Frequently Asked Questions

General Orientation Information

What does NSOP stand for?

New Student Orientation Program. It is pronounced "N-SOP"

How can I contact NSOP?

You can contact Barnard Student Life staff by emailing us at or 212-854-2096.

When does Orientation officially begin for Fall NSOP 2019?

International student move-in will take place on Friday,  August 23 for those participating in the International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP). For questions email

First-year students move-in will take place on Sunday, August 25 from 8am-12pm. Students will receive specifically designated move-in times from the Office of Housing and Residential Life.

Transfer student move-in/check-in will take place on Monday, August 26. 

New Student Orientation officially runs from Sunday, August 25 - Monday, September 2.

When will the NSOP Schedule be released?

For Spring: The NSOP schedule will be shared on the NSOP website a few weeks before you arrive. 
For Fall: The NSOP Schedule will be posted on the NSOP website in August.

When can I arrive on campus?

Please see the dates above. You may not move into your room before the listed date.

What should I do if I must arrive before my designated move-in date?

If you must arrive before your designated move-in date and are not participating in a special program and do not have special permission from housing, a list of area hotels and other accommodations can be found on the Barnard Visitors website.

How long does Orientation last?

For Fall NSOP, orientation begins the moment you move-in and goes up until labor day.
For Spring NSOP, orientation begins the moment you move-in and goes up until MLK day.

How do I change my address?

Contact the Barnard Admissions Office at When you arrive on campus, you will also be able to check and change your address when you register.

What about setting up a bank account?

Columbia University/Barnard College has a banking relationship with Citibank, and you'll find Citibank ATMs on campus. Other banks can be found in walking distance of the campus.

What can I expect once I arrive on campus for Fall NSOP?

When you arrive to campus, you will be greeted by Barnard Public Safety who can tell you where to temporarily park while you unload your belongings into a designated area. We have an amazing crew of Orientation Leaders and Resident Assistants who will assist you in bringing your things to your residence hall. Please be patient, as many students will be moving into the residence halls at once. After move-in, there will be time for you to start settling into your new home before going to your first OL group meeting. Keep in mind that you'll have lots of help moving in from upperclass students, so it's not neccessary to bring the whole family; 2-3 relatives is plenty.

What can I expect once I arrive on campus for Spring NSOP?

When you arrive to campus, there will be orientation and residential life staff ready to check you in in Barnard Hall Lobby (building right in front of main gates on Broadway and 117th St). After move-in, there will be a dinner (for visiting international students) and luncheon (for transfer students) with the deans and plenty of time for you to start settling into your new home. Keep in mind that you'll help moving in from upperclass students, so it's not neccessary to bring the whole family; 2-3 relatives is plenty.

What should I do if I'm coming from far away and can't pack everything?

There are stores right around campus where you can purchase toiletries and other supplies for your room. You may also want to have some of your belongings shipped. You can ship packages to your school address starting three days before Orientation.

If I shipped items to campus, what is that process and where do I pick up my packages on Move-In Day?

If you check your myBarnard account, you should be able to find your mailing address (under the Student Services tab on the top of the right-hand column, there is link labelled MailBox Combination, which should include a mailbox number). Please ship your items to that address. Please keep in mind that only students with photo IDs can pick up their packages from the Mail Room, which is located in A100 Altschul Hall and can be accessed through the basement of Altschul Hall or the basement of the Diana Center. Please don't send a family member to pick up a package on your behalf. The Mail Room does not deliver packages to the residence halls. You should plan to have your items shipped so they do not arrive more than three days before Orientation.

How do I get to campus and where do I park when I arrive on campus?

Check out our website for visitors for directions and local parking garages. It has all of that essential information!

I have a disability. How will my needs be accommodated during NSOP?

Columbia and Barnard make every effort to provide an accessible NSOP experience and to accommodate students with disabilities. If you require disability accommodations or unsure about needing support to attend our events, please contact the Office of Disability Services for assistance. Barnard students should call 212-854-4634 or email

We understand that public transportation in NYC can be a challenge to navigate for those who have mobility limitations. Students who need assistance with transportation to outings throughout the city should email Barnard Student Life. They will assist you in arranging transportation for the various outings! Email them at

Orientation Programs

What events will be happening during Orientation Week?

We offer programs that range from academic sessions to social and community outings. This is a chance to get to know Barnard and Columbia and all of the resources that are available to you before classes begin. 

Will there be an orientation program for families and parents for NSOP?

For our Fall orientation program, there will be family programs on First Year Move-In Day (Aug 25) from 12pm - 4pm. For parents and family of transfer students, there will be transfer welcome luncheon on Monday, August 26 immediately following move-in.

