Monday, July 27, 2015

FAQ: banks in the neighborhood

If you are coming to Barnard from a different part of the country or a different part of the world, you may need to find a new bank in New York. Click here for a list of the major banks in the Morningside Heights neighborhood.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Student Side: Advising Part 1

Hello again bold, beautiful Barnard women! After a brief hiatus, it's time once again for everyone's favorite Student Side posts! This week's topic: advising.

Flashback to the summer before my first year at Barnard. I had just finished submitting my courses, and was now second-guessing everything I had put in. All I wanted was for someone to mentor me and help me figure out if I was doing this college thing correctly.

Now come back to the present. As a tour guide, I always mentioned how great the Barnard advising system is. Every adviser is either a faculty member or administrator, so they know the ins and outs of Barnard academics. They are here to help you with your first forays into college.

Your first advising meetings will take place during NSOP (New Student Orientation Program). You'll have a group meeting with your adviser and all of their other advisees, where you'll:
- Learn a little bit about who your adviser is and meet fellow advisees
- Get general information about course selection, approval, requirements, and some ideas about how to think about these things
- Make an appointment to meet one-on-one during NSOP or the first week of classes

During your individual advising meeting, you will have the opportunity to:
- Review your program for Fall 2015. Note: your academic program is not final until your adviser approves it both in person and on myBarnard.
- Ask any and all questions regarding academics.
- And most importantly, you will be able to introduce yourself, get to know your adviser, and begin to develop a relationship with them.

As a former (slightly neurotic) first year, here are some tips I have about going into that first one-on-one advising meeting:
- Come in with questions. Your adviser can help you better if they know what you need help with.
- If you are in a specific program, on a specific track, or hoping to go abroad, let them know. It will be easier for your adviser to help you with any potential long-term planning if they know what you are hoping to accomplish. This does not mean you can't change your mind!
- Ask your adviser how to best get in touch with them. Some professors and administrators prefer email, while others might give you their office phone number or have a website where you can make appointments.
- If you need help: ask. Your adviser isn't a mind reader. While they're there for you, they need some information before they can assist you.

One caveat to add: While your adviser is here to guide you, and you will receive reminder emails from Dean Grabiner and the Registrar, you are ultimately responsible for meeting deadlines. Make sure to write down the deadlines (found on the right hand side of the blog) and stay on top of them. It is your responsibility to take initiative in meeting with your adviser every semester.

Keep in mind that the NSOP advising meeting is just the first one. While I have mentioned that you can start developing a relationship, and begin doing long-term planning, these things take time. Like everything else in college, this first advising meeting is about balance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

FAQ: what to bring to campus

Move-in is only a few weeks away! As you're thinking about what to bring to campus, check out this list of suggestions for new students on the Residential Life website.

There is also similar information in the material you've received from the First-Year Focus Director of Residential Life, so be sure to look for the newsletter attached to one of her emails.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Meet the Office: Well-Woman

From the Well-Woman Program Office:

Jessica Cannon, Coordinator of Health Promotion and Education, BC '03

Interested in wellness, yoga, knitting, stress management, cooking, blogging or activism? Check out Well-Woman! Well-Woman promotes the health and wellness of Barnard students through peer education, educational programming, individual health behavior consultation, campus-wide health campaigns, community outreach and advocacy. We are a resource for students to learn about their physical, mental, and spiritual health, and we work to support women’s individual self-care and the health of the community. We also educate students about how to find and use health resources at Barnard and in the community.

The most important part of Well-Woman? Our wonderful peer educators—students trained to present workshops and campus events on sexual health, nutrition, body image, healthy relationships, stress management and more in residence halls, to campus groups, and in the community. Being a part of the Peer Ed program is a great way to get involved on campus if you're interested in health and wellness.

Stop by 119 Reid (right in the Quad!) to chat with a staff member during the day or a peer educator in the evening, to browse our library, ask questions, or just relax on one of our massage chairs with a cup of tea. Or check us out online. We look forward to welcoming you to Barnard!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Opportunity: #BarnardReads -- Summer Reading & NSOP Discussion with Professors

Now that you’ve finished selecting courses, we hope you’re excited to start classes. One of the things that makes Barnard so special is the relationships that you form with your professors and classmates. Why wait till you get to campus to start experiencing this enriching academic community? To help you get a preview of what academic life at Barnard is like, the Dean of Studies Office and the NSOP Committee invite you to join a new summertime community reading program: Barnard Reads.

Six Barnard professors and deans have each selected a book, article, essay, or poem that is representative of the kind of texts you’ll be reading as a Barnard student. You are invited to read any or all of these “Barnard Reads” over the summer. Then, during NSOP, these same professors will lead discussions of these texts.  

