In CC taking UW in IAB after NSOP and COBOP? NP! Alright freshpeople, we know you’ve just been thrust into a world where 3/4 of the rest of the population seems to speak in just letters. Here’s a quick little guide to campus acronyms and initialisms we’ve put together to help you out:

The Schools

  • CC – Columbia College. Columbia’s largest undergraduate school famed for its Core Curriculum.
  • SEAS – School of Engineering and Applied Science. Note the lack of an “s” at the end of “Science” and realize that if you ever call it “Fu” or “Fu Foundation,” your friends will never let you live it down.
  • GS – General Studies. Common abbreviation for the School of General Studies, Columbia’s undergraduate school for “nontraditional” students.
  • BC – Barnard College. The all-women’s college across Broadway from Columbia’s main campus.
  • TC – Teacher’s College. North of the main campus. They train teachers.
  • JTS/UTS – Jewish Theological Seminary/Union Theological Seminary. These are not the same, even though both are theological schools affiliated with Columbia.
  • SoA – School of the Arts. Offers the MFA degree and more importantly, James Franco.
  • SIPA – School of International and Public Affairs.
  • GSAS – Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
  • GSAPP – Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
  • CUSSW– Columbia University School of Social Work

The Government
(Check out our Guide to Student Government for a more in-depth explanation of these groups and other student gov’ goodness)

  • CCSC – Columbia College Student Council. Represents CC (let’s see how fast you learn) students.
  • ESC – Engineering Student Council. Represents SEAS students.
  • SGA – Student Government Association. Represents Barnard students.
  • GSSC – General Students Student Council. Represents GS students.

The Bureaucracy

  • ABC – Activities Board at Columbia. Governing board that funds (non-political, -spiritual, or -activist) student groups on campus. Being on ABC is a very powerful position, and it’s to a club’s advantage to have good friends on the board.
  • SGB – Student Governing Board. Funds the other stuff (“religious, spiritual, political, ideological, humanitarian, or activist in nature”).
  • CCE – Center for Career Education. Located in the lower level of East Campus, CCE can help you find jobs, critique your résumé, or even set up interviews.
  • CSA – Center for Student Advising. The umbrella organization that your (four-year, non-major) advisor falls under.
  • IGC – Inter-Greek Council. Governing board for the fraternities and sororities, which can’t be overseen by the ABC or SGB.

The Lifelines

  • CPS – Columbia Psychological Services. With main headquarters on Lerner 8 and satellite offices all over campus, CPS offers free therapy to anyone who has paid the Health Services fee.
  • CAVA – Columbia Area Volunteer Ambulance. Also known as Columbia University Emergency Medical Services, CAVA is  known for helping your super drunk friends. “Getting CAVA’d” is seen by some as a right of passage in Carman and CAVA’s number, 212-854-5555, is worth programming into your phone.
  • RA – Resident Adviser. There is one per floor or every few floors in a dorm. Consult these people for your daily needs (vacuum, getting sexiled, condoms, etc.).
  • CA – Community Adviser. A sort of “super RA,” CAs sit towards the top of the housing hierarchy, usually on a high floor.

The First Bonds

  • NSOP – New Student Orientation Program. Occurs the week before school starts and before most non-freshmen move in. For some, a week forever blurred by alcohol. For others, The Most Fun Ever. For most, it’s fine and you want college to start already (September 7th, kids!)
  • COÖP – Columbia Outdoor Orientation Program. Composed of three outdoor pre-move in programs: COHOP (hiking), COROP (river canoeing), and COBOP (biking). Vshow 116 caricatured the COÖP cult: summoned by a conch call, COÖPers worshiped a frisbee. We know it was the single greatest experience of your life, ever. Now, ssshhh.
  • CUE – Columbia Urban Experience. Another pre-move in program, though CUE participants stay in the city and don’t talk about poop as much.

