The Ivy Coach Daily

January 18, 2024

Columbia University Class of 2028 Early Decision Admission Statistics

In mid-December 2023, Columbia University notified Early Decision candidates to the Class of 2028 of their decisions. In all, 6,009 students applied to Columbia College (CC) or the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) under the Ivy League school’s binding Early Decision policy. The Morningside Heights-based institution has long been tight-lipped about its admission rate and the demographic breakdown of admitted students in the immediate aftermath of the Early Decision round. Still, we’ll nonetheless put Columbia’s admissions figures that are available as of now in context.

Columbia Early Decision Admissions Statistics Over 20+ Years

The 6,009 students who applied Early Decision to Columbia’s Class of 2028 capped an excellent recovery for the institution that is only a year removed from getting caught with its hand in the cookie jar misreporting data to US News & World Report for its annual ranking.

To put the number of Early Decision applicants to Columbia’s Class of 2028 in historical perspective, below is a breakdown of the school’s ED admissions statistics over the last 22 years. In short, it wasn’t a record ED cycle, but it marked a nice bounce from a recent low.

Columbia Class YearNumber of Early Decision Applications ReceivedNumber of Early Decision Applications AcceptedEarly Decision Acceptance Rate
Class of 20286,009Not Yet ReleasedNot Yet Released
Class of 20275,738Not Yet ReleasedNot Yet Released
Class of 20266,30565010.31%
Class of 20256,43565010.1%
Class of 20244,31865015.1%
Class of 20234,46165014.6%
Class of 20224,08565015.9%
Class of 20214,08665115.9%
Class of 20203,52062117.6%
Class of 20193,37363218.7%
Class of 20183,29865019.7%
Class of 20173,12660119.2%
Class of 20163,08863120.4%
Class of 20153,21762719.5%
Class of 20142,98363121.1%
Class of 20132,84163922.5%
Class of 20122,58259723.1%
Class of 20112,42959424.5%
Class of 20102,27558225.6%
Class of 20092,15657026.4%
Class of 20081,93956028.9%
Class of 20071,80557231.7%

The Rationale for the Surge in Early Decision Applications to Columbia’s Class of 2028

The Pandemic Incubated Columbia’s Historic Early Decision Tallies

The 6,009 Early Decision applicants to Columbia’s Class of 2028 did not mark a record for the institution. That record was set three years ago, for the Class of 2025, when 6,435 students made binding commitments to attend the Ivy League institution if offered admission.

That year, of course, was heavily impacted by the pandemic when high school seniors were sitting at home under lockdowns and applying to our nation’s elite universities in never-before-seen numbers. And why did the Early applicant pools mushroom? For a couple of reasons, most notably: (1) they couldn’t procrastinate and avoid applying by the Early deadline because what else was there to do?; and (2) they thought they could “squeak in” without test scores under the new test-optional admissions policies in place, so they rolled the dice and applied to schools that would prove to be impossible dreams.

Columbia Has Had Slight Drops After Historic Early Decision Tallies

The Early Decision cycle that followed for the Class of 2026 — when 6,305 students applied — was still a super strong cycle for Columbia. Still, like for some (though not all) elite universities, the figure was slightly below the benchmark set the year before. Hey, records aren’t meant to be broken every year!

Columbia’s Rankings Nosedive and Subsequent Recovery

But then there was the Early Decision cycle for the Class of 2027 when 567 fewer students made binding commitments to attend Columbia than the cycle just twelve months earlier. And what changed? A Columbia professor, Michael Thaddeus, exposed the school for misreporting statistics to US News for the ranking the school has long insisted it doesn’t care about but what we at Ivy Coach have long proclaimed it cares deeply about.

The scandal led to Columbia’s freefall in the 2023 US News rankings — from a tie for 2nd in the 2022 ranking to 18th. In short, students were likely worried about the implications of the scandal and Columbia’s ensuing drop (though Ivy Coach’s students still applied ED because we made sure they understood that every college has its scandal, yet there are certain safeguards around Ivy League schools because they’re just that — Ivies). 

And even though Columbia would announce several months after its US News rankings nosedive that it would withdraw from the US News rankings in the future, the publication still includes the Ivy League institution. In fact, the school’s 2024 ranking bounced significantly — to 12th. So, while the school’s ranking hasn’t yet recovered to its pre-scandal level, it’s on its way — and the ranking recovery is Exhibit A of why Early Decision applications surged by 271 candidates this year.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Columbia Deferral

If you’ve been deferred by Columbia to its Class of 2028, all hope should not be lost. You still have a fighting chance of earning admission to the Ivy League school, but only if you play your cards right.

To optimize your case for admission to Columbia’s Class of 2028 after your deferral, fill out Ivy Coach’s complimentary consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to outline our go-forward services for deferred candidates.

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