Your choices are:

Feminist explorations with Professor Wendy Schor-Haim
Begin your collegiate feminist explorations during NSOP! Join 2014 Emily Gregory award winner Professor Wendy Schor-Haim in discussing chapter 6 of Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and June Jordan’s “Many Rivers to Cross. [you must be logged into gBear to open this link]

The power of small choices with Professor Rajiv Sethi
How do small  choices affect our lives in a big way? Join professor of economics Rajiv Sethi, to discuss this  question using Thomas C. Schelling’s book Micromotives and Macrobehavior.

Can creativity save us? with Professor Ronald Briggs
In a world full of missed signals and misunderstanding, can creativity save us? Join Professor Ronald Briggs of the Spanish and Latin American Studies Department in answering this question using Valeria Luiselli’s Faces in the Crowd either in English or the original Spanish.

The “mother as other” with Dean James Runsdorf
Is motherhood an “othering” experience? Join the Junior Class Dean Jim Runsdorf in discussing “the mother as other” using Jamaica Kincaid’s coming-of-age novel Annie John.

Virtuous, Phenomenal, Perfect - Perspectives on Womanhood with Dean Avis Hinkson
How do you define womanhood? Join Dean of the College Avis Hinkson in discussing how Proverbs chapter 31, Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman,” a Huffington Post article on perfection, and your own life experiences, influence your view on womanhood.

Ethics and prospects of embryonic genome manipulation with Professor Brian Morton
What are the implications, both practical and ethical, of embryonic genome manipulation? Join biology Professor Brian Morton in discussing this issue using two recent New York Times articles.

Can’t wait till NSOP to start discussing these texts? Post a question or a thought in the Class of 2019 Facebook group or tweet at us at @BCFirstYear, with the hashtag #barnardreads.

If you have any questions about where to find print or electronic versions of these readings, email

Happy reading!
Your friends in the Dean of Studies Office and the NSOP Committee

Meet the Office: NYC Civic Engagement Program

From the NYCCEP Office:

Are you interested in community service?  Do you want to learn more about nonprofit and public sector organizations in New York City?  Check out the New York City Civic Engagement Program at Barnard!

The New York CityCivic Engagement Program (NYCCEP) encourages students to become active, engaged citizens in New York City and beyond. NYCCEP hosts a variety of initiatives such as the Barnard Reach Out program (consisting of single day campus-wide community service projects), the Extended Barnard Reach Out program for first-years and transfer students, the Civic Engagement Fellowship Program, and Community Service Fairs. NYCCEP also certifies community service hours for students interested in applying for the President's Volunteer Service Award. NYCCEP is also home to the America Reads/ America Counts and Barnard C.I.T.Y.(Community Involved in Tutoring Youth) programs.

Clickhere to read even more about NYCCEP’s programs.

Coming soon: Barnard Reach Out Community Service Projects in November and on MLK Day. You will receive more information within the upcoming weeks!

Please feel free to contact Adeline Medeiros, Associate Director for Civic Engagement at or 212-854-4214 if you have any questions about NYCCEP. You can also "Like"NYCCEP's Facebook page, and/or sign up for the NYCCEPNewsletter to receive weekly program updates and civic engagement-related announcements.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Still working on your fall program? Watch this!

If you're still working on your fall 2015 academic program of courses, this presentation may help you clarify your decision-making:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

DEADLINE: submission of your Academic Information Form

Below is the text of an email sent to all incoming first-year students today:

Dear first-years,

I’m writing to remind you that tomorrow – Wednesday, July 15 – is the deadline for submitting your First-Year Academic Information Form online through myBarnard.

Many of you have already submitted your form, and if you have any doubt about whether your online submission went through, you can simply try to access the form again online. If your form was submitted successfully, you should see only the first page of the form, along with the notation "Submission Completed" at the bottom.  It should look like this:

If you are still able to access a blank form, then your form has not yet been successfully submitted. Remember that you must go through a two-step process to submit the form: you must first “verify” the information that you have input into the form (and that would also be the moment to print the form for your records), then you must “submit” the verified form.

If you are still in the process of making your decisions and completing the form, please let us know if you have questions by emailing us at or calling us at 212-854-2024 before 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) tomorrow. The form will remain open tomorrow until 11:00 p.m. EDT.

Remember that, while we hope to accommodate everyone’s preferences to the greatest extent possible, there is also a certain element of chance and luck in the placement process. So try not to be too nervous about these initial selections: they will help give you a starting point, but you will learn a lot of information during Orientation and have a lot of face-to-face conversations with people on campus, and we can help you adjust your plan as needed during those first weeks on campus.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check the FY Blog ( regularly throughout the summer. In the weeks to come, we will be posting information about the new and exciting summer reading program, advice about adjusting your first year of college, as well as information about campus resources that will be available to you as a Barnard student. So stay tuned in!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

DEADLINE: submission of your Academic Information Form

Remember that the deadline to submit your Academic Information Form (online through myBarnard) is this Wednesday, July 15, at 11:00 p.m. EDT.

