Columbia University 2021 Admissions: Acceptance Rate, Requirements, Deadlines and Application Process

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    Anam Shams

    Content Curator | Updated on - Sep 1, 2021

    Admissions at Columbia University are extremely selective. Even then, the university has the fourth-largest international student population in US. According to the Fall 2019 survey, Columbia University received 40,203 applications and admitted 2,214 students from 152 countries into its various undergraduate, graduate and non-degree programs. 

    Latest Admission Updates:

    In response to continued disruptions to standardized testing availability due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbia University is extending test-optional policy for one year, effective for first-year applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering for the fall of 2022. Regular Decision Release Information: The joint notification date for the Ivy League this year will be Tuesday, April 6, at 7:00 p.m.

    Table of Contents

    1. Columbia University Top Programs
    2. Columbia University Admission Highlights
    3. Columbia University Important Deadlines
      3.1 Fall Applications
    4. Columbia University International Admissions
      4.1 English Language Requirements 
      4.2 Visa Process
    5. Columbia University UG Admissions
    6. Columbia University Graduate Admissions
    7. Columbia University Popular Graduate Programs
      7.1 MBA Admissions
      7.2 Engineering Admissions
      7.3 Computer and Information Science 
      7.4 Masters in Psychology
    8. Columbia University Columbia University FAQs

    As per the student profile of the class of 2022, more than 90% of the admitted students were in the top 10% of their graduating class. 

    • The university grants degrees in humanities and social sciences departments with more than 60 majors, proving itself as one of the best places to study in the USA. 
    • About 50% of the admitted freshmen of Columbia University had an SAT score ranging from 1480-1560
    • Graduate applicants have a separate application form for each program at Columbia University.
    • For Ph.D., the students are also required to submit their GRE score, without which their application won’t be considered. The admit rate for an M.D./Ph.D program is 84%

    Admission to Columbia University Top Programs

    Programs Fees per annum Application Deadlines
    M.Sc Computer Science $60,540 Fall: January 15, 2021
    Spring: November 1, 2020
    M.Sc Data Science $60,540 February 2021
    M.B.A $77,376 Early October 2020
    M.Sc Mechanical Engineering $60,540 November 1, 2020
    B.Sc Computer Science $61,850 Fall: January 15, 2021
    Spring: November 1, 2020
    Master of Public Health $58,764 Fall: January 15, 2021
    April 1, 2021
    June 1, 2021
    Master of Architecture $58,980 Fall: January 15, 2021
    M.Phil Psychology $58,764 December 2, 2020
    M.Sc Financial Engineering $58,764 January 5, 2020
    M.Sc Marketing $58,764 January 7, 2021
    M.Sc Business Analytics $58,764 February 15, 2020
    B.A Economics $58,920 December 1, 2020
    B.A Psychology $58,920 December 1, 2020
    M.Sc Financial Economics $60,912 January 5, 2020

    Columbia University Admission Highlights

    In a nutshell, the university follows something called a 'holistic admission process', meaning that each and every part of your application is important and considered seriously by Columbia’s admission office. Your personal statements, your motivation, your family circumstances, overall character, teacher recommendations, and your overall personality determines if you will be an asset to this university. Make no mistake, the university will expect you to be a high performing intellectual, but admission alone on the basis of grades is not granted at Columbia University

    Application Portal UG: Common application/Coalition application
    PG: University website
    Application Fee UG: 85 USD
    PG: 85 – 250 USD
    Acceptance Rate(Combined data for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, Class of 2022) 5.5%
    Average SAT Score 1480-1560
    Average ACT Score 33-35
    Academic Calendar Semester-wise
    Intake Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer
    Financial Aid Available, must be applied along with the admission application
    International Admissions ISSO Columbia University

    Columbia University Important Deadlines

    The Regular decision application deadline for top universities in USA is January 1, however, some postgraduate programs have different deadlines.

