Tuesday, June 28, 2016

FAQ: Picking the right math or statistics course, with or without AP scores

If you're planning to take Calculus, another mathematics class, or a Statistics class please see the advice on pp 34-35 of the First-Year Guide for advice based on your previous experience studying these subjects, reason for taking these classes, and AP or other test scores if applicable.  Please see below if you would like to review this information.

If you wish to take a course in the Mathematics Department in your first semester, consider the following placement information to select the course most appropriate to your level of preparation.

College Algebra and Analytical Geometry is a course for students who intend to take Calculus but need a stronger foundation in mathematics to prepare for it.

The systematic study of college-level mathematics begins with one of the following alternative sequences: Calculus I, II, III and IV or Honors Math A and B:
  • Calculus: The calculus sequence is a standard course in differential and integral calculus. 
    • Students who have not previously studied calculus should begin with Calculus I. 
    • Calculus II is not a prerequisite for Calculus III, so students who plan to take only one year of calculus may choose between I + II or I + III. Students with an AP exam score of 4 or higher (AB or BC) may start with Calculus II or III. Students with an AP score of 5 (BC) should start with Calculus III. 
    • Calculus III requires a B or better in Calculus I and is a recommended option for some majors. 
  • Honors Math: Honors Mathematics A-B is for exceptionally well-qualified students who have strong advanced placement scores. It covers second-year Calculus and Linear Algebra, with an emphasis on theory. Students who have an AP exam score of 5 (BC) and who have strong mathematical talent and motivation should start with Honors Mathematics A, whether or not they intend to be mathematics majors. Students who contemplate taking this course should consult with the instructor. If this is not possible ahead of time, they should register and attend the first class.
  • Introduction to Higher Mathematics is a course that can be taken in the first or second year by students with aptitude for mathematics who would like to practice writing and understanding mathematical proofs.
Enrollment in all Mathematics courses is tentative, so you may visit different classes and switch from one to another with relative ease during the first two weeks of the term. Students are encouraged to consult with the Mathematics instructors and the Department adviser during Orientation and the first week of classes for advice about placement. 


The Statistics Department offers several introductory courses:

Students interested in statistical concepts, who plan on consuming, but not creating statistics, should take Introduction to Statistical Reasoning. The course is designed for students who have taken a pre-calculus course, and the focus is on general principles. It is suitable for students seeking to satisfy Barnard quantitative requirements, but it may not count for Barnard majors that require Statistics – check departmental websites to be sure. 

Students seeking an introduction to applied statistics should take Introduction to Statistics. The course is designed for students who have some mathematical maturity, but who may not have taken a course in calculus, and the focus is on the elements of data analysis. It is recommended for pre-med students, and students contemplating the concentration in statistics. 

Students seeking a foundation for further study of probability theory and statistical theory and methods should take Calculus-Based Introduction to Statistics.  The course is designed for students who have taken a semester of college calculus or the equivalent, and the focus is on preparation for a mathematical study of probability and statistics.  It is recommended for students seeking to complete the prerequisite for econometrics, and for students contemplating the major in statistics. 

Students seeking a one-semester calculus-based survey of probability theory and statistical theory and methods should take Introduction to Probability and Statistics. This course is designed for students who have taken calculus, and is meant as a terminal course. It provides a somewhat abridged version of the more demanding sequence Probability Theory and Statistical Inference. While some mathematically mature students take the more demanding sequence as an introduction to the field, it is generally recommended that students prepare for the sequence by taking Calculus-Based Introduction to Statistics.

Monday, June 27, 2016

How to find out which courses satisfy Foundations requirements

The new registration software has a nifty tool that outlines for you which courses satisfy which requirements -  nifty, of course, once you know how to use it.

1) On the Plan & Schedule page with the calendar, slide your mouse over the "Student Planning" tab and select "Course Catalog" from the drop options.

2) Click on the first (or any) department that shows up on the first page.

3) This should appear on the left side of the following page. Go ahead and un-check "African Civilizatn."

4) After some loading, all of the courses in the Course Catalog should appear un-filtered. Scroll down on the new page until this filter box appears on the left side:

5) Go ahead and select "Show All Course Types." A long list will then become visible, and it's only this long because these requirement filters also include requirements for the old curriculum. Refer to pages 14-15 of the First-Year Guide to see the exact names of Foundations requirements. 

6) Select a requirement you might want to fulfill next semester. Let's start with Arts & Humanities. Check that filter box and the new reloaded page should have this at the top:

7) All of the courses that appear on the page are courses that fulfill that requirement. You may also need to filter for "Fall 2016." Peruse around and add one to your schedule when you find one that interests you and fits!

