Columbia University School of General Studies
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|Columbia University School of General Studies|
|Location||New York, NY, USA|
|Campus||Urban, 36 acres (0.15 km2; 0.056 sq mi) Morningside Heights Campus, 26 acres (0.11 km2; 0.041 sq mi) Baker Field athletic complex, 20 acres (0.081 km2; 0.031 sq mi) Medical Center, 157 acres (0.64 km2; 0.245 sq mi) Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory|
|Affiliations||Albert A. List College (Jewish Theological Seminary of America), and the Juilliard School|
The School of General Studies, commonly known as General Studies or simply GS, is one of the three official undergraduate colleges at Columbia University. It is a highly selective Ivy League undergraduate liberal arts college known for its non-traditional and international students; GS confers Bachelor of Art and Bachelor of Science degrees in over seventy different majors. GS students take the same courses with the same faculty, are held to the same high standards, and earn the same degree as all other Columbia undergraduates. GS students, who comprise of approximately 25% of all Columbia undergraduates, have the highest average GPA of all the undergraduate schools at Columbia.
GS is home to Columbia's Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program, which is the largest and oldest in the United States. In recent years, up to 90 percent of the students in the GS Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program have been accepted to top U.S. medical schools. The school has joint degree programs with List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Sciences Po.
Some GS students commute to campus from all over the New York metropolitan area, while others, many of who moved to the city from around the U.S., live in University residences. GS boasts 17% international students hailing from over 82 countries.
A Columbia undergraduate class could include students from any of the following colleges or schools: GS, Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Barnard College or the School of Continuing Education  GS is unique among colleges of its type, because its students are fully integrated into the Columbia undergraduate curriculum.
In addition to its bachelor's degree program, the School of General Studies offers combined undergraduate/graduate degree programs with Columbia's Schools of Law, Business, Dental Medicine, Social Work, International and Public Affairs, Teachers College, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as undergraduate dual-degree programs with the Columbia School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and the French University Sciences Po.
Admission to Columbia GS is highly selective and "extremely competitive." According to the College Board, the GS acceptance rate is 23%. Admissions officers examine high school records, test scores, extra-curricular activities, resumes and essays. They conduct interviews in person and on the phone. They also consider college-level work and life experience. For transfer students, most successful applicants attain GPAs of at least 3.8. The school requires standardized test scores for entry, and uses scores from the SAT, ACT, or the school's own Admissions Exam. A list of admissions requirements and procedures is available from the General Studies website and statistics on application, admission, and matriculation are available at the website of Columbia's Office of Planning and Institutional Research. GS admissions statistics are not reported in conjunction with CC/SEAS statistics. This is related both to GS's different admission deadlines and the fact that CC/SEAS and GS have different applicant pools.
Applicants to the School of General Studies must have a break of one academic year or have compelling personal or professional reasons for part-time attendance to be eligible to apply for admission. Prospective Columbia undergraduates who have had a break of a year or more in their education are considered non-traditional and are required to apply to the School of General Studies (such persons are automatically ineligible for admission to Columbia College). GS students have the option to attend part- or full-time unlike Columbia College students, who are required to attend full-time. Also, scholarships at Columbia GS are merit based rather than income based like that of Columbia College or SEAS. In the 2006 class, the average age was 27 for incoming students, and the majority attend full-time.
More than 70 percent of GS students go on to earn advanced degrees after graduation. Columbia GS students have been admitted to top graduate programs all over the country including law schools at Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, the University of Chicago, NYU, the University of Pennsylvania, UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall), Duke, and Cornell. They have also been admitted to medicals schools at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Stanford, UC San Francisco, Yale, Columbia, the University of Chicago, Cornell, and many others.
More than 300 employers recruit GS students on campus every year. In recent years, GS graduates have been recruited by investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, UBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup. GS students also have access to a global network of more than 250,000 alumni throughout the U.S. and in 180 foreign countries.