If you have any questions about selecting your course preferences or about submitting the form, please call or email us before 5:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Meet the Office: Disability Services

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) serves students with all types of disabilities including visual, mobility and hearing disabilities and students with invisible disabilities such as chronic medical conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, severe food allergies), learning disabilities/ADD, psychological disabilities (e.g., anxiety and depression), cognitive disabilities, and substance use/recovery.

Our aim is to provide support services to students, faculty and staff which encourage Barnard students with disabilities to become self-sufficient in managing their own accommodations. We can assist you with your disability-related needs both in and out of the classroom, including

  • disability housing requests
  • classroom and test accommodations
  • self-advocacy training
  • academic coaching
  • learning strategies
  • other ODS resources and referrals

We believe that accessing your accommodations is an integral part of ensuring your academic success at Barnard College! Accommodations are not retroactive, so it’s best to contact ODS early to set up your accommodation plan. In college, accommodations will not be put in place for you until you self-identify to the ODS staff and have an intake meeting to set up accommodations for your courses.  We invite you to contact us this summer to ask to be put on our incoming student list, and if you live locally we’d love to meet you for your intake meeting this summer! If you’re out of town and only plan on arriving to campus for New Student Orientation Program then it’s best to call us this summer to schedule an intake meeting for the first week of school!

If you are a student with a disability, we encourage you to register with us, even if you are not sure whether you'll need accommodations. To register with ODS, you will need to have an intake meeting with an ODS staff member. You may call the office at (212) 854-4634 or email to set up an appointment time.

What happens at an ODS intake meeting?
You can expect to review your disability documentation with an ODS staff member and to discuss what accommodations you have used in the past and what types of accommodations you will be eligible for at Barnard College.  If you have this meeting in summer or fall, you will meet with Accommodations Coordinator, Nicole Bartolotta.

We look forward to meeting you!  Welcome to Barnard College!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

DEADLINE: submission of statement of interest for enrichment courses

Next Wednesday, July 15, is the deadline for letting us know if you are interested in any of the math or science enrichment or supplemental courses available to first-year students. Please note that a "statement of interest" should be a short paragraph, not only stating your interest in taking the course but providing some detail about why the course appeals to you.

Details about the courses were posted on the FY Blog earlier in the summer; those earlier postings are linked here:
Please note that these courses are limited in size, so placement is not guaranteed. If we are able to place you into one of the courses, you will find out when you receive your preliminary course schedule at the end of the summer.

If you have questions, please email the First-Year Class Dean's office.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Opportunity: Barnard Network of Premedical Students

Interested in being pre-med and want some support? Check out this guest blog post the board of the Barnard Network of Premedical Students:

Hello Class of 2019!  

Excited to get to campus this fall? Excited to meet new friends and connect with current students? Want to get a jumpstart on your science life, planning, and curriculum at Barnard?

If so, the Barnard Network of Premedical Students (Barnard NPMS) has just the thing for you! In addition to joining the club this fall, we encourage you to sign up for a new program we will be running called the “Buddy System”. The Buddy System is a mentoring program that will match interested, incoming first-year and sophomore students with upperclass students (juniors and seniors) who are also pursuing the pre-medical track. NPMS’s General Body largely consists of students with a diverse range of interests and with a focus in the health sciences! Our mission is to create a helpful and encouraging environment among students in the sciences through networking and fostering a sense of community. Many students are on a “pre-med” track, but all are welcome! 

As the fall nears, we will be sending out a survey to better gauge incoming students’ personal interests to try to best match them with upperclass students for the Buddy System. We will be planning an event at the beginning of the school year for you to meet your buddies.  Furthermore, throughout the school year, there will be time allotted in our meetings to stay connected with your buddies. Although we plan to give this structured time, we hope that you and your buddy will reach out to each other for advice, mentoring, and friendship on your own time as well!
Enjoy the rest of your summer and we look forward to getting to know you all very shortly this coming fall!

-Barnard’s Network of Premedical Students 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

FAQ: music performance opportunities

If you may be interested in taking music lessons, either instrumental or vocal, you can find out more information on the Music Performance Program website here.

You can also learn about the variety of music performance groups in which you might participate (click through the pages by using the link underneath the "Mission" text for even more groups).

If you are interested in lessons and/or performance groups, you will need to be ready to audition at the beginning of the fall semester. You can learn more about the audition schedule and requirements on the respective websites, and if you have specific questions, please contact the Music Performance Program.