8) You're able to de-select Arts & Humanities and select another filter to see the list of courses that satisfy another requirement. If you want to just look at one, be sure to only select one filter at a time, or else it'll only show you courses that satisfy both filters. 

Keep in mind that this is still being updated. Y'all are the first pool to really use this software and it is still being updated. If there's something not there that you think should be, definitely contact us. For example, classes in the Statistics department aren't showing up under Quantitative and Empirical, but we anticipate that this will be fixed soon and other issues will be fixed soon! 

Green is GOOD in Student Planning

Several of you have asked how to tell if you have successfully registered:

If a class appears on your schedule or List of Courses in GREEN, then you have successfully registered for it.

This is true even if it says "This section is full."  If the course is GREEN, then you are among the students that is making this class full

This is true even if it says "This section has a waitlist." If the course is GREEN, you have registered, and other students are on the waitlist.

**Important reminder: if the green course is a limited-enrollment course ("L-Course") other than a Barnard First-Year Experience course, your registration will not be fully confirmed until the end of the summer.  There is a chance your registration will not be confirmed at that point, but there is nothing else you need to do now.

If a course that you have already attempted to add appears on your schedule or list of courses in YELLOW:

If the yellow course says "waitlisted" and has a yellow check, then you have successfully joined the waiting list. You will find out at the end of the summer if you get in off the waiting list.  There is nothing more that you need to do now.

If the yellow course has a red border in calendar view 

Or if it shows on your list of courses as "planned" but does not offer you the option to add the class or join a waiting list, it is a Barnard First-Year Experience course that is full and does not take a waiting list. You should add another section or a different course instead but may check back later to see if space becomes available. 

Reminder: First-Year Writing, First-Year Seminar, and Barnard PE classes do NOT take waiting lists

If you are trying to add a First-Year Experience course (FY Writing, FY Seminar, Barnard PE) and cannot because it is full, please note that these classes do not take waiting lists.  Please look for another section that fits into your schedule.  

For PE, if you can't add any PE class, you may add a dance class instead, or you may plan to take PE in the spring semester.

Many of you will be waitlisted for science, labs, Spanish and some other courses -- AND THAT'S OKAY

If you are trying to add a limited-enrollment class such as Biology, Chemistry, a lab, Spanish (or others), you may be asked if you want to join a waiting list.  

Please say yes, and please do not be discouraged!

Many (though not all) limited-enrollment classes are saving room for first-year students, so it is completely normal to be waitlisted at this stage.  You will learn later this summer if you actually get into these classes. It is wise to have a "Plan B" course or two in mind in case you need to change to a different section or course. That said, particularly for things like introductory biology and chemistry classes and labs, it is extremely likely that you will get a spot, even if not at your first-choice day/time.

If you joined a waiting list and tried to leave it, but the waitlisted class is still appearing on your program:
1.  We are aware of this issue, and Student Computing is working on it.
2.  This should not affect your ability to add a new class at the same time. Even if you get a warning message, you should be able to proceed.  Please let us know if this is not the case for you.

Three Student Planning issues with pop-ups preventing registration FIXED

Two Student Planning issues have been fixed. 

If your registration was prevented by any of the following inaccurate error messages, please log out, log back in again, and try to register again:

1.  If you were unable to register because of a pop-up saying you need to register for FY Writing or FY Seminar

2.  If you were unable to register because of a pop-up saying you need to register for PE

3.  If you were unable to register because of a pop-up saying you had an "overload" of more than 22 credits

If you are still having these or other problems, then please call or email to let us know (212-854-2024, first-year@barnard.edu).

Got questions about registration and Student Planning? Where to find answers

We hope that you were able to log in on Sunday to begin looking at Student Planning and start to "plan" your fall courses, and that when you log in today at your assigned time, that you will have no difficulty in adding courses.

If something does come up:

Click on the Student Planning FAQ link on the upper righthand portion of your myBarnard home screen:

If your question does not appear, then please contact the Dean of Studies Office:
(212) 854-2024

Friday, June 24, 2016

Issue with viewing Registration Appointment Times FIXED

The computer glitch that was causing many of you not to be able to see your registration appointment times has now been fixed.  Thank you to those of you who alerted us to this issue!

If you were having this problem, log out of myBarnard, log back in, and then try to view your times again following the instructions on this blog.  Do not attempt to find your times through the Columbia portal or any other website -- this will not work reliably during the summer process.

The Student Side: Life in the Residential Halls

Hey everyone! We’re going to dedicate this post to helping y’all anticipate living in the Barnard residential halls. Pretty soon you will all be moving into your room assignments in the Quad. The Quad is a complex of four interconnected residential halls (Sulzberger, Brooks, Reid, and Hewitt) on campus where all of the first-year students live. A variety of student services are also housed in the Quad, so even though all first-year students live there, other years are also in or near the Quad throughout their time at Barnard. The spatial setup of the Quad really does make for a great first-year residential community given that everyone is accessible to one another and it’s a living experience that everyone in your class shares together. It truly is a convenience that you don’t need to put on shoes to meet up with people!

