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Taking a Sneak Peek at College Life

Naisha Kumar is a high school student in Florida who participated in the College Edge program during the 2022 Columbia University Summer Session. Economics is her favorite subject, but she registered for the Life Aquatic course because she found it uniquely suited to her deep concern for the environment. She says, “College Edge is giving me what I need for college; the people, the teaching style—it's all very different from high school.” 

Born and raised in Gurgaon, India, before moving to the U.S. a year ago, Kumar has always dreamed of studying in New York. On top of attending classes, Kumar feeds her other passion—for visual arts—by attending art shows and visiting museums near Columbia’s campus. Her favorite spot on campus is the bridge between Columbia Law and the main campus, as she finds the views, buildings, and atmosphere very relaxing.

How did you hear about College Edge? 

My high school offers a “dual enrollment” program with a few colleges in the area. When I was in India, I didn’t know of this concept, and coming here made me realize how fruitful it can be. My dad was looking at the Columbia website and saw that the College Edge program is similar to dual enrollment, so he told me about it. I decided to enroll because my family and I have spent every summer in New York as a result of my father’s work. Going to college in the city has always been “the dream.” I also wanted to get a college experience to see the academic and social differences between college and high school.

What are your favorite things to do outside the classroom? 

I enjoy visual art and writing about it. I have an art blog where I record not only my art pieces but also what artists/paintings inspired me. So visiting museums, art shows, etc., for inspiration is definitely on my to-do list. I also play the piano, so I do have an ear for music, and am planning on going to the Aladdin Broadway show on the 28th of July. Apart from that, I love the rain, the smells, the sights, the noise—monsoon has always been my favorite season—and watching Columbia in the rain has made me love Columbia. That bridge between Columbia Law School and the college is one of my favorite parts of campus: The road, the cars, the buildings—the entire vibe is just so relaxing, especially after it rains. That is undoubtedly my comfort spot. 

How is College Edge helping you to reach your goals?

At first, I didn’t think it would be such a big change, but it was. It is training me on how to be a college student and what the assignments, deadlines, and classrooms will look like. One of my goals is to be an academically strong yet social student, and the College Edge program is giving me the best of both worlds. It is definitely going to make college life easier for me.

What advice would you give to students who may be considering College Edge in the future?

 Be prepared to not be prepared. No matter how much you try to know everything, there will always be something new, and you will always need help. Whether with classwork, homework, or even directions, ASK questions. I was one of two high school students in my whole class. For the first week, I was intimidated, but after a while, class discussions, activities, and even data collection at Morningside pond helped me get over that age barrier. Also, I highly encourage you to download the SPS Engage app; it is how I got to know about everything happening on and around campus, from a silent disco at Lincoln Center to online workshops for career building. Take your time, ask questions, and live your best NYC life! 

Offered in the summer and the academic year, the College Edge program offers high school students the opportunity to take Columbia University courses and earn college credit.

Tow joined photos of Naisha Kumar on campus locations