Columbia Acceptance Dates

September 5, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Columbia Acceptance Dates

Though the “Big Three” of the Ivy League are Harvard University, Yale University and Princeton University, there is no doubt that Columbia University, located in Manhattan, New York, is absolutely right up there with the Big Three when it comes to prestige and selectiveness. For that reason, if you are interested in applying to Columbia, then you should certainly know the Columbia acceptance date.

After all, a big part of applying to top schools is learning all that you can about the school’s specific admissions process. Learning about the way in which a school conducts its undergrad admissions process can give high school and transfer students a major leg up against the ample – and highly impressive – applicants and candidates.

Not only does learning about when the Columbia acceptance date helps students learn about that important aspect of the admissions process, but it also helps inform students about key components like deadlines, when applications are available to students who want to apply, and when students should actually get started on filling out those documents.

Young woman smiling in the school halls.

At AdmissionSight, we consider it one of our top responsibilities to help the high school students that we work with get through the college application journey and achieve their goals, no matter how lofty those goals are! And when it comes to our students, those goals tend to be quite high indeed.

We specialize primarily with helping students get into Ivy League schools like Columbia, Brown or Yale, or other top 10 schools such as MIT, Stanford or UChicago. Given the fact that the vast majority of such schools now have acceptance rates either slightly above or well below 5.0 percent, the fact that 75.0 percent of our students end up getting into one or more of these kinds of schools is quite an impressive feat!

So, if you are curious to learn more about how Columbia admissions work, what the Columbia Early Decision date is, and more, then you have absolutely come to the right place!

Let’s start breaking all that information down and more together.

Columbia Acceptance Date

While we don’t want to spend too much time on other components of the admissions process to Columbia before getting right into the important acceptance dates, we did want to briefly touch upon the current acceptance rate at the school.

As you already know, the eight schools that make up the Ivy League are considered to be some of the most elite, competitive and historical schools in not only the United States, but also the entire world!

For that reason, the vast majority of students do not end up getting into these schools. In recent years, total application pools have hit historic highs and acceptance rates have hit historic lows. Of course, these two numbers are closely related to one another.

Female student smiling at the camera while in a library.

When it comes to Columbia, here is what students who applied during the 2021-22 application cycle (the most recent cycle at the time of writing this piece) had to contend with.  In the most recent cycle, a total of 60,377 students sent in applications to Columbia, nearly matching the all-time largest applicant pool of 60,551 from just one year prior. The acceptance rate in the  2021-22 cycle was similarly nearly as low as the all-time low from the previous year.

The 2021-22 acceptance rate was 3.73 percent, the acceptance rate from the previous year had been 3.66 percent.

To give you a sense of just how quickly acceptance rates have dipped for Columbia, and really across the Ivy League, consider the fact that the acceptance rate in the 2019-20 application cycle, when the acceptance rate was at 6.15 percent and that the year before the acceptance rate was 5.3 percent.

Keep in mind that this information is not meant to discourage anyone from applying to Columbia, but it is still important for any student who is thinking about applying to Columbia to know what they are up against.

In all, just 2,253 students out of the 60,377 who applied to Columbia got that coveted acceptance letter.

The truth is that the reduced acceptance rate is not a reflection that these schools are getting harder to get into – after all, the incoming classes have hovered around the same size for years. Instead, the reduced acceptance rates are a pretty direct outcome of these massive pools of students that are applying to even the most prestigious schools. But what are the reasons for these increased pools?

A recent article from Forbes.com recently discussed two likely scenarios.

“While several factors may account for the bump in the numbers, most experts agree that the decision of many colleges to suspend or end the use of standardized tests like the ACT and SAT in their admissions process has been a major reason for the increase.” the article read.

“It also appears that students are applying to more schools than before, perhaps inflating what might be an otherwise smaller increase.”

One final thing we want to touch on before moving on is that there is actually a second acceptance rate that students that apply to Columbia can contend with if they so choose. That is, as you may have expected it, the Early Decision acceptance rate.

Students who apply to Columbia not only have a different acceptance rate but they also hear back earlier from the school on the Columbia Early Decision date. During the 2021-22 application cycle, a total of 6,453 students applied via Early Decision and 650 students were admitted. That’s good for a 10.0 percent acceptance rate, almost three times higher than the overall acceptance rate of the same year.

This is absolutely something to keep in mind, but we will get into what Early Decision applicants have to think about before making this choice a little later on!

Important Columbia Acceptance Dates

Now that you have some basic knowledge regarding how hard it currently is to get into Columbia, we wanted to go over the important dates that any Columbia hopeful should know.

Female student reading a likely letter.

Please keep in mind that there is no Columbia Early Action 2 date because Columbia does not have an Early Action 2 application option.

Take a look at the admissions timeline of Columbia, below:

November 1

  • Deadline for Early Decision applications
  • Deadline for QuestBridge National College Match applicants

November 15

  • Deadline for Early Decision financial aid applications


  • Admissions and financial aid decisions released online to Early Decision candidates

January 1

  • Deadline for Regular Decision applications

Early January

  • Early Decision response deadline

February 15

  • Deadline for Regular Decision financial aid applications

Early April

  • Admissions and financial aid decisions released online to Regular Decision candidates

May 2

  • Regular Decision response deadline

May 15

  • Enrollment deferral request deadline

Late June

  • Final transcript due for incoming students

So now that you have a better idea of the different Columbia deadlines as well as the different Columba acceptance dates, you may be wondering if it is all worth it to give yourself less time to apply to Columbia Early Decision. Of course, students who apply to Columbia have enjoyed a far more favorable acceptance rate through the years, but does that really mean that students get a boost in their application chances simply from applying early?