(Read more after the break)

Welcome & some advice from the Dean for Health Professions Advising

Dear First Year Students,

I am thrilled to welcome you to Barnard. My name is Melinda Cohen, and I am the Dean for Health Professions Advising. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to guide and support you on your journey as you explore and prepare for a career in the health professions. I know it can be overwhelming to select your courses for your first semester, and even more daunting to consider what might be the "right" courses to take as a pre-med student. The good news is that is no "right" answer, and there are many options out there!  I hope you will take advantage of the information we have available for you on our Barnard Pre-Health website, our Pre-Health Blog, and on pp 17-19 of the First-Year Guide.

During their first year at Barnard, pre-med students typically take a laboratory science course. It's common for new students to start either with Biology (with laboratory) or with Chemistry (with laboratory). Students who have recently taken AP Biology may choose to begin with Biology for continuity, while students who have recently taken Chemistry and/or who feel comfortable with their quantitative (i.e. problem-solving) skills may choose to begin with Chemistry in order to begin the 5-semester Chemistry sequence. Either choice will work for you, so base your decision on your background and your interest. You should also consult the Biology and Chemistry department websites to determine the class most appropriate for you. 

Many pre-med students also choose to take a math course first semester -- either Calculus or a math-based Statistics course. You will be expected to have at least one semester of math to apply to the majority of medical schools. While you can wait to begin your math courses, you may feel that it is a good idea to start with Calculus I during your first year, because it will be a useful foundation for your Physics courses.

During her first semester at Barnard, a pre-med student's academic program will likely include:
  • a First-Year Experience course, 
  • an introductory science course with laboratory, 
  • a math or statistics course, 
  • a fourth course of the student's choosing. 
If you want to take four semesters of a foreign language because you are considering studying abroad, then the fourth course could be a language course. If you are considering a major in a field outside of the sciences in addition to your pre-med courses, the fourth course might be in that area of study. Or the fourth course could be something taken just to explore something new and interesting.

During Orientation week, I will hold Pre-Health Overview sessions. Any student who may be interested in exploring and preparing for a career in the health professions is strongly encouraged to attend. I will also be available to meet individually with students during orientation and throughout the school year. 

I wish you all the best!
Dean Cohen 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Advice from a science prof for students interested in science & health professions

A message for first-year students interested in science and health professions:

Dear First-Years,

Allow me to join the chorus of excited faculty and staff and welcome you to Barnard College! As way of introduction, my name is Dr. Jacob Alexander, and I am the Director of the General Chemistry Laboratory and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry. Over the years, I have done quite a bit of work with students interested in science (not just in chemistry!) and many of these were students interested in exploring a track which prepares them for one of the pre-health professions. This is the subject Dean Grabiner asked me to write about today, and I am happy to do so.

There are many possible paths for students interested in the pre-health professions, but for a First-Year student let’s focus on what to do immediately.

(more after the break)

FAQs, updates, and clarifications about Registration appointment times next week

When & how can I find my registration time?
Registration times should now be viewable on myBarnard. Follow the instructions on this previous blog post to look up your times.  Your first available time should be on Monday, June 27.  

What if I won't be around during my assigned time?
Your assigned registration time only indicates when you may begin registering for classes. If you can't make your specific time, you may log in later on Monday or any other day for the rest of the week, as long as it is during hours when Student Planning will be available for adding and dropping classes (see below).  If you won't be able to access the internet at all for the entire week of June 27 - July 1, please note that there will be an additional registration period for entering students in early August.  Stay tuned for more information.

What are the hours when Student Planning will be available?
  • For "planning" courses:  Student Planning will be available beginning on Sunday, June 26 at 9 a.m. and any time thereafter.
  • For adding and dropping courses:  Student Planning will be available beginning at your appointment time on Monday, June 27 and then for the rest of the day until 4 p.m. on June 27th.  For the rest of the week, Student Planning will be available for all entering first-year students 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., until 4 p.m. on Friday, July 1.
    • NOTE: the updated end time is 4 p.m., and not 4:30 as previously advertised -- we apologize for the inconvenience.

I don't see WebAdvisor when I log into myBarnard? Is something wrong?
Don't worry!  You should be able to see WebAdvisor and use it to log into Student Planning beginning on Sunday morning.

How can I tell what courses count for Foundations requirements like the Distributional Requirements or the Modes of Thinking?
When you log into Student Planning, you should be able to search for courses by Modes of Thinking, Distributional Requirements, and a variety of other criteria. When you look up individual courses, they should be coded to indicate which of the Foundations requirements they can fulfill.  Once the semester begins, courses that fulfill requirements will also show up under My Progress as "in progress."

