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How to Get into Columbia University

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Remember that getting into Columbia University is about more than just having the best numbers (SAT, GPA and extraneous activities).

It’s also important to remember that getting into Columbia University is about more than just having the best numbers (SAT, GPA and extraneous activities). Schools are looking for well-rounded people.

Not only do you need to have an SAT score in the top 1% and GPA in the top 2%, but you must have a character that is proven through your activities. You must prove that you are a leader and will be able to contribute to the campus community.

For example, I got into Columbia University with a 3.8 GPA and 2060 SAT score (out of 2400) because I was heavily involved with my school newspaper, played club soccer for most of my life and was part of a leadership program at my high school called SGA.

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What can you do to make sure your application for admission rises to the top of the pile?

The best thing you can do for your application is to really differentiate yourself from other applicants. Demonstrate that you are dedicated to your studies and a well-rounded individual who is interested in various things, especially in the field that you want to study. Get involved in community service and extracurricular activities, such as sports, debate teams or different clubs at your school.

Research shows that these activities translate into higher GPAs and better performance on the SATs. The more well-rounded an applicant is, the better their chances of getting admitted.

First and foremost, be passionate about something or a variety of things, and show it in your application.

In your application, you should talk a lot about the things that make you passionate about. I have a friend who is a film major and he’s interested in writing and directing for film, but he said that his passion was really his brother, so he made sure to talk about him in his application.

You should also make sure to write essays or several different types of applications that show exactly what makes you passionate. It will help to show your personality and why you would be a good fit for Columbia.

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Your SAT scores should be in the top 1%.

The SAT is a standardized test that colleges use to measure your academic readiness for college. In other words, it tests how well you can do college-level work in reading, writing and math. The average score on the SAT is around 1000, but at Columbia University the average score is around 1500. If you want to get into a top university like Columbia, your scores need to be over 1500—ideally over 1550.

Your GPA should be in the top 2%.

Making your college application is stressful enough. Trying to balance the different factors—your GPA, SAT/ACT scores, extracurricular activities (if any), essays, recommendations, and other required forms—is truly a lot of pressure.

You have to be prepared to answer questions like:

  • How did you get into Harvard?
  • What’s your favorite word?
  • What do you listen to the most on your iPod?

Take up lots of extracurriculars. Studies have shown that 45% of students who put a lot of time into their activities outside of class get into Ivy League schools.

Studies have shown that 45% of students who put a lot of time into their activities outside of class get into Ivy League schools.

While not all high school students are inclined to join every club in order to pad their resume, it is important to focus on a few key activities that you enjoy and can commit to for the long term. If you don’t have time for extracurriculars, you should focus on your studies.

Join harder classes if possible. Classes such as AP Mathematics, AP Chemistry and AP Physics are helpful if you want to get into Columbia University.

If your grades are above average, you should consider taking AP courses if they are offered at your school. Columbia University requires applicants to have taken a strong core curriculum in high school, including four years of English and two years of mathematics. They also recommend that students take advanced science classes (biology, chemistry and physics), as well as computer science. The admissions board notes that “rigorous college-preparatory studies” is one of their top criteria for valued applicants.

If you have top SAT scores, great classes and lots of extracurriculars, you’re likely to get into Columbia University.

If you have top SAT scores, great classes and lots of extracurriculars, you’re likely to get into Columbia University. (Note: because of the large number of applicants, most students who get into Columbia University were in the top 5 percent of their graduating class.) That’s going to be the case at any highly selective college. The question is what makes you a special candidate. To set yourself apart from other applicants, consider doing one or more internships in high school, developing your leadership potential and participating in community service initiatives. Skills gained through participation in these activities are also part of a well-rounded résumé that colleges look for.

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In addition to a strong academic record, most students admitted to Columbia have demonstrated some level of leadership ability by holding offices in clubs or other student organizations; many have participated extensively in community service; and almost all have excelled outside the classroom by showing talent and commitment through sports, music or art.

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Why Study at Columbia University

Columbia is a global university, with students from all 50 states and over 100 countries worldwide.

At Columbia, where you come from is as important as what your goals are. Only 30% of our students come from the tri-state area, and only 20% are international. Because of this unique makeup, we have an exceptional community of students who bring different experiences and ambitions to the university. You’ll be exposed to new ways of thinking in each class and will not feel out of place even if you’re from a small town or another continent.

The University’s 16 schools bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines to focus on collaborative problem-solving and basic and applied research.

Columbia University is one of the top universities in the world and has 16 graduate and undergraduate schools and colleges. These include Columbia College, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), School of General Studies, School of the Arts, School of International and Public Affairs, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Business School, Journalism School, Law School, Medicine (P&S), College of Dental Medicine, Nursing School, Mailman School of Public Health.

Columbia is committed to intellectual rigor and the pursuit of innovative knowledge, offering an unmatched array of academic programs.

Columbia is committed to intellectual rigor and the pursuit of innovative knowledge, offering an unmatched array of academic programs. You will discover a broad spectrum of disciplines from which to choose, including more than 25 fields in the arts and sciences as well as a distinguished core curriculum. Columbia’s curricular breadth and interdisciplinary approach allow you to explore your intellectual interests in depth. The small size of our classes keeps them intimate and allows for close interaction between students and faculty members, who are some of the best minds in their respective fields—and who are also invested in your vision for learning.

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In addition to coursework, you will be able to pursue specialized research opportunities through independent study projects or a senior thesis. This can provide valuable experience that can help prepare you for postgraduate endeavors such as medical school or graduate studies in law or business administration.

A member of the Ivy League and one of the nine colonial colleges founded before the American Revolution, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in Upper Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of George II of Great Britain, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded before the American Revolution and the first institution to award the M.D. degree (in 1811) and Ph.D. degree (in 1861).

 

Columbia graduates go on to be leaders across every field imaginable—politics, business, science and research, journalism, law, education, medicine, the arts and more.

The Columbia alumni network is unparalleled, with over 300,000 living graduates who have been doing some pretty amazing things. For example, your fellow Lions include:

  • Ben Bernanke ’75 (Chairman of the Federal Reserve)
  • Steven Spielberg ’66 (Oscar-winning director)

If you went to Columbia, you would also have access to prestigious faculty members like:

  • Thomas Friedman (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times columnist)
  • Jeffrey Sachs (’86 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences recipient)

Columbia University is a great choice for your education

Columbia is an elite school with a history of fostering excellence. Founded in 1754, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York and the fifth-oldest institution in the United States. It has been at the forefront of education and research for over 250 years.

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