The simple truth is that, no matter what the answers are to the questions above, any student thinking about applying to Columbia Early Decision needs to answer one very specific rule first and foremost.

That question is, “Is Columbia my top choice.”

Here is what the school has to say when it comes to the kinds of reasons the admissions office offers Early Decision admissions at Columbia and what it wants out of students who are applying in this way:

“Whether or not to apply Early Decision is an important choice—one that should be made after careful consideration of many schools, and hopefully a visit to our campus. The choice to apply Early Decision should be driven by a true passion for Columbia. We hope you’ll resist external pressures to apply early for any other reason, and instead make an educated and informed choice that applying early is right for you.”

The main thing for students to take away from this encouraging message is that Early Decision admissions at Columbia is, indeed, binding. This means that if a student does apply in this way and ends up getting in, he or she is expected to withdraw all their other applications to other schools and enroll at Columbia.

Group of students talking near a wall.

While there are some instances in which a student who applies to Columbia via Early Decision can attend a different school after getting accepted, these are few and far between. For that reason, you should really only be thinking about whether or not Columbia is your first choice before you worry about the different acceptance rates. If you have concluded that Columbia is your top choice and want to apply as an Early Decision student, the school has outlined the most important things for any student to know.

That includes the following:

  1. Submit a first-year application by November 1.
  2. Submit a signed Early Decision agreement.
  3. Complete all standardized testing by the November test date, if applicable.

On top of that, it is important to know that students who are applying via the Common Application must complete the early decision agreement through the Common App’s website. Students applying via the Coalition or QuestBridge applications must find the early decision agreement on the applicant status page once they submit their application.

So now that you have all this useful information, you may finally be wondering if we are actually going to get to that big question. Does applying via Early Decision to Columbia – or using early admissions to any school that offers it – really, on its own, improve your chances of getting in?

The answer to this question is going to depend pretty heavily on who you ask, and while some people are quite confident that there is some kind of boost students get when they apply early, the official word from schools is that there is no boost that students get simply for applying early.

So if we take their word on that, then what is the reasoning behind an acceptance rate that is almost triple that of the overall acceptance rate? There are several main factors to keep in mind, here are the most impactful:

  • Students who apply in this manner tend to be a self-selecting group and may have stronger grade point averages, standardized test scores, extracurricular accomplishments and more, making them more attractive applicants regardless of when and how they chose to apply.
  • Students who apply to Columbia via Early Decision initially have their applications pegged against only the other students who have also applied in this way, leading to a smaller pool of students.
  • The choice to apply via Early Decision shows a specific interest in Columbia. Just like elite students want to feel wanted by elite schools, elite schools also want to feel wanted by elite students. It also serves as a clear sign that unless some unforeseen circumstances arise, a student who is accepted from the Early Decision pool is very likely to accept that spot.

So, there you have it! There are absolutely other things for students to think about when they are wondering why Early Decision applicants have such better odds at Columbia than the overall acceptance rate, but these are believed to be the most concrete and evidence-based.

So, if you are planning on applying to Columbia – whether it is through Regular Decision or Early Decision – keep in mind that you are going to have to work just as hard to make your application just as attractive, professional and unique no matter how you choose to apply to this fantastic school.

Really, all that matters when it comes to how you want to apply to Columbia is whether or not it is really your top choice that you would love to attend no matter the outcome of any of the other schools you plan on applying to. If Columbia is indeed your top choice, then you should strongly consider applying to the school Early Decision.

After all, the application process is basically identical, and the biggest difference between Early Decision and Regular Decision applications are the deadlines attached to them. As long as you give yourself the necessary time you need to prepare for, fill out, and edit your application as well as gather all of the necessary documents, letters of recommendation and more, then your chances at the school can only improve by applying this way.

Finally, we will leave you with one final message from Columbia regarding the personal decision that any applying student needs to make when it comes to whether or not they want to apply via Early Decision.

“Whether or not to apply Early Decision is an important choice—one that should be made after careful consideration of many schools, and hopefully a visit to our campus. The choice to apply Early Decision should be driven by a true passion for Columbia. We hope you’ll resist external pressures to apply early for any other reason, and instead make an educated and informed choice that applying early is right for you.”

For many students, the decision to apply to schools is one of the biggest decisions they’ve made in their life up to this point. Making sure that you decide to apply early to Columbia for the right reasons, and reasons that feel true to you are crucial!

We’ll help you track Columbia Acceptance Dates

There is no question that applying to the top schools in the United States, such as Columbia or any of the seven other Ivy League schools, can create a fair amount of pressure, excitement and anticipation for even the most accomplished students.

Four club members holding their folders on a room.

It can be hard to manage those feelings sometimes, but one thing that absolutely helps is to prepare for the coming steps and prepare for what to expect. On top of that, having a highly trained admissions officer in your corner and by your side can help offer you the boost that you need to help ensure that you get into one or more of your dream schools.

When it comes to knowing the Columbia acceptance date and mapping out your application schedule based on the information you have, it is really just one of the many things that AdmissionSight can help with.

We help our students keep track of their dream schools, identify which schools would be the best fits given their interests and passions and give them the tools that they need to boost their applications and overcome the highly competitive acceptance rates. If you are interested in learning more about our methods and our many success stories, contact us at AdmissionSight today to schedule a free consultation.


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