Barnard College Pre-College Program

New York, NY: For those worried about being homesick, Barnard College and New YorkCity are perfect remedies. The pre-college program at Barnard, a smallliberal-arts college affiliated with Columbia, provides a memorable taste ofcollege life in Manhattan.

While Barnard is located in one of the largestcities, its tranquil campus has a very homey atmosphere across the street fromColumbia. The Summer in New York Pre-College Program is open to 140 juniors andseniors. Barnard is a women’s college, and though men are permitted to apply, themale-female ratio is approximately 1 to 10.

The course selection isvaried, and students choose two. One meets from 9:30 a.m. to noon, the other from2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. every weekday except Wednesday. Courses range from “TheNew York Experience in Literature” to “Environmental Awareness,”providing options for students with diverse interests. At times, the homework canbecome overwhelming, especially considering the magnificent diversions the cityoffers. The course load also depends on which classes you select. If you choosetwo literature courses, for example, you should plan to spend at least an hour anight reading or writing. Other classes, however, are based more on trips tomuseums. Students agree all the classes hold their attention, and they love theircourses despite the work!

Based on personal experience (as well aseavesdropping), the professors seem enthusiastic and plan many trips to museums,poetry cafes and relevant city sites. Members of the “Staging New York”class even had the opportunity to attend a Tony Award-winning play!

Thecity is often used to enrich the experience in the classroom. Every Wednesday,students attend a Life After College activity. Students visit sites as differentas Penguin Putnam Publishing and the Bronx Zoo. Employees or volunteers discusstheir jobs and provide students with helpful tips. Many of the presenters arepleased to speak with the students, and spark their interest in futureinternships and job opportunities.

Some of the most exciting moments ofthe summer program occur during the excursions. Students sign up for differentactivities, such as walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, going to Serendipity fordessert, visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or just walking around thecity.

There are so many options that it is difficult to stay inside atall! These provide students with the opportunity to meet others in the programwhile experiencing some of the greatest aspects of New York. In addition,students can go to Broadway shows and baseball games. While excursions are notmandatory, and students are permitted to explore the city alone, the excursionsare a great way to get to know the city and other students.

Thepre-college program is an invaluable experience for those interested in Barnardor Columbia, or even for those who would simply love the opportunity to be a NewYorker for five weeks! The Residential Assistants are phenomenal and veryaccessible. Since they are students at either Barnard or Columbia, they are morethan able to answer questions about college life, and to provide helpfulinformation.

It is an all-around exciting and informative experience,both in the classroom and in the city. Students form close friendships, and infive short weeks, Barnard becomes their home.

Reviewed in 2002