GS Welcomes Spring 2021 Incoming Students
Spring 2021 Orientation Week is an online event experienced through a combination of modalities including independently reviewed materials, live interactive workshops, panels, meet & greets, and socials during the week of Monday, January 4 - Sunday, January 10.
Lisa Rosen-Metsch, Dean of the School of General Studies opened the New Student Welcome Ceremony by praising the resilience and flexibility of the incoming class.
“Now more than ever, your pursuits at Columbia and the convictions and dedication you bring to your studies are needed in our communities. We are facing serious, complex challenges, and you will all be part of the future’s solutions,” Dean Rosen-Metsch said.
Dean Rosen-Metsch then introduced Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University, who spoke to the power of the nontraditional students that make up the GS student body.
"A General Studies student is defined by the uniqueness of your lives. You are, by common description, the nontraditional student. I would say you are the student we all want."
After Bollinger’s remarks, Dean Rosen-Metsch spoke about the initiatives that have become a part of the Columbia community in the past year, including the Justice and Pandemic Preparedness Academy. "This unique opportunity open to all Columbia undergraduates allows students to collaborate with peers and with faculty mentors on service and research projects, with a major focus on understanding and addressing the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color."
Now more than ever, your pursuits at Columbia and the convictions and dedication you bring to your studies are needed in our communities. We are facing serious, complex challenges, and you will all be part of the future’s solutions.
Dean Rosen-Metsch then introduced Dean of Students, Marlyn Delva, who reflected on the meaning that a new year holds for the world and new students alike in the midst of the current state of affairs.
“Many of you shared that this was a dream for you, one you were not sure you would obtain, but here you are. You have achieved the first step,” Dean Delva said.
Dean Delva then introduced Dr. James Colgrove, Dean of the Columbia University Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program at GS, who spoke of the importance and heroism in joining the medical community at this time.
“The unique role that health care providers play in protecting their patients and entire communities has been dramatically brought home for us in the extraordinary stories of health care providers persisting, often at great personal peril, in the face of exhaustion, grief, and fear. The inherently heroic nature of health care work has rarely been so visible,” he said.
Now, as with all new chapters, there will be challenging moments. Know that no one is better equipped to handle it than you.
Students heard from General Studies Student Council (GSSC) President, Jane Jeong, who shared her story of fighting both an autoimmune disease and racism in her first attempt at college and spoke to the resilience of GS students. “Now, as with all new chapters, there will be challenging moments. Know that no one is better equipped to handle it than you,” Jeong said.
Incoming students also heard from Meika Folkerts, who serves as the Vice President of Communication on the Postbac Premed Student Council (PPSC.) “Not everyone takes time to pause. Not everyone takes an honest inventory of where they are and where they want to be,” said Folkerts.
Damienne Harfouche ‘14, Co-chair of the General Studies Alumni Association (GSAA,) and Dean of Academic Affairs, Victoria Rosner, also spoke to the incoming cohort. All of these speakers echoed to incoming students how remarkable an achievement and privilege it is to attend Columbia in spite of the circumstances facing them right now, encouraging them to take advantage of the diverse community and resources available to them throughout their academic career.
Incoming GS students make up a diverse student body, which boasts 52 armed forces veterans, including 35 U.S. military veterans and 17 veterans from foreign militaries, as well as international students representing 21 countries.
Throughout the remainder of Orientation Week, NSOP Orientation Leaders will guide new GS students through virtual social mixers, as well as workshops about campus resources and academic practices at Columbia. 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 spring classes begin.
An Overview of the Spring 2021 Entering Class
The School of General Studies continues to be one of the most diverse undergraduate colleges in the Ivy League, and this semester’s incoming class is no exception. The presence of GS students creates a truly global diversity of socio-economic backgrounds, age, life and career experience, and perspective in the University’s classrooms.
- 58 incoming students are international students
- 80 incoming students are first-generation college students
- 46 incoming students received Pell Grants
- 35 incoming students are U.S. military veterans
Postbac Premed: 52
Age range: 18-59
Students who are married: 10%
Students with children: 4%
U.S. Residents from 30 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts,Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington
21 countries are represented, including: Bahrain, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Honduras, India, Israel, Japan, Morocco, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States, and Vietnam