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Important Information: reminder that preregistration for fall 2016 classes begins MONDAY

The text of this email will be sent today to all incoming first-year students:

Dear first-years,

It’s almost time to preregister for fall courses (beginning, Monday, June 27 at your appointment time), but before you do, be sure you are as prepared as possible by taking the following steps and/or reviewing the following information. There’s a lot of information here, so read it carefully, and review it when you are ready to complete the form. (The text of this email will also be posted to the FY Blog for reference).

1) Consider the general advice on pp. 24-25 of the First-Year Guide. You may also watch this Prezi for additional advice and info:

2) If you haven’t already done so, review the information posted on the FY Blog, which contains advice, registration instructions, screenshots, presentations, and videos with information on how to register and what to think about as you select courses.

3)  **NEW** Beginning at 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 26, you may log into Student Planning via myBarnard to explore the system and begin "planning" courses.  You will not be able to register until your registration appointment time, but you will be able to "plan" courses. If you've made a list of your First-Year Experience preferences and other courses of interest, you may plan them beginning on Sunday.  Don't know what it means to "plan" a course?  Watch these the Student Planning Tutorials on your myBarnard homepage or at this link:

4) When your appointment time begins on Monday, June 27, log into Student Planning via myBarnard and begin adding classes. We recommend that you

  • Start with your First-Year Writing or First-Year Seminar course
  • Then add additional courses that interest you
  • Finish by trying to add a Barnard PE or dance course. Note that there is room for a little more than half of the entering class to take PE/dance this fall, so don't worry if you can't get into one of these classes -- you can always take it in spring.

5) Remember that, during this period, you will be able to completely preregister for:

6)  Remember that, during this period, you will be able to add but will not be able to confirm enrollment in:

  • Limited-Enrollment courses ("L-Courses") other than Barnard First-Year Experience courses.  
  • Note:  L-courses will appear to be a fully-registered part of your academic program, but your registration will not be confirmed (or denied) until the end of the summer.
  • Advice: keep some "Plan B" courses in the "Planned" section of Student Planning, so that you can register for them efficiently if you don't get into an L-course you are hoping for. We ask that you plan but not register for any such "Plan B" options, so that everyone can have as accurate an idea as possible of how many spots are available in L-courses when it is possible to add and drop them during NSOP.

7) If you encounter technical difficulties or need advice or assistance during this process, please email first-year@barnard.edu or call the Dean of Studies Office during business hours (9-5 Monday through Thursday, 9-4 on Friday, July 1) at (212) 854-2024. If we cannot assist you, we will forward your problem to someone who can.

8)  Finally, even after you have registered for classes, please continue checking out the First-Year Blog at least once or twice a week. We will continue to post updates and information that addresses frequently asked questions of new students. So even while you’re relaxing this summer, I hope that you’ll stay tuned in: http://barnardfirstyear.blogspot.com/

Dean Grabiner

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Advice from Barnard departments and programs about courses recommended for first-year students

We've been hearing from many of you who are interested in exploring different subjects this fall and are curious where to start.

Watch this Prezi for information from Barnard Areas of Study about
  • What it means to study their subject at Barnard
  • Some courses that are particularly recommended for first-year students
Can't get the Prezi below to run?  Try this link instead:  http://prezi.com/3h5qtckpdbun/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Have more questions?  Check the individual departments' websites:  http://barnard.edu/areas-of-study

Monday, June 20, 2016

Opportunity: Virtual Lunch and Q & A with the Pre-Health Dean THIS FRIDAY 12-1 EDT

Are you considering a pre-med or pre-health track?

Looking for advice as you think about what courses to take this fall?

Then look no further!

Anyone who wants to learn more about course selection for pre-health students is invited to:

Virtual Lunch and Q & A with Melinda Cohen, Dean for Health Professions Advising
This Friday, June 24
12-1 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time
via Google Hangouts

There will be space for up to 100 students in this Google Hangout -- if we have more demand than we can accommodate, we will host additional Hangouts.  

If you want to participate in this hangout, you must RSVP by
1.  Logging into myBarnard and 
2.  Then clicking on and filling out this form.***
***Note that you must be logged into myBarnard/gBear in order to access the form and will also need to log into gBear (and enable Hangouts if you have not already done so) in order to participate.  All confirmed participants will be invited via gBear.  

FAQ: More info about signing up for First-Year Experience courses (FY Writing, FY Seminar, Physical Education)

Many of you have been asking about how exactly you will register for First-Year Writing, First-Year Seminar, and Physical Education courses during the June 27 - July 1 first-year preregistration period.  Here is some more info.

