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Columbia University- #3 (tied) National University (US News & World Report)

Columbia University is one of the oldest universities in the US, specifically the 4th college to be established in the US in 1746 before America received its independence from England. Stemming from tradition, Columbia, with its beautiful buildings, carries the ambiance of tradition and heritage, and aristocracy.

Columbia is a liberal arts college, that places a great emphasis on the common core with the availability of undergraduate research. Columbia’s academic departments are created in a more traditional format, undergrads have an option of choosing from 37 academic departments. To accommodate to modern times and overlapping of careers, students are encouraged to take advantage of the 55 interdisciplinary certificate programs. Disciplines are taught by renowned industry leaders, some team-taught, others across disciplines. The sciences take an interdisciplinary approach of understanding traditional sciences with the advent of new technologies and fields of study.


Columbia is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.


The academic experience at Columbia is both challenging and enriching. No matter where you grew up or what type of education you had prior to coming here, Columbia’s curriculum will push you to grow as both an intellectual and a human being. But it is not only your professors who will help you become a better thinker. At Columbia your peers also will be some of your greatest teachers during your four years; everyone is both a student and a mentor.

Admissions Requirements

Application Fee$85, waived for financial aid applicants
Standardized TestsSelf report SAT or ACT (Essay optional)
SAT Subject TestsNot Required
AP and IB examsYou may self-report
Supplement Questions/Essays (found in the Writing Supplement section in My Colleges tab on the Common Application- Questions are updated August of every year.)7 Short Questions and Essays
**So you know how many college-specific questions & essays you need to answer. **
Recommendations2 Teacher Recommendations. Engineering students- one in math or science discipline. Counselor of Record Report
From Your High SchoolSchool Report, Transcript, Mid-Year Report, Final Report
Optional Supplementary MaterialArt Portfolio, Supplement in Architecture, Creative Writing, Dance, Drama and Theatre Arts, Film, Music and Visual Arts.
For Science, Engineering or research in other disciplines-- one or two page abstract as a supplement
International StudentsOne of the following- SAT 700+ in English, ACT 29+ in English, TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic scores
Early DecisionNovember 1, decision by mid-December
Regular DecisionJanuary 1, decision by mid-to-late March

Academic Parameters

When applying to an institution, it is important to look at the academic information of previous applicants. This includes the SAT/ACT test scores, SAT Subject test scores (if available), or class ranking. By looking at these data points, you may assess where you fall and how likely is your admission into this college. Please note, there are students who do fall below the middle range and are still admitted, but then their application has one or more factors that boosts their application, such as a special talent, a recruitable athlete, legacy, racial or socioeconomic minority. Use the chart below to see where you fall and if you may raise your test scores and grades to keep your application in the running.

Testing/Rank Guidelines

SAT Range (25th and 75th percentiles)Composite Score: 1460 to 1530
ACT Range (25th and 75th percentiles)Composite Score: 32-35
Rank92% of Students in Top 10% of their class

IvyBound Consulting featured Harvard University on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter from March 11-16, 2019

Day 1 • Columbia University

According to US News & World Report, Columbia University is ranked #3 (tied) in National Universities, along with MIT, the University of Chicago, and Yale. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence. Please check their website to read up on these indicators. We are using US News for its popularity, but by no means should they be the only source in determining your “best fit” college. Your best fit colleges should be determined by your academic goals, your personality fit, and financial considerations.

Columbia University:
 Private, a mid-sized Institution with a total undergraduate enrollment of 6,162.

Founded in 1754, as King’s College under King George II of England. In 1784, Renamed Columbia College by New York State Legislature. Columbia is one of the oldest colleges in the US.

Urban– located in New York City (Manhattan), New York.

Tuition & Fees:
$59,430 (2018-19), need-blind financial aid

$10.9 billion (2018)

90% of students live on campus all four years

Admit Rate:
Most competitive, admit rate in single digits

52% male/48% female. Domestic ethnicity: 57% White, 28% Asian, 16% African American, 17% Hispanic, 4% Native American, 1% Unknown. More than 100% because a student may indicate more than ethnicity.