The Neighborhood

  • EC – East Campus. A primarily junior/senior residence hall with coveted townhouses, EC offering ample suite space for Saturday night shit shows. Party-goers are plagued by indecision. EC’s far from the physically nicest senior housing, but still, it’s the most fun, provided you’re okay with vomit in the elevators.
  • IAB – International Affairs Building. Home to SIPA. Some people incorrectly refer to the building as SIPA when IAB is its actual name; debate ensues. Check out the roof for one of those transcendent “I love Columbia” moments.
  • LLC – Living-Learning Center. Comprising Hartley and Wallach Halls, the LLC has a mandatory application process for prospective residents (except for freshmen). It’s known for having a stricter noise and alcohol policy than most other dorms, but that doesn’t really stop people from getting crazy.

The Education

  • CC – Contemporary Civilization (not to be confused with Columbia College). Part of the Core; essentially a “Greatest Hits of Philosophy” course. CC students take this in their second year.
  • CULPA – Columbia Underground Listing of Professor Ability. Provides students a space to review professors and classes. Recently, CULPA introduced the Oracle, which provides predictions for which sections of Core classes profs will likely teach (these aren’t available during course registration).
  • MMA – Michele Moody-Adams. Dean of CC and VP of Undergraduate Education. Also acceptable: MiMoo.
  • NINJa – NINJa Is Not Jake. Columbia’s network of printers. See our guide to read about how to take the most advantage of them!
  • TA – Teaching Assistant. Responsible for grading, proctoring, and other things actual professors don’t want to do.
  • UW – University Writing. A semester-long writing course that is taken by all students in their first year.

The Entertainment

  • CMTS – Columbia Musical Theatre Society. They put on musicals throughout the year, and your CMTS will make you go. Columbia has several students with serious Broadway creds and other talented performers, so prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
  • CTV – Columbia Television. Television run by Columbia students with original programming as well as a news show. We just don’t know anyone who watches it…except when they’re high…but still not so much.
  • CUFP – Columbia University Film Productions. The school’s film club. They make movies.
  • CUMB – Columbia University Marching Band. Columbia’s scramble band that plays during football games and other events. They are best known for Orgo Night, when the band marches into Butler 209 the day before the Orgo final and puts on an irreverent comedy show.
  • CUPS – Columbia University Photography Society. These are the people you see wandering around with cameras so fancy that they need their own acronym guide.
  • NOMADS – New and Original Material Authored and Directed by Students. They put on original works throughout the year, and your NOMAD pals  will make you go.
  • TIC – Ticket and Information Center. The booth in the lobby of Lerner where you can get tickets for shows and events, as well as discounted movie tickets. Movie ticket prices in NYC are astronomical, so TIC will save you serious dough.
  • WKCR/WBAR – Not really acronyms, but rather call signs for the radio stations run by Columbia and Barnard, respectively.

The Community

  • CCO – Columbia Community Outreach. Sponsors a day when Columbia students volunteer to help the greater New York community. A lot of Columbians volunteer on other days too; many just don’t talk about it.
  • CQA – Columbia Queer Alliance. A place for the LGBTQ community. They sponsor First Friday and recently been vocal in advocating for gender neutral housing.
  • CPU & CPR – Columbia Political Union & Columbia Political Review. Non-partisan political organizations that is probably most known for publishing their magazine, the Columbia Political Review.
  • IRC – Intercultural Resource Center. Located on Frat Row, the IRC houses students pursuing, according to the website, slef-discovery and intercultural exchanges.
  • OMA – Office of Multicultural Affairs. Does what it sounds like it does.
  • ROOTEd – Respecting Ourselves and Others Through Education. Under the OMA, this group is dedicated to exploring issues related to diversity in the U.S.

And they’re a billion other religious and cultural groups with punchy acronyms. Check out this list! Go crazy!

Things That are NOT Acronyms

  • Bwog – It’s actually a portmanteau. You know, French and shit.

Did we miss any? We’ve tried to cover the major ones here, but feel free to add more in the comments!