employer of Columbia Alum

    I employ a Columbia alums, and I couldn't tell you the difference between Columbia College and General Studies alums. No one on the outside cares about this distinction.

  10. CC alum

    \ I find it difficult to grasp why any student would want a diploma written in a language that he or she could not understand.\

    COMPLETELY AGREE. Now, here's a man that makes sense!

  11. Fiscal Issues?  

    Have they printed the next ten years of diplomas in advance already?

  12. i want my diploma...

    ...in Chinese. WE"RE TAKING OVER THE WORLD, bwahahaha.

  13. cc alum

    the problem, is that most diplomas are not in latin. so i'm pretty angry that most of my diplomas will now never be a matching set in the same language.

    my life is sooooooo hard.

  14. cc vs gs

    you cc kids just chill out it doesn't matter

  15. cc vs gs

    cc kids just chill out it doesn’t matter... your insecurities towards gs just reveal a deeper and more profound insecurity towards yourselves: that you are not competent and accomplished enough on your own account that you need a degree from a prestigious institution to back yourself up. seriously, grow some balls, get some confidence, and get over it.

  16. ya it does matter

    cuz
    a) Columbia kids work their asses off to get into Columbia, CC is way more selective than GS
    b) Most students pay thousands more in tuition than GS students
    List goes on, but i'll stop here

    • ...  

      b is pretty much flat wrong. the national mean for undergraduate indebtedness at graduation time is somewhere around 20k. those gs students who don't come from money regularly walk away with debt that is well north of $100,000

      i won't deny that hard work that goes into getting into cc. however, i will point out that this isn't caltech. ivy league admissions aren't 100% numerically merit based. they regularly admit people who have average-high numbers and quirky hobbies, extracurriculars or athletic talents.

      finally, i've noticed that people around here sometimes look down on community college transfers (which all get shuffled to gs). it's important to remember that the vast majority of undergraduate programs in the united states regularly admit community college transfers and make no distinction once they've matriculated. looking down upon people who took the community college route is not just douchebaggery, it's extraordinary douchebaggery in the most literal sense. it does not happen elsewhere, even at higher ranked and more rigorous schools. those who engage in it, are, extraordinary douchebags.

      but whatever, diplomas... i've never cared what language the gs diploma is in. however, now that i've seen one for the first time i do notice something strange. dean peter awn is titled as "dean of the faculty of general studies." general studies has not has its own faculty for decades. i suppose that an unintended consequence of handing out diplomas that most people can actually read is that when something is incorrect, it is easily pointed out.

    • Seriously?

      Ugh, GS students work just as hard to get into Columbia, you self-absorbed prick. I CHOSE GS because I appreciated their understanding of the student with real life experiences, and felt more comfortable with their core requirements (which wouldn't force me to take gym- ridiculous, as I'm a professional dancer- or repeat a literature class similar to one I had already taken, in the name of the core), as opposed to those requirements of the CC student. I had awesome grades and test scores in high school, and I spent all of my free time volunteering and participating in a number of extra-curricular activities. I decided to take one year off from school because I received a job offer in the industry of my dreams, and, after deciding shortly thereafter that I actually WANTED to be a college student, chose to apply to GS, even though I most likely could have made it as a CC transfer student. I had to submit every academic record, every piece of pertinent information, when I applied to Columbia, along with strong recommendations and a 2500 word autobiographical essay (if I'm correct, I believe that is a much longer and more in-depth requirement than your CC application essay prompt, no?). I even had to conduct a formal interview. I currently take a full undergraduate course load (filled with classes with both CC and SEAS students), I work hard to get good grades and I consistently make the Dean's List, I participate in a variety of undergraduate extra-curricular activities (I was on a sports team, and I'm currently involved with a very well-known performance on campus that has amazing alumni connections). I have great friends in every one of the colleges, and for your information, I pay just as much as you do to go here, and I do it by myself. Fifty grand a year plus other expenses may not seem like a lot when Mommy and Daddy are paying, but I guarantee you that I work my ass off in every aspect of my life, constantly struggling and almost never sleeping- just so I can go here- and I still actively participate in every aspect of Columbia undergraduate life, probably in a much higher capacity than you. Hell, you probably know me, and just assumed I was another CC kid like yourself. So, next time you want to go making accusations about things you know absolutely nothing about, you might want to check up on your facts- or else risk making yourself, once again, sound like the incompetent, condescending, over-privileged asshole that I suspect you are.

