College Intel

Columbia University Admissions

The columned library is lit up beyond the walkway at Columbia University

With some of the most competitive admissions in the Ivy League and a centuries-long reputation for academic excellence, Columbia University is indisputably one of the best institutions of higher education in the United States. Columbia’s factsheet is formidable: it is a founding member of the Association of American Universities, it administers the Pulitzer Prize, and it can lay claim to seven Founding Fathers as alumni. Faculty and staff at the New York City research and academic juggernaut have included influential theorists Edward Said and Kimberle Crenshaw, President Dwight. D. Eisenhower, and a grand total of 34 Nobel laureates. 

Even though there are roughly 26,000 postgraduates, the heart of the university is held within the undergraduate body of roughly 6,700 students. This is split between Columbia College (for the liberal arts), the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the School of General Studies (for liberal arts students following a non-traditional college timeline), and Barnard College (the women’s college affiliate to the university whose alumni graduate with Columbia degrees).

Within the Ivy League, Columbia is considered to be one of the most academically rigorous schools. Students at Columbia College adhere to a core curriculum consisting of six coursework categories: Arts Humanities, Contemporary Civilization, Frontiers of Science, Literature Humanities, Music Humanities, and University Writing. Students are additionally required to take four core electives: Global Core, Foreign Language, Science, and Physical Education. Between the four undergraduate colleges, students can choose between dozens of majors, special concentrations, and interdisciplinary paths of study.

Founded as “King’s College” in 1754, Columbia had an early history in colonial lower Manhattan punctuated by internal discord between loyalist elements in the administration and revolutionary figures in the student body such as Alexander Hamilton. In 1857, Columbia moved to a Gothic Revival campus in Midtown, followed in 1896 by a move to its contemporary Morningside Heights campus on the Upper West Side. In the early twentieth century, Columbia became known as a hub for research via government initiatives like the Manhattan project. In 1968, Columbia received national attention for a series of student protests and activism against the Vietnam War and a proposal for a school-sponsored segregated facility in the neighborhood. 

Today, Columbia boasts 16 renowned graduate and professional schools, successful alumni in every major industry (including a number of celebrities!), and strong resources for the incubation of entrepreneurial endeavors in tech and business. While undergraduates might not sing the praises of social life on campus (Greek life draws the participation of a slim 10-15% of the student body), the bustle and glamor that abounds in New York City make up for this lack. From attending Broadway plays to exploring the city’s plentiful museums and galleries, Columbia students will never be at a loss for activity in the Big Apple.

With that being said, the extracurricular writing scene on campus remains strong; the oldest student group on campus is the Philolexian Society, a literary and debating club founded in 1802, while The Columbia Daily Spectator is the nation’s second-oldest continuously operating daily student newspaper. There are also a variety of literary magazines, journals, broadcasting organizations, and affinity organizations to which undergrads may contribute their talents. Columbia’s D1 Athletics have made history with some of the oldest sports teams in collegiate athletics and notable alumni such as Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Lou Gehrig and our dear friend and former next-door neighbor, Rose Bowl MVP Cliff Montgomery.

For the Class of 2027, Columbia received 57,129 applications and admitted 2,246, for an acceptance rate of 3.93%. According to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the main qualities Columbia looks for in applicants are “academic preparation,” “curiosity,” “engagement with others,” “individual voice,” and “knowledge of Columbia.” They use a holistic process that takes in the context of a student’s background when evaluating applications. Ensuring that the information in an application is presented cohesively, with a mind to these attributes, is essential in today’s competitive admissions cycle. Ivy Coach is here to help you reach your dreams of sporting blue and white. 

Columbia University Admissions Statistics

Columbia University Overall Accept. Rate Regular Decision Accept. Rate Regular Decision Apps Accepted Regular Decision Apps Received Early Decision / Action Accept. Rate Percent of Class Filled by Early Apps Early Decision / Action Apps Received Early Decision / Action Apps Accepted Expected Number of Students to Enroll Total Apps Received Total Apps Accepted
2027 3.93% NYP NYP 51,391 NYP NYP 5,738 NYP NYP 57,129 2,246
2026 3.73% 2.96% 1,603 54,072 10.31% 43.6% 6,305 650 1,492 60,377 2,253
2025 3.9% 3.2% 1,708 54,116 10.1% 43.5% 6,435 650 1,492 60,551 2,237
2024 6.1% 5.1% 1,815 35,766 15.1% 46.8% 4,318 650 1,390 40,084 2,465
2023 5.1% 4.3% 1,540 36,108 14.6% 46.8% 4,461 650 1,390 42,569 2,190
2022 5.5% 4.3% 1,564 36,118 15.9% 46.8% 4,085 650 1,390 40,203 2,214
2021 5.8% 4.6% 1,534 33,303 15.9% 46.8% 4,086 651 1,390 37,389 2,185
2020 6.0% 4.8% 1,572 32,772 17.6% 44.6% 3,520 621 1,390 36,292 2,193
2019 6.1% 4.8% 1,590 32,877 18.7% 45.4% 3,373 632 1,390 36,250 2,222
2018 7.0% 5.5% 1,641 29,654 19.7% 46.8% 3,298 650 1,390 32,952 2,291
2017 6.9% 5.6% 1,710 30,405 19.2% 43.2% 3,126 601 1,390 33,531 2,311
2016 7.4% 6.0% 1,792 28,730 20.4% 45.4% 3,088 631 1,391 31,818 2,363
2015 6.9% 5.7% 1,792 31,712 19.5% 45.1% 3,217 627 1,391 34,929 2,419
2014 9.2% 7.6% 1,765 23,195 21.2% 45.4% 2,983 631 1,391 26,178 2,396
2013 9.8% 8.2% 1,857 22,587 22.5% 45.9% 2,841 639 1,391 25,428 2,496
2012 10.0% 8.4% 1,672 19,997 23.1% 44.2% 2,582 597 1,350 22,597 2,269
2011 10.4% 8.5% 1,616 18,914 24.5% 44% 2,429 594 1,350 21,343 2,210
2010 11.4% 9.6% 1,686 17,565 25.6% 43.8% 2,275 582 1,330 19,840 2,268
2009 12.4% 10.5% 1,680 15,964 26.4% 43.3% 2,156 570 1,317 18,120 2,250
2008 12.8% 10.8% 1,654 15,322 28.9% 42.1% 1,939 560 1,330 17,261 2,214
2007 12% 9.6% 1,429 14,939 31.7% 43% 1,805 572 1,330 16,744 2,001

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