Unlike all other Limited-Enrollment courses, Barnard First-Year Experience courses (i.e. those that are required of all first-year Barnard students) will allow you to register in real-time this summer.  You will know immediately if you have successfully registered for:

How will this work in practice?
  • Prepare for your June 27 registration appointment by making  a list of 10 First-Year Experience that you would definitely be willing to take.  
    • If you are aware of any time constraints (varsity sport practice times, requirements for another degree, or important prerequisites for a prospective major or pre-health curriculum), it is your responsibility to select FY Experience courses that do not conflict with these other priorities.
    • You may use the forms on pp. 37-38 of the First-Year Guide to plan. 
  • When your registration appointment-time begins and you log into Student Planning via myBarnard, the first thing you should do is try to register for your first choice for FY Writing or FY Seminar, following the instructions from the Student Planning tutorials.  
  • If there is room for you in this class, you will be successfully registered for it and can move on to selecting other classes.
  • If there is not room for you in your first choice, you will not be able to add it.  First-Year Experience courses will not take waiting lists.
  • If there is not room for you in your first-choice course, move on to your second choice and attempt to register for that.  Keep doing this as needed, going through all the choices on your list until you are able to successfully register for one.  You may then move on to selecting other courses.
  • While PE courses are also limited and part of the real-time summer registration process, we recommend that you select your academic courses and then plan your PE course around those.

FAQ: AP credit

If you have taken AP exams and received scores for which Barnard may award credit, you should have the CollegeBoard testing service send the scores directly to Barnard's Registrar's office. To make this request, you will need to provide CollegeBoard with the appropriate code for Barnard College, which is 2038. There is no deadline by which the scores must be received in order to receive credit, but the sooner your scores are received, the sooner credit can be processed.

The Registrar's office will be recording the credits during the month of August, and by the end of the summer, you should be able to see the appropriate credits noted on your unofficial transcript on myBarnard.

AP scores are updated in students' myBarnard accounts on an individual basis throughout the summer, so it may be that will not be able to see the credits until shortly before Orientation. If you have questions about AP credit at that time, then you will be able to visit the Registrar's office (107 Milbank) once you are on campus.

Reminder: qualifying AP scores will count toward the 122 credits needed for graduation, but they will not exempt you from any course requirements.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Student Side: Introducing Anam Lakhani -- Summer Social Media Savant

Hey students! My name is Anam Lakhani and I will be giving you insight into what it is like to be a first year student here at Barnard. I am a rising sophomore planning to major in economics and minor in political science. I am from Syosset, New York in Long Island and love my cat more than anything.  I thoroughly enjoy traveling to various locations in Manhattan and sampling all the desserts and foods the city has to offer. In my free time, l end up re-watching episodes of “Gossip Girl” that I have previously seen 17 times.  When I am not being lazy or a glutton, I am involved in organizations such as Youth for Debate, an organization dedicated to teaching debate at underserved high schools, Athena Pre-Law Society, and Moneythink - a new organization that seeks to promote financial literacy within inner city high schools. I also try to hit the gym whenever I can and highly recommend it.
After completing my first year at Barnard, I can truly say there is no singular path or specific set of choices one can make to achieve success. You will soon learn that each individual at Barnard is unique and each student has their own journey and path. So before you start stalking current Barnard students on social media and begin pondering about your future college self, just remember your experience may be completely different from theirs. Whatever your journey may be, it will allow you to gain an abundant amount of knowledge not solely academic but also about yourself.

FAQ: Course Registration Part 2 -- How to use the online course registration system to sign up for classes June 27-July 1

We hope you are getting excited about picking classes! Here is some logistical information and links to video tutorials so you will know what to do and when to do it in order to preregister for fall 2016 classes

When will I be able to preregister for my fall classes?All entering students will be assigned registration times that begin on Monday, June 27. You will be able to register for courses beginning at your start time or any time between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. throughout that week, until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 1.

How will I know when my assigned registration time begins?

Find your time by logging into myBarnard.
UPDATE 6/20/16: appointment times will be uploaded later this week -- if you don't see times yet, nothing is wrong; please check again later.

First, click on the ACADEMICS tab

Then, look under "myAcademic Record" in the right-hand column and click on "View Registration Appointment"

This will give you a list of your assigned registration times -- plan to start adding and dropping classes during the first time listed if at all possible.  Note that all times are United States Eastern Time -- don't forget to convert to your own time zone if you are elsewhere!

How will I register for classes?
Barnard uses a program called Student Planning for online registration.  Tutorials with step-by-step instructions on how to use this program are available as a link on your MyBarnard Homepage. Look for this button:

Or, you can go directly to this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwM8eaehWy_1aDS8vp48OYA

What do I need to know about Student Planning?
We highly recommend that you view the Student Planning Tutorial videos (link provided above) well in advance of your assigned registration time. These short videos will provide you with the information necessary to access and use Student Planning for the upcoming Course Registration periods beginning on June 27.