    Fall Applications

    Program Deadlines
    Doctoral: MS/PhD, PhD, EngScD December 15
    Master of Science Financial Engineering - January 5
    Dual MS, Computer Science & Journalism Program, Computer Science (priority), Data Science (priority) - January 15
    Civil Engineering Programs - February 1
    All Other MS Programs - February 15
    MS Express November 1 (priority)/May 30 (final deadline)
    Integrated BS/MS April 30 (of Junior year)
    BARNARD 4 + 1 Pathway December 1 (of Junior year)
    Certificates Data Science Institute - February 15th
    CAMPEP Accredited Certificate of Professional Achievement in Medical Physics - August 1

    Spring Applications deadlnes for MS/PhD, PhD, EngScD is November 1.

    Master of Science + Doctoral: November 1

    Spring admission is not available for the following programs: Applied Mathematics (Ph.D.), Applied Physics (Ph.D., M.S.), Materials Science  (Ph.D., M.S.), Medical Physics (M.S.), Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Science, Data Science (M.S.), Business Analytics (M.S.), Financial Engineering (M.S.), Industrial Engineering (Ph.D.), Management Science and Engineering (M.S.), Operations Research (Ph.D.), and Mechanical Engineering  (Ph.D., M.S.). For the Spring 2021 cycle, the following programs will be reviewing a select number of applications: Business Analytics (M.S.), Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Science, Data Science (M.S.), Financial Engineering (M.S.), and Mechanical Engineering (M.S.). All other MS, MS/PhD, PhD, and Eng.Sc.D. programs will be accepting Spring applications unless otherwise stated.

    International Admissions at Columbia University

    International students have slightly different requirements for admission at Columbia University. However, following only the institution’s instructions are not enough for non-US students. If you wish to pursue higher education from the US, all requirements as per federal laws ought to be met properly. They need to provide the following documents to be eligible for admission at Columbia:

    • Official transcripts
    • English language proficiency proof
    • Additional program-specific documents like recommendations, resume, etc
    • Evidence of financial support
    • Copy of the biographical page of the passport
    • Essay and/or SOP for US
    • Letters of recommendation to study in US

    English Language Requirements for International Students

    English Language Proficiency Tests Minimum Score Requirements
    TOEFL iBT 100
    IELTS 7.0
    DET(Duolingo English Test) 120 on the current DET or 75 prior to July 2019

    Scores should be directly reported to Columbia University by the testing service.

    Visa Process for International Students

    In order to be able to study in the USA, students require a student visa. An I-20 form will be issued by the Columbia University to the student once they provide :

    • Certificate of Eligibility (COE). 
    • Proof of financial resources 

    Once Columbia University issues the I-20 form, students can proceed with either F-1 or J-1 student visa and SEVIS Fee payment. Students must then contact the US Embassy or consulate to learn about visa specifics and requirements.

    Visa application includes the following general documents:

    • Copy of the Passport
    • Columbia Acceptance letter
    • I-20 form issued by Columbia University
    • Completed visa application
    • Passport-size photographs
    • Scholarship/Sponsorship Letter(If needed)
    • Immunization form
    • Health Examination Form

    Once approved after the visa interview, a stamp will be issued on the passport.

    Columbia University Undergraduate Admissions

    Bachelor's programs offered by Columbia University to international students are over 80 areas. Art History, Visual Arts, Applied Mathematics, Financial Economics, Data Science, Computer Science, Music, And Information Science are some of the most popular choices.

    Application Portal: Coalition Application or the Common Application

    Application Fee: 85 USD

    Academic Requirements: International applicants must include the following items required for Columbia University admissions:

    • Autobiographical information
    • A list of student's activities, achievements, employment, etc
    • Personal essay
    • Official high-school transcripts
    • One recommendation from high school's counselor
    • School profile
    • Completed Mid-year report 
    • SAT/ACT test scores 
    • Test scores of standardized exams to study in USA
    • Teacher recommendations (from the teachers who taught you in the discipline)
    • For Engineering applicants, one letter should be from a science or maths teacher

    Please note that all extra-curricular pursuits should be contained within the activities section of the admission application in a brief manner.

