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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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!

Monday, July 21, 2014

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 18, 2014

The Student Side: Working on Campus

More helpful information from your Summer Programming Assistant, Jess:

Many students are interested in finding a paid part-time job while they study at Barnard. This is totally possible, and really common! I worked as a Barnard Student Admissions Representative (essentially a tour guide and office assistant in the Admissions Office) and had many friends working both on and off campus.

(Find out more from Jess after the jump:)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meet the Office: NYC Civic Engagement Program

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. 

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 Junea Williams-Edmund, Associate Director for Civic Engagement at or 212-854-2033 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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

FAQ: summer reading


There is no required summer reading for new Barnard students; all academic work will begin the first week of classes.

At the first meeting of each class, you will receive a course syllabus which will outline the progression of the semester and list the books and other materials that you will need for the class. Since you will not receive this information until the first day of class, or perhaps shortly beforehand, there is nothing to prepare for the first class meeting (professors will not expect you to have read anything in advance), and you should not buy books until you receive the list of specific titles and editions provided on the syllabus.

In mid-summer, the New Student Orientation Program committee will be sending you, as a gift, a book written by a Barnard alumna. The author will visit campus during Orientation week to talk with all of you, so we encourage you to read the book before you arrive on campus so that you can share in that special experience.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Student Side: Clubs on Campus

More "must-know info" from your Summer Programming Assistant, Jess:

Figuring out what types of clubs you want to be involved in during your time on campus can be tricky as we offer so many! Have a look at this list and you’ll get a sense of just how many opportunities we have:

At Barnard:

At Columbia:

(Get more advice from Jess after the jump:)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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 – Thursday, July 10 – 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 receive the following message:

“You may submit the Academic Information Form only once. If you have questions about the form after you have submitted it, please contact the First-Year Class Dean and her staff by email at or by phone at (212) 854-2024.”

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 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!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DEADLINE: submission of statement of interest for enrichment courses

This Thursday, July 10, 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.

Monday, July 7, 2014

DEADLINE: submission of your Academic Information Form

Remember that the deadline to submit your Academic Information Form (online through myBarnard) is this Thursday, July 10, 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 Thursday.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Student Side: High School v. College

More great advice from your Summer Programming Assistant, Jess:

Many students want to know how taking classes in high school differs from taking courses at college. It is a difficult question to answer but, as a recent Barnard graduate, I will try and share my four years of experience with you as best I can. I imagine there are many ways to divide this section, but I have chosen Professors, Writing, Course Schedules and Friends.

(Follow Jess' words of wisdom after the jump:)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

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, July 1, 2014

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, June 30, 2014

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 1-10), 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. During the summer placement process, we will reserve places in four academic courses for you (and 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. 66-67 of your First-Year Guide to get a sense of the information that will be asked on the online form, and use pp. 64-65 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 four 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, but they will all 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 schedule 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 Thursday, July 10, 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 27, 2014

The Student Side: Living in the Residence Halls / Rooommates

More essential info from your Summer Programming Assistant, Jess:

This blog post is designed to help you anticipate your adjustment to life in the Residential Halls at Barnard. If you have been on a tour of campus, you will know that First-Year students are required to live in the Quad. The Quad is our most densely populated area of campus, with over 1,000 women living in its four buildings. As is evident from its name, the Quad comprises of four halls which are all interconnected. Three of these buildings are specifically for First Years and are called Brooks, Reid and Sulzberger. Hewitt is a hall reserved for upperclassmen that choose to remain in corridor-style housing after their first year. This means that if you live in Brooks and your new best friend lives in Reid, you can pad around internally in your PJs to see one another!
(Read more after the jump:)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

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. 38 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.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Important Information: course updates to the FY Guide

The schedule for fall semester classes is typically set in the middle of the previous spring semester, but certain changes can occur during the summer months, as instructor changes or schedule changes become necessary. There are a few courses listed in the First-Year Guide that have recently been changed in some way: in most cases, their meeting times have changed (perhaps even to different days of the week), and in one case, a class has been canceled. So if you are considering one of the following courses among your course preferences, please make a note of the new information below:

05045  FYSB BC1710 001  SEM: Classics over Time   TR 10:10-11:25 (p. 32, time change)

72376  MDES W1510 001  1st Modern Hebrew: Elem I (section 1)  MTWR 11:40-12:45 (p. 40, day change - no F)
12222  MDES W1510 003  1st Modern Hebrew: Elem I (section 2)  MTWR 1:10-2:15 (p. 40, day change - no F)

16318  LATN V1101 002  Elementary Latin I (section 2)  MW 6:10-8:00 (p. 43, day change)
63988  LATN V1101 003  Elementary Latin I (section 3)  TRF 10:10-11:25 (p. 43, call # change, day/time change)

06333  CLLT W4300 001  The Classical Tradition  TR 2:40-3:55 (p. 43, day change)

03061  FREN BC1204 003  Intermediate French II (section 3)  TR 2:40-3:55 (p. 47, day change)
06207  FREN BC1204 004  Intermediate French II (section 4)  TR 4:10-5:25 (p. 47, day change)
08478  FREN BC1204 005  Intermediate French II (section 5)  MW 4:10-5:25 (p. 47, day change)

11243  POLS W1201 002  Intro to American Politics  MW 11:40-12:55 (p. 54, call # change, day/time change)
25338  POLS W1501 002  Intro to Comparative Politics  MW 10:10-11:25  (p. 54, call # change, day change)
04589  POLS V1601 001  International Politics  MW 2:40-3:55 (p. 54, call # change, time change)
01998  POLS V3103 001 Great Political Thinkers (p. 54, course canceled)
68887  POLS V3313 001 American Urban Politics  MW 6:10-7:25 (p. 54 time change)

13092  SPAN W1202 002  Intermediate Spanish II (Section 2) TRF 4:10-5:25 (p. 58, call # change)
73245  SPAN W1208 001  Spanish for Spanish-Speaking Students  TRF 11:40-12:55 (p. 58, call # change)

Monday, June 23, 2014

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.

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.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Student Side: A Day in the Life...

This is the first post in a series called "The Student Side," which will offer you some tips from Jess Whitlum-Cooper, our fantastic Summer Programming Assistant, who knows Barnard inside and out. Watch for her posts every Friday for the next several weeks, and if you have questions for her, feel free to send them to her attention at

While thinking about posts for the FY Blog, I realized that a lot of the uncertainties you all have about coming to college could be answered by letting you shadow students for the day. Unfortunately, aside from the Admissions Open Houses I hope you were all able to attend, there is no way this would be possible. Instead, I am going to let you virtually shadow a day during my first semester on Barnard’s campus – as well as I am able to remember it. So here we have it, A Day in the Life of Jess Whitlum-Cooper!

(Follow Jess after the jump:)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

FAQ: coursework in Psychology

If you are interested in pursuing Psychology classes, either to test out a possible major or to fulfill the Laboratory Science (LAB) requirement, here is some information that might be helpful to you:

  • While Psychology lecture courses are typically open-enrollment, the lab courses are limited in size. The lab courses are also very popular, and in order to manage the large numbers of students who wish to enroll, the Psychology department holds lotteries during each advance planning period. So the Fall 2013 labs were filled to capacity in April by currently enrolled students, and there are waitlists of other students hoping to move into any spaces that open up. Therefore, we cannot place incoming first-year students into these classes during the summer.
  • To fulfill the LAB requirement, you must take two Psychology lectures along with their respective labs. Note that in most cases, the lecture and lab have different course numbers, but they are considered a unified course of study in combination, and they must be taken together in the same semester.
    • One exception: PSYC BC1001 (Introduction to Psychology) and PSYC BC1010 (Introductory Lab to Experimental Psychology) may be taken during the same semester or in different semesters. Note: If you have AP or IB credit in Psychology, you have credit for the lecture portion of this combination (PSYC BC1001), and you could take the lab by itself (PSYC BC1010) in a future semester.
    • All other Psychology laboratory courses require PSYC BC1001 (Introduction to Psychology), or its equivalent in AP or IB credit, as a prerequisite.
  • If you are an interested Psychology major, please note that there are many lecture courses required of the major, along with the laboratory classes, and the Psychology Department encourages new first-year students to begin taking the lecture classes during the first and second year and to work in the laboratory classes whenever the lottery works in their favor. If you already have credit for Introduction to Psychology, you are encouraged to talk with the Psychology Department during Orientation about appropriate lecture courses for new students.
  • In all cases, be aware that the Psychology laboratory classes that you take must represent two of three possible groups of classes. To learn more about the Psychology major and/or the LAB requirement, visit the website of the Psychology Department here.
Note: During the summer placement process, we can place students only in PSYC BC1001 Introduction to Psychology:
  • If you wish to take PSYC BC1001 Introduction to Psychology, you will find it listed in the "Other Courses" section of the form (not among the Laboratory Science courses, since it does not have a required attached lab).
  • If you already have credit for this course through AP/IB credit or previous college coursework, you may be eligible for an upper-level course in your first semester, but you will need to wait until Orientation to consult the Psychology Department and then make changes to your course schedule as necessary. 