    • please

      stop bitching about all the work you did in hs. everyone here worked hard. i don't care that you went to some stressful prep school and worked your ass off. we're all here together now. get over it

  17. rich kids  

    The dumb rich kids go to other schools, not CC. Trust me. No one that stupid is going to volunteer for the core. The smart rich kids, the ones with the really good backgrounds, who rose above the other overeducated sons and daughters of the upper middle class despite the intense competition from the prep school world, they come here.

    And I think it's pretty clear to everyone that if you could choose a school at/with this university, it wouldn't be Barnard. It wouldn't be JTS. It wouldn't be GS. It would be CC/SEAS.

    • :)

      There aren't rich, dumb kids here? In CC?

      You know the saying about the village idiot, right? If you don't know who it is, it may be you.

    • it's pretty clear? really?  

      It's not clear to me. I transferred to Barnard. There are many, many reasons that I chose Barnard. But more importantly - I never considered CC. It was too big for me (approx. 4,100), and I knew that for my own academic success, I would need a smaller school (Barnard has about 2,350). Have fun with your insecurities. I'll be over here, enjoying my college experience.

    • Uh...  

      Are you kidding me? there are TONS of dumb richies here. hello, its New York fuckin' City, why the FUCK would they choose to go to a different prestigious school in the middle of bumfuck nowhere?

    • Really?

      My friend transferred from CC to Barnard. No, that didn't just happen in the Varsity Show 2 years ago. Happens in real life too. I Love BC!

  18. uhm...

    "cc kids just chill out it doesn’t matter… your insecurities towards gs just reveal a deeper and more profound insecurity towards yourselves: that you are not competent and accomplished enough on your own account that you need a degree from a prestigious institution to back yourself up. seriously, grow some balls, get some confidence, and get over it."

    The fact that you lash out and consider yourself to be superior actually makes you stoop down to the CC'ers level...hypocrite

  19. The REAL argument...

    The issue isn't necessarily whether or not the GS diploma is in Latin; it's more about the unification of every undergraduate diploma issued by Columbia UNIVERSITY as a single institution. Unfortunately there is a stigma attached to GS students that we are somehow inferior to the average CC kid; that we got into Columbia because of street smarts and an interesting life story, as opposed to straight A's and high SAT scores. The truth is that, regardless of our past experiences or our high school academic records (many of which are, in fact, just as high-ranking for GS students as they are for any other undergrad), we are all here under the umbrella university of Columbia, not just SEAS, GS, CC or even Barnard. Certain people outside of the Columbia community, unfamiliar with the exact distinctions between the different schools, view the incongruity in our diplomas as a proxy for distinctions between the types of students we were during our academic careers. This often leads to an unfair assumption that GS students "went to Columbia, but aren't REALLY representative of the typical Columbia graduate". Columbia should not be divided by its undergraduate colleges, but should fully embrace its diverse student body by unifying the colleges and their respective degrees, thus marketing every Columbia undergrad as an equal representative of this highly esteemed academic institution. If CC students are unhappy with their Latin diplomas, then why not change them to English? The point is, we were all accepted as undergrads to the same university. We take the same classes, we participate in the same extra curricular activities- GS students even take (most of) the core! Instead of viewing our typical differences in age as a dividing force, we should embrace and support the apparent similarities and common experiences we DO share. I just think our diplomas should fairly represent our supposedly unified undergraduate community in which we ALL actively participate.

    • Anonymous

      I agree that CC, SEAS, and GS are all Columbia students and take Columbia classes, but you can't say the same for Barnard. Sure, you can cross-register, but there are still two wholly separate faculties and curricula. Barnard is an affiliated school; it is not a Columbia undergraduate school. That's not at all a bad thing. Barnard is distinct and proud of that distinction. And any Barnard student who gives a damn about their school (which is most of them) recognize and celebrate that. I cringe when I hear my CC friends say that had they been rejected from Columbia, they would have just applied to Barnard. Sure, they might have been accepted (I hope not) but they would have been missing the point. Barnard is not a school of CC rejects; it's a distinct and proud all-female school that happens to be affiliated with Columbia.

