Friday, July 21, 2017

"What's-Next Wednesday" Advising Chat Recap

If you missed the advising chat with Dean Nikki Youngblood Giles, Dean for Pre-Professional Advising, here’s a quick recap of what was discussed during the chat. If you should think of another question, please feel free to email Dean Youngblood Giles. And consider attending the NSOP Program  "Beyond Barnard: Curating Your Life Beyond the Gates,"  Wednesday, August 30 at 1:30 pm 223 Milbank Hall.  Dean Youngblood Giles will be will discussing law, business, engineering, and graduate school. See you there!

Law School
As a student who is very interested in going to law school but is still unsure what major to choose, how should I make the best of my first year/first semester to figure out the best course of action? Since there aren't specific majors for those applying to law school, are there any courses or types of courses that you recommend us taking?
The good thing about law school is that there are no required/recommended majors for entry. Many law schools encourage students to think beyond the "norm" and choose majors based on their interests. You may want to wait until you start taking classes and have the chance to experience Barnard to see where your interests grow. Exploring your different interests is a great way to choose a major and fulfill Foundations requirements!
To succeed in law school, one must write well.  Barnard is the BEST place to develop your writing skills.
Law schools want to see your written communication and your logic/critical thinking skills.  This is what you do at a liberal arts college.

Are there any on-campus clubs or organizations intended for pre-law students?

Yes!  We have the Athena Pre-Law Society. They are an extremely active group on campus.

Who should I talk to if I don't know if law school/being a lawyer is for me?
You can definitely make an appointment with me, Dean Youngblood Giles, We can discuss your thoughts and interests.

I heard that Harvard Law School has a Junior Deferral program where one can get an acceptance to the law school within their junior year of undergrad but will have to take a gap year after graduating in senior year-- how should one plan classes in terms of credits in order to best prepare for this type of program?
This is the first year of the program.  HLS encourages students to major in courses of interest and apply during their junior year of undergrad.  HLS essentially observes your academic pattern for an entire year before granting admission.  Once admitted, you are then tasked with working in your field of choice for 2-3 years before returning to HLS. There are no required courses or fields of study. It’s best to take courses that truly interest you.

Are there on-campus programs or centers where students can get help in terms of studying for LSATs and the like?
While we don't have a Kaplan or Test Prep Center, we do guide students in finding the appropriate resources to assist in their preparation. In addition, the Athena Pre-Law Society does workshops on preparing for the LSAT.  This year we will have a LAW WEEK  in October dedicated to preparing applications for law school.  We hope to have a session with some test prep companies geared towards LSAT Prep.

Barnard/SEAS 3-2 Combined Plan
I have virtually no exposure to formal engineering - how do I know if Combined Plan is right for me? Any classes you recommend I take first to help answer this question? Any opportunities to see the Combined Plan experience with current students, SEAS professors?
I would suggest starting with the Physics sequence as that is a crucial element to the Combined Plan. There are some specific requirements for the Combined Plan.  Luckily, we have a session during NSOP geared to those questions. The NSOP Session is on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm 223 Milbank Hall. We will have a representative from the Fu School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)  at Columbia join us!

Is it better to take the Combined Plan prerequisites at Barnard or Columbia?
It’s best to take the courses at Barnard as a Barnard student.  This way if you encounter academic difficulty, you can easily seek support through our academic tutoring program managed in the Dean of Studies department. You can find a chart on the Dean of Studies website that gives Barnard equivalents for all the Columbia requirements:

Though I am primarily interested in pre-medical studies, I am also thinking of the 3-2 year combined program in case I feel like pre-med is not for me. How can I plan my coursework/what should I keep in mind when planning my coursework so that if needed, I can easily make this switch?
You should definitely factor in when you would take Physics as it is crucial for the 3-2 sequence.  However, there may be more stringent sequencing for the Pre-Med track.  You should definitely make an appointment with both myself and Dean Melinda Cohen, Dean for Health Professions Advising. There is some overlap between the prerequisites for the two programs. You can find pre-health prerequisites here and 3-2 Combined Program prerequisites here.

What you would recommend as a major for a prospective biomedical engineering Combined Plan student?
There’s a variety of major possible for students interested in the Combined Plan. It’s always best to schedule an advising appointment early on during your time at Barnard to discuss your interests and how to best complete both your Barnard major and the Combined Plan prerequisites.  The prerequisites for each engineering track can be found here.

Can you talk about the difference between doing 3-2 versus 4-2? Why do students choose to do 4-2 instead of 3-2, and does a 4-2 timeline make it harder on getting the courses completed for the engineering degree?
It is really a matter of preference and the ability to complete the requirements in 6 or 8 semesters.  It sounds reasonable until one begins to take the courses and balance other obligations as a student.  The 4-2 program then presents itself as another opportunity giving you an additional 2 semesters to complete the program. The 3-2 Plan would be 3 years dedicated to the Barnard degree, 2 for the engineering degree. The 4-2 Plan would be 4 years dedicated to the Barnard degree, 2 for engineering degree.

I noticed both Calculus and Physics being mentioned for the 3-2 program. I noticed that you suggested taking physics first but would you suggest taking both during first year since calculus is still fresh in my memory?
Physics is a crucial element, so it's best to start with that as your Science.  Calculus can be a great complement to Physics, so it may be a great start to try them both.  We also have Help Rooms and support for both if you take them at Barnard.

Is it possible to graduate from Barnard within three years?
It is possible, totally dependent upon your circumstances upon enrollment (outside credit). Whether it is a good idea depends on many factors -- this is something you can discuss with your academic adviser or class dean when you're on campus.

How will I know which graduate school is right for me?
Unlike undergrad, graduate schools are subject specific.  As you grow in your interests, you may gravitate towards a particular researcher or graduate program.  Once you start researching graduate schools, you will link up with programs and departments that mirror your interests.

Are Barnard students allowed to take courses at Columbia Business School?
We approve courses at the Business School on a case by case situation.  First-years are not permitted to take Columbia Business School courses.  You can look into taking courses later in the Junior year or the Senior year.

Is there a placement exam for math?
While we don't have a placement exam, the Math Department can help advise you on placement in math courses. During NSOP, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with professors and faculty members from the Mathematics and Statistics Departments about math placement. More information can be found here.

Do we get to talk to or learn who our advisors are prior to NSOP?
We are busily going through your advising questionnaires and matching you each one by one with advisers. We won't have this finalized until shortly before NSOP, so thank you for your patience! Everyone will have the chance to meet with an adviser during NSOP and then at least one more time once classes begin, before the "shopping period" is done, to make sure you're all on board with your final schedule.