COLUMBIA UNIV. admission requirements

Hi, I have a rising junior. Are there any columbia univ admission officers who can advise on my questions? or expierenced parent.

My DD would like to apply to CU, what are they looking for? What should her strong attributes be? TIA

There are no Columbia admissions officers on this sub. Like most other selective schools, Columbia practices holistic review. This means that they look at the entire application and then decide – typically in a committee format.

In reality this means that they can pick and choose among all of the applicants – often with no rhyme or reason. It can seem quite random. But there is some logic to it. Here is my general take for Ivy+ schools:

15-20% Legacy
5% Recruited Athletes
10% First generation
10-15% URM
2% Development/Faculty kids

This means that about half the class is filled with these special interests. The rest of the class (about half) is based on pure merit. For these they tend to take exception people: valedictorians, International olympiad winners, Intel ISEF, Broadway performers, published authors, etc. About a 2/3 of each incoming class is filled in the early round(s), but generally only about a 1/3 of the total # of applicants. The RD round is the most competitive (about 2/3 of applications) for about a third of the open slots. Even for the most competitive colleges, only about half receive financial aid. This means that half the class is filled with kids whose parents can pay in full.

So if your child doesn’t full into one of the above special interest categories, your best bet is to apply early. Hope this helps.

@bahamabreeze, my daughter was accepted to Columbia RD with no legacy, no special awards, and none of the other hooks @sgopal2 mentions. Columbia’s application review is holistic. I told my daughter to totally be herself when applying to colleges; lack of authenticity benefits no one.

What I think tipped the scales in my daughter’s favor:

  1. She writes very well and with a strong “voice.”
  2. She reads broadly and deeply.
  3. Her extracurriculars demonstrate she cares about the world and other people. They also demonstrate she’s willing to step up and take on the less popular leadership roles.
  4. She was a valedictorian with high SATs and subject test scores. She took the most challenging courses available to her, even ones outside her areas of interest.
  5. She’s from a rural area on the West Coast.
  6. She comes across as a smart, hardworking, and kind person.
  7. She researched Columbia and her majors of interest very carefully.
  8. She is not a STEM major.

I think the best thing you can do as a parent is act as a guide as needed and encourage your child to be authentic. Also, encourage your child to research schools and programs in detail and not base the application on prestige. Can your child be happy and fulfilled at this college for 4 years?

Wishing your daughter the best!

Just one clarification of above:
Columbia has traditionally had the lowest percentage of Legacy students in the Ivy’s. Columbia’s percentage has been around 5-6% of the incoming class for at least 30 years now, compared to recent reports of 10-15% for the rest of the Ivy’s (and their percentage has actually decreased over the last 20 years)

thank you for your input.