  20. BC'08

    I took Latin in high school & in college so I am pretty damn sure that my diploma is written in Latin. (Also, PresBo's signature is on it.)

  21. Jim  

    None of this will matter in 5 or 10 years...I have met amazing GS students, Barnard students and people from every other professional and graduate school at the university. Who cares? We're all the same...it's about the person, not where they went to school.

    And why does anyone need a Latin Diploma? Who the hell can read that language anymore? When you hang it up one day, and your clients/friends/children/associates/colleagues ask what it means, will you have the slightest idea? I say a diploma in English should be what we receive upon graduation.

  22. Alum

    I respect Dean Awn's argument, but if he thinks GS should embrace modernity over tradition then shouldn't he do away with caps and gowns at commencement?

  23. SEAS  

    We like our English. We're practical. And full of foreigners.

  24. Why

    is it that anyone who points out that CC/SEAS are better undergraduate schools than BC/GS is instantly branded as "insecure," "a rich asshole," or as someon "not enjoying their college experience"? I'm none of the above: not insecure, not rich, and perfectly happy with my undergraduate experience. CC and SEAS are more competitive colleges, plain and simple. What's the dispute? When US News rates "Columbia University," they don't factor in GS/BC; they look at the two "traditional" and "core" colleges. And yes, now you can cry, "OMG, US News College Rankings?! That's, like, so high school," but i'm not sure how else to make the point.

    When someone says that Harvard is a more competitive school than Columbia, does that make Columbia students "children of a lesser god"? No, it just means that we go to a slightly less competitive school; so it is with GS/BC.

    Get over it.

    • Seriously?  

      MOST of us recognize the fact that CC is more competitive than BC or GS (we also recognize that these schools are well reputable, wonderful institutions ). We just don't like the disdain and superiority with which you treat us via bwog comments. "They’re lucky they receive degrees that say columbia on them, regardless of which language they are in." DAMN, you can practically see the snark dripping off of that comment. Ugh. So unnecessary!

      • Anonymous  

        "We just don’t like the disdain and superiority with which you treat us via bwog comments."

        and CC is insecure....it's freaking Bwog for god's sake!

        • Seriously?  

          Insecurity has nothing to do with what I was saying, which was that YOU GUYS ACT LIKE COMPLETE SNOBS FOR NO REASON. Whether or not it makes me feel insecure is besides the point! Yeesh.

    • Anonymous

      If you're focusing on competitiveness, why should we even include SEAS? Their acceptance rate is 14% while ours is much lower at 9%. Not to mention their diplomas are in English! Of course the 3 undergraduate schools are different (though CC and GS only differ in admissions; you take the same damn classes); what bothers people is the superiority complex. Just because CC is more competitive according to traditional measures of undergraduate admissions than GS and SEAS does not make us "better" than those two institutions.

  25. Really?  

    Is nobody going to remark on the Rushmore reference in the title? Way to go!!! Love Wes Anderson.

  26. Amen

    "is it that anyone who points out that CC/SEAS are better undergraduate schools than BC/GS is instantly branded as “insecure,” “a rich asshole,” or as someon “not enjoying their college experience”? I’m none of the above: not insecure, not rich, and perfectly happy with my undergraduate experience. CC and SEAS are more competitive colleges, plain and simple. What’s the dispute? When US News rates “Columbia University,” they don’t factor in GS/BC; they look at the two “traditional” and “core” colleges. And yes, now you can cry, “OMG, US News College Rankings?! That’s, like, so high school,” but i’m not sure how else to make the point.

    When someone says that Harvard is a more competitive school than Columbia, does that make Columbia students “children of a lesser god”? No, it just means that we go to a slightly less competitive school; so it is with GS/BC.

    Get over it."

    Well said, but I mean you have to hand it to the Barnard GS students, I mean that's the only argument they have to call us rich and insecure...If I'm "rich" and
    insecure" and come from a more prestigious institution and am being bashed by a bunch of jealous GS hipsters, I think I'm doing pretty damn good

  27. I saved Latin,  

    what did you ever do?

