Acceptance Rate

Test Scores

SAT Reading
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
690 - 780
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
700 - 790
SAT Writing
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
700 - 780
ACT Composite
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
31 - 34


Early Decision
November 1

January 1

Other Admission Factors


Rigor of Secondary School Record
Class Rank
Academic GPA
Standardized Test Scores
Application Essay

Character / Personal Qualities

Selectivity Rating

Faculty and Class Information

Total Faculty
with Terminal Degree


Most frequent class size
10 - 19
Most frequent lab / sub section size
2 - 9

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years


  • Engineering

  • Engineering, General

  • English Language and Literature/Letters

  • English Language and Literature, General

  • Social Sciences

  • Political Science and Government, General

Students Say

The Ivy League’s Columbia University has an international rep as “an elite institution in the greatest city in the world.” The hallmark of a Columbia education has to be its Core Curriculum, which “values intellectualism over single-minded pre-professionalism” and “ensures that students can understand and analyze the foundations of Western thought and contemporary society.” “The experience of collective intellectual growth might not be unique to Columbia, but I think the Core is the only program in the nation that requires its participants to interact with each other as much as they do with the texts. The intellectual corpus created by the Core is absolutely my favorite thing about Columbia.” For the most part, classes are “thought-provoking,” and “professors are invested in the students and are extremely accessible.” One student complains, “I don’t like the fact that I have graduate students teaching some of my intro classes.” Another student confesses, “Not every class has been a home run, but the ones that have been truly knock it out of the park.” Good grades take some hard work. “Although it is difficult to get an A, it is definitely not uncommon.” Students feel that “Columbia provides amazing access to New York and will definitely change the way that you think about the world.”



Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Opportunities at School


Prominent Alumni

Edwin Armstrong
Inventor, FM Radio

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Lou Gehrig

Jack Kerouac

Alexander Hamilton
Founding Father

Barack Obama

Joseph Pulitzer

Academic Rating

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Opportunities at School


ROI & Outcomes

Information from PayScale:

Median Starting Salary

Median Mid-Career Salary

Alumni with High Job Meaning

Return on Education (ROE) rating

Students Say

The Columbia University brand goes far in this country, even though many students only need it to work downtown. Students are thankful for the wealth of resources (referring primarily to internships) available to a student at Columbia University, as well as the professors that are “keen to let you work with them through research.” Internships in New York are an excellent entry point for students trying to make themselves known to employers, and it doesn’t hurt that the city is rife with Columbia alumni. The Center for Career Education offers a boatload of resources to get students on their way, including counseling sessions, practice interviews, dossier assessments, and old reliable career fairs. Graduates who visited Payscale.com reported an average starting salary of $57,600; 48 percent of these students said they felt their job had a meaningful impact on the world.

Colleges that Create Futures

Hands-on Coursework

Columbia’s Core Curriculum happens to be legendary. The curriculum is made up of a set of common courses required of all undergraduates, regardless of their choice in major. The communal learning—with all students encountering the same texts and issues at the same time—and the critical dialogue experienced in small seminars are the distinctive features of the Core. This arrangement means that students are gaining exposure to literature, philosophy, history, music, art, writing, and science—course work that may build upon pre-existing interests or introduce students to new ones. One current student tells us, “I am big on the sciences, and I knew that if I did not attend a school that had a core curriculum all I would take are science classes. With Columbia’s core, I am able to have a more holistic education.” One of the oldest Core courses, and one that all freshmen take, is the Literature Humanities course. Essential reading—texts that have never left the syllabus—include Dante’s Inferno and Homer’s The Iliad and exemplify the goals of the Core to explore “foundational texts” and “enduring documents” while honing essential skills such as logic, creative thinking, and argument. The College says, “Ask Columbians about the value of their Columbia education and the Core is likely to be the first thing they will mention.” Many of the student’s we surveyed also praised the University Writing course: Rather than approaching writing as an innate talent, the course teaches writing as a unique skill that can be practiced and developed. A computer science major testifies that their University Writing professor “would meet with me one on one, on multiple occasions, for each paper so I [could] produce the best material I possibly could. That sort of dedication really helps you grow.” Alumnus Wah Chen adds that he was grateful for this liberal arts foundation when he went on to business school: “[It is] extremely valuable insofar as giving individuals a framework from which to make everyday judgments like ‘What is right, what is just, and how can I contribute?’ across all possible career fields. Expertise can be learned later, but judgment is developed in college.”
Global Education

