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Planning and preparing for the SAT and ACT is tough proposition. Let our experts make it easier for you and your student by reviewing some of the many options available to improve scores, grow scholarship offers, and get into the best college!

Columbia Acceptance Rate

So, you’re thinking about applying to Columbia, and you’re curious about your chances of admission. Well, we’re here to help! Of course, there are a lot of factors in the admissions process, and it’s impossible to accurately predict whether you’ll be admitted or not. However, the most important factors in the admissions game are your GPA and test scores. So, using those as a measure, we can give you an estimate of your chances.

With an acceptance rate of 6.1%, admission to Columbia is extremely competitive. Based on our analysis, to have a good chance of being admitted, you need to have a GPA of around 4.13, and an SAT score of close to 1580, or an ACT score of around 34.

Not quite there? You still have a chance of getting in, but it’s in the single digits. Let’s take a closer look at Columbia admission statistics.

Columbia Admissions Statistics

Columbia’s acceptance rate in 2016 was 6.1%. For students applying to the class of 2020, out of 36,250 applicants, Columbia admitted 2,222. The average GPA of admitted applicants was 4.13, the average ACT score was 33, and the average SAT score was 1520.

For students who took the ACT, the 25th percentile score of successful applicants was 31, and the 75th percentile ACT score was 34.

For students who took the SAT, the 25th percentile score was 1450. The 75th percentile score was 1580.

If you’re somewhere in the middle of these numbers, remember that a high test score can compensate for a slightly lower GPA, and vice versa. If you’re at the lower end, it helps if you’re a diverse applicant, the child of an alum, or have incredible personal achievements. Still, at the 25th percentile, your chances of getting in are in the low single digits.

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Other aspects of your application, such as athletics, extracurricular and recommendations, are important, but will likely only make a difference for admission if you’re in the 75th percentile range for your GPA and SAT/ACT scores.

As we said, admission to Columbia is extremely competitive. Even with a perfect SAT score of 1600 and a GPA of 4.0, your chances of admission are about 11%. With a perfect ACT score of 36 and a 4.0, your chances are about 17%. So, even if Columbia is your dream school, you’ll want to make sure you apply to a wide variety of schools to ensure you’ll gain admission somewhere.

OK, so you’ve decided to apply. We took at a look at Columbia’s admissions requirements to help you get everything in order.

Columbia Application Requirements

To apply to Columbia, you’ll need to fill out the Common App and the Columbia supplement, submit an ACT or SAT score, a school report, two letters of recommendation from your teachers, and one recommendation letter from a guidance counselor. Everything should be submitted by November 1 for Early Decision and by January 1 for Regular Decision.

Here’s a full list of the application requirements:

  • Fill out the Common Application, answer Columbia’s supplementary questions, and pay an application fee of $85 (or apply for a fee waiver)
  • Submit an ACT or SAT score, along with your writing score
  • Submit your high school transcript and a school report
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from your teachers, and one from your guidance counselor
  • A mid-year report
  • You may sit for an optional interview

The application deadline is November 1 for Early Decision, and January 1 for Regular Decision. November 14 is the Early Decision financial aid application deadline, and March 1 is the Regular Decision financial aid application priority deadline. Early Action decisions are released December 12, and Regular Decision applicants find out their fates on March 31. May 1 is the reply date for admitted students.

Have you been admitted to Columbia? Congratulations! Below is a glimpse at what your classmates will be like.

Columbia Admitted Students Profile

If you matriculate at Columbia, you’ll be joining a diverse class, with students from all over the U.S. and the world, and have a chance to study dozens of majors.

Here are some interesting facts about the recently admitted class:

  • All 50 states are represented, with the most students coming from New York, California, New Jersey, Texas, and Florida
  • 65 countries are represented, including China, India, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Pakistan, Brazil, and Mexico
  • 53% of students are male and 47% are female
  • 18% are first-generation college students
  • 90% were in the top 10% of their high school class

Columbia has a diverse class, as well, with a large number of people of color. The ethnicities of admitted applicants are:

  • African American: 14%
  • Asian American: 27%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 15%
  • Native American: 4%
  • Other: 2%
  • White: 38%

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What do these admitted students plan to study? Columbia College offers over 80 majors, and students matriculating there pursue a wide number of subjects. Here is a partial list:

  • Jazz Studies
  • Urban Studies
  • Business Management
  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Creative Writing
  • Jewish Studies
  • Earth Science
  • Film Studies

Now, how are you going to pay for this?