  28. Because  

    "why is it that anyone who points out that CC/SEAS are better undergraduate schools than BC/GS"

    Because they aren't better undergraduate schools--everyone in GS can take pretty much all the same classes as anyone in CC. (Ooh, I didn't take Frontiers of Science. I guess my science major is meaningless now.) More competitive, ok, but academically better, no.

    Besides, the real issue is that you are assuming GS students are all less competitive because they entered a "less competitive" program. That's what seems insecure. I got into a more competitive institution than Columbia straight out of high school, and ended up deciding not to attend it. Lots of students in GS could have gone straight to CC based on achievement but decided to take time off for whatever reason. Keep in mind that CC doesn't LET you apply if you took over a year off after high school, regardless of how qualified or competitive you are--so GS is your only route to Columbia if you did.

    So sure, CC is a more "competitive" institution (ignoring the differences in self-selection among the applicant pool), but when it comes to students, how 'bout judging by performance and merit.

  29. Wait!

    To those who think significance will come from their diploma, I'm sorry. Its going to hurt when you realize thats not true. But after the pain of realizing that the diploma you've made the crowned-king and god of your life is but a splintered mast of wasted time, you'll move on, liberated. You'll find hapiness, just not in the place you were told to expect it.

    Its not about a degree, people. It's about people. Just people.

  30. this is really about money

    GS is Columbia's cash cow.

  31. I  

    rag on GS because a good 80% of the GS students in my classes annoy me. They take fewer class than I do, then hog up all the professor's office hours, break the curve and when the teacher says "oh you guys probably don't remember this. . " they all go oh I DO DO because I'm OLDER and SPECIAL and SIT IN THE FRONT and CARE SO MUCH ABOUT THIS CLASS AND YOU.

    however, I do like the other 20%

    • Anonymous  

      This is so true... when i'm competing against a part time taking 2 classes while i'm taking six...

    • I'm curious...  

      What percentage of CC/SEAS students in your classes annoy you?

      • ...

        a ton, actually. As a humanities major, having SEAS kids who take my classes as one of their few electives because they think it'll be easier and then proceed to ask idiotic questions is one of the most annoying things ever.
        However, I must agree with the original poster that a large part of the GS students (at least those that are obviously GS... i.e. they're older) are super annoying and tend to have a superior attitude because they've "lived more". I respect older people for coming back to school, but do not treat me like a dumb kid when we're in an academic setting because I'm way better at it than you (yes, probably because it's all I've really done up to this point, but I'd hope you would respect that).

        • actually  

          those are just the GS students you notice. How about the ones who blend in with everyone else?

          • Yeah...

            Exactly! There are obnoxious students in every school. In my Music Hum class, one CC student asked what a chord was. In an English class, a SEAS kid tried to make some ridiculous claim about an author we were studying, and obnoxiously tried to prove his point, even though he was blatantly wrong. And yes, GS students can waste class time blabbing on and on about their lives. But these situations are representative of individual students, NOT their schools. To say that it's mostly the GS students who annoy you in class is ridiculous, especially because the truth is, you probably don't even realize how many GS students are actually in your class. We're not all 40 years old and dressed in business suits. Most of us blend in, like any other student (the average age of a GS student is actually 26- yes, older than the 19 year old CC sophomore, but not noticeably ancient!). It's the one, blatantly older GS-er that sticks in your mind and gives the entire school a bad rep, just like that one drunk girl at the party who makes a mistake, and just because she happens to go to Barnard, suddenly she reinforces the ridiculous joke that all Barnard girls are sluts. And yeah, the jokes made about the different school are definitely funny, and mostly all in good spirits- but that doesn't make them necessarily true. All I'm saying is there is diversity in every school, and we shouldn't all be immediately branded by the conceived stereotypes associated with the different colleges.

      • GS Student

        I feel the same way when im in a philosophy course and an 18 year old starts talking about his perspective on raising a family and the role of a parent in the household.

  32. ?  

    And this, from someone who really knows a lot about the outside world, right? Why do you have to shout out your insecurities? Obviously you are someone who realizes they lack intelligence and talent and thus has to put other people down. Sometimes I just want to send a compilation of these kinds of abusive posts to a dean of CC so they can see what ugly monster idiots they breed in this school. Oh wait, they already know that and they don't care. It's exactly that belief on the part of you and your parents -- that going to Columbia College makes you better than EVERYONE ELSE THAT EVER LIVED--- which convinces you to give your money to them. Seriously, you know most people in the United States haven't heart of Columbia University. That's right, most people in the United States are not wealthy privileged monsters like you and the family you came from.

