Columbia University: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

Low Library at Columbia University
Allen Grove

Located in New York City, Columbia University is an Ivy League School with an acceptance rate of 5.3%. Considering applying to this highly selective school? Here are the Columbia University admissions statistics you should know.

Why Columbia University?

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Campus Features: Columbia's location in Upper Manhattan makes it an excellent choice for strong students looking for a truly urban campus. Barnard College adjoins the campus.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 6:1
  • Athletics: The Columbia Lions compete at the NCAA Division I level.
  • Highlights: Columbia is a highly selective member of the prestigious Ivy League, and it consistently ranks as one of the top national universities. Academic strengths span the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, Columbia University had an acceptance rate of 5.3%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 5 students were admitted, making Columbia's admissions process highly competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants 42,569
Percent Admitted 5.3%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 62%

SAT Scores and Requirements

All applicants to Columbia must submit either SAT or ACT scores. For students entering the school in the 2017-18 academic year, 59% chose to submit SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 710 760
Math 740 800
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of Columbia's admitted students fall within the top 7% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to Columbia scored between 710 and 760, while 25% scored below 710 and 25% scored above 760. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 740 and 800, while 25% scored below 740 and 25% scored a perfect 800. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1560 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at Columbia University.

Requirements

Columbia University does not require the optional writing section of the SAT. If you take the SAT more than once, Columbia will superscore your exams and consider the highest score you earned for individual sections. The university does not require SAT Subject Tests, but they will consider them if you choose to submit them.

ACT Scores and Requirements

All applicants to Columbia must submit either SAT or ACT scores, and the two exams are similarly popular. For students entering the university in the 2017-18 academic year, 51% chose to submit ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 34 36
Math 30 35
Composite 33 35

This admissions data tells us that most of Columbia's admitted students fall within the top 2% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to Columbia received a composite ACT score between 33 and 35, while 25% scored above 35 and 25% scored below 33.

Requirements

Columbia does not require the optional essay section of the ACT, nor does the university require students who take the ACT to submit SAT Subject Test scores. As with the SAT, Columbia will superscore your ACT scores if you took the exam more than once.

GPA

Columbia University does not publish the average GPA of admitted students, but you can be sure that nearly all students had averages in the "A" range. In 2019, over 95% of admitted students who provided data indicated that they ranked in the top 10% of their graduating class.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

Columbia University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
Columbia University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to Columbia University. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

Columbia University has a highly competitive admissions pool with a low acceptance rate and high average SAT/ACT scores. However, Columbia has a holistic admissions process involving other factors beyond your grades and test scores. Strong application essays and glowing letters of recommendation can strengthen your application, as can participation in meaningful extracurricular activities and a rigorous course schedule. Students with particularly compelling stories or achievements can still receive serious consideration even if their test scores are outside Columbia's average range.

In the graph above, you'll notice a lot of red dots (rejected applicants) hidden beneath the blue and green dots (accepted applicants). 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.