Monday, July 6, 2015

FAQ: Course Selection Part 3

We have been getting a lot of great questions over the past week about course selection. Hopefully this latest FAQ roundup will answer many of them.

Q: I don't want to take all of my courses in the "five additional courses" section. Do I still have to put in five?

A: Yes. The form will not physically let you submit unless you have five courses put in. However, the computer system places you into courses in a series of lotteries.  These are run in the order in which they appear in the form. This means that the computer schedules first-year English/Seminar classes first, then science, math, foreign language, and lastly your additional courses.

Q: Can I take an upper-level course or a Columbia course that isn't listed in the first year guide?

A: Potentially, but not during this summer course-selection process. The courses listed in the first-year guide are a) the ones that each department has recommended as appropriate for first years and b) the ones where we have reserved spaces for you. If you feel that you are capable of taking a certain upper-level class, you can try to get into it. If you are unsure of whether a class is appropriate for you, speak to your adviser or the department. In terms of Columbia classes, there may not be space in the ones we haven't listed in the guide. In August you will have the opportunity to add/drop classes. That's when you can try to add upper level and/or Columbia classes to your fall schedule.

Q: I haven't gotten my AP or IB scores back yet. Should I still register for classes?

A: It depends. If you think you're going to get AP scores back before July 15th then you can wait if this information will affect your course selection. If you are not going to get your scores back before course selection closes, then you should pick courses based on your best guess at this point. If you have questions about specific exemptions or credits, check pages 22-23 of the first year guide or this post.

Q: I want to take a PE class but there's no place to sign up for one on the course preference form.

A: On the form you should indicate that you want to take your PE in the fall. Then, during the first week of classes you will enter the lottery. For a full list of PE classes being offered look here. If you have a specific class that you want to take, try to sign up for classes that won't conflict.

Q: How permanent is this schedule?

The answer is different for everyone. During NSOP (New Student Orientation Program), you will have the opportunity to meet with your adviser and add/drop classes. However, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get into the new classes that you want at that point. While some people can drastically change their schedules, others won't be able to. It's important to register for courses that you can see yourself taking. However, you can also try to shuffle your schedule once you get here. Important: the one class that you are locked into is your first year seminar or English class.  

Still have questions that aren't answered on the blog or in the First-Year Guide?
Email us at

Opportunity: Athena Digital Design Fall Coding Course

A message from the Athena Digital Design Agency:

Are you interested in...
Learning how to code?
Developing relationships with small businesses and non-profits? 
Entering the field of technology? 
Making some extra money?

If so, you should apply to participate in ADDA's Fall Coding Course.

NO CODING EXPERIENCE or computer science background will be required for participation, and applications will be open to ALL Barnard students.

Once you have successfully completed the course (custom web design & development training), you will have the opportunity to join the Athena Digital Design Agency, which connects local businesses and organizations with students to help build or maintain their web sites.

Applications are due July 31st.
Once you have taken an ADDA course you can apply to join the Student Advisory Board:
Members of the Student Advisory Board take on a leadership position on the agency startup team in various capacities ranging from project management, finance, marketing, and more. No coding knowledge is required and SAB members take the ADDA class with the rest of the cohort in the Fall. Applications for admission into the student advisory board are now open.

Athena Digital Design Agency's HTML/CSS Application Available Here:

Athena Digital Design Student Advisory Board Application Here:

Courses are subsidized by seed money awarded by the Athena Center, studenst who apply this Fall should plan to pay a course fee of $75 for the class, but note that ANY STUDENT in need of help securing those funds should apply and request funding through scholarships or a payment plan. We will not turn anyone down because of lack of funds.

Meet the Office: Registrar

This is the first in a series of "Meet the Office" posts, designed to introduce you over the summer to some of the many student services and programs on campus. You can look forward to meeting the faces behind these programs during Orientation week. In the meantime, feel free to browse the linked websites to learn more.

Registrar's Office 
107 Milbank Hall (conveniently next to the Dean of Studies Office)
Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Of the many people and offices on campus who are here to help you understand the academic and administrative policies, procedures, and deadlines you will need to follow on campus, one of the most important is the Registrar.  The Registrar is the person who oversees all matters relating to the credits and requirements necessary for the Barnard degree.  Whenever you have questions regarding your earned credits, your reported grades, or your official transcript, you should stop by the Registrar's Office, where a team of people are available to answer your questions.

The Registrar's website is filled with useful information, such as:
The Barnard College Academic Calendar
Deadlines and instructions for Registration and Program Filing
Rules and guidelines for completing your coursework at Barnard
Information on obtaining external credit such as AP, IB, previous college credit, summer courses, or study abroad credit

If you have a question about any of these policies or procedures, you can email, call 212-854-2011, or visit the friendly staff at the walk-up window (pictured above).