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

Some classes at Barnard and Columbia are "open enrollment" courses: there is no limit to how many student can enroll in the course (except for the size of the assigned classroom). If a class in the First-Year Guide is noted as "Open", it should be easy to secure a space for you in that class during the summer placement process.

Some classes at Barnard and Columbia have set "caps" – i.e., a set number of students who can be enrolled in the course. These classes might be considered "limited enrollment" courses that have caps noted online; sign-up for these courses are 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.

If a class in the First-Year Guide is noted as "Limited", there are only a certain amount of spaces in that course that can be reserved for new students during the summer placement process. That number of spaces could be quite small (as few as 2) or could be rather large (as many as 40 or 60) – so "Limited" does not necessarily convey your chances of securing a spot in the course during the summer placement process, but it does indicate that placement is not guaranteed and that it is a good idea to have a back-up plan.

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 placement process, 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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Opportunity: Perspectives in Mathematics (enrichment course)

Are you interested in exploring Mathematics beyond calculus? If so, consider enrolling in MATH V2001 Perspectives in Mathematics (listed on p. 50 of the First-Year Guide). In this discussion-based course, we will consider a variety of mathematical topics that are not usually in the beginning undergraduate curriculum, such as topology, probability, and symmetry.

Designed to be a fun supplementary course for first- and second-year students, it can be taken concurrently with other Math courses. The course will meet on Wednesdays, 6:10-7:25 p.m., and will be team-taught by the faculty of the Barnard Mathematics department and will also include guest lectures. It will earn one point of credit and will be graded on a pass/fail basis.

If you would like to participate in this course, send an email to that includes a short (one paragraph) statement of interest. If we can place you in the course, it will be added to your course schedule (in addition to your four other academic courses) and you will be notified when you receive your preliminary course schedule during Orientation. The deadline for receiving your email is Thursday, July 10.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Opportunity: Pumpkin Pie to CSI (enrichment course)

Interested in learning about the ways that Chemistry plays a part in your world? If so, consider enrolling in CHEM BC1010 Chemistry: Pumpkin Pie to CSI (listed on p. 42 of the First-Year Guide), a seminar course that will meet once a week on Thursdays 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

The course will be a survey and discussion of applications of chemistry in everyday life, with topics that include (but are not limited to) art restoration, forensics, food chemistry, and personal care chemistry (i.e., cosmetics, soaps, detergents). You can learn much more about the course and its professor in this recent article that was published in the Barnard Magazine.

This course is open to first-year students and has no prerequisites, although students who are taking CHEM BC2001 General Chemistry are encouraged to consider taking this course concurrently. The course will earn one point of credit. Enrollment is limited to 14 students.

If you would like to participate in the seminar, send an email to including a short (one paragraph) statement of interest. If you meet the criteria for the course and if we can place you in the course, it will be added to your course schedule (in addition to your four other academic courses) and you will be notified when you receive your preliminary course schedule during Orientation. The deadline for receiving your email is Thursday, July 10.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Opportunity: Research Apprenticeship Seminar (enrichment course)

