I'm an Asian female interested in Engineering, but not very very sure about whether I really want to pursue engineering. I have had exposure to engineering in high school, and I like it, just not 100% sure I want to go into it. I'm torn between Columbia's Engineering School or Arts & Sciences... The things I'm considering are:
1) Are my chances higher of getting accepted into Columbia by applying Engineering as a female? Or is Engineering so competitive that it'd actually be more of an advantage to apply A & S?
2) If I do get into the Engineering School, and I change my mind, is it easy to switch into A & S?
You have to be highly competent. Female might be a plus. But Asian is a minus. A lot of asians are applying to SEAS and they are usually more self-selective. So you might not have a gender advantage here.
Besides, transfer is VERY hard. Columbia has been trying to stop college students to transfer internally. I would not suggest you to risk it. Be sure you are interested before you apply. Engineering is hardcore.
I would not say that the chance at SEAS is higher since the pool is very self-selective. They usually have higher stats than CC.
Columbia like most colleges would like to have a 50/50 gender mix. Students in Seas and CC make up the class, so if CC has a higher percentage of females than 50 % and SEAS has a lower percentage that's fine because the overall class mix is still more or less 50/50. So I think that negates a female advantage at Columbia that a school like MIT might use to create their 50/50 ish mix.
No matter what, you should not pick between SEAS and CC just because of the higher admission rate in SEAS. Remember, these are two different schools and if you change your mind about engineering you would have to transfer out.
I had the same problem as you when I was picking between SEAS and CC and I went with CC. I am VERY happy I made this decision.