You do not meet with your adviser during the summer, or get any kind of approval for dropping and adding during the summer. You will get to -- and indeed be required to -- meet with your advisers to discuss, adjust, and finalize your fall schedule during NSOP and the beginning of the semester.

How will I keep track of all of my requirements?
On myBarnard, you will see a link called “My Progress.” You will be able to view a General Education Requirement audit in this window, to track which which General Education Requirements (Foundations) you fulfill as you complete coursework.  As an entering student, you will not yet have completed any of these requirements, but you will be able to see which of your prospective courses can fulfill requirements

A Major Requirements Audit will be available when you declare a major, you will also be able to look at requirements for possible future majors.  A word of caution:  the Major Audit is still under construction. BCIT will be working on this part of Student Planning throughout the summer. You should continue to work with your advisers and the Registrar’s office and look at departmental websites to learn about major requirements. The Registrar’s Office will be working over the summer to confirm that major audits will be ready in the Fall.

FAQ: science laboratory courses

Every Barnard student will take at least two science classes during her years at Barnard, at least one of which must be accompanied by a laboratory. Whether you decide to include a science laboratory course in your first semester will depend on why you plan to take a science course:
  • You may be interested in pursuing a science and want to start the foundational work right away.
  • You may be interested in preparing for graduate work in the health professions, which will require you to take several different science laboratory classes.
  • You want to get started on fulfilling the Science requirement (one of the distributional requirements for all students).
If you plan to take science courses only to fulfill the Science requirement, you could choose to do so earlier or later in your Barnard career.

If you plan to pursue a pre-med or other pre-health professional track, then you could start with Biology, Chemistry or Physics. You can learn more about the introductory sequence of courses in each department on their websites:

Note: Students sometimes ask about science laboratory courses offered at Columbia. In general, we strongly encourage Barnard students to consider these classes for their laboratory science requirements. Barnard science classes are often somewhat smaller than Columbia classes, Barnard science professors are very accessible, and Barnard science departments offer a great deal of support through supplemental instruction meetings, help rooms, tutoring, office hours, etc. Columbia science courses are open to Barnard students, but typically the support for these classes is more limited. Also, in some cases, the sequence of the introductory courses is different from that offered at Barnard. If you are interested in pursuing science classes at Columbia, you are encouraged to discuss them during Orientation with your academic adviser and with faculty from the relevant Barnard department to make sure that you understand the options available to you.

FAQ: foreign language classes

On p. 32 of the First-Year Guide, you will find information about starting or continuing your foreign language study at Barnard. It is natural for new students to have questions about where to begin their studies, particularly if they already have some background in a language. Here is some additional information that may be helpful in thinking about how to estimate your level in a Barnard language department:

To fulfill the foreign language requirement at Barnard, all students must complete two semesters of language study at Barnard or Columbia, regardless of previous language study or proficiency. In most language departments at Barnard and Columbia, the course sequence typically goes by the following course titles: Elementary I, Elementary II, Intermediate I, Intermediate II.  Beyond Intermediate II, there are a variety of advanced grammar, conversation, and content-based courses offered.

If you are starting a foreign language that is new to you, you should start with Elementary I. No placement exam is necessary to enroll in an Elementary I language course.

If you have a background in a foreign language and do not need to start from the basics, you may determine your placement using one of the following means:
  • Use SAT II scores as outlined on p. 32 of the First-Year Guide 
  • If you don't have SAT II scores or believe they are not an accurate representation of your ability, you can take a placement test during NSOP -- the placement exam schedule will be included in the NSOP schedule
  • For Spanish only: if you don't have SAT II scores or believe they are not an accurate representation of your ability:  you should take the online Spanish placement test available through myBarnard this summer
If your language level won't be confirmed until NSOP, you can preregister this summer based on your best guess:  One way to understand the levels is:
  • Elementary I as "no comfort with the language at all," 
  • Elementary II as "somewhat comfortable with the basics of the language," 
  • Intermediate I as "fairly comfortable with the basics and somewhat comfortable with some advanced grammar and vocabulary" and
  • Intermediate II as "fairly comfortable with advanced grammar and vocabulary." 
In all probability, this index won't completely clarify the matter for you, but it may give you a bit more confidence in estimating a level for now.

If you take the placement exam during Orientation and receive a different result from the level you chose during the summer, the language department and your adviser will work with you to find a place in an appropriate course. But students often do a good job in estimating their level in advance, so it's best to have the space reserved in a class over the summer, just in case.