    Supplementary Materials: Not require supplements for the Columbia University admission process. 

    Columbia University Graduate Admissions

    Graduate programs at Columbia University are offered in the field of arts, science, business, medical, public affairs, journalism, professional studies, engineering, etc. International applicants must keep the following in mind before applying for admission at Columbia University graduate program:

    Application Portal: Varies for each program

    Application Fee: Varies for each program

    Academic Requirements:

    • All academic transcripts 
    • Relevant undergraduate degree as specified by the program 
    • Statement Of Purpose 
    • Letters Of Recommendations for MS in US
    • Standardized tests scores, usually GRE or GMAT or LSAT,
    • All other program specific additional requirements.

    Please Note that Science, Engineering and other Academic research work in the related field may provide an abstract in one or two page supplement.

    Popular Graduate Programs offered by Columbia University

    Some of the most preferred and highest paying programs by Columbia University are discussed below.

    Columbia University MBA Admissions

    Offered by Columbia Business School, Masters in Business administration is a program with one of the highest-paid graduate employability.

    Deadlines April 10
    Application Fee 250 USD
    Application Portal Business School Application Portal
    Requirements Transcripts, Two Letters of recommendations, Essays, Interview(by invite only)
    Test Score Requirements GMAT/GRE, TOEFL/IELTS

    Columbia University Engineering Admissions

    Columbia University’s Engineering and Applied Science is an extremely coveted college for pursuing various masters, doctoral or certificate programs in Engineering.

    Deadlines February 15 (Fall); October 1 (Spring)
    Priority Deadlines MS Financial Engineering- January 5
    Dual MS, Computer Science- January 15
    Civil Engineering- February 15
    Application Fee 85 USD
    Application Portal Columbia Graduate Engineering Application
    Requirements Relevant bachelor's degree, Official transcripts, Three letters of recommendations, Personal statement, Resume/Curriculum Vitae, Interview(if requested)
    Test Score Requirements GRE, TOEFL/IELTS/PTE

    Columbia University Computer and Information Science Admissions

    MS in Computer and Information science is a popular course for those who wish to enhance their knowledge about the discipline.

    Deadlines Fall: Priority 1 – January 15; Priority 2- February 15
    Spring: October 1
    Application Fee 85 USD
    Application Portal Columbia FFSEAS Application System
    Requirements Relevant bachelor's degree, Official transcripts, Three letters of recommendations, Personal statement, Resume/Curriculum Vitae, Interview(if requested)
    Test score Requirements GRE, TOEFL/IELTS/PTE

    Columbia University Masters in Psychology Admission

    Columbia's Program in Psychology dates back to 1890 and continues to be one of the top choices for studying psychology in the world. 

    Deadlines International students must apply at least 12 weeks before the May 1 deadline
    Application Fee 115 USD
    Application Portal Columbia GSAS Application Portal
    Requirements Transcripts, Three Letters of recommendation (Academic), SOP
    Test score Requirements GRE, TOEFL/IELTS

    Most of the international students need to keep in mind the tests and exams required to study in the USA as well as if their program of choice has other requirements as well. Different departments may require varying test scores of varying exams. 

    International students can also avail financial assistance through Scholarships available in the US.

    Columbia admission office follows a holistic process, that is every part of the application needs to be kept in mind and provide relevant information that strengthens the candidate's case.

    Columbia University FAQs

    Ques. When can International students expect an admission decision?

    Ans. Decisions for Undergraduate Admissions

    • Early Decision Applicants: Must apply by November 1 and expect admission decisions by mid-December
    • Regular Decision Applicants: Must apply by January1 and expect admission decisions by late March

    Decisions for Graduate Admissions vary, they are specified on the department website or after you have completed the application.