Religious Affiliation:

Other Awards by US News:
#3 tied in National Universities with MIT and the University of Chicago, #34 in Best Undergraduate Teaching, #6 in Best Value Schools

Day 1 Post:
THE ALMA MATER is a bronze sculpture by Daniel Chester French, located on the steps leading to the Low Memorial Library on the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University in Manhattan, New York City. It is a personification of the traditional image of the University as an alma mater, or “nourishing mother”. French designed the statue in 1901 and installed it in September, 1903. It was donated in memory of alumnus Robert Goelet of the Class of 1860 by his wife, Harriette W. Goelet. Alma Mater has become a symbol of the University.

An owl, a symbol of knowledge and learning, is hidden in the folds of Alma Mater’s cloak near her left leg and college superstition has it that the first member of the incoming class to find the owl will become class valedictorian. The legend at another time was that any Columbia student who found the owl on his first try would marry a girl from Barnard. This legend obviously cannot apply toady as it doesn’t accommodate the current demographics of Columbia students.

In the early morning hours of May 17, 1970, a bomb was planted on the statue. The resulting explosion caused significant damage to Alma Mater’s throne. The damage remained until 1978, when the statue was removed from Columbia. The throne was recast and the sculpture was cleaned, refinished with a new patina, and returned to the Low steps.

The Alma Mater statue has always been a symbol of student’s voices on campus. There is much history and many stories behind this infamous statue. In the late 1960s, Columbia became a center of student political activity and of the antiwar movement. Check the “Raped by the Cops” sign!

Day 2 • School Mission, Mascot, Sports

University motto:
“In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen” serves as the Latin motto of Columbia University for which translates to “In Thy light we shall see light.” This can mean that we seek an education at Columbia to enlighten ourselves.

The Columbia Lion is the University mascot, and was adopted in 1910, the school adopted the lion mascot as a reference to the institution’s royal past.

, Roaree the Lion. Nickname: Lions.

Fight song:
Roar, Lion, Roar.

Columbia Blue (sky blue) and White.

NCAA Division I: Whether you are a varsity athlete or just an avid sports fan, Columbia has a proud history of achievement. An original member of the Ivy League. 31 NCAA Division I teams and 40+ club and intramural sports. 17 Ivy League Championship teams in the last five years.  Several Columbia Olympians and Olympic medalists, past and present. As former NFL player Marcellus Wiley (CC ’97) is a Columbia alumni.

The Lions compete in the Ivy League, which is part of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.Columbia was one of the first schools to take up the game in 1870.

During the first half of the 20th century the Columbia Lions were a national power and at times the best football program in the nation. The 1875 squad was named National Champion and the 1915 squad went undefeated and untied. The 1933 edition of the Lions won an unofficial national championship by upsetting the top-ranked Stanford Indians 7–0 in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day 1934. Lou Little, who coached the team from 1930 to 1956, is in the College Football Hall of Fame. Pro and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Sid Luckman, an NFL MVP and 4-Time NFL Champion played his entire college football career at Columbia. Lou Gehrig additionally played for the Columbia Lions during this period.

Between 1983 and 1988, a period of financial instability for New York City and Columbia University, the Lions lost 44 games in a row. The streak was broken with a 16–13 victory over archrival Columbia. That was the Lions’ first victory at Wien Stadium (which was already four years old, having been opened during the streak).

Day 3 • Academic at Columbia/Top Undergraduate Majors/Student Life

Academics: Common Core, Uncommon Education
Columbia University’s Core is one of the nation’s oldest and most renowned liberal arts programs and the hallmark of the Columbia academic experience.

Academic Calendar:
Semester system

Undergraduate Schools (Three):
Columbia College, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of General Studies. One of America’s premier liberal arts colleges set within a leading research University, Columbia College offers the chance to work across disciplines, embrace complexity and become a flexible, fearless, forward-looking global citizen and scholar.

Top Undergraduate Majors:
Engineering; Social Sciences; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Public Administration and Social Service Professions; and History. In addition, students are encouraged to enroll in the University’s 53 interdisciplinary certificate programs.