My parents plan on staying in the city past Move-In Day. Will I have time to hang out with them?

It is common to have family members stay in NYC for an extended amount of time to sightsee and/or visit family/friends. However, please know that the week of orientation is very packed with mandatory and social programs and this is a time to learn about Barnard, make connections, and build friendships with your new undergraduate community. Since family members are unable to attend programs after Family Farewells, please plan accordingly.

Do I need any money during Orientation?

Your orientation fee covers the cost of the program, but there are events for which you may want additional spending money. This money will cover any special events, additional MetroCards, and possible off-campus dining.

I see that I need to have my BCID, name badge, and wristband on me at all times. Why are they needed?

Yes, you must carry your BCID and name badge with you at all times. The wristband must be worn on your wrist at all times for our annual NSOP program, not for Spring NSOP. All three items are required for the full week of NSOP so we can ensure that this experience is exclusively for new students and NSOP volunteers only. They are also to ensure that you're entering the dining halls in a seamless fashion. If you lose your Orientation Badge during NSOP, there is a $5 replacement fee. If you lose your wristband, the replacement fee is $50. Both the badge and wristband can be replaced during office hours. 

I have special dietary needs. Will I be able to eat during Orientation?

Of course! All types of food will be available throughout Orientation and on the meal plan. Kosher, vegetarian and vegan dining options will always be available. Have allergies? Make sure to let the Office of Disability Services know. Contact information: call 212-854-4634 or email

I am a transfer student. Are there going to be activities for me during Orientation?

Transfer students have a number of transfer-specific academic and social programs during orientation, including panels, advising sessions and joint outings in the city with Barnard and Columbia transfer students. Your orientation group of 10-15 students will consist only of transfers.

Will there be anyone to answer my questions during Orientation Week?

The Orientation Leaders (OL) are a great place to start. They are always available to help you. During Orientation Week, OLs will be staffing an info table on campus where you can go if you have questions about anything related to NSOP. Your Resident Assistant (RA) will be another invaluable resource for you throughout Orientation and the rest of the year. You will also have a chance to meet with your adviser during Orientation week.

Will I have time to relax during NSOP?

You have probably heard that orientation can be a bit overwhelming. While most days include a number of required programs we have made a sincere effort to add more breaks to the week. We recommend highlighting required programs in your Guidebook app, events that seem of particular interest to you, and all of the breaks. It will make the week seem less hectic. Time to relax and just hang out with your new friends is very important to NSOP; therefore, look for the down time in the Guidebook app so you can plan accordingly.

I heard that I’ll be meeting a lot of new people. How will I remember everyone’s names?

Don’t fret! Everyone will be wearing durable name badges throughout the entire week.

I’ve never been on public transportation. Will we learn how to navigate the mass transit system during NSOP?

One of the best parts of living in New York City is the ability to explore everything the city has to offer by having a MetroCard and understanding how the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) works. Our OLs can teach you how to use a MetroCard machine, which is a touch screen method. They can also help you understand how the buses and subway operate in terms of lines and directions by looking at a map. We have plenty of programs during NSOP throughout the city which will help you practice getting around. Also, a quick tip is to visit HopStop. It’s a useful website to help you get from point A to point B.  

We understand that public transportation in NYC can be a challenge to navigate for those who have mobility limitations. Students who need assistance with transportation to outings throughout the city should email Barnard Student Life to make them aware of your needs. They will assist you in arranging transportation for the various outings! Email them at

What if I’m having a hard time adjusting during NSOP? Who can I talk to?

Our NSOP staff and volunteers have all been in your shoes at one point. Being anxious or nervous is completely normal and we’re here to help you in any way we can. We recommend speaking to your OL or RA about your concerns but if you would like guidance from a full-time administrator, we’re very easy to find and talk to. Simply email or call Student Life at 212-854-2096 and only a small handful of individuals will receive your inquiry and someone will follow-up with you. We’re here to support you!

International NSOP

Are you an international student looking to find out more information about our Fall International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP)? An email with information about IPOP check-in and program dates and a general overview of the program will be sent to pre-approved international first-year students from The Office of International & Intercultural Student Programs in regards to the details of the program.

Housing and Residential Life

Have questions about what to bring, what’s allowed, and anything else that is housing-related? Check out Residential Life and Housing’s website!


How do I set up my Columbia and Barnard E-Mail?

As a Barnard student, you have an email address at both Columbia and Barnard. Visit the Academic Information Systems website to set up your UNI, which is also your email address (for example, and

I'm worried about my classes. What should I be doing?

Throughout Orientation you will be introduced to academic life through a variety of programs. Orientation is a week to become familiar with academics while having fun. Enjoy the week!

