So you want to go to Columbia. You aspire to be a part of the diverse, international student body. You hope to take advantage of the infinite resources New York City has to offer. You want an urban life, but also a classic college campus. Columbia has it all!
Now the only thing standing between you, and The Big Apple That Never Sleeps, is the Columbia University Admissions Committee.
So how do you get into Columbia?
The Short Answer
Everyone likes a short answer…check out these stats!
|Columbia Average SAT Score||Columbia Average ACT Score||Columbia Acceptance Rate||Columbia Average GPA|
Wait, where are you going?? Don’t worry…there’s a lot more to a successful college application than just your GPA and test scores!
However, almost all schools require that applicants submit either SAT or ACT results to be considered for admission. So scoring well on tests is a very good place to start. And, lucky for you, we’re here to help!
Now keep reading for a whole lot of information about Columbia admissions: Columbia SAT Scores (…or Columbia ACT Scores, if that’s more your cup of tea), GPA, and tons of demographics and admissions data.
And Now…The Long Answer
With its large, international applicant pool and space for only a few thousand students per class, Columbia can afford to be selective. Last year 37,389 students applied to Columbia–only 2,183 were accepted (making Columbia’s admissions rate 5.8%). Out of the admitted students, 1,456 applicants have chosen to attend.
As you can see from The Short Answer, you’ll need great SAT scores, a high GPA, a challenging course load, several extracurricular achievements, and favorable teacher recommendations in order to a competitive application to Columbia. I know it sounds like a lot, but with the right preparation, organization, and devotion, it is possible for you to get into this school.
Let’s take a more in depth look at those statistics–and talk about getting your application materials where they need to be to get you where you want to go.
Columbia SAT Scores
Here are the most recent Columbia SAT scores for students who submitted SAT scores and were admitted to Columbia in 2017!
|Columbia Average SAT Score||Columbia 25th-75th Percentile SAT Score Range: New SAT||Columbia 25th-75th Percentile SAT Score Range: Old SAT|
|1540||[1490, 1580]||[2150, 2330]|
What should you take away from these numbers?
Well, first of all, the data tells us that the top 25% of students admitted to MIT this year earned a combined SAT score of over 1580 (which probably means scoring at least 760 on both parts of the SAT).
The middle 50% earned between 1490 and 1580, while the bottom 25% earned below 1490.
This means that 75% of Columbia’s current sophomore class scored above a 1490 on the SAT.
To give yourself the best chance at admission, it’s a good idea to aim for an SAT score at the 75th percentile of whatever the school you’re applying to. Having a specific goal score will allow you to focus your studying, and hitting that 75th percentile of Columbia SAT scores will give you a little more room to breathe as you go through the admissions process. (Check out these stories of the perfect SAT score to help you create a plan for your goal score for Columbia).
Even if you don’t quite reach your SAT goal for Columbia, your scores might make you a good candidate elsewhere. For some ideas, check out this post covering the SAT score range for each of the top 100 colleges and universities in America. Having a fallback never hurt anyone–especially a fallback in the top 100 nationally ranked schools!
Columbia ACT Scores
Maybe you’ve taken our SAT or ACT quiz, and you’re feeling like the ACT might be better suited to your skills and test-taking style.
Never fear, we’ve got those stats too.
|Columbia 25th-75th Percentile ACT Average||Columbia 25th-75th Percentile ACT Score Range|
For students who submitted ACT scores and were admitted to Columbia in 2017, the 25th percentile of Columbia ACT scores came in at 33; the 75th percentile of Columbia ACT scores landed all the way up at 35.
Our advice: aim for the perfect ACT score in order to make your score competitive..
Columbia GPA Average
Columbia, like many other schools, does not officially report the GPAs of its admitted students–however, using data collected from more than one thousand schools, we are able to estimate that the the average GPA of a freshman at Columbia is 4.16.
High schools typically award grade points out of four, so to score about a 4.0 means you would have had be getting A’s–not only in your regular classes–but also in several AP or IB classes as well.
