Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) are the two undergraduate schools for traditional college students at Columbia. Due to the way the University has evolved and its current structure, the divisions between the two schools have historically been unnecessarily played up, though this trend appears to be passing. Typically CC and SEAS students get over their differences and respective complexes quickly.
While both schools are academically independent entities within the University, the undergraduates of the schools are administered under a joint office which essentially forges a single student body. CC and SEAS students live, eat, and study together at Columbia.
The Division of Student Affairs, headed by Dean James Valentini, oversees admissions, advising, financial aid, student programming and activities, residential programs, the scholars program, study abroad, pre-professional advising, and more for both CC and SEAS. They are your administrative shepherd for your undergraduate years.
US News and World Report statistics
For years Columbia only reported the statistics of Columbia College to US News and World Report for their annual rankings of the "Best Colleges". This seemed to imply that SEAS wasn't considered part of the general undergraduate body. However, since 2006 US News has been using the combined statistics for both schools, and the Admissions office has been reporting statistics for the schools jointly as well, rendering this point moot. It should be noted that while CC has a lower overall admit rate, SEAS admits tend to have a higher average SAT score. Furthermore, SEAS is the most selective engineering school in the nation.
Despite the official trend towards statistical unification, the Spectator and various publications will "headline" only the College's admission rate, while mentioning SEAS's statistics separately in the body of the article. Often this is to make erroneous and misguided comparisons about having the "lowest rate in the Ivy League."
With the recent move towards putting the "official stamp" on the combined statistics of the schools rather than privileging those of the College, publications are starting to catch on.
The flags and flagpoles on the South Lawn were a gift a CC alumnus, who supposedly stipulated that the flagpoles be used only for Columbia College flags. There have been reports, however, of witnessing SEAS flags on those poles during Days on Campus, so nobody knows how much truth, if any, there is to this rumor. Efforts by the Engineering Student Council to remedy this by placing one SEAS flag in the area have been uniformly unsuccessful so far.
The counter-argument to this complaint is that the flags fly on Hamilton Lawn, in front of Hamilton Hall, the home of Columbia College, while a SEAS flag flies in the plaza in front of Mudd, home of SEAS. Of course there are limitations to this argument since the line between both schools is blurred—the undergraduate admissions office which handles applications for both schools is also located in Hamilton Hall. Additionally, the flags extend along the Van Am Quad toward the direction of John Jay Hall, which is clear for everyone on campus to see and think they are just campus flags, where the SEAS flags are tucked in the same sad corner of campus where Mudd lies.
Student council funding and territoriality
Columbia College and SEAS have their own respective student governments, with class councils for each year of each class as well. While this makes some sense especially for the engineers who tend to have concerns and issues as engineering students that vary from many of their liberal arts and sciences peers, ESC officers have often complained that CCSC typically gets a disproportionately large share of student life funding. However, the funding for the student councils is done in proportion to the number of undergraduates in that college. This means that CCSC receives about three times as much funding as does ESC, as Columbia College has about three times the number of students.
Inter-council tetchiness may also have something to do with CCSC's repeated propositions to ESC to consummate a merger, which date back to 1979. The proposal was floated in 2006 by CC '07 Class President David Chait.
It was again proposed in spring of 2013, with both CCSC and ESC a resolution proposed by both the outgoing and incoming presidents that they ought to explore merging was passed. The resolution stipulated that should the councils recommend merging, the measure would have to pass a referendum among both CC and SEAS student bodies.
School of General Studies
Unlike CC and SEAS, GS has a completely separate administration. This is a result of, and results in a variety of complications with regards to GS. In 2007, talks of a GS-CC merger surfaced. See Main Article, School of General Studies.