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Columbia Postbaccalaureate Studies

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My advice to potential applicants to Columbia's Postbaccalaureate Studies Program:

Think twice before applying and enrolling in this program if accepted.

Here are the drawbacks:

1) Absolutely NO STRUCTURED ACADEMIC ADVISING. Columbia promotes this program on its website as: "Working with academic advisors at the School of Continuing Education(SCE), each student develops a plan of study tailored to his or her background and academic goals" and that you can "Work with dedicated advisers to develop a customized course plan that advances your academic and professional goals".

REALITY: The only so-called "academic advisors" that I saw while enrolled in this program were 2 officers at computer terminals during registration week assisting with online course registration. There was NO "academic advising" regarding course selection; in fact, these "academic advisers" seemed more concerned with brushing off any possible questions about course selection than in actually assisting enrolled students. Considering that this program is supposed to supplement your prior undergraduate courses/degree for eventual application to graduate school, AND that you're paying a whopping $3800+ per course out of pocket, this nonexistent academic advising is pathetic and not what you would expect from an Ivy League school of Columbia's caliber. There is absolutely no outreach to School of Continuing Education students once you're enrolled - and Columbia has your tuition bucks.

As far as graduate school application advising - there was only one, 1.5 hour uninspiring Powerpoint presentation that SCE gave while I was there - that's it - and they post this on their website.

2) COST. Columbia charges $3800+ per course for this program. You can take similar courses at other NYC area schools for much less, so do your research and look around. Don't get swept up in being able to brag that you took courses at Columbia - because you're not getting a Columbia degree, just an assortment of courses from Columbia's School of Continuing Education at $3800+ each - although these are the same courses other Columbia students take.

Bottom Line: This PostBac program looks like a cash cow for Columbia - set up to pull in a lot of $$$$$ from students paying high out of pocket tuition, but really not worth your money or effort.

My Advice: Do your research and take undergrad./grad. courses at other NYC area schools if you want to supplement your undergraduate course transcript before applying to graduate school. Think CUNY, NYU, Fordham, SUNY schools - if you want to go out of NYC - and even Rutgers. You'll probably get much better academic advising and you'll save a ton of money. And then take what you save from not paying Columbia's exorbitant $3800+ per class and spend it on a good GRE or GMAT prep. class.

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