Columbia University Acceptance Rate | Requirements, SAT/ACT Scores, GPA, & Admission

In terms of accomplishments, getting into Columbia University in 2022-23 is incomparable to getting into the NYC Ivy a generation ago. 

It would be analogous to climbing Mt. Everest by meandering up a modest hill, and a quick glance at historical admissions numbers demonstrates that this analogy is far from hyperbolic.

Here are the details: The Class of 2026 had a menacingly low acceptance rate of 3.7%. The parents of today’s applicants would have had roughly 9 times better chances of admission. 

According to the school’s Office of Planning & Institutional Research, the acceptance rate for the Class of 1992 at Columbia University was 32%. 

Even in 1997, when the acceptance rate had dropped to 17%, the average SAT score of an admitted applicant was 1346; today, the average SAT score is well over 1500. 

All of this is to say that when it comes to Columbia admissions, the competition has never been fiercer, and the odds of success have never been more bleak.

To give yourself the best chance, learn about the school’s acceptance rate, admission requirements, and other important details.

In this article, all that and more will be covered. Keep reading.

About Columbia University

Columbia University (also spelt Columbia University in the City of New York) is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. 

Columbia University, founded in 1754 as King’s College on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan, is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York and the fifth-oldest in the United States. 

It is one of nine colonial colleges founded before the Declaration of Independence, seven of which are Ivy League institutions. Columbia is one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Columbia was founded by royal charter under George II of the United Kingdom. Following the American Revolution, it was renamed Columbia College and placed under a private board of trustees led by former students Alexander Hamilton and John Jay in 1787. 

The campus was relocated to its current location in Morningside Heights in 1896 and renamed Columbia University.

Columbia scientists and scholars were instrumental in scientific breakthroughs such as brain-computer interface, laser and maser, nuclear magnetic resonance, the first nuclear pile, the first nuclear fission reaction in the Americas, the first evidence for plate tectonics and continental drift, and much of the initial research and planning for the Manhattan Project during WWII. 

Columbia University is divided into twenty schools, four of which are undergraduate and sixteen of which are graduate. 

The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and accelerator laboratories with Big Tech firms like Amazon and IBM are among the university’s research efforts. 

Columbia was the first school in the United States to grant the MD degree and is a founding member of the Association of American Universities. 

The university also administers the Pulitzer Prize on an annual basis. Columbia University Library is the third-largest private research library in the United States, with over 15 million volumes.

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What is the Columbia University Acceptance Rate in 2023? 

The overall acceptance rate at Columbia University is 6.1%, with a regular decision acceptance rate of 5.1% and an early decision acceptance rate of 15.1%.

Early decision admissions to Columbia University accounted for 46.8% of the incoming class.

The class of 2024 is made up of 51% men and 49% women. Seventeen percent of the students in the class are the first in their family to attend college.

Columbia does not currently disclose the exact percentage of legacy students in the incoming class. 

However, data available suggests that legacy students made up 5% of the Class of 2023, and the percentage of legacy students in any given class ranges between 5% and 7% (according to data from the class of 2019 and before).

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What is Columbia University Transfer Acceptance Rate? 

A limited number of transfer students with exceptional high qualities are admitted to the university. 

The transfer acceptance rate for students is 6.08%, making admission to the University of Columbia difficult for transfer students. 

Furthermore, the average GPA requirement for transfer students at Columbia University is 3.91, but a GPA above 4.07 will increase your chances of admission.

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Is Columbia University Hard to get into?

Columbia University is one of the most difficult schools to get into this year, with a 6.1% acceptance rate for the class of 2026. This rate is only slightly lower than the rate from the previous year.

Columbia evaluates each student’s unique experiences and background, as well as their academic achievements, in its undergraduate admissions process. The university considers the rigor and variety of classes you took, as well as your grades.

Aside from academics, the admissions committee at Columbia takes into account extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation. 

Your level of participation both inside and outside of the classroom is a strong indicator of your ability to positively contribute to the school.

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Does Columbia University Require Test Scores in 2023?

Columbia is extending their test-optional policy for two years, beginning with first-year and transfer applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering for fall 2023 and fall 2024 admission. 

They recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on how students navigate their path to college, including a reduction in access to safe and reliable standardized testing. 

This continued exemption from the standardized testing prerequisites will allow Columbia to carefully assess the impact of test-optional acceptances for a full cohort of enrolled Columbia students, reflect on the holistic and contextual review process, and consider systemic shifts in access to educational opportunities. 

The testing policy will be re-evaluated for the 2024-2025 application cycle after a period of review and synthesis.

ACT and SAT test results will not be required for the first-year and transfer application cycles in 2022-2023 and 2023-2024, and students who are unable or choose not to submit test scores will not be penalize. 

They will continue to evaluate all submitted information as part of the holistic and contextual review process that takes into account the unique circumstances that shape each applicant’s journey. 

The review will continue to focus on the rigour of a student’s curriculum, academic achievement, and demonstrated intellectual curiosity.

Columbia’s testing policies remain unchanged for students who choose to submit testing. They will accept SAT and ACT scores for Early Decision applicants through November test dates and Regular Decision applicants through January test dates. 

They will continue to accept self-reported scores and will only require official testing for students who self-report testing on their application. 

If you were able to retake an exam, you will be graded on the highest score you received in any individual section of that test. 

Please keep in mind that they are aware that many students if they are able to test, will only be able to test once. 

As previously stated, if scores are provided, that context will be considered. Applicants who submit ACT or SAT scores will not gain an advantage in the admissions process.

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What are the Admission Requirements for Columbia University?

The institution offers over 80 bachelor’s programs for both indigenous and international students. 

Undergraduate applicants must pay a $85 application fee and register using either the Coalition Application or the Common Application. The following are the application documents:

  • Standardized exams for studying in the United States
  • Personal essay
  • Autobiographical details
  • Profile of the school
  • Extracurricular activities, accomplishments, employment, and so on
  • Completed Mid-year report
  • Transcripts from high school
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Recommendation letter (For Engineering applicants, one recommendation should be from a science or math teacher.)

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What are the Transfer Requirements for Columbia University in 2023?

You must register for 24 class credits and have a high school diploma to be eligible for a transfer to Columbia University from the community college. 

Furthermore, if you meet the requirements, you should complete the transfer application requirements.

Transfer applicants must complete a comprehensive profile and answer a few Columbia-specific questions using the Coalition Application. 

For the admission officer to assess your academic standing, you must submit the Coalition Application Curriculum Report.

In addition to the Coalition Application, you must provide official academic transcripts from colleges and high schools, standardized test scores, and two recommendation letters. If you are qualified, you will pay a $85 application fee for an automatic fee waiver.

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What GPA Do You Need To Get Into Columbia University?

The GPA score can either increase or decrease your chances of admission to Columbia University. 

Many institutions accept either a weighted or unweighted GPA. An unweighted GPA is the average of your class grades on a four-point scale of 4.0.

Furthermore, an unweighted GPA can range between 4.0 and less than 1.0. A weighted GPA, on the other hand, takes into account your average grade as well as the difficulty of your classes. 

A weighted GPA can also raise your average by crediting honours or advanced placement courses.

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How Can You Apply to Columbia University?

Columbia takes applications through the Coalition Application, the Common Application, or the QuestBridge Application

This application should include the following:

  • A report from secondary school (which includes an official high school transcript)
  • A recommendation from a high school counsellor
  • A school profile
  • As well as a mid-year report

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What are the Alternatives to Columbia University?

Below are the alternative schools to apply if you think that Columbia University isn’t the right choice for you:

  • Yale University
  • New York University
  • Princeton University
  • Harvard University
  • Cornell University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Brown University
  • University of California Berkeley
  • Stanford University
  • University of California Los Angeles

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The University of Columbia is one of the institutions where you can enroll in your dream course, but the requirements will influence your chances of admission.

If you believe the institution offers the course you seek, you can take a risk.


What major is Columbia most known for?

The most popular majors at Columbia are economics, engineering, and political science.

Why did they change the name of Columbia University?

Following the American Revolution, it was renamed Columbia College and placed under a private board of trustees led by former students, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay in 1787.

Why is Columbia University unique?

Columbia is an incredible university that continues to hold the title due to the high calibre of graduates it produces each year.


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