The Main Components That Make Barnard College A Standout
Fact: There are at least 5,000 higher education schools in America, ranging from vocational schools to cater towards a certain industry to 4-year schools to graduate schools.
Fiction: Colleges do not have distinct personalities or vibes. Each college has their own differences that make them unparalleled to others within that certain aspect. There are tons of components that make universities different from their counterparts, whether students that go to that specific college crave knowledge and the depth of what they’re learning or whether the partying is intense or laid-back. All universities have faults of their own, but what is more admirable are colleges that have their own features that counteract those imperfections. In fact, one of those colleges is Barnard College. Barnard College equips confident women with the skills and resources for future leadership roles by maintaining engaging interactions between students and faculty and opening its doors to the many opportunities that their campus and location offer. Barnard College is a private women’s liberal arts college in New York City.
People who do not know much about it may consider it as the sister college of Columbia University, even though they have their own administrative systems and run on different policies. Barnard College is similar to a win-win situation because they offer a plethora of resources that can easily be found at research universities (Think of lab/media center resources and research opportunities) on a small campus within a metropolitan city. The student population is small, with only 2,600 students (Barnard); thus, the institution provides smaller class sizes; Anne, a freshman, noted that ¾ of her classes had at most 24 students and went on to say that students at Barnard are highly intellectual and frequently hold discussions and debates over what they learned at class.
One might think that due to the small size, it is easy for girls to form cliques and separate from others by staying close with those similar to them. However, the administration organizes students who may have a certain class together on the same dorm floor so that peers will get comfortable residing and learning among each other. This is a contrasting situation because students will know “... how well your friends party and how well they can debate”, but it will cultivate familiarity among students, which can result in companionship. Because of the rigorous academics that Barnard students are exposed to, one graduate mentioned how she put more effort into her courses at Barnard compared to her courses at Columbia (Which is ironic since Columbia is an Ivy League school and Barnard’s reputation is less known worldwide but still offers a similar quality of education), but it has paid off since then because her education at Barnard has increased her appetite for knowledge.
Another component that makes Barnard College standout are the facts that their students may take courses at other colleges within New York City for credit. By giving Barnard students the freedom to customize their curriculum and courses that they want to take, they become self-reliant, clever, and are prompted to do their best in academics. Statistics also show that these freedoms are not only benefiting their personalities, they are also benefiting their resume; at least 50% of Barnard students graduate with experience in internships in the New York City area, leaving them with a reputable education as well as work experience in the real world.
What really separates Barnard from other universities are the interactions between students and their peers and faculty. The student to faculty communication is quite different compared to faculty teaching lecture classes at public universities because typically, professors at huge lecture classes will not put much effort into interacting with their students besides teaching them; however, Anne asked her professor at Barnard who she felt comfortable knowing to write a recommendation for her and she was accepted into her desired internships. Professors like these at Barnard are the types of people who constantly remind their students that they are available to visit them during office hours or to email them for any concerns; this type of communication is very ordinary at Barnard. It is not only the teaching staff that is incredibly helpful, but also the academic advisors; each student at Barnard has one if they need to focus on any academic worries they might have. One anonymous student explained how their friends at Columbia frequently grumble over how insignificant they feel because they lack advisors assigned to them that they can go to for extra help if needed.
Similar to the resources at Barnard that are a huge help to students is an anonymous peer advising hotline called Nightline. As the years have progressed, the mental health culture in America has changed from casually talking about how stressed students are to finding an outlet to project that stress; this is what this service is for; students use this service to confide in an anonymous student at Columbia University or Barnard College (Called “listeners”) about anything; they may talk about problems within their families to not knowing how to deal with intimidating professors and classes. The identity of the students and listeners are not given at all during the conversation. It is not a long-term service akin to a therapist, but this service is perfect for students who need to find an outlet to release all of their worries and not have to worry about not having someone distant to talk to. Conversations range from 5 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on if the student is looking for a specific solution or if they need someone to listen to them. This service is also great for students who would like a reference to a professionally licensed service targeted to their problem; finally, Barnard operates an Alumnae-to-Student Mentoring Program, which “...hooks up accepted sophomores, juniors and seniors with New York-based alumnae in industries the students aspire to join”. This is a truly enriching program because not only does it provide alumni connections that students may depend on, students also get to take away what their alumni learned from their previous life experiences in order to use that info to make better choices throughout their lives. For example, alumni may choose to meet up with their students for some refreshments, discuss over their hardships that they faced or are currently facing in school, and talk about what they wish they had learned; they may then choose to provide advice over different topics that are not only related to careers itself but also to the here and now. The co-founder of the mentor program, Sandra E. Will, provided an anecdote where one year, her mother had passed away, she was facing difficulties at work, and on top of that, had to mentor an international student. Will sent care packages to the student as a way to show her care for her, since she mostly traveled outside of New York City for work. The care packages seem mundane, but her mentee had actually shed tears because no one in her life had done anything caring like that. At the end of the year, the mentee wrote a note describing how because of her mentor’s profound impact on her, she now wanted to become a mentor similar to Will and give part of herself to impact someone else’s life. These student-to-elder interactions help build up Barnard’s student population to be the best versions of themselves.
Being located in such a vibrant area provides students with tons of excuses to retreat away from their dorms and taking advantage of clubs, internships, and excursions to the other neighborhoods in New York City. This is a benefit compared to other universities that do not have this feature because the multitude of opportunities within the city is highly accessible to students, as compared to a university in a rural setting. For example, Cornell University is an Ivy League school that is highly regarded, but its bucolic location does not create much of a social scene outside of its’ campus. The social scene in the city that Cornell is located in is inferior compared to New York City, as portrayed here: “Don’t expect there to be bars…or fun social outlets in Ithaca”. Due to the lack of options for what to do for fun outside of the school campus; therefore, students at Cornell create their social scene, which is comprised of drinking and partying. Contrasting Cornell’s social scene, Barnard’s social scene is more casual but still enjoyable because the urban setting within the city provides more entertainment options than just drinking and partying; students may take advantage of Broadway shows, eating at cafes and restaurants that offer different types of cuisine and price points (Which will satisfy the typical broke college students and the students that live comfortably) , the multitude of shops (From vintage stores and high-fashion brand names), visiting museums and eclectic neighborhoods, and if desired, bars and clubs that would fit a student’s budget. That is not to disparage the fact that New York City is also an intellectually stimulating city with history, which also makes it perfect for students who could care less about partying, in addition to students who are there to have a good time outside of campus. Its location also opens its’ doors to guest speakers that would have a harder time visiting colleges in suburban or rural settings. Barnard’s location also makes for a whole abundance of internships and jobs in New York City to be attainable to students; some may find a casual part-time job to help pay for tuition, while others may do research or intern, which adds experience to their education and resume. It is not uncommon for students to have more than just one internship in New York while attending Barnard.
Colleges are highly crucial for young adults to take advantage of in order to become successful in their career; Barnard College not only fulfills that statement, but also prepares their students to become better citizens of the world by giving them the resources needed to lead their lives and set them up for prosperity.