Saying that Jacob Shapiro is an active student is like saying water is wet. As a fourth-year student in the Joint Program studying Talmud at Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies and US History at Columbia University, Jacob has found the time to be an associate editor and sports columnist at The Columbia Spectator and president of LionPAC (Columbia's pro-Israel organization), to serve on AIPAC's national council, and more.
How does he do it? Through superior time management skills—skills Jacob says he has honed as part of the Joint Program: "I've carved out time slots for myself. Students at List College learn that you can participate fully in school groups and still be able to enjoy many other activities on and off campus."
Though enthusiastic about his many extracurricular activities, Jacob reserves his highest praise for the classes at List College. Jacob says, "I took Medieval Jewish History with Dr. Benjamin Gampel, and it was the most engaging class! Dr. Gampel really did two things, he conveyed the information effectively in a fun and interesting way, but he also showed us how a professional historian approaches the material. I took this course during my first year, and it helped me acquire the critical thinking tools needed for the rest of college."
And the students at JTS provide a supportive and welcoming community that Jacob credits as particularly helpful. "The sense of cohesiveness that we feel towards one another is instantaneous. We come from all walks of life, and the admissions staff does a fantastic job of understanding why someone is applying to the program and how best to help them succeed," he says.
The fact that Jacob gets to explore New York City in his free time—yes, he actually has free time—makes JTS an even more enticing place to study and live. As Jacob says, "List College has exceeded my expectations. The opportunities are limitless; my goals were to come here, learn about my religion, make great friends, and get a great secular education. I feel I have certainly done just that, and more."