Frequently Asked Questions
Where did these Competencies come from?
This framework grew out of faculty conversations in the Columbia College Committee on Instruction (COI) during the 2015-2016 academic year about the skills, capacities and capabilities they believed all Columbia College students acquire during their time here. The list they compiled has since been reviewed by faculty, students, alumni and staff, and updated based on important feedback.
Why did you choose the word Competencies?
Competency was originally defined in the 1590’s as “sufficiency to satisfy the wants of life,” borrowed from the Latin word competentia. We want our students to have the tools to live a satisfying and fulfilling life, and chose “competency” in order to reflect that goal. It’s a goal that serves as a pillar of the Core Curriculum and now also supports My Columbia College Journey.
I already have so much to do! Why are you adding more to my list?
The Core Competencies are not intended to be requirements, burdens, or limitations. Instead, My Columbia College Journey encourages you to take time to reflect on your experiences—to think about what you like and don’t like, what you are good at and where you need to grow, what you are learning and want to learn. We trust this reflection will guide you to make thoughtful decisions about your academic and co-curricular life; help you consider areas you would like to develop; and serve as a means to identify and pursue your interests.
Why is it important to reflect on my experiences?
Through reflection, you will see that your various experiences aren’t separate or solitary. They are connected to one another, and part of a continuum of who you are and who you will become, including the skills and capacities that you have developed at the College. You will see how your experiences are becoming part of the narrative that you share about yourself and inform your plans for the future.
Are College students required to develop a journey? How does it get submitted?
We encourage you to reflect on your journey, build your story, and write your own narrative—but it is not required. We invite you to submit your own reflection on the “Your Story” section of the website. We also welcome your feedback, thoughts and suggestions.
How do the Core Competencies affect my ability to graduate?
The Core Competencies are not required for graduation. They are a way for you to reflect on all of your experiences, in and out of the classroom, and consider how those experiences fit in with your entire Columbia College journey—and the journey you will take after Commencement.
What’s the difference between the Core Curriculum and Core Competencies?
The Core Competencies complement the Columbia College Core Curriculum as reminders of all that you develop and accomplish here – through your courses, internships, clubs and activities, research, and residential life. They also guide you to develop your own unique story as you make choices about where you want to be and what you want to do in the months and years to come.
Who can I talk to about this?
This does not have to be an independent activity. Throughout this process, you will be supported by your Columbia College faculty, advisers, mentors and program coordinators – in the The James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising, the Center for Career Education, the Office of Global Programs, Undergraduate Student Life, Undergraduate Research and Fellowships and in your activities and residential halls. Your development will be a shared responsibility between you and your Columbia College network of support, who can guide your ongoing reflection, your academic exploration, and your personal development.
Do I get a certificate of completion or accomplishment of the Competencies?
There is no certification for the Core Competencies. My Columbia College Journey is a tool for self-reflection and self-assessment, intended to help you make thoughtful decisions about your life as a Columbia College student—and beyond.
Do other undergraduate students at Columbia have these Competencies too?
My Columbia College Journey is a tool designed to support the 4,500 students of Columbia College. While there are elements of the student experience that are shared among the three undergraduate schools, Columbia Engineering and The School of General Studies serve the unique needs of their student populations.