Advice:  if you get an email from the Registrar, read it!  This office will only email you rarely, and when they do, it will be about important policies, procedures, and deadlines.  If you don't read these emails, you may miss an important deadline and find yourself being charged a late fee.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Course-Selection Updates, Glitches, Corrections

Thank you to those of you who have alerted us to issues in the course selection form.  We apologize for any errors and confusion, and please be in touch if you see anything -- we will continue to post updates as needed.

See below for new corrections and changes as of June 2, 2015:

The third section of the First-Year Seminar "Reacting to the Past" was not yet showing up online. 
Update 7/6/2015 -- fixed!
If you're very interested in Reacting to the Past for your First-Year Seminar, you should select all three sections this fall to increase your chance of being placed in one.  Only one section of this seminar will be offered in spring 2016.
Fall 2015 sections are:
Fall 2015 First-Year Seminar BC1601
Section 001Call Number: 08198 Points: 3   Textbook Information
Day/Time: MW 1:10pm-2:25pm Location: To be announced
Enrollment: 0 students as of July 5, 2015
Instructor: Mark C Carnes
Section 002Call Number: 05045 Points: 3   Textbook Information
Day/Time: TR 2:40pm-3:55pm Location: To be announced
Enrollment: 0 students as of July 5, 2015
Instructor: Patricia D Stokes
Section 003Call Number: 02944 Points: 3   Textbook Information
Day/Time: MW 4:10pm-5:25pm Location: To be announced
Enrollment: 0 students as of July 5, 2015
Instructor: Jennifer L Worth

POLS W1501 Introduction to Comparative Politics is no longer being offered in Fall 2015.  
All the other Political Science courses from the First-Year Guide are still available.

Advice/Clarification for Language Courses:
For all languages: 
More languages and sections will be visible in the drop-down menu than we had space to list in the First-Year Guide.  If you have already selected a particular language section, just click on the drop-down and type in the call number.  If your first choice section is full, the lottery program will automatically attempt to place you in another section of the same level that fits into your schedule.  If you are interested in a language (e.g. Dutch, Turkish, or Bengali) that was mentioned but not listed in detail in the First-Year Guide, you will find those courses in the drop-down menu and will be able to select one. 
For Chinese (Mandarin): 
There was a brief period when Chinese language courses were showing up with correct times, course numbers, and call numbers, but with incorrect titles.  This has been fixed.  If you selected a Chinese course on Monday or Tuesday based on call number and day/time/course number, don't worry -- you are in the right class.  If you believe you may have made a mistake, please email us explaining in detail what class you intended, and we will double-check.  

And don't forget the previous updates:

FAQ: Previous College Credits

If you have taken college courses (not including AP or IB coursework) prior to matriculating at Barnard and wish to receive Barnard credit for the coursework, please note the following:

To qualify for Barnard credit, the college course(s) that you took must have been given at an accredited college, offered to college students, and taught on the college campus by a college professor. Also, you must have been enrolled in the course as a non-matriculated student, and your grade must have been recorded on a regular college transcript.

To receive credit, you must do the following:
  • Complete one full-time semester at Barnard with a satisfactory record. As a first-semester student, you will need to wait until the spring semester to request evaluation of previous credits.
  • Request an official transcript of the course grade(s) to be sent directly from the previous college to Barnard’s Registrar. Note: Student copies of transcripts are not official.
  • In the spring semester, visit the Registrar’s office at 107 Milbank to submit the appropriate form requesting evaluation of credit. The Registrar will then evaluate the coursework and determine whether credit may be granted. If approval for degree credit is granted for previous college courses, the grades for those courses will not appear on the Barnard transcript; the grades will, however, be considered in a student’s overall grade point average for purposes of computing graduation honors.
Certain course credit may qualify to fulfill certain Barnard degree requirements (e.g., certain Nine Ways of Knowing categories). If you have specific questions regarding previous credits and Barnard degree requirements, consult the Registrar’s office.

Again, credit for college work completed prior to matriculation will not appear on the student’s record until she has completed at least 12 points at Barnard College.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

FAQ: Course Selection Part 2

Tomorrow at 9 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the course preference form will go live (get excited). I have a feeling that many of you have been eagerly reading the first year academic guide and picking out the classes that you want to take. Pro tip: if you are feeling overwhelmed by all the course choices, reread pages 24-25 of the Academic Guide to Your First-Year at Barnard College 2015-2015.

Now that you're most likely familiar with the print version of the course guide, let's talk about the online course selection. This post is meant to give you a preview of the form that you will use to request courses. Let's start.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Guest Blog Post -- Advice from Dr. J for Pre-Health & Science-Interested Students

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.

