How Students Profit from New York City College Expenses
>> Have an urge to spend a lot of money on your education, but with the idea that you'll get a good return on your investment? Then consider selecting one of New York City's incredible schools where you do, indeed, receive more than what you pay for.
Between tuition and housing, your New York education will cost a bundle, but such costs are negligible when compared to the advantages of living in a cosmopolitan atmosphere. These advantages include exposure to leaders in industry, the arts, and government, the acquisition of life-long resources, and a competitive edge when seeking fame, fortune, and fulfillment.
Budgeting for the good life in New York, however, is not only a necessity, it is also a highly creative pursuit. And, yes, it's true. If a student (or anyone, for that matter) can make it in New York City, he or she can do so anywhere!
How do they do this? New York City students quickly master survival skills, including learning how to live and work with others, adhering to slender food outlays, hunting for clothing bargains, procuring public transportation discounts, taking advantage of free tickets to stimulating events, and employing their network of friends and acquaintances to find what they need.
According to a 2005 Barnard College sophomore, her college "is very good about handing out pamphlets and reviewing cheap places to eat in The Barnard Bulletin," its college newspaper. Barnard also makes it possible to get into the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Museum of Television and Radio for free. And not to be missed are Barnard's discounted tickets to Broadway shows and The Metropolitan Opera.
It doesn't take students like her long to figure out how to get to these places. "I'm a staunch supporter of the Metro [MTA subway system] at all times of the day and night," she said. "It's so much cheaper than a cab." Faster, too!
Anne Kopley (pictured right), a 2000 Columbia University graduate, said that when she was in college, the unlimited MetroCard came out and "revolutionized our experience. If we were planning to go to a lot of places in one day, we could do it really cheaply." A One-Day Fun Pass, another MTA bargain, costs $7 and is good for unlimited MTA subway and bus rides from first use until 3:00 a.m. the following day.
Location, Location, LocationDuring summers and after finishing college, students who have lived in New York and want to remain in the city have a competitive edge when apartment hunting. They know about housing grants, inexpensive and temporary New York University summer housing, internal college listings, postings on the Web site CraigsList.com, the Village Voice listings, and rental notices taped to corner street poles and bus shelters.
Schools usually help their students find affordable rents in highly desirable locations. According to Juilliard Program Coordinator Li-Ling Wang, The Juilliard School offers summer housing and also provides apartment information to both students and alumni. While Juilliard does not actively solicit rental information, Ms. Wang says, "We do provide informational sessions to students on how to look for apartments, resources, dealing with brokers, New York City tenant laws, etc."
At other colleges, like The New School University, Columbia, Pace University, and the various schools of New York University, dorms are located in to-die-for locations like Greenwich Village (pictured), Union Square, the Broadway Theatre District, and the Financial District. While other New Yorkers may pay thousands of dollars per month for their digs, college students have the good fortune to live in the same highly coveted neighborhoods at a steep discount.
Another sophmore worked for one of her psychology professors, and in doing so, received free campus housing in the Upper West Side for her work, plus a small salary. Known for its relaxed, unpretentious feeling and its residents' intellectual curiosity, many newcomers to New York fall in love with the Upper West Side's tranquil Riverside Park, European-style coffee shops, intricately designed cathedrals and, at night, high vantage points overlooking Harlem's twinkling street lights. It was a pretty sweet deal.
Work, Work, Work
Few students outside of New York can say that, after class, they leave the library to work at high-profile, world-class institutions. But in New York, future careers and successes are shaped by interning, or working part-time, at these dynamic businesses.
And students work everywhere - they assist busy reporters at The Wall Street Journal's frenetic news desks, observe buyers at Sotheby's sophisticated auction rooms, take in smooth jazz at Lincoln Center, conduct cutting-edge research in Pfizer's labs, shout across the New York Stock Exchange's floor, and (for that personal touch) even babysit children for some of the world's most influential people.
While anyone can move to New York City during the summer to intern or work part time, only those living here full time can build on their new experiences by continuing to work for these same employers during the school year.
Case in point: While she was still a student, Ms. Kopley held various positions. One summer, she worked in McGraw-Hill's college textbook editorial division [Midtown]. Later, after searching Columbia's job bank, she found additional part-time employment at the American Civil Liberties Union [in the Financial District], where she contributed to its Immigrants Rights Project. She continued to work there for two years.
Meet People Who've Met People . . .
Major events, speakers, and professors are available to New York City students on a daily basis. Because New York is a world-renowned metropolis, it attracts high-profile people who make a point of visiting campuses while they are on publicity tours. Others appear at nearby venues that offer free or reduced admittance to students.
In 2004, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor visited Barnard College, hip-hop artist Common performed on Columbia University's Low Library steps, and actress Angelina Jolie talked about Brad Pitt at the Actor's Studio. According to Ms. Wang, "Juilliard often invites celebrated alumni and artists to coach students in master classes and/or perform at special events." Artists have included soprano Leontyne Price, conductor James Conlon, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, soprano Renée Fleming, and actress Christine Baranski.
Need contacts? Just think about London Kim, who graduated from New School's Actor's Studio in 2004. He sat in the audience of Inside the Actor's Studio when host James Lipton interviewed everyone from Edward Norton to the entire cast of The Simpsons.
Crave personal experience? Ms. Kopley signed up for a residence hall dinner with former New York City Mayor Ed Koch when she was an undergraduate. Had she wanted, she could have done the same with Art Garfunkel, who also returned to his alma mater to dine with students.
When speakers don't come to students, students go to them. Every week, the New York Public Library, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, annual film festivals, and New York's many bookstores and clubs showcase the talented and influential in close, personal settings. Like other New Yorkers, students pick up free Village Voice and New York Press newspapers and/or buy Time Out New York, or The New Yorker to examine hundreds of event listings.
It's Not What You Know But How You Got To Know It
Once school is over and New York City graduates move into the "real world," they leave college with a strong social network that can pay them back exponentially. Because the city that never sleeps is home to Wall Street, Broadway, and Carnegie Hall, among numerous icons, it attracts ambitious people who strive to the top of their chosen fields. For people looking to break into the publishing, finance, fashion, arts, and entertainment worlds, being in New York City is the big time.
Examples: Director Martin Scorsese and Oscar-winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker started working together while studying at New York University. The two have collaborated ever since. Similarly, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg met at Columbia University, where they created a "New Vision" of art in their dormitory rooms. The list of celebrated people who met while studying in New York and continue to collaborate is long and impressive.
When asked why he came to the big city to study acting, Mr. Kim said it was because "I wanted to be with other people doing the same thing." Immediately after graduating in May, the Actor's Studio's Officer of Professional Development forwarded Mr. Kim's headshot and resume to a casting director and friend. As a result, The Actor's Studio alumnus got extra work in The Departed, a film by Martin Scorsese that stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson. "It was completely mad -- [in acting my part] I was part of a group of 'money men' standing over a bag of money that we were showing to Jack Nicholson."
And You Never Really Go Broke . . . When Your Expectations Are More Than Fulfilled
Ms. Kopley feels that going to school in New York "was the best thing I ever could have done. I was a very shy person and it helped me to come out of my shell." She added that now that she is in Washington, D.C. getting her law degree, having lived in New York City sets her apart. "I've lived in a big city, an impressive place. It gives 'street creds' to someone like me who doesn't give out a city-girl look."
It is best to have no expectations when you come here. Typically, however, attending college in New York City provides students with a strong sense of independence and ability to cope with future challenges.
CREDITS: Article and photos by Bianca Jordan. First published on 10/1/2003. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.