Nontraditional students 
GS enrolls world-class artists, Olympic athletes, reality show stars, and musicians; investment bankers and business owners; published authors and military veterans; and people who come from as far away as China, Israel, and Germany. Many students work full-time while pursuing a degree, and many have family responsibilities; others attend classes full-time and experience Columbia's more traditional college life.
Many have enjoyed successful careers in fields such as investment banking and information technology and quite a few are nontraditional due to previous conscription or community service requirements in their home countries. A substantial portion of the population enter as transfer students; the previous schools of these students range from community colleges to Ivy League institutions.
Science Po Columbia University Dual BA Program 
The Dual BA Program is a rigorous, transatlantic program in which undergraduate students earn Bachelor of Arts degrees from both Sciences Po and Columbia University. Students spend two years at one of three Sciences Po campuses in France, each of which is devoted to a particular region of the world and offers a heavy linguistic and cultural focus. After two years, students matriculate at Columbia University School of General Studies in New York City to complete the interdisciplinary social sciences curriculum. High school students may apply. Admission to the program is highly selective. In 2012 and 2013, only about 60 spots were available for a pool of approximately 300 applicants.
While Columbia University's mascot is a lion, the School of General Studies has another mascot on its coat of arms: the owl, which was selected for two reasons. First, it represents a connection to night classes, although the vast majority of students today take classes during the day. Second, the owl represents Athena and thus knowledge and wisdom; an owl can be found hiding in the robes of the university's central Alma Mater statue. The school also has a separate motto - "Lux In Tenebris Lucet," Latin for: The light that shines in the darkness.
The school's name refers to its diverse student body by alluding to medieval universities, which were also known as studia generalia. Studia generalia were degree-granting institutions that served a much broader, often international group of students and scholars.
Nontraditional education began at Columbia in the 1830s. A formal program, Extension Teaching (later renamed University Extension), was created by Columbia President Nicholas Murray Butler in 1904. GS's evolutionary ancestor, however, is Seth Low Junior College, which was established in Brooklyn to help alleviate the steady flood of applicants to Columbia College when the College was limiting the number of Jewish applicants.
In 1947, University Extension was reorganized as an official undergraduate college and designated the School of General Studies, with an influx of students attending the university on the GI Bill. GS has become one of the three undergraduate schools of Columbia University with Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.
In December 1968, the University Council first decided to allow GS to grant the B.A. degree in addition to the B.S., over the objections of some members of the Columbia College Faculty. The Board of Trustees authorized that decision in February 1969.
In 1990, the CC, GS, and GSAS faculties were merged into the Faculty of Arts & Sciences. As a result, GS and CC students are academically indistinguishable - they both receive degrees conferred by the Trustees of Columbia University through the Faculty of Art & Sciences, and GS is recognized as one of the two official liberal arts colleges at Columbia University, along with Columbia College.
More recently, as a result of the passage of extended GI Bill coverage in 2008, the school hosts many U.S. and international veterans. In the 2010-2011 school year, the school hosted about 150 of Columbia's nearly 300 studying veterans.
Some GS students are veterans of the U.S. military, and have their own group, the U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University (or "MilVets"; see link below). In addition, there is a significant population of former Israeli soldiers who have completed their pre-university military duty. A January 2010 news article in The New York Times discusses the strong military veteran presence in the GS student body. In addition to a large body of former military students, many students have held full-time jobs before matriculating at Columbia.
- Frederick H. Sykes, (1904–1910) Director of Extension Teaching.
- James Chidester Egbert, Jr., (1910–1942) Director of Extension Teaching/University Extension.
- Harry Morgan Ayres, (1942–1948) Director of University Extension (re-established as School of General Studies in 1947).
- John A. Krout, (1948–1951) Acting Director of the School of General Studies
- Louis M. Hacker, (1951–1958), former student of University Extension. First Dean of the School of General Studies.