Important Information: submitting your online course preference form and adviser questionnaire

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

Dear first-years,

It’s almost time to submit your initial preferences for fall courses (July 1-15), 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).  See tomorrow's post for a preview of what the course selection form will look like and how to use it.

1) Consider the general advice on pp. 24-25 of the First-Year Guide. During the summer placement process, we will reserve places in 15 credits (4-5 academic courses) for you.  These courses will not include Physical Education, dance technique, or performance classes, which may be additional elements of your schedule that are added in the fall.

2) If you haven’t already done so, review the information posted on the FY Blog. Then review the instructions on pp. 67-68 of your First-Year Guide to get a sense of the information that will be asked on the online form, and use pp. 65-66 to write out your course preferences (with their 5-digit call numbers), in order of preference, so that you will be prepared to find those specific classes/sections in the drop-down menus in the online form.

Because of the logistical demands of placing all new students into First-Year Foundation classes and also into classes and labs with limited space, we are asking you to submit more than five courses so that there are several different possible schedules that would be viable and satisfying ways to plan your first semester. Because you are asked to submit so many options, it is likely that some of them will overlap in times, but don’t worry! Your preliminary fall program will represent a combination of preferences that work as an overall schedule.

3) Note that there are two sections in the courses preferences area of the form that are required of all students: “First-Year Foundation courses” and “Other Academic Courses of Interest.” You are not required to provide a selection for the other sections—“Science Laboratory Course,” “Foreign Language Course,” and “Mathematics or Statistics Course”— you will need to make these selections only if you hope to take those types of courses in the fall.

Because submissions are required in the “Other Academic Courses of Interest” section, even if you select course preferences in the optional sections, you may find that you must submit many more course options than you need. The form has been designed to accommodate a wide variety of student scheduling needs, so please submit options in all required fields, even if you feel they are a bit redundant in your particular case. If you find that you have a scheduling preference that cannot be easily indicated on the online form, please note your preference/priority in the “Comments” section of the form.

4) When using the drop-down menus in the form to find specific courses, you may occasionally find that the order of classes/sections does not quite correspond to the order of classes/sections in the listing in the First-Year Guide (a function of the online program). If you are having difficulty finding the specific class/section that you are looking for, the easiest way to find it will be to click in the pull-down menu and then type the 5-digit “call number.”

In the drop-down menus on the form, you will find only those courses that are listed in the First-Year Guide; if you are interested in courses that you have seen listed elsewhere, you will be able to discuss them with your adviser during Orientation. Exception: Because of the large variety of foreign languages offered at Barnard and Columbia, we did not have space in the First-Year Guide to list every possible Elementary or Intermediate language course; many additional options will  be available for selection in the pull-down menu under “Foreign Language Course.”

5) Remember to check the updates on the FY Blog that announced additions, cancellations, and changes for specific courses, so that you are working with the most current information.

6) It does not matter when you submit your form during the submission period. Initial course placements will be made through a series of computer-generated lotteries that will begin after the close of the submission period, so your chance of placement in a particular class or section is the same whether you submit your form earlier or later. So while you can choose to submit your course preferences when the form goes live on Monday, July 1, you can also feel free to take a few extra days if you want to review posts on the FY Blog, if you want to ask us a few more questions, if you want to wait for AP score reports in early July, or if you simply want to give your preferences a little more thought. Just remember that your submission must be received by Wednesday, July 15, at 11:00 p.m.

7) The placement process will happen in stages and therefore will take the full summer to complete, and your preliminary fall schedule will be available in late August, shortly before Orientation begins. I will be in touch then to let you know how to access your schedule. In the meantime, once you have submitted the form, relax and enjoy the rest of the summer!

I also want to make two other announcements that are more general:

First, this is the last email that I will send to both personal and Barnard emails; any future emails I send will go to Barnard email addresses only. So I hope that you’re already in the habit of checking your Barnard email, or that you have it set up to be forwarded to an email address that you do check regularly.

Second, I hope that you are checking out the First-Year Blog at least once or twice a week. Even after the submission period in early July, we will continue to post 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:

Remember that you can contact us at or by phone at 212.854.2024 if you have questions about the academic information form or about your course preferences.

Dean Grabiner

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Student Side: High School vs. College

I already covered some of the differences between high school and college in my posts on daily life and dorm life. I’ll do my best to not be redundant here. There are some obvious differences. You’ll be away from home and making your own decisions. This freedom can be exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. The best advice I can give you is enjoy the ride, but don’t go overboard. There's no one-size-fits-all prescription for how to strike this balance. Each of you is different, and you will approach college differently. 

What I can do for you is highlight the academic differences between high school and college, and give you some advice on how to do the best you can.

