Spring 2018 Incoming Class Welcomed at New Student Orientation

Spring 2018 Incoming Class Welcomed at New Student Orientation

January 25, 2018

New students at GS Spring 2018 Orientation. Photo Credit: Sirin Samman
New student breakfast at GS Orientation. Photo Credit: Sirin Samman
Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch welcomes the new students. Photo Credit: Sirin Samman
GSSC President, Samantha Demezieux, addresses students. Photo: Sirin Samman
Postbac Premed student, Chelsea Faison, addresses students. Photo: Sirin Samman
GS alumna Kirsty Jardine speaks at Orientation. Photo Credit: Sirin Samman
NSOP Chair Jacquie Viggiano speaks at Orientation. Photo Credit: Sirin Samman

On Monday, January 8, the School of General Studies welcomed nearly 230 incoming students at the New Student Welcome, the kickoff event of the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP), held in Roone Arledge Auditorium in Lerner Hall. Dean of the School of General Studies, Lisa Rosen-Metsch, opened the ceremony by welcoming students to the GS and Columbia communities.

“I had the chance this morning to meet so many of you, and I know firsthand the transformative impact of a Columbia education. You are about to embark on a journey that will challenge you academically, socially, and ultimately, professionally. I challenge you to embrace this opportunity,” Dean Rosen-Metsch said.

Dean of Students Tom Harford spoke next, continuing a GS Orientation tradition by asking incoming students to rise as he described different categories, including 28 having served in the U.S. military, 45 being born abroad, 86 being first-generation college students, to being a parent, working full-time, or being a born-and-raised New Yorker.

Incoming students also heard from Kirsty Jardine ‘15GS ‘16PH, co-chair of the GS Alumni Association, as well as current GS students, including Samantha Demezieux, President of the General Studies Student Council, Jacquie Viggiano, GS NSOP Student Chair, and Chelsea Faison, Vice President of Medical School Fair Operations of the Premedical Association and a Postbac Premed student. In their speeches, each enthusiastically welcomed the incoming class, sharing personal experiences and stressing the unique and supportive nature of the GS community.

Throughout the remainder of Orientation Week, students mingled with each other at meet-and-greets, attended workshops about campus resources and community standards, and went out on the town together, touring museums, catching Broadway shows, and ice skating at Rockefeller Center. NSOP is instrumental to new students’ integration at the University, and provides numerous opportunities to meet new and returning students, as well as alumni, before classes start.

An Overview of the Spring 2018 Entering Class

The School of General Studies continues to be one of the most diverse undergraduate colleges in the Ivy League, and this year’s incoming class is no exception, counting among them a former classical pianist, military veterans, former professional actors and musicians, first-generation Americans, professional athletes, to name only a few.

The presence of GS students in the Columbia classroom enables the University, already one of the most ethnically and economically diverse undergraduate communities in the Ivy League, to define diversity on much broader terms—a truly global diversity of socio-economic background, age, life and career experience, and perspective.

  • 20% of the incoming students are international students
  • 38% of the incoming students are first-generation college students
  • 26% of the incoming students are Pell Grant eligible
  • 14% of the incoming students are U.S. military veterans


Undergraduate: 172
Postbac Premed: 54


Age range: 18 – 64 years old
Women: 45%
Men: 55%
Students who are married: 22%
Students with children: 16%
U.S. residents from 22 states


Six foreign countries are represented, making up 20% of the incoming class. International students come from China, Germany, Israel, Kenya, South Africa, and South Korea.