How detrimental is it to be in the top 15% as opposed to the top 10%, particularly if the rank is unweighted (no weight to 6-7 APs + college course(s), ~3.8 UW GPA), but everything else is within Columbia's range, i.e. 2250+ SAT, 750+ on SAT II, great recs, essays, etc. Will it be relatively minor compared to the other components of the application. I'm considering applying ED
I wouldn't know about rank (my school didn't rank), but one think I know about Columbia is that one factor doesn't take you out of the running. If everything else is up to par, you definitely still have a shot.
One factor won't keep you out of the running...if they really want you for other reasons. The problem is that most students will not only be in the top 10% of their classes but will also be val/sal or otherwise in the upper percentages of their class.
Applicants who are accepted outside the top ~3% of the grade are typically minorities, legacies, athletes, children of major donors or faculty. the ones who aren't either attends schools like thomas jefferson high school in VA that sends a considerable portion of the class to Ivies and peer schools regularly, or applicants with truly outstanding ECs, etc.
But talk with your guidance counselor what he/she thinks. Your GC would know where students with your UW GPA have been accepted to in the past and if any have applied to columbia.
Plenty of hooked students (URMS, legacies, athletes, child of donors or faculty) . And there are few, probably very few, high schools in america that are that competitive, mostly the private preparatory schools and the top public schools. Just take a look at the results thread from last year and previous years. The typical acceptances are the ones in the top few places of the class.
I was recently accepted to the CC class of 2016 and I was 1st in my class at the time I applied. I would say that being in the top of your class is definitely an important part of admissions, but if you are very strong in all of the other components of your application, you still have a chance. Some people get in for being particularly strong in academics, but there are also those who may have a slightly weaker academic profile but are particularly strong in other areas.