Disclaimer: I’m an incoming First-Year at Brown who was rejected from Columbia RD, but know students attending/admitted.
Also, you should probably post this in the Columbia thread on CC to get people who are familiar with Columbia’s Admissions process to comment.
Note that at many schools like Columbia (whose BA in CS is offered in Columbia College,) and Brown (where I go) you can apply for one major in the School of Arts & Sciences and end up declaring a major in any of the majors in that school. So it could be to your advantage to apply for Political Science/English if that’s the “story” your application tells, and you can always choose to double major or switch completely to CS once admitted.
If you’ve taken the SAT/ACT, and it’s within Columbia’s test score ranges (https://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/classprofile/2023 ,) then I highly recommend applying ED if ALL of the following are true:
- You LOVE Columbia and would 110% attend if admitted.
- You're extremely confident that you can present a well thought out and crafted application by the ED deadline of November 1st.
- You and your family can afford Columbia if admitted (run the financial aid calculators.)
Regarding geographic regions, coming from a state or region (like I did coming from the PNW) where not many students go to top colleges is definitely helpful, as it means that there is less competition and you increase Columbia or any other similar school’s geographic diversity, although this logic somewhat breaks down once the first student from your state is admitted.
For low-income applicants reading this, I highly recommend you to apply to the Questbridge College Match and Posse Scholars programs, as these make attending a college like Brown or Columbia with a high sticker price very affordable.
Hope this helps! Good luck with admissions!