Columbia University – Another 3-2 Program Like Wash. U.’s?

Maybe.  I won’t make this post long.  I will just give the links.

Here is the link to the list of affiliate schools for Columbia:

Here is the link to the program “guarenteed admissions” information:

In a later post, I will explain why I think it matters and why I think these programs may be just money makers for the universities’ Engineering Schools – at the expense of enrolled Freshmen that think they are going to get an “elite” education.


  1. Richard Maxwell says:

    Hi Mark,

    You refer to a later post where you will explain why Columbia’s (and WUSTL) Duel Degree programs may be just money maker for the universities’ Engineering School – at the expense of enrolled Freshmen that think they are going to get an “elite” education.

    I’d love to read your opinion but can’t find it on your blog. Where should I look?

    Thanks, Richard

    • Richard,

      Thank you for reminding me to follow up on this post. I will explain why I believe these programs either (a) are at the expense of Columbia’s (or Wash U’s) freshmen; or, (b) signify that the quality of the instruction for Columbia’s (or Wash. U’s) freshmen is far below what it should be. (From now on, I will just use Columbia as the example.)

      Prior to 2011, Columbia admitted studetns from Centenary College in Louisiana (just one example) if they had a grade point average of 3.0 and just passed all of their pre-engineering and math courses.

      Centenary’s recent admission stats show that 7% of their freshmen scored above 700 on the Math SAT. That is about 16 freshmen total, probably not enough for Centenary to offer special highly rigorous courses to them. On the other hand, about 75% of Columbia’s freshman class score over 700 on the Math SAT.

      I’m not saying that a Math SAT score is determinitive for any individual, but, from my experience teaching, there is a problem with granting open admissions to ANY student from Centenary who simply meets the minimal conditions that Columbia requires.

      Now, for the hard part for me to explain, without sounding like an elitist, which I’m not. Teaching to a class of students with high natural ability who have a rigorous background – which Columbia’s students should have acquired in the first two years – is very different than teaching to a class of students without the same ability or background. The normal professorial, and administrative, response to mixing these students together is to teach to the least qualified students, at the expense of the more qualified students. This is ok if the more qualified students are aware of this when they enter Columbia. I very much doubt this is true.

      Finally, it could be that Columbia just doesn’t require much of their engineering majors and the fact that they open the program in such an indiscriminate way signifies this. Again, I doubt if the entering freshmen know this. Or, at least their parents probably don’t know.

      Now, for the money making part. Columbia and their affiliated schools surely (surely, in the sense of I can’t prove it, but “surely”) have a financial interest in this program. Columbia gets tuition and Centenary gets reputation. Why do I say “just” a money making proposition? I don’t think Columbia does this for educational reasons. In my opinion, a 3-2 program is certainly a good idea, but only if done as an educational mission. From what I can tell, that is what Dartmouth does.

      Of course, all that I have written is just an educated guess. But it is something I think parents and studetns should be aware of.

      Thanks again for your question.

  2. Yes, Columbia gets tuition from students in the 3-2 program. It also gets tuition from students who aren’t in the 3-2 program.

    Students in the 3-2 program are offered the same degree as Columbia students who aren’t in the 3-2 program.

    So, students in 3-2 program pay 2 years of Columbia tuition for a degree from Columbia.

    Columbia students who aren’t in the 3-2 program pay 4 years of tuition for a degree from Columbia.

    How exactly is this a money making scheme? You pay half price for the same degree.

    Do you expect 3-2 students to go to Columbia and receive a degree without paying anything?

  3. ColumbiaStudent says:

    I don’t get Mark’s point here at all about Columbia’s money-making scheme. Matk’s logic and rationale here seems far beyond my level to grasp.

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