  33. Does anybody know

    the last time someone lost a job opportunity because of the language on their diploma?

    Oh yeah....NEVER.

  34. Christ Almighty

    I cannot fucking believe how much some students (and alums!) worry about the relative prestige, rigor, etc. of Columbia's undergraduate schools. The reality is that in each of the colleges you'll find brilliant people and stupid ones; ruthless overachievers and total slackers; grueling curricula and academic farces. Any blanket assertions to the contrary are meaningless and don't deserve to be taken seriously.

    These dick-waving contests should've ended when we opened those acceptance letters, don't you think?

  35. Anonymous  

    Peter Awn is the bomb, regardless of this post

  36. bah

    I like my diploma in Latin. Maybe I'm elitist and entitled, but I don't give a damn.

  37. Anon  

    “Is it that anyone who points out that CC/SEAS are better undergraduate schools than BC/GS is instantly branded as “insecure,” “a rich asshole,” or as someone “not enjoying their college experience”?

    This is worth repeating.

  38. Backdoor

    I applied to GS with the intention of using it as a 'backdoor' to Columbia. I relished the opportunity to attend one of the most prestigious universities on the planet and have no shame in admitting that my path of entry may have been easier than applying to cc, which was an option open to me. I made a calculated decision and it paid off. Once I got here I found myself in the same classes as cc/seas/bc students and on the same plane of competition. I have worked my ass off alongside them for 4 years and I'll walk away in May with a diploma that says Columbia University on it, if cc wants to maintain the exclusivity of a Latin diploma I will not begrudge them that, they are, for the most part, intelligent hard-working kids who are entitled to whatever snobbery that goes along with getting into one of the top 10 most selective schools in the country. Let's just stop with the hostility between us and unite in the fact that we are better than 99% students in this country.

  39. Uhm...

    “Is it that anyone who points out that CC/SEAS are better undergraduate schools than BC/GS is instantly branded as “insecure,” “a rich asshole,” or as someone “not enjoying their college experience”?

    Typical GS rhetoric...Someone "insults" me I insult them back...Hypocritical much??

  40. Anon  

    Harvard extension school =/= Harvard College. Why is it different for us?

  41. Snobbery  

    I'm sure snobbery exists there too. It's just the way some people are raised -- to think that they are better than everyone else, and that certain accomplishments, like getting into an IVY league school for example ( for which some parents are willing to spend WHATEVER it takes it extra tutoring and SAT prep classes and private college admissions advice to give their child who, maybe is not naturally that bright, an unfair advantage over other people) will have you set for the rest of your life, and will fool other people into thinking that you are a worthy member of society.

  42. well  

    That's because Harvard Extension isn't really analogous to GS at all. A person who qualifies for GS would actually be eligible for Harvard College - Harvard Extension serves a completely different purpose, and it's essentially pay-and-go.

    The reason we never merged GS with CC is historical, and it's what separates us from other institutions. Personally, I like it, because GS serves a different constituency, and having a separate school allows certain things (namely, their administration) to be more tailored to this while still allowing the same education.

  43. Uhm...

    "I’m sure snobbery exists there too. It’s just the way some people are raised — to think that they are better than everyone else, and that certain accomplishments, like getting into an IVY league school for example ( for which some parents are willing to spend WHATEVER it takes it extra tutoring and SAT prep classes and private college admissions advice to give their child who, maybe is not naturally that bright, an unfair advantage over other people) will have you set for the rest of your life, and will fool other people into thinking that you are a worthy member of society."

    We live in a capitalist society, so get over this...I bet your one of the idiots that actually supports Obama's healthcare reform too

    • Sorry, but...

      I think you meant "you're" (i.e. the contraction of "you are"), not "your" (i.e. the progressive case of the pronoun "you"). If you are going to criticize us for our political beliefs, you can at least do it using proper grammar.

      ...And yet, we're the idiots?

  44. come on guys,  

    can't we all just get along?

  45. ...  

    so looking forward to transfer decisions over the next two months. then columbia will be nothing to me but a bad memory and a red flag to look for when reviewing resumes.

