Tulane University vs Columbia: Which University Is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

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Tulane University vs Columbia: Which University Is Right for You?

Choosing a university to attend can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it’s hard to know where to start. This article will explore the differences between Tulane University vs Columbia University, in order to help you make an informed decision about which university is right for you.

Campus Life: A Look at the Student Experience at Tulane and Columbia

But what about campus life at these two universities? While Columbia is located in an urban environment, Tulane, located in New Orleans, has a more traditional campus feel. The campus itself is beautiful, with architecture that reflects the city’s unique blend of French, Spanish, and Creole influences.

a student carrying her notebooks

One of the things that Tulane is most well-known for is its strong Greek life. About a third of all students are involved in sororities and fraternities, and the campus even has its own parade ground, which is used for events like Mardi Gras and homecoming.

Columbia, on the other hand, has a more intellectual atmosphere. Students are highly motivated and passionate about their studies, and the university has a strong research culture.

Additionally, both universities offer a wide range of extracurricular activities for students to get involved in. Tulane has over 200 student organizations, including a student-run radio station and a community service organization that partners with local non-profits. Columbia also has a diverse range of student groups, including a debate team, a literary magazine, and a social justice organization that advocates for marginalized communities.

Academics: Comparing the Programs, Majors, and Curriculum at Tulane University vs Columbia

Speaking of studies, let’s take a closer look at the academic programs offered at Tulane and Columbia. At Tulane, students can choose from a wide variety of majors, ranging from traditional subjects like English and Psychology to more unique programs like Brazilian Studies and Homeland Security Studies.

Columbia offers a similarly wide range of programs, but with a greater emphasis on the liberal arts. The university is particularly well-known for its programs in the humanities and social sciences, as well as its School of Journalism and Graduate School of Business.

Both universities have rigorous academic programs, with a strong focus on writing and critical thinking. Students can expect to be challenged in their coursework and pushed to excel.

One notable difference between the academic programs at Tulane and Columbia is the size of the classes. At Tulane, classes tend to be smaller, with an average class size of 25 students. This allows for more individualized attention from professors and a greater opportunity for class participation. At Columbia, classes can be larger, with some introductory courses having over 100 students. However, the university also offers smaller seminars and discussion-based classes for more personalized learning experiences.

Another aspect to consider when comparing the academic programs at Tulane and Columbia is the availability of research opportunities. Both universities have extensive research programs, but Columbia is particularly well-known for its research in the sciences and engineering. Tulane, on the other hand, has a strong focus on community engagement and service learning, providing students with opportunities to apply their academic knowledge to real-world issues and make a positive impact on their communities.

Admissions: How to Apply to Tulane University and Columbia University

Of course, before you can begin your studies at either Tulane or Columbia, you’ll need to go through the admissions process. Both universities have competitive admissions standards, with acceptance rates hovering around 10%.

a female student studying in a library

Tulane places a greater emphasis on extracurricular activities and community service in their admissions process, while Columbia looks for students who are highly motivated and focused on their academic goals.

It’s important to note that both universities offer a variety of resources to help students navigate the admissions process. Tulane provides prospective students with access to admissions counselors who can answer questions and provide guidance throughout the application process. Columbia offers informational sessions and campus tours to help students get a better sense of the university and its culture.

Student Support: Resources Available to Students at Tulane and Columbia

Once you’re enrolled, you’ll have access to a wide variety of resources and support systems at both universities. Tulane has a strong student support system, including a writing center, tutoring services, and a counseling center. The university is also committed to sustainability and has implemented a number of environmentally-friendly initiatives on campus.

Columbia offers similar support services, with a focus on helping students succeed academically. The university has a writing center, a career center, and a student health center, among other resources.

In addition to the support services mentioned above, Tulane also offers a variety of extracurricular activities for students to get involved in. These include over 200 student organizations, club sports, and intramural sports. The university also has a strong commitment to community service and encourages students to participate in service projects both on and off campus.

At Columbia, students have access to a number of research opportunities and resources. The university has a number of research centers and institutes, as well as a library system with over 12 million volumes. Additionally, Columbia has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, with a number of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting a welcoming and inclusive campus environment.

Cost Comparison: Tuition, Room, Board, and Fees for Tulane vs. Columbia

Of course, the cost of attending university is an important factor to consider as well. Tulane and Columbia are both expensive universities, with tuition, room, board, and fees totaling upwards of $70,000 per year.

However, Tulane does offer more merit-based scholarships than Columbia, and the cost of living in New Orleans is generally lower than it is in New York City.

It’s also worth noting that both universities offer need-based financial aid to eligible students. Tulane meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, while Columbia meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for students from families with incomes below $60,000 per year. This can significantly reduce the cost of attendance for students who qualify for need-based aid.

Career Opportunities: Job Prospects for Graduates of Tulane and Columbia

Ultimately, the end goal of attending university is to prepare yourself for a successful career. Both Tulane and Columbia have impressive job placement rates, with graduates going on to work for top companies in a wide variety of industries.

