Jumpstart Series

Doing well at Columbia involves highly developed academic skills—skills that are not always intuitive and that go beyond understanding the content of classes. To help Jumpstart your first semester at Columbia and get a clear understanding of what it takes to succeed, new students are invited to attend a week of virtual workshops designed and run by the Academic Resource Center (ARC) to help build academic skills in context. 

The Winter 2021 Jumpstart Series will include a combination of real-time and asynchronous programming. Materials will be available beginning on December 1, 2020, via our Jumpstart CourseWorks site, and live sessions will take place Wednesday, January 6 - Friday, January 8. 

Please see below for more information.

At Columbia, speaking the language of a text does not always guarantee that you will understand what it says. And even when you do understand, that does not always mean you can talk about it. Work with us to learn strategies for approaching difficult readings and engaging in class discussions, and get a head start on texts that have tripped up many intrepid readers in the past.

Here’s how it works:

  • Before Jumpstart Week, you’ll receive access to a pre-recorded video lesson on “Hard Reading, Good Writing” that teaches strategies for approaching challenging texts and managing large volumes of reading, along with how to think about and prepare for Columbia writing assignments.  You’ll also receive a bonus lesson on “Participating Well in Class” that teaches the unspoken rules and norms of a seminar discussion.
  • During Jumpstart Week, you’ll have the chance to opt into mock-seminars in a variety of disciplines including philosophy, literature, art history, music, and theology. For each seminar, you’ll receive a reading assignment and discussion questions 72 hours in advance to help you prepare for the conversation.
  • A list of seminar topics will be shared with all Jumpstarters during the registration process so that you can let us know which topics you’re most excited to engage.  Each student will be able to participate in at least three seminars over the course of Jumpstart Week.

It is difficult to cultivate classroom skills in the abstract. To learn to take stellar notes, you need to know what you will be taking notes about, a good sense of the pace of lectures or discussions, and to know what you are expected to take away. That is where this series steps in. Preview a Columbia classroom run by GS staff and faculty, and get a head start refreshing and strengthening classroom skills.

Here’s how it works:

  • Before Jumpstart Week, you’ll receive access to a full suite of video lessons on what to expect and how to learn well at Columbia.  These lessons, which form the core of our University Studies curriculum for first-semester students, have been developed based on the latest research in learning science and educational psychology.  Each will be accompanied by written resources and tools, along with a discussion board moderated by ARC staff and GS peer advisors where you can ask questions and post reactions.
  • During Jumpstart Week, we’ll host a live Q&A session where you can ask questions about the materials you’ve engaged with on CourseWorks.  We’ll also end the week with a keynote faculty lecture to offer a taste of the Columbia classroom and an opportunity to contextualize and put into practice the skills you have learned.


For more information and to register email gs-arc@columbia.edu.