Columbia University GPA, SAT, and ACT Data

Columbia University, one of the eight prestigious Ivy League schools, is one of the most selective colleges in the country. It has an acceptance rate of just 6 percent for the class of 2020.

You must submit either the SAT or the ACT test scores when applying. Columbia doesn't require the optional writing section on either test. The middle 50 percent of the enrolled first-time students for fall 2016 had these scores:

  • SAT Critical Reading: 700 to 790
  • SAT Math: 710 to 800
  • ACT Composite: 32 to 35
  • ACT English: 33 to 35
  • ACT Math: 30 to 35
  • A combined SAT of 2180 to 2340 on the Math, Critical Reading, and Writing section of the old SAT test (prior to March 2016).
  • A combined 1510 to 1580 on the new SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math sections.
  • Over 90 percent of accepted students were in the top 10 percent of their graduating class.

How do you measure up at Columbia University?  Calculate your chances of getting in with this free tool from Cappex.

Columbia University Admissions Graph

Columbia University GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Admission
Columbia University GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission. Data courtesy of Cappex.

In this graph, the blue and green dots representing accepted students are concentrated in the upper right corner. Most students who got into Columbia had GPAs in the "A" range, SAT scores (RW+M) above 1200, and ACT composite scores above 25. Also, realize that a lot of red dots are hidden beneath the blue and green on the graph. Many students with "A" averages and high test scores were rejected by Columbia. For this reason, even strong students should consider Columbia a reach school.

At the same time, keep in mind that Columbia has holistic admissions. The admissions officers are looking for students who will bring more than good grades and standardized test scores to their campus. Students who show some kind of remarkable talent or have a compelling story to tell will get serious consideration even if grades and test scores aren't quite up to the ideal. The school emphasizes that all aspects of the application are important.

To learn more about Columbia University, high school GPAs, SAT scores and ACT scores, these articles can help:

Articles Featuring Columbia University

Compare GPA and Test Score Data for Other Ivy League Schools

A significant percentage of applicants to Columbia apply to other Ivy League schools. Acceptance rates vary with Harvard at the most selective end of the scale and Cornell at the least selective, but realize that all of the Ivies are highly selective. An "A" average in challenging classes and high standardized test scores are essential for all eight schools. You can see the data in these articles:

Brown | Cornell | Dartmouth | Harvard | Penn | Princeton | Yale

Rejection and Waitlist Data for Columbia University

Rejection and Waitlist Data for Columbia University
Rejection and Waitlist Data for Columbia University. Data courtesy of

The graph at the top of this article can be a bit misleading, for it would seem to suggest that a 4.0 GPA and high SAT or ACT scores give you a good chance of getting into Columbia University. The reality, unfortunately, isn't quite so positive.

When we strip away the acceptance data from the graph, we can see that plenty of students with academic measures that are on target for Columbia do not receive acceptance letters. In fact, you can have a 4.0 GPA and 1600 SAT score and still receive a rejection letter. That said, strong academic measures certainly improve your chances measurably.

A winning application, however, needs to demonstrate more than academic accomplishments. A strong application essay, meaningful extracurricular involvement, and glowing letters of recommendation are all important. You can also improve your chances by applying early.