Note for students considering study abroad: Many study abroad programs require students to demonstrate proficiency equivalent to four semesters of college language study.  Check the Barnard Study Abroad website for specific programs and requirements, but in general, if you are beginning a language from scratch and want to study abroad in a country where that language is spoken, we recommend that you begin studying that language in your first semester

There is a lot of activity in foreign language classes during the first week of classes, as students work with instructors to make sure they are in the class most suited for their level or move to other levels or section times. So make your best choice for now, knowing that you can  revisit the question when you get to campus and have lots of people to help you finalize your placement.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Student Side: Introducing Lili Brown -- Communications & Office Assistant

Hello Class of 2020!

My name is Lili Brown and I am gearing up for a summer of helping y'all transition your way into living and learning as a Barnard student. As the Communications and Office Assistant for the Dean of Studies, I'll be receiving and answering your email and telephone inquiries (along with Anam) as well as adding my two cents to this blog where needed.

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and am earning a Double Degree from Barnard and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where by May 2018 I will graduate with a BA from each institution. At Barnard, I'm a History major with a concentration in Gender & Sexuality, while at JTS I'm pursuing a degree in Jewish Literature. Outside of class, I coordinate a program called AllSex, which is a peer-facilitated discussion group that covers all topics related to gender and sexual identities, give tours as a Barnard Student Admissions Representative, organize with a couple of groups that are within the Barnard Columbia Solidarity Network, and, as the picture shows, love to eat at the Diana Center, our student center with a personally beloved dining facility (I think it was specifically beef chili that day). I am happy to answer questions about anything listed above and am prepared to answer questions about all other things Barnard!

Working through the anticipation to the fall can be at times overwhelming - I hope to best use my experiences here at Barnard as well as my not too distant memories of being in your shoes towards making this summer as navigable as possible for you. We're all looking forward to hearing from y'all soon and showing you the variety of the Barnard experience.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Technical issues with First-Year Advising Questionnaire being fixed

If you have successfully completed and submitted your Advising Questionnaire, you're all set, and there is no need to take further action.

If you started your First-Year Advising Questionnaire but did not finish it -- and then tried to return to it but got a message saying you had already completed the Questionnaire and could not return to it -- don't worry!  We are addressing this technical issue, and you should receive an email by the end of the week with an updated link and instructions on how to finish your questionnaire.

If you have not yet begun your First-Year Advising Questionnaire, check your Barnard email for an invitation and personalized link.

The questionnaire is due July 1 and will help us to match you with an academic adviser, and will also help your adviser to learn a little bit about you.

FAQ: Course Registration Part 1

Courses. We know registration is on everyone's minds right now. There are two questions that we have been getting a lot and we want to address them

Q: I have tried to sign up for courses and the link is not working. Is something wrong?
A: Course registration goes live on June 27 and ends on July 1. You may log in any time 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time during that week to plan your schedule.  You may begin adding and dropping courses at your assigned preregistration time.

Q: I will not have internet access from June 27-July 1. How can I sign up for courses?
A: There will be another preregistration window in August (stay tuned for details).  Since preregistration is first-come, first-served, we highly recommend that you sign up for courses during the June 27-July 1 window if at all possible, but you will have the opportunity to make changes in early August and again when you arrive on campus and have the chance to consult with your adviser.

As always, feel free to call or email with any other questions! 

Monday, June 13, 2016

FAQ: "limited enrollment" and "open enrollment" courses

Some classes at Barnard and Columbia are "open enrollment" courses: there is no limit to how many students can enroll in the course (except for the size of the assigned classroom).

Some classes at Barnard and Columbia have set "caps" – i.e., a maximum number of students who can be enrolled in the course. These classes might be considered "limited enrollment" courses (also known as "L-courses") and have caps noted online; sign-up for these courses is generally done on a first-come, first-served basis. Professors also have the prerogative to set their own internal caps on classes, which they may determine during the first week of classes, and they may use varying criteria (e.g., seniority, declared major, academic background) to determine who can remain in the class if too many people are vying for places.

How can I tell if a course is limited or open?

If a class listed in the Columbia Directory of Classes lists a maximum number of students, it is a Limited-Enrollment course, and you may preregister over the summer, but your registration will not be confirmed (or denied) until the end of the summer.  The exception to this rule is Barnard First-Year Experience Courses: you may fully preregister for any Barnard First-Year Writing or First-Year Seminar course, and for any Barnard PE or Dance course, provided there is space available.

If a class listed in the Columbia Directory of Classes does not list a maximum number of students, you may assume that it is open-enrollment, and that you can fully preregister this summer, unless the course description or other notes warn you otherwise.

If a course is full now, does that mean I won't be able to take it?