  46. i think its the

    GS students that are instigating the fighting...calling us rich, spoiled, etc. when CC students are just stating the blatant truth

    • Umm...

      I'm pretty sure comments like "GS is Columbia's cash cow" and "go suck one" written under the name "Stupid GS" are arguably a few of the many instigators of this whole battle, don't you think?

  47. GS STUDENT

    I have respect for many of the CC students I meet in class because I know they busted their asses to get accepted to College. But for all the elitist CC students who left their vomitus spew on this blog post I have this to say -- My friends and I laugh all the time because we are getting a Columbia University undergrad degree and we didn't even take the SATs. Hell, I practically failed out of high school. The funniest part is that y'all aren't any smarter than us because I'm not the one crying on the bench after the final. I'm not saying I'm straight As but I'm not the one asking stupid and obvious questions in class either. BTW I voted against the Latin rag. One more thing CC -- "I'm mean I'm like. . . proud to like. . . have the ability to like transcend all of the mistakes I made and like get accepted to G Eeeeeeeees." Bet you couldn't hack that.

    • Anonymous  

      I think CC students are afraid that their identity is going to be taken away as THE undergraduate institution of CU. I also think there is a sense that the CC/ SEAS students do a lot of the heavy lifting that makes Columbia so selective/ prestigious and that the others students are on for the ride by intentionally blurring the lines between CC/CU/ the undergrad schools.

  48. They should  

    release the average grades of CC, SEAS, BC and GS students in classes that contain students from all four schools. This wouldn't prove anything conclusively, but it would hopefully shut up those who think that the average BC or GS student is as academically competent as a CC or SEAS student. There may be exceptions, but as a general rule, CC and SEAS students seem to be much better students (certainly than Barnard, maybe not GS). I could be wrong, but show me the data to prove me wrong.

    • Barnard senior  

      Seriously, what makes you think that? I'm a Barnard student who has always managed to pull A's in a wide variety of disciplines as distinct as 3,000 level Math classes and 3,000 English classes offered at Columbia, and I work while I go to school too. The whole point of this thing is that you should just stop assuming that other people are automatically inferior to you. Just because Barnard is less selective than Columbia College (and it is much less selective), it does not mean that all Barnard students are raving idiots. Barnard is much more selective than many flagship state universities, and I don't hear you screaming about how stupid people are who don't go to private schools or anything like that. I bet you would be embarrassed if you compared your GPA to my GPA anyway, just counting classes taken "at Columbia" for valid comparison. I would like to see you go red in the face to see how many Barnard students outperform Columbia students in classes. And I'm not suggesting that people at Columbia aren't smart, I'm just pointing out that that there's a range of abilities at both schools.

  49. GS Student  

    CC students who make begrudging remarks are gonna hate this post, but here I go.

    GS is actually in many ways better than CC. This is a viewpoint that I have not seen on this thread, and I am rather shocked given the 100+ comments that no one has thought to bring that up. First, we take the same classes, graduation requirements, etc, from the same professors (unlike any other nontraditional ivy league program except a tiny one at UPenn) but have more flexibility in the core due to our transfer status. What that means is more flexibility. Flexibility is key at Columbia, where coercion reigns fairly supreme. So, Sorry Columbia College but it's not necessarily in everyone's best interests to take CC and Lit Hum in lieu of some other interesting literature or political theory class; indeed there is an opportunity cost for the college that GS students don't pay. If it IS in our interest, we take the class. I don't even mention frontiers, because I'm too nice.

    Second, GS students have a better sense of what their interests actually are, a fact that is borne out by our high collective GPA despite our lower admissions standards. I say this not to brag or belittle anyone, but that is the truth and in this thread it seems to bear repeating. We don't hog office hours... we ask our professors questions stemming naturally from our experiences. I for example ran a state-wide non profit for a couple of years, taught yoga in India, etc. The argument is that these experiences are not exogenous and a posteriori to the undergrad course material here, but instead mutually enhancing for all the people in the class. I realize that some GS students take this theory WAY TOO FAR, but CC students should realize that the vast majority of GS students are equally annoyed by these cases.

