Columbia is an amazing place to be a student because you’re at an institution of some of the smartest professors and students but in a city where you can do almost anything you want. Being at an ivy league is pretty straight forward– I’ve had highly intellectual conversations on Friday nights for hours on end on quantum physics and to do it with friends who are intelligent and intellectually curious and stimulating makes it so much more enjoyable.
It’s a really interesting place to be from a social perspective. Most people have fake IDs freshman year, so you’re not bound to going to frat parties or drinking in your room. Getting to explore city nightlife definitely made me more mature and responsible (and irresponsible). The novelty of clubs and late nights every weekend does wear off pretty quickly though. It’s hard to not roll your eyes when friends who don’t go to college in the city talk about trashy frat parties and clubbing for the first time. In a way, going to school in the city toughens you up and makes you grow up faster.
Morningside Heights is a great location, because you can explore the city but still come back to a saturated community of other intellectually curious students. I differ from Matt’s view on campus housing and housing costs. For undergrad, it’s relatively affordable compared to what you’d be paying off campus. As such, it’s worth living in the dorms, especially since you can roll out of bed and make it to class within five minutes.
NYC also offers amazing professional growth opportunities. I think Columbia intentionally doesn’t schedule classes on Friday so students can take jobs or internships. Working on Fridays is a perfect way to get both money and/or experience, and since so many people do this, campus is quiet enough that you’re not missing much. By the time I got to my summer internships, I felt more experienced than my peers at other schools since they didn’t have as many internship opportunities during the school year.