Columbia’s location in New York City gives its graduates a leg up when it comes to landing high-paying jobs in finance, consulting, and other competitive fields. Tulane has strong connections to the healthcare and entertainment industries, which provide a variety of job opportunities as well.

Additionally, both universities offer extensive career services and resources to help students prepare for the job market. Tulane’s Career Center provides students with career counseling, job search assistance, and networking opportunities with alumni and employers. Columbia’s Center for Career Education offers similar services, as well as workshops and events to help students develop their professional skills.

Sports and Athletics: A Comparison of the Athletic Programs at Tulane vs. Columbia

If you’re a sports fan, you’ll be pleased to know that both Tulane and Columbia have impressive athletic programs. Tulane is a member of the American Athletic Conference and has strong football and basketball programs, while Columbia is a member of the Ivy League and has successful teams in sports like rowing and soccer.


However, there are some notable differences between the athletic programs at Tulane and Columbia. Tulane has a larger student body and therefore a larger pool of athletes to choose from, which allows them to field more teams and compete in more sports. Columbia, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on academic excellence and therefore places less emphasis on athletics. This means that while Columbia may not have as many teams or as many athletes as Tulane, the athletes they do have are often highly skilled and dedicated.

Another difference between the two schools is the level of fan support for their athletic programs. Tulane has a strong fan base and a lively game day atmosphere, with tailgating and other pre-game festivities. Columbia, on the other hand, has a smaller fan base and a more subdued game day experience. This may be due in part to the fact that Columbia is located in New York City, where there are many other entertainment options competing for people’s attention.

Research Opportunities: Exploring Undergraduate Research Opportunities at Tulane University vs Columbia

Finally, if you’re interested in pursuing research as an undergraduate, both universities offer plenty of opportunities to get involved. Columbia is particularly well-known for its research programs in the sciences and engineering, while Tulane has a strong focus on environmental research and sustainability.

At Columbia, students can participate in research through various programs such as the Undergraduate Research and Fellowships program, which provides funding for research projects, and the Amgen Scholars Program, which offers summer research opportunities in the sciences. Additionally, Columbia has several research centers and institutes, including the Earth Institute and the Data Science Institute, which provide students with access to cutting-edge research and resources.

Meanwhile, at Tulane, students can engage in research through the Center for Global Environmental Education, which offers opportunities to work on projects related to environmental sustainability and conservation. The university also has a strong focus on public health research, with the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine conducting research on topics such as infectious diseases and health disparities. Students can get involved in research through the school’s various research centers and institutes, such as the Center for Applied Environmental Public Health and the Tulane Center for Aging.

Diversity on Campus: A Look at the Student Body Composition of Both Universities

One final factor to consider is diversity. Both Tulane and Columbia have large and diverse student bodies, with students from all over the world and from a wide variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

At Tulane, the Office of Multicultural Affairs offers a variety of programs and resources to support and celebrate diversity on campus. These include cultural heritage celebrations, diversity and inclusion workshops, and mentorship programs for underrepresented students. Additionally, Tulane has a strong commitment to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty, with initiatives such as the Faculty Diversity Fellowship program.

Similarly, Columbia has a number of resources and programs dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. The Office of Multicultural Affairs offers a range of services, including counseling and support for students from underrepresented backgrounds, as well as cultural events and workshops. Columbia also has a number of student-led organizations focused on diversity and social justice, such as the Black Students’ Organization and the Asian American Alliance.

Alumni Networks: How Strong are the Alumni Networks of Tulane University vs Columbia?

And lastly, it’s important to consider the strength of each university’s alumni network. Both Tulane and Columbia have strong networks of alumni who are highly successful in their respective fields. These networks can be a valuable resource when it comes to finding internships and job opportunities.

University students looking happy while standing outside of the main entrance

However, there are some differences in the way these alumni networks operate. Tulane’s alumni network is known for its close-knit community, with alumni often staying in touch and supporting each other throughout their careers. On the other hand, Columbia’s alumni network is more expansive, with a larger number of alumni spread out across various industries and locations around the world. This can be beneficial for students who are looking to explore different career paths or relocate to different regions.


Ultimately, the decision of whether to attend Tulane or Columbia comes down to what’s most important to you. If you’re looking for a traditional college experience in a beautiful setting with a strong emphasis on student life, Tulane might be the right choice for you. If you’re looking for a highly intellectual environment in the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant cities, choose Columbia.

Whichever university you choose, you can be confident that you’ll be receiving a top-notch education and be well-prepared for success in whatever career path you choose to pursue.

It’s important to note that both Tulane and Columbia offer a wide range of extracurricular activities and opportunities for students to get involved on campus. From sports teams to student organizations to community service projects, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your college experience and build valuable skills outside of the classroom.


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