Columbia University (New York City)
Students at Columbia University have to pass a swimming test before they graduate. Yes, you read that correctly. (except for engineering students, who have convinced the administration that they could build their way out of any flooding situation in which swimming might be required)
Aside from that requirement, Columbia’s Core Curriculum is very structured, with core courses comprising about a third of students’ course load over their four years.
Students are required to take classes in the humanities, literature and contemporary civilization, as well as writing, science and the arts. Columbia uses the core curriculum to help students see how their major areas of study are impacted by and influence other areas.
Columbia also puts a heavy emphasis on directing its students to become “global citizens.” More than a third of students study abroad – even engineers – during the school year, and more students travel during school breaks. Columbia even has a study abroad program in Antarctica for students interested in environmental science.
Columbia is the only college at which I’ve not just been told about the number of student groups on campus, but why that number is important. “Companies want to hire leaders,” said a Columbia Admissions Counselor.
Over half of Columbia professors live in the Morningside Heights neighborhood, and 97% of Columbia students live on campus for all four years. The subway stop is right outside the school’s gates and students take advantage of both work and play opportunities in New York City.