Seventeen percent of Columbia’s students are international; over 150 countries are represented on campus; there are about 50 languages available to study at Columbia. Furthermore, there are more than 200 study abroad programs available to students through Columbia’s Office of Global Programs. In addition to those, there are summer programs, fellowships, and global field studies that are part of classes or research projects. Columbia also has a network of Global Centers in places such as Mumbai, Beijing, and Paris and special programs at universities like Oxford and Cambridge. Then there’s the Columbia Experience Overseas program, which enables students to have summer internships abroad in places like Istanbul and Singapore, among many others locales.
And you don’t even have to leave campus to participate in international issues. Approximately twenty World Leaders Forum events happen each year, bringing newsmakers to campus for lively dialogue (past participants have included Ban Ki-moon, Vladimir Putin and the Dalai Lama.) Columbia could easily be considered a global university in the world’s most international city.
Being a first-year does not preclude students from taking advantage of Columbia’s tempting global opportunities. In fact, the Presidential Global Fellowship funds trips for undergraduates that take place during the summer after their first year. Global Fellows have a fully-funded experience (a scholarship covers the program fee for a Columbia study abroad program and a stipend covers round-trip airfare plus living expenses) that is enhanced with specialized advising focused on academic and career. The goal is that when Presidential Global Fellows return they will be equipped to make the very best use of the Columbia’s global networks on campus and beyond. Advising sessions and other program requirements are set with this goal in mind. In fact, one requirement of the program is for fellows to meet with President Bollinger to discuss topics related to globalization. On how many college campuses can students say that access to the President is a built-in experience?
Undergraduate Research

Columbia actively encourages student involvement in faculty research, and for Columbia Engineering students, opportunities span across all nine engineering departments. The Student Research Involvement Program (SRIP) was designed to enable engineering students to participate with 400-plus positions reserved for engineering undergraduates. Students can find information on specific research opportunities through an online portal, after which they may find themselves working on mathematical models for HIV prevention funds in Sub-Saharan Africa or on a design for a lightweight, inexpensive, and human-friendly robotic arm. Students who participate in summer research programs at Columbia or elsewhere have the opportunity to showcase their work at the Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium (a great place to hone those presentation and communication skills as well!).
Alumni Network

Students and alumni have had various reasons for attending Columbia, including the people (“Everyone I met who had attended Columbia was cool, interesting, smart, different”), the talented graduates (“So often, when I read the backflaps of biographies of my favorite authors, Columbia was mentioned”), the location (“It was in New York City” home to “the culture, the events, the variety, the internship and job potential, and many other things I felt were within my grasp”), and the classes (“The relatively small class size was something that really attracted me and I wanted to have a more diverse and unique experience”). And after graduation, they’ll be welcomed into a network of 60,000-plus undergraduate alumni. In terms of Columbia’s reputation and what it can do for its graduates, Mike Brown Jr., founder and general partner of Bowery Capital, feels that “students graduating from Columbia College have had a rare opportunity due to proximity to take a number of internships, external project opportunities, and see New York City in a very different way from most other students around the world. They have a strong sense of self, a genuine curiosity about them given their NYC experiences and exploration, generally a strong work ethic, and finally strong interpersonal skills.”
Special Facilities

Doers and makers have access to plenty of design spaces on campus that will help them turn their ideas into something tangible. Graduating entrepreneurs can take advantage of a co-working space with seventy-one seats for young alumni (including Columbia Business School entrepreneurs). And the CU Maker Space welcomes current students (as well as Columbia faculty, staff, and post-docs) to use its space as a resource “for projects, hobbies, building prototypes or just trying something new.” Most of the equipment you’ll need is housed there as well, including 3D printers, a laser cuter, sewing machines, power tools and woodworking equipment as well as supplies like solder and glue. Student challenges such as the Columbia Venture Competition offer project opportunities and prize money to fund early-stage ventures.


