The Ivy Coach Daily

August 3, 2021

Columbia University 2021-2022 Essay Prompts

The word counts of some of the Columbia prompts have changed this year. We support the changes (photo credit: Andrew Chen).

Columbia University has released its essay prompts for applicants to the Class of 2026. So what kinds of questions will students hoping to earn admission to Columbia be required to answer this year? Well, the questions aren’t all that different from in years past, although we noticed some word counts have changed. As an example, for many years, Columbia asked applicants to list books they’ve enjoyed that they’re been required to read as well as books they’ve read for pleasure, including for applicants to the Class of 2025. The word counts for these prompts was always 150 words. But how many books could you possibly cite among your favorites of required reading? 150 words was just too long and Columbia admissions officers really want to see lists for these prompts — not full sentences. So we’re pleased to see that Columbia has adjusted the word counts of these prompts for this year’s admissions cycle.

The first prompt for Columbia applicants to the Class of 2026 reads, “List the titles of the required readings from academic courses that you enjoyed most during secondary/high school.” Applicants are asked to answer in 75 words or fewer. The second prompt for Columbia reads, “List the titles of the books, essays, poetry, short stories or plays you read outside of academic courses that you enjoyed most during secondary/high school.” Same word count as before. The third prompt reads, “We’re interested in learning about some of the ways that you explore your interests. List some resources and outlets that you enjoy, including but not limited to websites, publications,  journals, podcasts, social media accounts, lectures, museums, movies, music, or other content with which you regularly engage.” Applicants are asked to respond in 125 words or fewer.

And then there are the two 200-word essay prompts for Columbia. The first essay prompt reads, “A hallmark of the Columbia experience is being able to learn and live in a community with a wide range of perspectives. How do you or would you learn from and contribute to diverse, collaborative communities?” The second prompt reads, “Why are you interested in attending Columbia University? We encourage you to consider the aspect(s) that you find unique and compelling about Columbia.” Regular readers of our college admissions blog can, of course, easily identify this final prompt as a Why College essay — one that should be filled with specifics that only apply to Columbia.

Have a question about the Columbia University Class of 2026 essay prompts? Let us know your question by posting it below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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