Columbia University has received a record 34,587 applications for the Class of 2015, a 32 percent increase over last year’s application total.
We attribute this continued and growing interest in Columbia to a variety of factors, including our commitment to communication and outreach to communities which have been historically under-served or under-resourced educationally, an increase in global awareness of Columbia’s reputation, the continued desirability of New York City, and greater ease of and access to our application process by virtue of our first-year membership with The Common Application.
Columbia prides itself on having a holistic, committee-based admissions process. When making a decision, we consider a variety of factors beyond grades and test scores, such as a student’s academic history, extracurricular interests, intellectual achievements, and personal background. Having prepared in advance for the possibility of an increase in application volume by increasing staff and improving technologies, we remain committed to this approach for the Class of 2015 and all future applicant pools. As always, we will focus on identifying students who would be most likely to thrive both academically and personally at Columbia, as well as seek those applicants who will further enrich our already vibrant community.”
Looks like Columbia finally figured out what the other Ivies knew: to crack the sub 10% acceptance barrier (a mark of the truly, truly elite), one has to marry up with the Common Application so that applicants can just wing it with one-button submissions. Assuming they didn't increase their staff by 1/3 more than last year to handle the 1/3 increase in applications, decisions will pretty much basically come down to "insider" nudges from people already respected or known to Columbia, and a bunch of URMs, especially Hispanics. Hispanics get the nod at Columbia because it the ethnic group that it most often sees surrounding it in New York and you generally are biased towards your own milieu.
I would expect that within another couple of years, non-Common App schools like Georgetown will succumb to the pressure, as they, too, would want to breach the magic 10% barrier. The final hold outs will be the military academies, as they have the whole nomination process to deal with, etc. which is extraneous to the Common App, but is nonetheless crucial.
Finally, with this news, I think that Columbia and the other school will really have to stop spouting the whole "holistic" admissions mantra. Clearly, in order to deal effectively with this avalanche, they will segregate the entire pool into high threshold SAT and ACT scores, then redistribute according to GPAs, then having narrowed the pool to something that they can deal with, they will start to read "holistically." Surely they will have more than enough quality applicants after the thresholding exercise that they can then actually spend some time reading about. If they loose a few gems along the way due to imposing test hurdles, well, so be it. They have no choice: otherwise, they spend so little time on "all" of the applications that they will become jaded and benumbed and won't be able finally to make any quality differentiation at all. The key here is that this number of applications is overwhelming and brutal triage is the only way out of it.
elite colleges already have a "skimming" thing in place. If I'm correct, all the applications are first reviewed by regional officers (officers with a specific region....Columbia has a lot of those). These officers automatically take out a portion of the noncompetitive applications, and send them to the dean with a note for them to be rejected. The dean will, most of the time, respect this decision; there will be a few instances where the dean feels a compelling interest to keep an applicant in the running though, so sends it along to the committee. Also, the ivies have this system where they put in the class rank, SAT subject, and SAT/ACT scores and turn up an objective number, which is of course reflective of your objective academic achievements and can be compared easily with the rest of the pool.
And I think Columbia has the easiest supplement of the ivies.....so maybe in the future Columbia will add in tougher questions (such as those put in by yale lolz) to gain more insight into applicants, which will allow them to make even better decisions.
Last year, there were a little less than 2,400 students admitted out of 26,000 that applied for an admissions rate of around 9.23%. We can assume that there are going to be roughly the same amount accepted this year, but now it's out of 34,500 applicants for an admissions rate of around 6.95%. And that's the OVERALL acceptance rate; since almost half the class was admitted early, the RD acceptance rate is closer to 3.5%. It's absurd!
We attribute this continued and growing interest in Columbia to a variety of factors, including our commitment to communication and outreach to communities which have been historically under-served or under-resourced educationally...
Really should read: We realized if we invested more in marketing widely, we could get way more applications, regardless of abilities; we are more than happy to take an application fee and boost our applications, because we know that it's just a numbers game. Get as many people as you can to apply, that increases our selectivity and we move up in the ratings!
and greater ease of and access to our application process by virtue of our first-year membership with The Common Application
We also know that its important to attract as many applicants as possible, even ones that would never care enough about us to apply separately. Because you see, we just want lots and lots of applicants! It makes us look good! And joining Common App is a simple way to boost your perceived selectivity!
what about the fact that the common application does improve access to low income students, and those from large public school districts (those in which counselors at times restrict students to only applying to common app schools)?
you see, for every 1000 applicants that are not worth it (as you put it), 100 are new students that otherwise wouldn't have applied to columbia, and now stand a chance of admission. that is in the 8k bump over 800 students, that is a big deal.
and as principled as columbia has been about its application, when a school like uchicago and their president specifically states that his goal is to have more applications than columbia, well, the gloves come off. i hope zimmer bites his words and enjoys the 13k applicant gap that columbia once again enjoys over uchicago.
it is unfortunate that you aren't aware of larger trends and movements, or the fact that columbia was the last ivy to go common. but i guess not everyone contextualizes their vitriol.
actually pwoods, 44% the class is admitted (600 students or so), but not half the admittances. columbia usually admits about 1800 regular in the new class size, which means the admit rate regular will be 5.8% regular.
the admit rate for the columbia college (inclusive of ed) will be about 6.2% overall. the admit rate for the college regular will be about 5.0%.
the admit rate for seas will be 11% overall. the admit rate for seas regular will be about 9%.
i am using projections from last year's numbers of how many college/seas applicants will be (i am using the rough number of 29000 college and 5400 seas), and using usual admission numbers from last year.