Highly-ranked Graduate programs:
Business School, Teachers College, Law School and College of Physicians and Surgeons. The University also has a well-regarded College of Dental Medicine and graduate Journalism School.

Affiliations (four):
Barnard College for women, the Union Theological Seminary, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and more.

An intimate and vibrant undergraduate community surrounded by one of the finest research institutions in the world. Hundreds of labs led by pioneers in the field, conducting nearly $1 billion of annual research in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Over 200 research centers and institutes, including several interdisciplinary centers, shaping public policy and enhancing technology around the globe. A University that holds 600 different patents and generates $1.75 billion in gross revenue from work conducted by faculty members and students.  A campus culture that encourages collaboration- between students and faculty, between disciplines and departments, between the campus and the surrounding world.100+ service and research partnerships across New York City.

Columbia Engineering:
Hands-on training for visionary thinkers and enlightened leaders, Columbia Engineering has a reputation for innovative, multidisciplinary, socially conscious research and teaching.

Student Life:
With New York City as your backyard, the opportunities are endless. In meeting rooms and auditoriums, theaters and playing fields, brownstones and practice rooms, students pursue their passions. At Columbia, there are over 500 opportunities to explore, to grow, to lead, to share, with support from a variety of offices like Student Engagement, Multicultural Affairs and Residential Programs.

Student Senate:
A University-wide legislature, representing faculty, students, and other constituencies. Born of the campus protests in 1968, the University Senate represents many constituencies of the Columbia community and considers such diverse issues as educational programming, the University budget, academic freedom and Columbia’s external relations. The Senate makes policy on issues affecting the entire University or more than one school.

Day 4 • Notable Alumni

Notable alumni include former president, Barack Obama (Class of 1983), Warren Buffet (Class of 1951), Indian Actress Sara Ali Khan (Class of 2016), former NY Governor George Pataki (Class of 1970), among others. Ruth Badar Ginsberg (Class of 1959) also went to law school at Columbia after transferring from Harvard.

Pulitzer Prize Winners:
Columbia has 2nd Highest Pulitzer Prize winners- 103 of them. Harvard is 1st place. Though he never attended college himself, Joseph Pulitzer bequeathed $2 million to Columbia University to found the world’s first journalism school– the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Several years later, Columbia began administering the Pulitzer Prize awards. Famous winners from Columbia include novelists Upton Sinclair (1943) and Eudora Welty (1973) and playwright Tony Kushner (1993).

Columbia Drop out: Alicia Keys
singer and songwriter was an A student who graduated from high school at 16, and was accepted into Columbia, with a scholarship, around 1997. But her musical career was taking off and, while she began studying at the University, she found she couldn’t handle the demands of being both a musical star and Ivy League freshman. She dropped out after four weeks.

Day 5 • Applying to Columbia? Be Collegebound with IvyBound

Looking at first-time, Freshman Applicants:
Admission Rate:
6%, including early applicants, (2018)

Total Applicants:



Yield Rate:
63%, This is the number of students actually attended or matriculated once admitted.
***Admissions Trick: Colleges want their number of applicants to be high, admit rates to be low and yield rate to be high.

Early Option:
Early Decision, means binding (November 1 is deadline)

Regular Deadline:
January 1

Admission Requirements:
See Table on pages 2-3

Admissions into this prestigious University, Columbia, is extremely competitive as the acceptance rate is decreasing each year. With the increase of sheer number of applicants, how do you stand out and get admitted? If Columbia is one of the colleges on your list, use this invaluable worksheet to plan and prepare to apply to Columbia.


IvyBound Consulting offers personalized college admissions services to help you create winning college applications that surely gets you admitted. Choose from one-on-one counseling services, college admissions online course- Applications That Get You Admitted!, private Facebook group membership, and essay review and editing services.


Next week, I will cover, US News Week’s #3 (tied) Nationally Ranked University, MIT. Stay Tuned.

Be Collegebound with IvyBound!

* Sources used: the Harvard website, common data set, college factual, US World News, other websites.

Hey guys, welcome to the episodes Be Collegebound with IvyBound! I’m your host, Ruchi S. Kothari. I’m super excited that you’ve joined me.

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