Application Deadlines
Mar 1
Notification Date
Apr 1

Required Forms

Forms CSSProfile
Forms Divorced Parent

Bottom Line

Earning an acceptance letter from Columbia is no easy feat. Admissions officers are looking to build a diverse class that will greatly contribute to the university. It’s the Ivy League, folks, and it’s New York City, and there is a price tag that goes with both. A year’s tuition is $46,846. Additionally, count on $12,000 in room and board (such a deal for NYC!). Columbia’s New York City campus means that every manner of distraction is literally at your fingertips, so you’ll want to factor in another nice chunk of change for things like transportation, personal expenses, outings, etc. These figures are nothing to sneeze at. Take heart: If you get over the first hurdle and manage to gain admittance to this prestigious university, you can be confident that the university will help you pay for it.

Bang For Your Buck

With nearly all undergraduate students living on campus, students are active participants in campus life through participation in hundreds of student clubs, community-service organizations, and athletic teams. One student tells us, “The opportunities Columbia has to offer, not only on campus but also throughout New York City, attracted me to its gates. The dichotomy of a self-contained campus in the largest city in the U.S. is truly unique and cannot be surpassed by any other American university.” Another student adds, “I am big on the sciences, and I knew that if I did not attend a school that had a core curriculum (required set of classes that surveys the humanities and the sciences), all I would take are science classes. With Columbia’s core, I am able to have a more holistic education. Also, the location of Columbia is perfect—the university still has a campus feel even though it is in the middle of New York City!”

Financial Aid Statistics

Average Freshman Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Undergraduate Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Need-Based Loan

Undergraduates who have borrowed through any loan program

Average amount of each freshman scholarship/grant package

Financial aid provided to international students

Expenses per Academic Year

Required Fees
Average Cost for Books and Supplies

Tuition / Fees Vary by Year of Study
Board for Commuters
Transportation for Commuters

Available Aid

Financial Aid Methodology
Federal and Institutional

Scholarships and Grants


Need-Based College/University Scholarship or Grant Aid from Institutional Funds
Need-Based Federal Pell
Need-Based Private Scholarships
Need-Based SEOG
Need-Based State Scholarships

Federal Direct Student Loan Programs
Direct PLUS Loans
Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFEL)
College/university loans from institutional funds
Federal Perkins Loans

Is Institutional Employment Available (other than Federal Work Study)

Direct Lender

Financial Aid Rating


Student Body Profile

Total Undergraduate Enrollment
Out of State

Foreign Countries Represented


48% female
52% male
76% are out of state
100% are full time
0% are part time

Students Say

The “unparalleled” student body “encompasses multiple political views” and is also “very active politically.” “Students fit in by learning to accept that they are different and that others may disagree with them on any number of issues.” One student opines, “Because the right-wing portion of the student body is a minority, it is also more outspoken and thus pretty visible on campus.” Another comments, “Being religious and/or conservative on this campus is tough.” “In terms of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, age, and sexual preference, this school has everything. You will never feel as if you don’t belong.” A student sums it up this way: “We fit in because of our diversity.” As for relaxation, “everyone has their own fun on the weekends. There seems to be a nice equal mix between those who go to parties, those who go out into the city, those who stay in with friends or do work, etc. The campus really accommodates...everyone.” Students at Columbia “do all sorts of different things but the unifying factor is how passionate about what they study everyone is.”


Campus Life

Undergrads living on campus
Help finding off-campus housing

First-Year Students living on campus

Campus Environment
Large Urban

Housing Options

Disabled Student
Dorms Coed
Frat Sorority
Theme Housing
Wellness Housing

Students Say

“Student life here is strongly influenced by New York City. Since the city offers millions of activities, fun can range from spending the day at the Met to going to an underground rave downtown, it’s really up to each person.” Situated in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Morningside Heights, Columbia “offers so many free and discounted tickets to museums and cultural events, there’s always something fun to get out and do.” All you have to do is get on the subway. Students feel that Columbia “has a complete campus inside New York City, so each student is free to choose whether they want to take advantage of the urban setting or just stay on campus and have a more traditional campus experience.” Undergrads have access to a vast array of “research positions, internships, externships, and study abroad experiences.” Students want to point out that since they live in New York City, there’s no one typical activity that students take part in. Instead, “there’s a ton of things to do around campus, but then a lot of people will also go downtown to a comedy show or to a new bar or to a Broadway show.” The general consensus is that “the opportunities are just endless.”