Classes are the biggest difference academically between college and high school. You will have two types of classes in college: lecture and seminar. About 70% of our lecture classes have 40 students (however, the professor in my 80 person lecture still learned everyone's names). In my experience seminars is that there are no more than 16 students. While classes, especially lectures, are larger than the classes you had in high school, there are ways to make them feel small.

  1. If you have a discussion section, use it. Discussion sections give you a place to ask questions in a smaller environment. Be prepared for these meetings by keeping up with the class assignments, and coming in with question. If you feel unprepared, don’t skip class – you can still learn from other students’ questions and comments.
  2. Use office hours. Professors have office hours because they want to see students. Office hours are great for asking questions about class, going over a paper or lab report, or just having a conversation about the material.
  3. Take advantage of Barnard’s tutoring services. The two main services we have are Peer-to-Peer Learning and the Writing Center. Peer-to-Peer-Learning offers small group and one-on-one tutoring in different subjects. They also provide a list of departmental help rooms. You can use the writing center for help with your papers. Some classes also have writing fellows attached to them to help you even more.
Another different between high school and college is the type of work you’ll be getting. Classes generally don’t meet every day (language classes are an exception) so you won’t be doing the same amount of daily work. During the first month or so of a semester your homework will generally be reading, small writing assignments, problem sets, and lab reports. About a month and a half or so (this will depend on the class) into the semester you will start getting papers and have to start studying for tests. These larger assignments will be more time consuming. During my four years I did two things that helped me keep track of my assignments:

  1. Buy a planner (or the electronic equivalent). I used my planner to keep track of day-to-day assignments. This way I knew exactly which readings I had to finish for each class.
  2. Use a different notepad, white board, or electronic equivalent to keep track of long term dates. The semester moves quickly and that paper that isn’t due for another month will soon be due in another day. Write the due dates in a visible place so that assignments don’t sneak up on you.
It may seem like a big change to move from high school to college but there is an important constant: you. :) Barnard accepted you because they knew that you could do well in our courses here. Just know that you can do it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

UPDATE: Change to course listings -- First-Year Seminar

As promised, we're continuing to post updates to the course listings in the First-Year Guide.  Today's change affects First-Year Seminar:

The following course is canceled:
06543     FYSB BC1711     SEM: Madness                       001     3.0     MW 4:10-5:25

The following course has been added to replace it (call number and course number to be announced):
_____     FYSB BC_____   SEM: Reacting to the Past     003     3.0     MW 4:10-5:25

Special note for students interested in Reacting to the Past for your First-Year Seminar:
Four sections of this class will be offered over the course of the 2015-2015 academic year:  three in fall and one in spring, so if this course is a priority for you, we recommend that you list as many sections of it as possible in your First-Year Foundations course preference for this fall.

Don't forget to check the other course-schedule updates on this blog:
First-Year English changes
Biology Lab & Italian changes

FAQ: fulfiling the LAN requirement with AP Chinese score

If you have studied Chinese and have taken the AP Chinese exam or the SAT II Chinese exam, please note the following:

Students who have received a score of 5 on the AP Chinese exam or a score of 780 or above on the Chinese SAT II exam will automatically fulfill the Barnard Language requirement when the scores are received by Barnard's Registrar's Office. No points of credit will be awarded.

Students who have studied Japanese or Korean will still need to take the departmental placement exam during Orientation in August.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Important Update: Changes to First-Year English Course Titles

Due to an editing glitch, several sections of First-Year English were listed with the wrong course titles.  Please see below for an updated list, and please use this list, rather than the list in the printed version of the First-Year Guide, when selecting FY English courses in the Academic Information Form.  The online version of the First-Year Guide has been updated to reflect the correct information.  We apologize for the confusion.

Updated First-Year English Course Listings, as of 6/23/2015:

Call # Course # Course Title Sct. Points Day/Time
05989 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Legacy of the Mediterranean I 001 3 MW 8:40-9:55
07047 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Legacy of the Mediterranean I 002 3 MW 10:10-11:25
07970 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Legacy of the Mediterranean I 003 3 MW 11:40-12:55
08599 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Women and Culture I 004 3 MW 1:10-2:25
07753 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Americas I 005 3 MW 2:40-3:55
03059 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Women and Culture I 006 3 MW 2:40-3:55
06891 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Legacy of the Mediterranean I 007 3 MW 4:10-5:25
08485 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Legacy of the Mediterranean I 008 3 MW 4:10-5:25
07758 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Legacy of the Mediterranean I 009 3 TR 8:40-9:55
04816 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Women and Culture I 010 3 TR 10:10-11:25
06165 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Americas I 011 3 TR 11:40-12:55
03034 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Legacy of the Mediterranean I 012 3 TR 1:10-2:25
07763 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Women and Culture I 013 3 TR 2:40-3:55
06756 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Women and Culture I 014 3 TR 2:40-3:55
01880 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Women and Culture I 015 3 TR 4:10-5:25
08081 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Legacy of the Mediterranean I 016 3 TR 4:10-5:25
03496 ENGL BC1201 ENG: Legacy of the Mediterranean I 017 3 MW 1:10-2:25

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Student Side: Dorm Life

One thing I’m sure you’re all eagerly awaiting is your housing assignment. Living in a dorm with new people is an exciting part of the college experience. I know you all have questions, so I’m going to try to demystify dorm life.

