List a selection of texts, resources and outlets that have contributed to your intellectual development outside of academic courses, including but not limited to books, journals, websites, podcasts, essays, plays, presentations, videos, museums and other content that you enjoy. (100 words or fewer)
This question is a great opportunity to further showcase your unique interests beyond academics. Don’t try to write what you think Columbia wants to hear — be the most authentic version of yourself, as Columbia simply wants to create a diverse student body with intellectual curiosity. If you like to read graphic novels and explore operatic performances in your free time, this is the place to showcase it!
Stiff: The Curious Lives Of Human Cadavers, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, The Politics of Resentment, Atlas of the Heart, Stock Investing for Dummies, A Promised Land, The Search for Modern China, National Gallery of Victoria, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Times, The Guardian, FiveThirtyEight, National Geographic, Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, Hamilton, Ain’t No Mo’, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, the Matrix franchise, Metropolitan Museum of Art, TEDx, Huberman Lab, Rick Beato, Andrew Huang
A hallmark of the Columbia experience is being able to learn and thrive in an equitable and inclusive community with a wide range of perspectives. Tell us about an aspect of your own perspective, viewpoint or lived experience that is important to you, and describe how it has shaped the way you would learn from and contribute to Columbia’s diverse and collaborative community. (150 words or fewer)
While the question evaluates a student’s experience with and desire to work with and learn from people who are different from them, the wording specifically asks the writer to provide an example. Perhaps there’s an experience that taught you the power of collaboration or an experience that influenced your approach to dealing with people who hold opposing beliefs. You should share details about the experience and discuss how you believe the experience will help you contribute to Columbia’s community.
Most people experience music through headphones, escaping into their own world. However, growing up trained as a classical musician has instilled in me the belief that music is, at its core, a social and intersectional practice. As I have played with other musicians, I have experienced firsthand the power of music to form communities and foster intimate connections between people whose paths would not otherwise cross. As a result, the practice room has become my favorite classroom; whether to learn a technical skill, a social convention, or a cultural phenomenon conveyed through a jazz standard or Gregorian chant.
At Columbia, I plan to continue sharing my music with others and joining the vibrant community of musicians on campus. I would love to play in the Columbia University Orchestra to continue learning about orchestral playing, while expanding into performing and arranging other genres of music as a member of Columbia Pops.
In college/university, students are often challenged in ways that they could not predict or anticipate. It is important to us, therefore, to understand an applicant’s ability to navigate through adversity. Please describe a barrier or obstacle you have faced and discuss the personal qualities, skills or insights you have developed as a result. (150 words or fewer)
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, many schools have opted to add questions which ask students about the adversity and challenges they may face in their lives. This latest addition to Columbia’s supplemental questions is meant to help the admissions committee contextualize your background. When answering this question, you may opt to focus on a specific event that demonstrates a challenge you faced, or discuss any factors that affected you adversely. Regardless of whether or not you can offer a definitive resolution, be sure to focus on the takeaways by writing about what you’ve learned from the experience and how it can be applied to future challenges.
Despite performing regularly on stage since the age of seven, I began developing stage fright in ninth grade. What was once second nature suddenly became difficult—my hands began to shake, and I would get dizzy as I approached the stage. I had to bring music with me onstage as I feared that I would freeze in front of the audience.
Though my anxiety made me feel paralyzed on stage, I sprung into action off stage. I began researching the psychology behind stage fright and collected anecdotal techniques from online communities of people with similar experiences. I researched performance psychology and watched hours of interviews given by professional musicians and performers around the world. By seeking to understand and analyze my experience, I not only found the tools to overcome my debilitating anxiety, but I also developed an abiding interest in performance and psychology.
Why are you interested in attending Columbia University? We encourage you to consider the aspect(s) that you find unique and compelling about Columbia. (150 words or fewer)
As you approach the “Why Columbia” essay, try to think of Columbia-specific experiences that appeal to you, and avoid writing about wanting to attend a prestigious school. You can discuss specific professors and the classes that they teach or check out some of the many clubs that Columbia has on campus! Special programs through Columbia are also fantastic to touch on and are definitely appealing to most future Columbia students! Most importantly, think about your past experiences and identity and try to express how you see yourself fitting into the student body at Columbia. You can discuss wanting to study in New York City as part of your response, but keep in mind that this should be in addition to your other reasons as there are plenty of other great schools you could attend in NYC!
As soon as I stepped into Butler Library, dwarfed by the soaring gold ceilings, I knew I wanted to continue my educational journey as a part of Columbia’s campus community. As I continue my research in music and psychology at Columbia, I’m excited to examine the neurobiological and cultural factors involved in creativity. I would be eager to work with Geraldine Downey, whose work on identity and social perception aligns with my own research interests. Her emerging research on intersecting identities as assets for coping with stress is an intriguing line of inquiry that I would like to explore taking her courses or participating in an independent study.
In combination with the Core Curriculum, I hope to not only better understand human thought and behavior through the study of psychology, but also develop a more nuanced and full understanding of the cultural and philosophical roots of such thoughts and behaviors.