    Ques. Does Columbia provide any financial assistance to international students?

    Ans. Columbia University is need-aware of its international students. It does not provide any merit-based aid. However, it does provide need-based financial aid to international students who require it. Students who require financial aid must apply for it while submitting their application.

    Ques. Does Columbia have a common graduate application deadline?

    Ans. Columbia has varying deadlines for its various programs. International applicants must take special precaution to not confuse domestic deadlines with international. Most graduate programs have different deadlines and intake seasons.

    Ques. Does Columbia provide any feedback for rejected applications?

    Ans. No, Columbia University is unable to offer individual feedback to each applicant.

    Ques: How do I track the status of my application?

    Ans: Admissions online document tracking is only available during certain times in the admissions process. If, at that time, you discover that any items are listed as "not received/processed," please have the school submit a duplicate copy of this missing information to us via email at as soon as possible.

    Ques: How does the admissions committee at Columbia evaluate transcripts and applications from different countries?

    Ans: Applications are reviewed by region and members of the admissions office have read and evaluated applications from all over the world and are familiar with a variety of school systems and transcripts. Any documents that are part of your application file and not in English, such as transcripts or recommendations, need to be officially translated into English and submitted along with the original documents.


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    7 Reviews Found

    9 /10 academic/food
    9 /10 faculty
    9 /10 infrastructure
    9 /10 accomodation
    9 /10 placement
    -29 /10 extracurricular
    8.8 /10

    I was sure that I want to do my MBA from a really good and reliable institute that gives me good placements and Columbia business school is one of the few institutions that offer highly ranked unparalleled business programs like MBA so I started with my application process. The application fee was quite high but then I had to get admission into this college. So I happily spent my $200 on the application.

    8 /10 academic/food
    9 /10 faculty
    9 /10 infrastructure
    9 /10 accomodation
    9 /10 placement
    9 /10 extracurricular
    8.7 /10

    I always wanted to settle abroad so I asked a friend about the best college in NYC. As his brother was in the same college, he told me that it is one of the best colleges that provide masters in business administration. I had to pay $250 for the online admission form.

    8 /10 academic/food
    9 /10 faculty
    9 /10 infrastructure
    8 /10 accomodation
    9 /10 placement
    9 /10 extracurricular
    6.8 /10

    I had a friend who recommended this college to me. So I decided to pursue my master's in clinical psychology from this college. I had filled an online application form through the college website and it cost me around $20. My good GPA in my bachelor's degree also helped me to get admission.

    8 /10 academic/food
    8 /10 faculty
    6 /10 infrastructure
    7 /10 accomodation
    5 /10 placement
    7 /10 extracurricular
    9.0 /10

    I was searching for the best value schools in the US where I found Columbia University. I was attracted to the infrastructure and a lot more things. I applied to the university online via their official admission page by paying an application fee of $85.

    9 /10 academic/food
    9 /10 faculty
    10 /10 infrastructure
    8 /10 accomodation
    9 /10 placement
    9 /10 extracurricular
    10.0 /10

    Rich infrastructure and excellence in academic were the two major points which attracted me towards it. My grandfather also graduated from here in the field of applied physics. To start my journey I scheduled an interview that helped me with all the online admission processes and it was free of cost.

    10 /10 academic/food
    10 /10 faculty
    10 /10 infrastructure
    10 /10 accomodation
    10 /10 placement
    10 /10 extracurricular
    8.8 /10

    It was the most prestigious school I was accepted into, and I really wanted to go to a smaller school in an urban setting. I looked into specific programs I was interested in and found one that fit my needs pretty closely, and I particularly liked the integrated bachelors and masters program offered.

    10 /10 academic/food
    9 /10 faculty
    8 /10 infrastructure
    8 /10 accomodation
    9 /10 placement
    9 /10 extracurricular


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