Sometime in early August you’ll get your housing assignment. As a first year, you’ll be living in the quad in Sulzberger, Reid, or Brooks in a double, triple, or quad. Each room is slightly different in terms of layout, but every person will have a bed, a desk, dresser and closet space. If you want to supplement, some of the most useful things to bring are bed risers (for extra storage under your bed), a floor lamp, and a mini-fridge. Talk to your roommate before you get to school and split up what you might want to buy for the room. Try to get as much of your supplies as possible beforehand, but don’t worry if you realize you need something else once you get to Barnard. One of the benefits of being in New York City is that it’s easy to get what you don’t have. For a full list of FAQs about housing go here.

The biggest part of your residential experience will be your roommate or roommates. Res Life will have worked hard to make sure that you and your roommate(s) have compatible living styles. The office prints out your housing surveys and matches roommates by hand. It may take longer in the summer to find out who you’re living with, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Some people end up being best friends with their roommates and some don’t. I was never close with my roommate, but we lived well together. And, at the end of the day being able to live well together is the important thing.  There are two ways that I think you can achieve this goal.

1. Think carefully when creating your roommate agreement. During your week of NSOP, you will meet with your roommate(s) to talk about things like cleanliness, music in the dorm, and visitors. Be honest with your roommate(s) about your living preferences. If something comes up later in the year, you will be referring back to the roommate agreement in order to settle the disagreement.

2. If something is bothering you, speak up. Your roommate isn’t a mind reader. It’s important to communicate early on instead of letting things simmer. If an issue does come up, tell your roommate calmly and solve the problem. It’s the easiest way to prevent larger disagreements.

Additionally, you will have an RA (resident adviser) living on your hall. Your RA is an upperclassman who will be there to advise you on the ins and outs of college life. They will be in touch with you the week   before NSO  to introduce themselves.

My biggest piece of advice is don’t stress. (You will anyway, but I had to try). First year living is a large part of the college experience, but it is not the be all end all. 

FAQ: Fulfilling the Nine Ways of Knowing

All students must fulfill the General Education Requirements outlined on pp. 12-17 of the First-Year Guide, including the Nine Ways of Knowing. Each of the Nine Ways of Knowing must be fulfilled by a course (or group of courses, in the case of LAB and LAN) -- i.e., one course cannot fulfill more than one category.

You may have noticed that some of the courses listed in the First-Year Guide (as well as others you may have seen online) are approved to fulfill more than one Nine Ways of Knowing. For example, AHIS BC1001 Intro to Art History I (on p. 39 of the guide) is noted as fulfilling ART or CUL or HIS. If a student were to take this course, it would fulfill only one of those Nine Ways categories, but she may choose which one.

It is possible for a course to fulfill a Nine Ways category and to fulfill a Major or Minor requirement at the same time. For example, if a student were to take AHIS BC1001 and she were to declare an Art History Major, then that particular course would count toward her Major, and it would simultaneously count as her CUL (or ART or HIS) requirement.

FAQ: auditions for Theatre Department offerings

If you are interested in taking a performance-oriented course in the Theatre Department this fall, or if you are interested in participating in one of the productions that will be put on by the Theatre Department during the year, you should plan to audition during the first week of classes.

Auditions for fall acting classes and departmental stage productions will be held in Minor Latham Playhouse at the beginning of the fall semester.  Visit the Theatre Department website to learn more about the audition process and schedule, and be sure to mark your calendars for both the mandatory meeting and the auditions themselves.

Informational Meeting
All auditioners should attend

Tuesday, 9/8
5:30 PM

Auditions for Returning & Transfer Students
Session 1
Tuesday, 9/8
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Session 2
Tuesday, 9/8
8:00 PM – 10 PM

Auditions for First-Year Students
Session 3
Wednesday, 9/9
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Minor Latham Playhouse
Milbank Hall 118
Barnard campus

Auditions for all acting classes and productions are open to all Barnard and Columbia undergraduates.

Acting Workshop (for First Year Students only)
Acting the Musical Scene
Acting Shakespeare
Acting Solo Performance
Advanced Acting Lab

A Dream Play
By August Strindberg
Adapted by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Mikhael Tara Garver

Bingo By Edward Bond
Directed by Alice Reagan