Not necessarily. In fact, at this stage of the summer, many courses have artificially low caps -- the registrar does this to save room for entering first-year students, so that all the spots don't get filled by upper-class students before new students get a chance to register.  Any class that is saving space for first-years will have its capacity increased in time for the June 27th new-student registration week.

As you will hear again and again, the summer placement process is the first stage in a planning process and it will give you a starting point for the semester, so that you have a tentative course schedule when you walk onto campus. But because some spaces may open up – either because they simply weren't available during the summer, or because students change their enrollments and drop their places in courses – you will be able to consider other courses, to talk with professors and advisers, and to see if space is available in other courses of interest. Then, if you want to make certain changes, your adviser and your dean will be ready to help you. So use this summer process as a way to start your thinking and to make your first steps toward a plan for the fall, but know that nothing is set in stone until you've made it through Orientation, visited your first classes, and talked things over with your adviser.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

FAQ: Preregistration for Fall 2016

As noted in the First-Year Guide you will be able to preregister for fall courses online beginning on June 27.

NOTE: Your summer course selections represent a preliminary academic program – your final program will not be confirmed until you meet with your adviser during NSOP to discuss your choices.

To preregister for fall courses this summer:

  • Log into myBarnard as early as Monday morning, June 27, and no later than Friday, July 1, and follow the directions for course registration.

  • All entering students will be assigned a registration start time between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Monday, June 27 – you will be able to register for courses beginning at your start time or any time between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. throughout that week, until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 1. 

  • Regardless of your assigned registration start time, you will be able to log in and begin planning your fall academic schedule beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, June 27. Consider doing this to save time if your registration window opens later that day. 

  • During the summer preregistration period, you will be able to fully preregister for:
    • Barnard First-Year Experience courses, i.e.:
      • First-Year Writing or First-Year Seminar
      • PE or Dance at Barnard
    • Columbia or Barnard courses designated as “Open-Enrollment,” meaning there is no limit to the number of students who may enroll.

  • During the summer preregistration period, you will be able to preregister but will not yet be able to confirm enrollment in:
    • Columbia or Barnard courses designated as “Limited-Enrollment” (also known as “L-courses”) Registration for these courses will be confirmed (or denied) at the end of the summer. When you arrive on campus for NSOP, you will have the opportunity to add and drop L-courses if needed. 

Once you have selected your courses, don’t forget to fill out the Adviser Questionnaire – check your Barnard email for instructions.

Feel free to ask questions by emailing first-year@barnard.edu or by calling (212) 854-2024. You will have the opportunity to make changes to your schedule in early August, and again when you arrive on campus for NSOP – keep watching the First-Year Blog for updates.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Important Information: Academic Guide to Your First Year at Barnard College 2016-2017

We hope that many of you have now received your packet of information from the First-Year Class Dean's office, which includes the Academic Guide to Your First Year at Barnard College 2016-2017.

If you are still waiting to receive the Guide and want a chance to read over the information, you can access the contents of the Guide (in a printable .pdf file) in the righthand column of the First-Year Class Notes website.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Important Information: New Barnard (and Columbia) Email Accounts

If you have questions about your new myBarnard account and/or your new Barnard email account, contact Student Computing at Barnard. Visit their website to find their contact information and to read answers to frequently asked questions.

Important Note: As with all of your email accounts, be wary of phishing emails that ask you for personal information. Remember that neither Barnard nor Columbia (nor, for that matter, any reputable business or organization) will ever ask you to provide your login, password or Social Security Number in an email. DO NOT REPLY to any mail that does ask for such personal information. If you have questions about any email that you receive which asks for such information, please email Student Computing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Welcome, Class of 2020!

This message was sent by email today to all new students in the Class of 2020:

Hello! This is the first of so many messages that you’ll be receiving from the First-Year Class Dean's office over the next year, which will explain procedures that you need to follow, inform you of policies that you need to know, and remind you of upcoming deadlines that you need to meet. So whenever you see "Barnard First-Year" or “First-Year Class Dean” pop up in your inbox, please be sure to read the emails carefully to make sure that you’re informed and ready for what’s coming up next.

In this email you’ll find information about the following:
1) The Academic Guide to Your First Year at Barnard College, mailed to you this week;
2) A questionnaire you'll be filling out to help us match you with your academic adviser
3) The First-Year Blog;
4) Our wonderful Summer Programming Assistants; and
5) Dates for Family Weekend in the fall semester.

Read on for more details (after the jump):

Thursday, May 19, 2016

More coming soon...

Welcome to the First-Year Blog, a resource for the Class of 2020 about requirements, deadlines, curriculum, opportunities, advice, and more.

Beginning in early June, and continuing throughout the school year, Barnard first-year students should get in the habit of checking this blog once or twice a week to make sure you're aware of important information.