Are you interested in science research? If you are, you might want to apply for The Research Apprenticeship Seminar (listed on p. 41 of the First-Year Guide under "Biology"). This year-long seminar is offered under the auspices of the Hughes Science Pipeline Project (HSPP), a science curriculum and undergraduate research program funded by grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The seminar is open to 16 first-year students who are also enrolled in an introductory lab science sequence. The course will meet in a seminar format on Thursdays from 4:10-6:00 p.m., and will discuss how research problems are defined, how scientists immerse themselves in the existing literature on a topic, how researchers craft experimental protocols and collect data, and how data can be used to test hypotheses. Students will also consider science stories in the New York Times and conduct formal debates about ethical and social issues, such as the use of animal subjects in research. Occasionally, the seminar period will be devoted to tours of faculty science labs to learn about the research that Barnard professors conduct and the research opportunities available on campus. Students will also attend several events, including Barnard’s annual Distinguished Women in Science Lecture and the HSPP Student Research Symposium.

Additionally, students will participate in a month-long laboratory rotation each semester. During the rotation period, each student will spend 3 hours per week shadowing a Barnard junior or senior Research Intern who is conducting a year-long research project sponsored by the HSPP. In addition to this exposure to research at Barnard, students will discuss how to obtain summer science internships in laboratories off campus.Seminar assignments will include readings about the research process, as well as short library-based research projects about scientific claims in textbooks. In the fall semester, students will develop their presentation skills in a session with Barnard’s Speaking Fellows. In the spring semester, each student will deliver an oral presentation about the research career of a scientist of her choosing. Students will also maintain a weekly "blog" that describes their reactions to readings, the results of their library research projects, and their reflections on laboratory rotations and events attended. The seminar will require no formal written assignments, and there will be no exams.

The Research Apprenticeship Seminar is a yearlong course that carries a total of 3.0 points of academic credit (1.5 points each semester). A catalogue description follows:
  • HSPP BC1001x-1002y. Research Apprenticeship Seminar. Introduction to research in the natural sciences. Students will participate in seminar discussions about the research process, tour laboratories, and complete two rotations in the labs of Barnard faculty mentors, shadowing undergraduate Research Interns who are conducting research. Instructor: Paul Hertz (Department of Biological Sciences)
If you would like to participate in the seminar, send statement of interest (250 words maximum) to If we can place you in the course, it will be added to your course schedule (in addition to your four other academic courses) and you will be notified when you receive your preliminary course schedule shortly before Orientation. The deadline for receiving your statement of interest by email is Thursday, July 10.

Friday, June 13, 2014

FAQ: AP credit

If you have taken AP exams and received scores for which Barnard will 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.

The Registrar's office will be recording the credits during the month of August, and by the end of the summer, you will be able to see the appropriate credits noted on your eBear account. (Under the "Students" tab, click on the "Registrar" link. The first page that appears within the "Registrar" link is the "Transcript" page. The title of each eligible AP test will appear, along with the points of degree credit earned.)

AP scores are updated in student eBear 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.

Note:  If you are expecting to receive AP scores in early July, remember that the timing of your course preference form does not affect your chances of placement. You can submit your form anytime within the submission window of July 1 through July 10. So it is fine to wait until you have the scores to consider in your course selections and then submit your course preference form toward the end of the submission window.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

FAQ: courses for students preparing for the health professions

Barnard alumnae, Elizabeth Housman '03 and Sarah Housman '03
(read about their story here)

Since many students are interested in preparing for medical school or other health-professions school, here is some general advice for your selection of courses during your first semester at Barnard. Please note that the courses that all pre-med students should take while at Barnard are listed on p. 18 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 4-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 sections of the First-Year Guide (pp. 40-41) to determine the class most appropriate for you. It is also possible to start with Physics (with laboratory), and if you are considering a potential major in Physics, it would be particularly advisable to start with Physics instead of another science.

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 Calculus, and some medical schools prefer that your second semester of college-level math be a continuation of Calculus rather than Statistics. 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 semester because it will be a useful foundation for your Physics courses.

During her first semester at Barnard, then, a pre-med student's academic program will likely include a First-Year Foundation course, an introductory science course with laboratory, a math course, and a fourth course of the student's choosing. If you will need to take four semesters of a foreign language in order to fulfill the Language requirement, 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.

