Located in the heart of NYC, Columbia University is one of the only Ivy League schools connected to an all women’s college across the street. If you’re looking at applying, one of the most important things for you to know is the Columbia University acceptance rate so you can  determine when you’re going to apply.

What is the Columbia University Acceptance Rate

The Columbia University acceptance rate is 6%. After receiving 36,292 applications for the incoming class of 2016, roughly 2,200 applications were accepted. But just looking at those numbers doesn’t give you enough information to make an informed decision about the Columbia University acceptance rate. To get a better picture of college admissions, we need to look at early decision, regular decision, and the combined data.

Columbia Early Decision Admissions

The Class of 2020 submitted about 3,500 applications through the early decision program. You should know before looking at these numbers that applying for early decision at Columbia University is basically saying that if you’re accepted, you will attend there and refuse any other offers from other universities you’ve applied to.

Okay, now you can look at the data. Keep in mind that, because less applications are being sent through during this period, the acceptance rate will appear higher. And because only very serious applicants submit their information during this cycle, they’re sometimes more likely to be accepted.

  Early Decision Applications Accepted Total Early Applications Received Early Decision Acceptance Rate Estimated Overall Enrollment % of Class Filled by Early Decisions
2021 650 4086 15.91% 1400 46.43%
2020 620 3520 17.61% 1400 34.46%
2019 600 3373 17.79% 1400 41.13%
2018 650 3296 19.72% 1400 46.43%
2017 600 3126 19.19%    
2016 605 3088 19.59%    
2015 632 3229 19.57%    
2014 631 2995 21.07%    
2013 594 2945 20.17%    

Now that you’ve seen the data for students admitted during the early decision program, let’s take a look at the data for students admitted during the regular decision application cycle.

Columbia Regular Decision Admissions

Unlike early decision applications, you don’t make any sort of binding commitment when you apply during regular admissions. Because there are more applications coming in during this cycle, the Columbia University acceptance rate is lower.

  Regular Decision Applications Accepted Regular Decision Applications Received Regular Decision Admissions Acceptance Rate
2020 1573 32,722 4.80%
2019 1628 32,877 4.95%
2018 1641 29,656 5.53%
2017 1711 30,405 5.63%
2016 1758 28,763 6.11%

Columbia Early and Regular Decision Admissions

Considering how radically different the Columbia University acceptance rate is depending on when you apply, you might be wondering where that 6% I mentioned in the beginning comes from. It’s a combination of the combined applications received and accepted.

  Early and Regular Decision Applications Accepted Early and Regular Decision Applications Received Early and Regular Decision Admissions Acceptance Rate
2020 2193 36,292 6.04%
2019 2228 36,250 6.15%
2018 2291 32,952 6.95%
2017 2311 33,531 6.89%
2016 2363 31,851 7.42%
2015 2419 34,929 6.93%
2014 2472 26,178 9.44%
2013 2501 25,427 9.84%
2012 2418 22,585 10.71%

How to Increase Your Odds of Getting into Columbia

Because the Columbia University acceptance rate is so competitive, preparing yourself to apply can be nerve wracking. So don’t feel bad if you’re nervous. It’s completely normal to be concerned about whether or not you have what it takes to be accepted. I’ve gathered my best tips and tricks to help you build up your college application to get Columbia’s attention.

Partner with a College Consultant

As an Ivy League school, you’re going to need a college consultant working with you to make sure you’re on track with your application. They’re also an incredible ally to have on your side. Applying to college is a very stressful experience and a college consultant can work to not only ease your fears, but help you tailor your application to get noticed. It is their job to help get an admissions committee to notice you.

Study and Get Good Grades

Columbia is part of the Ivy League, meaning they’re only going to take the best of the best. You need to take four years of English, math, social studies, and the sciences, at least three years of the same foreign language, and to take all the AP and IB classes you can. Make sure to work with a tutor to keep yourself on track academically. AP and IB courses will help you think outside the box and mentally prepare you for Columbia University’s workload.

Get Standardized Test Scores You Can Be Proud Of

Working with a coach who has a high score on the standardized test you’re focused on is critical to your success. After you take the Pre-ACT and PSAT, you can see the highlights of where you do best and feel the most confident. Practice as often as possible with your coach and use practice tests you’ve found online or in test prep books. You don’t have to re-take the Pre-ACT or PSAT, but regular practice will improve your scores and your chances of being accepted into Columbia.

Flaunt Your Passions

Do you want to be more anxious and depressed? Hopefully not; who would? But buckling down and doing nothing, but studying, homework, or practicing for a standardized test will not only burn you out, but it doesn’t really impress colleges that much. Sure they want high GPAs and standardized test scores, but they also want students who are making a positive impact on the world around them.

How does this benefit you?

It means you can sign up for that after school club or fundraiser without feeling like you’re jeopardizing your college dreams. Flex your leadership muscles. Pick up a part-time job. Then put it on your extra-curriculars list and impress Columbia’s admissions team.

As an Ivy League school, the Columbia University acceptance rate is guaranteed to be low. That doesn’t mean you should abandon your dreams of acceptance. Instead, look at the acceptance rates and do everything you can to boost your chances of getting in.

What do you think of Columbia University? Were you surprised by the difference in acceptance rates depending on when you apply? Let us know if you have any other questions in the comment space below. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.