StudentsReview :: Columbia University in the City of New York - How to Get into Columbia (Undergraduate)
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Columbia University in the City of New York

Students who got into Columbia:

Tips mention: Interview (5), ACT/SAT (14), Grades (20), Sports/Extracurriculars (11), College Essay (12)
I was very active in high school - lotsDec 01 2006Music - Composition/Theory
I was very active in high school - lots of leadership positions and extracurriculars. I also think my certainty about majoring in composition helped. I sent in a few sample scores as supplementary material.
SAT: 1540 Female
Admissions are fairly arbitraryMay 16 2006Sociology
Admissions are fairly arbitrary. You know the shtick. Just don't fret about it!
SAT: 1500 Female
Keep your grades upMar 10 2006Political Science
Keep your grades up. Also, build up an impressive resume. Volunteer and join clubs, but make sure to take leadership roles. Do not just create a laundry list.
SAT: 1530 Male
Columbia likes well-rounded people, that's for sureDec 30 2005Other
Columbia likes well-rounded people, that's for sure. That being said, you can get away with a low SAT score or no AP classes if you demonstrate that you've worked to the best of your ability with the circumstances that you had. For example, many of my friends who are recent Russian immigrants got in with fairly low SAT scores because their verbal skills just hadn't developed in English yet -- but they are certainly thriving at Columbia! The thing to remember is that Columbia is a sink-or-swim kind of enviroment -- no one will hold your hand -- so be sure you can handle that before committing to it.
SAT: 1480 Female
I was ranked eighth in a class of 410Oct 24 2005History/Histories (art history/etc.)
I was ranked eighth in a class of 410 students (although if GPAs had been weighted, I would have ranked first), and I went to a fairly decent public school where it was easy to get involved in a lot of activities. Because I'm a Caucasian male, I had to have a competitive resume to get in; I basically sought out a lot of little leadership positions (president of Spanish club, VP of Nat'l Honor Society, editor of the newspaper, principal oboist in orchestra,) and did a sport (XC) to make my application viable. My SATs were decent (1410), but my SAT IIs were better (800 Writing, 740 U.S. History, and 790 Literature).

Everyone who applies will have solid grades, test scores and extracurriculars (and a few will blow everyone else out of the water in one or more areas), so a lot comes down to diversity, both in terms of background and personality. The University is essentially looking for different but equally driven students.

Have amazing recommendations from teachers who worship you. My recs were great, and I think that really helped my application.

Above all else, I know I got in because of my essays. They're crucial, so make sure that they're striking and unique (don't write about anything too conventional unless it's a masterpiece). Also, when they ask you why you want to come to Columbia, don't say New York! I made that mistake when I applied ED, and I got deferred. Luckily, I sent them a long letter (basically another essay) describing how I adored the Core Curriculum and had talked to specific professors about my major. You have to personalize your interests to Columbia in a big way. (That's why a lot of the student body people here got in ED.)

All in all, just try to be well-rounded (with a few intense passions to play up in your application) and pray that they accept you. And don't be from NY, CA, MA or NJ. (I was from WA, so my chances were a little better.)
SAT: 1410 Male

Columbia University in the City of New York
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