Columbia Tuition Figures

At $71,585 Columbia’s tuition is astronomical. But, don’t panic! With its generous financial aid, the average student will pay much less, and students from lower-income families pay no tuition at all.

Here’s a fuller look at Columbia tuition and financial aid in 2017:

  • Total budget: $71,585
  • Average financial aid package: $47,490
  • Students are expected to borrow $0 to attend Columbia, and parents with family incomes of below $60,000 per year are likewise expected to contribute $0 towards their child’s education
  • Students from families earning up to $200,000 can still qualify for financial aid

Now, what is life like at Columbia? Let’s take a look.

Columbia Location

Columbia is located on 500 acres in in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, in New York City. Along with the Catholic Church and NYU, Columbia is one of the largest landowners in the city. The campus was designed in the Beaux Arts style by legendary architects McKim, Mead, and White.

All Columbia freshmen live on the South Lawn, in four different dormitories: Carman, Furnald, John Jay, and the Living Learning Center.

Remember, you’re going to Columbia for its excellent academics! Below is a look at what academic life will be like.

Columbia Academics

Columbia has 59 departments, offering 80 majors. Students are required to take 40 classes in order to graduate, including classes in their major, and Core Curriculum requirements.

Some of Columbia’s more interesting majors are:

  • Human Rights
  • Regional Studies
  • Russian Literature
  • Yiddish Studies

Columbia’s academic year begins on September 6 and ends on May 12, with fall and spring semesters.

Now, let’s take a look at life outside the classroom at Columbia.

Student Life at Columbia

Columbia has over 100 student organizations, covering academic interests, creative and performing arts, cultural and racial initiatives, gender and sexuality affinity groups, government and politics interests, and various media and publications.

Here’s a sampling of Columbia student groups:

  • Columbia UNICEF
  • Earth Coalition
  • Japan Karate Association
  • Opera Ensemble
  • Queers of Color
  • Musical Theater Society
  • Gospel Choir

Are you an athlete? Columbia’s got plenty of options for you!

Columbia Athletics

Columbia is in the NCAA Division I Ivy League, and competes in 38 intercollegiate sports. If you’re not up to varsity level, there are plenty of club and intramural sports, as well.

Columbia’s intercollegiate teams include:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Rowing—Heavyweight
  • Rowing—Lightweight
  • Soccer
  • Squash
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Wrestling

Who might you become with a Columbia degree? Let’s take a look at some well-known and successful alums:

Notable Columbia Alums

Columbia has produced U.S. Presidents, Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winners, governors, U.S. Senators and Representatives, Supreme Court Justices, cabinet secretaries, business tycoons, military leaders, media figures, and leaders in dozens of other fields.

Here’s a list of some particularly well-known alums:

  • Former President Barack Obama, the first African-American to be elected to the office, and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize/li>
  • Beat Generation writers Jack Keroauc (who wrote On the Road) and Allen Ginsberg (who wrote the famous poem Howl)
  • Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father, author of the Federalist Papers, the first Secretary of the Treasury, the face of the $10 bill, and the beloved protagonist of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton!
  • John Jay, president of the Continental Congress and first Chief Justice of the United States
  • Academy Award-winning actor Casey Affleck
  • Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots
  • Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo
  • Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, legendary composers of musicals, including Carousel and The Sound of Music
  • Lauryn Hill, Grammy Award-winning singer and member of the Fugees

And this is only a partial list!

Remember!

Getting into Columbia is extremely competitive. Don’t despair if you get a no. If you have a strong GPA and high test scores, you have a great chance of getting into at least one of the Ivy League schools. And if you don’t, remember: where you go is NOT who you are. If you work hard, you’ll end up at a school that’s right for you, and still get a great education.

Best of luck with your applications!



Shaan Patel

Shaan Patel is the founder of Prep Expert Test Preparation, a #1 bestselling SAT & ACT prep author, an MD/MBA student at Yale and USC, and winner of an investment deal with billionaire Mark Cuban on ABC’s Shark Tank. He raised his own SAT score from average to perfect using 100 strategies that we teach in our Prep Expert SAT and ACT courses.