All About Commuting

Will food be provided for commuter students during Orientation?

Yes, NSOP will provide your meals for the week as it will for any other student participating in NSOP. Refer to the FAQ's about dining that can be found on this page for further questions.

Is there any special place for commuter students to spend their free time?

Yes, you can always stop by the commuter lounge, which is located on the first floor of the Diana Center, anytime during orientation week. It's a convenient place where you can have access to computers, take a break and relax on the sofas, read a Time Out NY and other magazines, and meet new people.

The Four Undergraduate Schools

What should I know about Barnard College?

Barnard College, founded in 1889, is a liberal arts college for women that is a partner of Columbia University. Named for the tenth president of Columbia University, Fredrick Barnard, the college provides women with an intimate liberal arts education with the resources of a major research university. While Barnard students get a Columbia University diploma, Barnard College has its own president (Sian Beilock) and its own board of trustees. Barnard first-year students all live in the Quad, which is made up of four connected residence halls--Sulzberger (the really big tower), Brooks, Hewitt and Reid Halls. First-year students are required to take a First-Year Seminar and a First-Year English course, as well as complete the broad distribution requirements of Foundations and a culminating senior project. Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students can also use their meals at Hewitt dining hall in the basement of Hewitt residence hall.

What should I know about Columbia College?

Columbia College was founded in 1754, and it remains the oldest part of the Columbia University system. In the early part of the century, the Core Curriculum was conceived as a synthetic approach to war and peace studies. Since World War I, the Core has been a distinguishing feature of the college. When they aren't busy studying the Great Books, Columbia College first-year students reside in Carman, John Jay, Furnald, Hartley and Wallach Halls on the main campus quad—overlooking South Lawn. Columbia's meal plans range from meal options in John Jay Dining Hall as a first-year to enjoying cuisine in Ferris Booth, Café 212, Uris, Hartley Kosher Deli, and other locations across the Columbia campus. Columbia College students hail from all fifty states and many foreign countries—they are united by their common intellectual experience in the Core.

What should I know about The School of General Studies?

The School of General Studies, also called GS, is the finest liberal arts college in the country dedicated specifically to top-quality, degree-seeking undergraduates who have had a break of one year or more in their education. The school was founded in 1947 to meet the needs of GIs returning from World War II. GS students range in age from 17 to 65 and represent every walk of life, from retired dancers and firefighters to military veterans and entrepreneurs. GS students take the same classes with the same faculty and earn the same degree as all Columbia University undergraduates. Their academic program is composed of a major, the GS Core, and electives. Most GS students commute to campus from all over the New York metropolitan area, while others, many of whom moved to the city from around the U.S., live in University residences. GS boasts 17% international students hailing from over 75 countries. The school has a joint degree program with List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

What should I know about Columbia Engineering?

Columbia Engineering was the first of Columbia's undergraduate schools to go coeducational. Columbia Engineering is the oldest engineering school in New York City. Included in the original charter for King's College, CE was established as a separate school, the School of Mines, in 1864. Graduates of the school have gone on to design the New York subway system, build the FM radio, and influence New York City and the world in increasingly important ways. CE students live in Columbia's undergraduate residence halls with Columbia College students and they frequent John Jay Hall for meals. Engineers have many, many exams and very few papers. Make sure you come out in support of CE students during E-Weeks—an annual celebration of the Engineering School at Columbia.

What should I know about The Barnard-Columbia Relationship?

As an incoming student, you may have questions about the relationship between Barnard and Columbia. During your first days on campus, you will notice that students from all four schools participate in many of the same academic classes, activities, and clubs. So, with all these shared experiences, what is the formal relationship between these two schools?

Columbia University was founded by royal charter as King’s College in 1754 and renamed in 1784. Barnard College was established in 1889 as both an independently incorporated educational institution for women and as one of the four official colleges of Columbia University. Each institution has its own applicant pool and admissions process; is governed by its own Board of Trustees; has its own budget; raises its own funds; and builds its own endowment.

The partnership between Barnard and Columbia extends to many aspects of campus life. Students from all schools participate in the NCAA approved Columbia-Barnard athletic consortium and compete in Division I athletics. Students may take classes on either campus and cross-registration for courses is seamless. Each campus benefits from the other socially because most clubs, organizations, and events are open to all students. The myriad advantages of this partnership are due to the fact that the resources, experiences, and abilities of each institution strengthen the other.

As a student at Columbia or Barnard you are part of the greater university community in Morningside Heights. This gives you the opportunity to not only enjoy the traditions of your own school, be it the Barnard College, Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, or the School of General Studies, but to also participate in the greater community based on the collaboration of these four schools.