The Dean for Health Professions Advising will hold informational sessions during Orientation week, and any student who may be interested in preparing for any of the health professions will be encouraged to attend.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

FAQ: science laboratory courses

Every Barnard student will take science laboratory classes during her years at Barnard. 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 need to fulfill the Laboratory Science requirement (one of the Nine Ways of Knowing required of all Barnard students).
If you plan to take science courses only to fulfill the Laboratory Science requirement, you could choose to do so earlier or later in your Barnard career. The most common ways of fulfilling this requirement are detailed on p. 14 of the First-Year Guide.

If you plan to pursue the "pre-med track" of courses to prepare for a health-professions school, 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. During this summer placement process, we can pre-enroll students only in Barnard science laboratory classes, and 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, workshop rooms, 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.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

FAQ: foreign language classes

On p. 34 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, students must achieve the proficiency equivalent to four semesters of language study at Barnard or Columbia. In most language departments at Barnard and Columbia, the four-semester sequence typically goes by the following course titles: Elementary I, Elementary II, Intermediate I, Intermediate II. You will therefore need to achieve the proficiency of a student who has completed Intermediate II. (Some language sequences have different ways of titling these levels; in any case, you will need to achieve the proficiency of a student who has completed the fourth semester.)

If you are starting a foreign language that is new to you, then you should plan to take four semesters of a language and start with Elementary I. No placement exam is necessary to enroll in an Elementary I language course. If you hope to study abroad in a country where that language is spoken, it would be best to begin your language study during your first semester.

If you have a background in a foreign language and do not need to start from the basics, you can try to estimate your level according to levels of comfort. In other words, think of 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.

Remember that, 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: If you are planning to take a Spanish course beyond the Elementary I level, you must take the placement exam in advance online, or we will not be able to place you in a class over the summer. See the bottom of p. 34 for more details.

If your AP or IB scores indicate that you have fulfilled the language requirement (see pp. 22-23 of the First-Year Guide), you will not need to take any additional placement exams. Once the Registrar's Office has received the official report of the scores from CollegeBoard, the credits will show on your transcript in the fall, and you will automatically have fulfilled the requirement.

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 we will revisit the question when you get to campus and have lots of people to help you finalize your placement.

Monday, June 9, 2014

FAQ: First-Year English courses/topics

On p. 26 of the Academic Guide to Your First Year at Barnard College 2014-2015, you will find information about First-Year English. All Barnard students take this one-semester course; half of the incoming class will take it in the fall semester and half will take it in the spring semester.

The three topics offered are the same in both semesters -- The Americas, Legacy of the Mediterranean, Women and Culture -- but the reading lists for each topic are different, as the reading lists in spring semester cover later periods chronologically. To learn more about the three topics, including the approximate reading lists for the spring semester courses, visit the "Reinventing Literary History" website of the English Department. At this site you can get a general idea of the reading list for each semester, and if you have a strong preference for a particular topic in a particular semester, you may include that preference in the "Comments" area of your online Academic Information Form and we will try to accommodate your request.

You might also consider whether you would be interested in taking both semesters of a particular topic, taking one semester as a First-Year Seminar course and one semester as a First-Year English course (see p. 27 of the First-Year Guide for more details); if you are interested in this option, please indicate that preference in the "Comments" area of your online form as well.

Please remember that, while we will try out best to accommodate your preferences for First-Year English and First-Year Seminar (see pp. 27-31 of your First-Year Guide), the exigencies of scheduling all first-year students into all First-Year Foundation sections may affect your placement. So you'll want to keep a flexible attitude about your first semester program!

Note: For your online submission of course preferences, you will be asked to choose five First-Year English classes from the list on p. 32. Although there are only three topics of First-Year English, you should choose the five sections that represent the combination of topic and day/time that would be preferable in your course schedule. For example, if you are very attached to the idea of taking "Women and Culture" as your FY English class, you might rank five of the seven possible sections of "Women and Culture" among your submitted preferences -- and you might include "Women and Culture" as one of your FY Seminar preferences as well. Or, if scheduling is a higher priority for you than topic, you might rank five sections that meet on, say, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a list that has one "Americas" section, two "Women and Culture" sections, and two "Legacy of the Mediterranean" sections.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Important Information: Academic Guide to Your First Year at Barnard College 2013-2014

Hopefully, 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 2014-2015.

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) by clicking here.