- Cliford L. Lord, (1958–1964)
- Clarence C. Walton, (1964–1969)
- Aaron Warner, (1969–1976)
- Ward H. Dennis, (1977–1992)
- Caroline W. Bynum, (1993–1994)
- Gillian Lindt, (1994–1997)
- Peter J. Awn, (1997–Present)
Notable alumni and attendees 
The following list contains some of the notable alumni and attendees of the School of General Studies and its extension school predecessors only. For a full list of people associated with Columbia University as a whole, please see the list of Columbia University people.
An asterisk (*) indicates an attendee who did not graduate.
Alumni of the School of General Studies and its precursors 
- Ira Gershwin* (1918) Attended pre-medical classes, Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer.
- Amelia Earhart* (1920) Attended one semester, American aviator and early female pilot.
- Simon Kuznets (1923), Nobel Prize-winning economist.
- David O. Selznick* (1923), Hollywood producer, King Kong, Gone with the Wind
- Federico García Lorca* (1929), Attended briefly, Spanish poet and dramatist.
- Isaac Asimov (1939), science fiction writer and biochemist
- Jane Jacobs* (1940s), Attended for two years, author The Death and Life of Great American Cities, urban theorist and activist.
- Baruj Benacerraf (1942), Nobel Prize-winning immunologist.
- Telly Savalas (1946), Actor, Emmy-award winner and Oscar nominee.
- Ossie Davis (1948), Actor and social activist, Emmy- and Golden Globe-award nominee.
- John W. Backus (1950), Developer of Fortran, the first true computer language.
- Anthony Perkins* (1950s), Actor and writer.
- Donald Clarence Judd (1953), Artist.
- Donald Richie (1953), Film Critic.
- Sandy Koufax* (1955), Hall of Fame pitcher for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.
- Mike Gravel (1956), Former US Senator from Alaska and candidate for the 2008 Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Released full Pentagon Papers.
- Pat Boone (1957), Singer and actor.
- Gerard W. Ford (1957), Founder of the Ford Modeling Agency.
- Hunter S. Thompson*, (1958). Writer.
- Mary McFadden (1959), Fashion Designer
- Stewart Rawlings Mott (1959), Lobbyist and Philanthropist
- Edward Klein (1960), Author.
- R. W. Apple (1961), The New York Times associate editor.
- John Tauranac (1963), Chief designer of the New York City subway map of 1979.
- Jehuda Reinharz (1964), President of Brandeis University
- Malcolm Borg (1965), Chairman of North Jersey Media Group (formerly Macromedia, Inc.) owner of The Record (Bergen County)
- Jacques Pepin (1970), French Chef.
- Edward Cecil Harris (1971), Creator of the Harris matrix.
- Peter H. Kostmayer (1971), Former (D) Congressman Pennsylvania.
- Roger Pilon (1971), Constitutional scholar and legal theorist.
- Howard Dean (1975), Postbaccalureate Premedical Program. Former Governor of Vermont and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
- Howard G. Chua-Eoan (1983), News Director, Time.
- Gil Shaham (1990), Violinist.
- Ted Rall (1991), Syndicated cartoonist.
- Sasha Frere-Jones (1993), American writer, music critic, and musician
- Patrick Gaspard* (1994–1997), Obama Administration - White House Political Director
- Kelly Killoren Bensimon (1998), Real Housewife
- Josh Waitzkin* (1999), Child chess prodigy and author.
- Princess Firyal of Jordan (1999) Jordanian princess, socialite, and philanthropist
- Philippe Reines (2000), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
- Jonathan Taylor Thomas (2010), Actor.
- Lena Park (2010), Korean-American singer
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt* (2000-2004), American actor and director
- Robert Sean Leonard*, American actor
- Planning and Institutional Research | Home
- Universities: Introduction
- Janus: ` studium
- History of the School of General Studies
- Lisa W. Foderaro (January 8, 2010). "From Battlefield to Ivy League, on the G.I. Bill". The New York Times.
Further reading