I Got Deferred From Columbia ED. What Now and Why?

Yes, your entire grade rests on however many questions there were on the Physics AP. Many kids, including my S, having no access to a world-class university and doing related research there, got 5s on both portions. Do I think your 4s in mech and bio, and your 770 on the math SAT (which MIT doesn’t use anymore) are what got you deferred? No. But given how easy it is for a gifted math/science student to get 800s and 5s on these exams, plus that you didn’t have great grades despite having access to world class labs and working with brilliant minds, for me, a picture emerges. Either you didn’t work hard enough to master the material or you aren’t naturally gifted enough to intuitively grasp the material. (Remember, no other country has holistic review; you ace the exams or you don’t get in).

Had you presented the same app but were a kid with no connections to Columbia, maybe you get in. Because you wouldn’t have been handed those research oops on a silver plater; you would have had to stand out and network to get those opportunities. But, that hypothetical student would still have the grade issue, and lack of ECs until 11th grade.

I think you’re lucky you got deferred and it was only because your dad is faculty. You need to apply yourself, 100%, to your studies and ace your classes. If you don’t get in, you should go to a SUNY, ace your classes and do research unrelated to Columbia. Be 1st author on that paper. Prove yourself unrelated to your father. And then transfer. This is a great learning experience related to understanding your privilege. I think if you own what happened (not try to justify it - so few questions/covid/only got serious toward end of HS), you’ll see that the students who were accepted worked extremely hard for all 4 yrs of HS, without the undeniably amazing access you had, and earned that acceptance. You want to earn yours too. You have a great future ahead of you if you do.


Hello, thanks for the advice!

I checked my grades and turns out I actually have a 5 on bio, and a 780 on math sat 2 lol. Not much of a difference, but yeah. Also I was the first author on the paper, although I do agree that it would’ve been better if it was only me, by myself.

As for ECs, yeah I tried my best to emphasize that the majority of my ECs are not related to my father, and only one was.

I looked at my application, and I realized that my Supplementals and personal essay were terrible. They were extremely standard, non memorable, and further exemplified getting handed the silver platter.

I completely redid everything on my application for all my other schools, and I think just how terrible the old ones for Columbia ED, really is what did in the deferrel. I think most of what I thought previously (grades) + all that were okay, and probably did not matter that much, but still did a bit. The supplements/essays just didn’t answer the prompt very well, and my two brain cells decided that it would be a smart idea to write about my relatives (one fathered a science), so now it looks like I was HANDED THE PLATTER EVEN MORE. It made it seem like my achievements only happened because of my familal relationships, and overshadows how 93% of it is done entirely on my own. That is what did it in.

Hopefully, with this new application, and entirely redone essays, things will go better.


OP, good for you for trying to pick up the pieces and move forward.
Odd things can turn out to be life lessons.
Best wishes.

Hi! This year I got deferred from columbia as an international student. Did you finally get in?

The OP has not been on CC for quite some time.
Please do not re-open such old posts.