    Third, while our admissions rate is much higher than CC, the number of people in this country who could return to college after 10 years of independent work and travel is proportionally smaller, and GS itself is a well kept secret. We recruit more actively than CC. It's fair to say that the overall quality of GS applications is of a different (perhaps higher grade) character than CC and the rest of the traditional colleges around the country. So admissions rates can be deceiving, and should really be irrelevant to these discussions, not that they are not relevant in and of themselves. It's apples and oranges here.

    But I will say this much. CC students have to work harder for their degrees than many GS students, and everyone should and does respect that. It doesn't make them smarter or better, but it does mean that their degree represents a quantifiably different experience than GS (even though I've argued on balance that it's a net loss pedagogically, it's a tough call to make). They all attend four years here. They take more classes than GS students (usually one more, due to the differing fee structures, not much different but it is something). They all take CC and Lit Hum and frontiers of science. So while I don't envy them and I don't see these differences as any kind of a pedagogical advantage for the majority of CC students, I do admire the extra work that goes in to their degree and I don't begrudge them the right to have a different diploma than GS.. I think that the GS students who argued for the change failed to see the comparative pedagogical advantages to attending GS rather than CC, and were indeed a bit insecure, though some of them wanted latin for latin's sake, which is different but also somewhat strange in my opinion, and Dean Awn's as well.

    I think this discussion is ultimately healthy, cathartic, and sort of drains the ivy league puss out of our collective ass-boil. But at the end of the day, I would rather have a GS diploma in English than a CC diploma in Latin, because I think we have a comparatively stronger educational experience than CC students, and I'm proud of the nontraditional track I've taken to graduation from one of the top undergraduate schools in the country.

  50. Hey People  

    First of all, I don't think we all should be judging each other for how we've decided to live our lives. We're all joined by the fact that we decided to come to Columbia. Some of us decided to come after we graduated high school, some of us decided to come later in life. Who cares? We're at Columbia. Let's work together instead of trying to drive wedges between us. Wedges are not productive and don't benefit anyone.

    Also. IT'S SPRING BREAK! So I call for an end to the needless elitist flame war starting...

    NOW!

    • Anonymous  

      Applause indeed! Can't we all just get along and respect each other? I love my CC friends and my GS friends. It's a shame some folks have to denigrate the experience and intelligence of others in an effort to hold on to whatever superiority they think they have. I hate to sound all warm and fuzzy, but the truth is we all benefit when we learn from each other, not when we isolate ourselves from each other.

      Have a great break!

  51. GS Student

    I think the 3:52pm comment says it all. I didn't get anywhere near the same grades as I would bet the vast majority of CC kids got in their high schools, but I decided to leave college after a year and work for two years. My dad told me he would pay for my college but if I wanted to drop-out then I'd have to start earning my own living. Trust me, the first day that you wake up (in the late afternoon) and realize you have nothing on your schedule for the week, month, and in my case, year, its sobering to say the least. At the age of 19, after being nurtured and "prepped" through schools your entire life, to not have any plan or fail-safe waiting, well, it has an effect on you. I started my own company, was making around 84k working for myself, paying my own bills, not even thinking about going back to school. Again, 20 years old.

    I could understand when you're on a site like this you get courageous behind an anonymous name and want to vent some frustration because you feel like you worked harder than these gs kids and therefore deserve all the glory, unwilling to share a school like Columbia with other people that might even appreciate it more than you do. But you're smarter than that, right?

    Listen, on behalf of gs students, we acknowledge and respect the fact that you all were the kids in high school getting straight A's and chairing all the committees. I speak for myself when I say that I wish I had done the same when I had the opportunity. But let's be realistic now, do you really think you have something on my friend who's 32, dropped out of highschool to launch an IT startup and now decided "you know what, I think I'll get my education." Do you think that a recruiter, regardless of what sector, will have more respect for you because you got an A in chem junior year and were the president of Model UN over someone who stepped into the real world, risked it, and came away with experiences? I mean there are countless examples: mothers, fathers, veterans, entrepreneurs, and people just hungry to get a Columbia education.

    I cannot express how grateful I am to be at Columbia, and im reminded of it every day I step foot on campus. I hold every student there in the highest regard because whether we did it when we were 16 or when we were 36, I know we must have accomplished something remarkable. Enjoy your spring break, my friends.