Special Needs Admissions

College Entrance Tests Required

Interview Required

Special Need Services Offered

Student Activities

Registered Student Organizations
Number of Honor Societies

Number of Social Sororities
Number of Religious Organizations

19% join a fraternity
9% join a sorority


Athletic Division
Division I

Men's Sports (Lions)
14 Sports

Crew Rowing
Cross Country
Track Field Indoor
Track Field Outdoor
Women's Sports (Lions)
16 Sports

Crew Rowing
Cross Country
Field Hockey
Track Field Indoor
Track Field Outdoor

Student Services

LGBT Support Groups: www.columbia.edu/cu/cqa www.columbia.edu/cu/qoc

Minority Support Groups: www.studentaffairs.columbia.edu/sda/groups

Army ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: Fordham University
Navy ROTC Offered on-campus
Air Force ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: Manhattan College


Located within walking distance of grassy Central Park, Columbia University’s campus is evolving into one of New York City’s green landmarks in its own right. Surrounded by one of the biggest and densest collections of building in the world, the university has put its location to good use—recently launching the NYC Urban Technology Innovation Center in order to promote green building technologies in New York City. The Urban Design Lab has committed to local environmental design and sustainable economic development, combining the vast intellectual and financial resources of the architecture and engineering schools. The challenges of developing sustainable infrastructure in a bustling urban environment are real, which makes Columbia’s recent LEED Platinum for its 17-acre Manhattanville campus plan in West Harlem even more impressive. Leave it to one of the oldest and most historically rooted universities in the world to stake claim to the first Platinum of its kind in New York City. (And the first for a University plan nationally!) This estimable bit of green construction will only add to Columbia’s significant collection of LEED-certified buildings, which welcomed seven LEED Gold or LEED Silver endeavors in the last several years. Of course, construction is just one of many fortunate opportunities to advance sustainability in Manhattan—Columbia has devoted considerable effort to healthy local food, greenmarkets, vegetative roofs, and more efficient water treatment. Always a beacon in academia and leadership, students are offered a choice of twenty-four degrees in environmental study to complement thirty-three environmental research centers, while organizations such as the Earth Institute and Columbia EcoReps contribute to the active presence of the sustainability movement in everyday campus life.

School Has Formal Sustainability Committee

Sustainability-focused degree available

School employs a sustainability officer

Public GHG inventory plan

% food budget spent on local/organic food

Campus Security Report

Campus Security Report

The Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities to disclose their security policies, keep a public crime log, publish an annual crime report and provide timely warnings to students and campus employees about a crime posing an immediate or ongoing threat to students and campus employees.

Please visit The Princeton Review’s page on campus safety for additional resources: http://www.princetonreview.com/safety

The Princeton Review publishes links directly to each school's Campus Security Reports where available. Applicants can also access all school-specific campus safety information using the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool provided by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education: http://ope.ed.gov/security

Other Information

Campus-wide Internet Network

Email and Web Access Available

Number of Computer Labs / Classrooms

Average Number of PC's per Lab

Network Access in Dorm Rooms

Network Access in Dorm Lounges

Fee for Network Use

Student Web Pages Permitted

Student Web Pages Provided

Partnerships with Technology Companies

Online Class Registration Available

Personal computer included in tuition for each student

Require Undergraduates to Own Computers

Discounts Available with Hardware Vendors

Journeyed.com Apple Dell JandR Computer World

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Courses

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Campus Radio / TV Stations

Campus Visits Contact

Kathryn Saunders
Director, Visitors Center

Visitors Center - Columbia University
212 Low Library MC 4318
New York, NY 10027


Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Low Library and Plaza
Butler Library
Postcrypt Coffee House
Ferris Booth Commons
Levien Gym

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Times Square
Greenwich Village
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Tom's Resturant
Central Park

Campus Tours

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: Mon-Fri: 10 and 2; some Saturdays
Average Length: 1 hour

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions
Not Available


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Advance Notice
2 weeks

Contact Email Address for Visit

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Visiting Center

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays

Contact Admissions Office

Permitted for 1 night on M-TH during the fall semester while classes are in session