Not sure what your GPA is? Use Magoosh’s GPA Calculator to figure it out, stat!
Columbia Acceptance Rate
As we mentioned earlier, Columbia’s acceptance rate in 2017 was 5.8%. So who were those 5.8%?
To answer that question, let’s take a look at Columbia’s Freshman Class Profile.
Columbia Freshmen Profile (2017-2018)
|Early Action applicants||8,413|
|Admitted Early Action||657|
|Deferred to Regular Action||5,966|
|Deferred applicants admitted|
during Regular Action
|Regular Action applicants||11,834|
|Total considered during Regular Action (including deferred students)||17,800|
|Admitted Regular Action|
(including deferred students)
|781 (plus 14 wait list)|
|Offered a place on the wait list||527|
|Number admitted from the wait list||14|
|U.S. Citizens/Permanent Residents applied||15,594|
|U.S. Citizens/Permanent Residents admitted||1,317
|International Students applied||4,653
|International Students admitted||135|
Columbia Admissions FAQ
Since we know there’s more to the admissions process than just the numbers, we threw together some handy FAQs to help answer some other questions you may have about how to get into Columbia.
Q. Can I apply to Columbia as a DACA recipient or undocumented student?
A. Yes. Columbia accepts all applicants regardless of citizenship status.
Q. Can I get financial aid as a DACA recipient or undocumented student?
A. Yes. Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all students (who don’t already have a degree). As a DACA recipient or undocumented student, although you will not be eligible to receive federal and state financial aid–Columbia is willing to privately cover your financial aid using their own funding.
Q. Does Columbia admit students who have not completed high school?
A. Not unless you can submit a GED or TASC credential, with a passing score–which is basically the equivalent of completing high school.
Q. Does Columbia allow part-time study?
A. You cannot study part-time at either Columbia College or Columbia Engineering. However, you are allowed to study part-time at the Columbia School of General Studies.
Q. Aside from near-perfect scores and GPA and strong extracurriculars, how else can I make sure my application to Columbia stands out?
A. According to Transizion expert Mike M., you want to emphasize the diversity of your passions and learning experiences:
A great tip to bolster your application to Columbia is to focus on the diversity of your learning experience. You still want to do well on standardized tests and in your normal studies, since they must be strong in order to even be considered by admissions, but variety is the key to making yourself stand out. Don’t go crazy, though. No admissions officer will view being a member of 20 different clubs as anything but a naked attempt to falsely strengthen your application. However, of the clubs that you actively engage, you should try to vary the focus. If you’re in chess club, then also try out for a sports team. You are a three-dimensional human being with multi-faceted interests, and the trick here is to demonstrate that fact for your admissions officer.”
And Lia_Columbia (’19), featured on AdmitSee, has a few pointers as well:
For now, challenge yourself when choosing which courses to take, but also make sure that you’ll still be able to get good grades in all of them. Don’t forget those AP and IB classes.
Devote the rest of your time to extracurricular activities (that you actually enjoy) so you’ll be able to demonstrate your interests and passions to the Columbia admissions committee.
And finally, see to it that your standardized scores are strong enough by doing some planning.
Create a study schedule, remembering to allot yourself more time than you think you’ll need just in case you run into any unexpected difficulties, and find a test prep program that works for you. I recommend checking out the Free 1-Week SAT Trial or the Free 1-Week ACT Trial from Magoosh. If you like one of them, you can sign up–if not, it’s free!
Do all of these things and you’ll know that you’ve tried your best. Hopefully, you’ll be accepted. But if not, remember that there are so many other great schools out there that would love to have you.
With any luck, you’ll be heading to NYC in the Fall.
Happy studying! 🙂
Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!
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About Molly Kiefer
Molly completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She has been tutoring the SAT, GRE, and LSAT since 2014, and loves supporting her students as they work towards their academic goals. When she’s not tutoring or blogging, Molly takes long walks, makes art, and studies ethics. Molly currently lives in Northern California with her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.
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