Thoughts on Columbia GS

I am considering applying to Columbia GS in the future as well as transferring other schools. But, I have heard and witnessed many hate comments on GS a number of times. Some say that GS is not considered as a target school and GS students can't get along with other students. On the other hand, others say that they are not discriminated and do not have a problem with getting jobs they want. Is GS discriminated and not considered as target? What are your thoughts on transferring to Columbia GS? What schools can be viewed as equivalent to GS? I would appreciate any thoughts or advice.

Comments (28)

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  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jan 15, 2022 - 10:55pm

Current GS student here. Columbia GS is nothing like Harvard Extension or NYU SPS. We are in the same classes alongside Columbia College, SEAS, and Barnard students. It's actually less of a "different thing" than Barnard because you have to take the Columbia core requirements. While GS students are typically older (I am), there are a lot of traditionally-aged students now who are participating in dual-degree programs with colleges abroad (ex. Sciences Po in France).

You participate in OCR right along side everyone else and there are plenty of GS alums at BB/EB which is an EXTREMELY tight network. That said, I never encountered a CC alum who was hostile/uninterested. During my recruiting process, I never encountered anyone who cared that I was in GS rather than CC. Perhaps they were doing/saying different things behind my back but there are more than enough GS guys and gals on the street to talk to.

Happy to answer any more questions if you'd like to know anything else.

Jan 16, 2022 - 3:08pm
kylejoey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Have you had anything you didn't like about Columbia or specifically GS? How was your experience at Columbia realistically? Also, I probably have to work for a year during college because of my financial and family situation. But, I know many of GS students have longer time of gap years and experience. Would my gap year considered to be too short to apply there? Or even if I can apply, is it not competitive enough to get in? I'd like to know what kind of students they want and how I can fit in. 

Jan 16, 2022 - 8:59pm
wantthedream, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's just patently false. I am a current GS student doing SA at a BB in NYC this summer and I encountered absolutely no difference and neither did anyone else I went through recruiting with. The only person who said anything even remotely negative to me was a UChicago/Northwestern/WashU type who was probably butthurt that at the end of the day, Columbia GS is an Ivy and their ultra competitive hardo-factory school is not. You clearly do not go to Columbia because you have no idea what you are talking about. There are TONS of GS alums on the street- I networked with bankers I assumed were in CC and turns out they were in GS.

Jan 16, 2022 - 9:10pm
kylejoey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do you mind answering the same question I asked above? Have you had anything you didn't like about Columbia or specifically GS? How was your experience at Columbia realistically? Also, I probably have to work for a year during college because of my financial and family situation. But, I know many of GSstudents have longer time of gap years and experience. Would my gap year considered to be too short to apply there? Or even if I can apply, is it not competitive enough to get in? I'd like to know what kind of students they want and how I can fit in. 

  • VP in PE - LBOs
Jan 16, 2022 - 6:24pm

From Quora:

No. The School of General Studies is a regular undergraduate college at Columbia University with the same standing as any other undergraduate college at Columbia. This is what makes Columbia's School of General Studies different from all other top college schools for 'adults' or 'non-traditional students.'

Columbia has 4 undergraduate colleges, each with slightly different missions: Columbia College, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, General Studies, and Barnard College.

As a student at General Studies, you have the same choices for majors as Columbia College. You also have access to the same classes and take your classes with regular undergraduates. There are slight differences in requirements for the core classes.

The admissions process is different and the administration is different for GS so there are differences in things like tuition, scholarships, ability to take leaves of absence, etc. But you get the same diploma in the end and you take the same classes.

Jan 16, 2022 - 9:03pm
TommyPickles13, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I can tell you that there is no difference in hiring between GS and CC at the top levels. All the matters is what you did and how you performed.

As far as worrying about what others will think? Who cares. You take the same exact classes and if you do well, it just proves their assumptions wrong.

I'm currently in stem about to graduate with a 3.8+ gpa but god forbid I see myself as equal to CC when I do better than 95% of those students.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jan 16, 2022 - 9:11pm

Being older with a nontraditional background was seen as a major advantage by senior bankers I networked and interviewed with. Your average GS student is infinitely more equipped to handle the rigors of investment banking compared to some 20 year old kid. Maybe if more junior bankers were actually adults with a few years of life experience under their belt, you wouldn't hear as much whining and complaining about meany-pants seniors not treating them fairly. Boo hoo.

Jan 16, 2022 - 10:51pm
jackdongalass921, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well Columbia isn't particularly selective or have the right culture (a lot of diverse kids due to the big city in a blue state location), which makes it less attractive as a target (banks want WASPy guys who will bring in WASPy c-suite clients). Also doesn't have an undergraduate bschool, or enough prestige to wow clients.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jan 17, 2022 - 1:20pm

One of the most accurate posts in this thread. Columbia is generally non-target for everything except Barnard maybe for non-BB balance sheet banks (think DB, WF, RBC). I would liken Columbia to IU Kelly and USC Marshall as regional semi-target at best. Everyone knows that if you want to impress people with the NYC school you go to, NYU is the only choice.

Jan 17, 2022 - 7:23pm
FuzzyBlumpkin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Columbia GS gets you the exact same degree as kids that go to Columbia College, it is 1 of the 3 undergraduate schools, you go to the same classes and walk across the same stage when you graduate

Jan 17, 2022 - 7:35pm
kiril, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Graduated from GS and I'm working at a hedge fund. I didn't put General Studies on my resume when I recruit but I didn't see interviewers having any issue even when I talked about my non-traditional background

Feb 1, 2022 - 3:38am
hernandezarn5456, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Intern in IB - Cov
Mar 8, 2022 - 9:46am

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