    • ...

      "But let’s be realistic now, do you really think you have something on my friend who’s 32, dropped out of highschool to launch an IT startup and now decided “you know what, I think I’ll get my education.” Do you think that a recruiter, regardless of what sector, will have more respect for you because you got an A in chem junior year and were the president of Model UN over someone who stepped into the real world, risked it, and came away with experiences?"

      *applause*

  52. GS 07

    I always kinda thought my diploma was in latin. Guess this explains why I'm broke and live in Missouri.

  53. Anonymous

    Barnard's diplomas are also in Latin. They look identical to CCs

  54. Just That Sexy (JTS)

    You obviously don't know much about the JTS program, its constituents, or the benefits it has to offer if you think it's \clear\ that one would choose CC over JTS. Perhaps you can overlook the so-called prestige of CC (compared to GS, that is) and look at the JTS website. You might find yourself drawn to what it has to offer. Ask the kids who DID choose JTS over CC, or Harvard, or U Chicago, or Duke, or Penn, or Northwestern, or Michigan, or UCLA, or Berkeley for that matter. One *should* attend a school NOT because of its reputation per se, but rather its fit for the student. So please, do explain why its SO clear why one would choose CC over GS/JTS/the like. And \the core\ is an insufficient reason, because anyone can opt to take the core classes.

  55. Everyone:

    Please simply appreciate the fact that you have the opportunity to continue onto post-secondary education, let alone at Columbia University. This entire comment thread is a prime example of how people get extremely wrapped up in their own world(s) and fail to look at the big picture. Try and take a step back now and then, and give yourself some perspective.

  56. Why can't we just...  

    ...be happy with the fact that we all go to a prestigious school? None of us have it easy here. Taking 4 classes here is a lot harder than taking 4 classes at most state schools, simply because of the fact that we are, for the most part, pretty smart and hard workers. I've never been in a class here with a truly objective grade, except PE. In my experience (3 years here in SEAS), every class is curved to some extent. You have to do better than your peers to get a good grade, which makes all of us who realize this work harder. We're all in this together, GS, Barnard, SEAS, CC, JTS, and whatever else I left out. As far as I know (I don't pretend to know much), we can all take classes with each other. If I take a class at Barnard, it's just as hard as taking a class in SEAS, because I am not a Barnard student. I imagine it's the same way for any cross-college situations. That CC class that may be easier for you than for me, but I can still get a good grade. I'm just not used to the curriculum. Anyway, I'm starting to ramble, so I'll get to my point.

    Work hard, get good grades, be involved, be proud of yourself and your fellow students (regardless of the college they attend) for being at this school, be friendly and hang out with people outside your clique. Drink a lot on the weekends unless you have more important things to do, enjoy college while you can. Learn about the world. This means getting to know not only people from different parts of the world, but people with incredibly different perspectives on life and the world (i.e. students from other colleges here). Don't hate.

  57. GSer

    I graduated in 2008 summa cum laude. I had no transfer credits and took nearly everything in the core. Aside from University Writing, none of my courses were GS-only. I am 38. I have been to over 100 different countries and have covered wars, revolutions, etc. In some of my classes, the professors would interrupt discussions and jokingly ask me if something we read about in a recent novel related to what I actually saw (because I was the only one in the room who had actually been to Liberia, etc.)

    CC kids are put on a very fast tread mill from an early age. Prep for this test, do extra credit for this course but not that one, join this, this and that club to fill in your personal background, take all the AP courses available, cram, cram and cram some more for the SAT, etc. I'm in no way suggesting that this is easy. In fact, if this had resembled MY teen years, I'd probably need counseling right now. But please don't kid yourselves. You put in the work to get into CC but absolutely NO ONE at CC can claim they got in without some degree of very precise guidance. The hoops, as many as there were, were in plain sight. You jumped through all of them and got in. Bravo. Life outside of academia does not work anything like that, though--especially in this economy.

    • Anonymous  

      Your personal story is clearly both compelling and informative, but the blanket statements made in your second paragraph are inaccurate, and frankly, somewhat insulting. As a CCer who took a very circuitous route to the College that had little to no resemblance to the rat race that you describe, I encourage you to reconsider your assumptions. Not all of us were test-taking automatons planning to go to college.

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