What is the Average SAT Score at Columbia?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Columbia University campus

What is the Average SAT Score at Columbia?

For high school students that are looking to get into some of the best undergraduate programs in the United States, there is little doubt that one of the schools that they are considering is Columbia University. Columbia is one of the most prestigious schools in the United States as it is part of the highly selective group of schools known as the Ivy League. If you are interested in applying to Columbia, you may be asking yourself, “what is the average SAT score at Columbia?”

Without a doubt, earning a fantastic SAT or ACT score has been a major aspect to the application journey for tens of thousands of students throughout the years. And while things have changed slightly for students that have applied in the last couple years (we’ll get to that later), tons of students continue to take either of the standardized tests offered to American students to improve their chances of getting to top schools across the United States.

front building of Columbia University with female statue at the very center

That’s where AdmissionSight can come in. As one of the top admission consultant groups in the country, we have helped loads of young men and women get into the school of their dreams, and that definitely includes Columbia University!

In fact, over 75 percent of the students that we have worked with have ultimately gotten into either Ivy League schools like Columbia, Princeton or Harvard or top-10 schools elsewhere in the United States like Stanford, UChicago or MIT.

So, if you are curious about what the Columbia average SAT score is, what the Columbia University acceptance rate is, or what other Columbia requirements you should know about before you get started on your own application, then you have absolutely come to the right place.

Let’s get started on breaking down the answer to a very important question, “What is the average SAT score at Columbia?”

What is the average SAT score at Columbia?

Let’s get right into the main meat of this breakdown and get into the average SAT score that students will want to aim for if they have hopes of getting into Columbia. The average score at Columbia for students that take the SAT and get in is an amazing 1505 out of the perfect score of 1600. Without a doubt, this is one of the higher averages that we have seen.

The 25th percentile score at Columbia is 1450 and the 75th percentile score is 1560. From this range of Columbia University typical SAT scores, you can easily see just how exceptional students have to be in order to improve their chances of getting into Columbia with their SAT score.

With that all being said, it is important to mention that, unlike many of the recent years in the past, the last few years have actually not seen standardized test scores be a requirement for students applying to Columbia, or any of the other Ivy League schools for that matter.

The movement of adopting a standardized test optional policy for undergraduate applicants began in earnest as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (though some schools around the country had been moving towards this for years), and it seems to be sticking around for the time being.

This is what Columbia has to say about its current test optional policy for students that will apply in either 2023 or 2024, so the two upcoming application cycles:

“Columbia is extending our test-optional policy for two years, effective for first-year and transfer applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering for entrance in Fall 2023 and Fall 2024,” the school says. “We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the ways that students navigate their path to college, including decreased access to safe and reliable standardized testing.

This continued waiver of our standardized testing requirement will allow Columbia to carefully evaluate the impact of test-optional admissions for a full cohort of enrolled Columbia students, to reflect on our holistic and contextual review process, and to consider systemic shifts in access to educational opportunities. After a period of review and synthesis, our testing policy will be re-assessed for the 2024-2025 application cycle.

“ACT and SAT test results will not be a required component for the first-year and transfer 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 application cycles, and students who are unable or choose not to submit test scores will not be at a disadvantage.

We will continue to evaluate all submitted information within the holistic and contextual review process that considers individual circumstances shaping each applicant’s journey. The rigor of a student’s curriculum, their academic achievement, and their demonstrated intellectual curiosity will remain central to our review.”

However, the school did make it clear that submitting a score is certainly an option for students who wish to do so:

“For students who choose to submit testing, Columbia’s testing policies remain the same. We will accept SAT and ACT scores through November test dates for Early Decision applicants and scores through January for Regular Decision applicants,” it announced. “We will continue to accept self-reported scores and only require official testing for enrolling students who chose to self-report testing on their application.

a lion, the inspiration behind columbia official mascot

If you were able to take an exam more than once, you will be evaluated on the highest score you received in any individual section of that test. Please note that we are aware that many students, if able to test, will only be able to take a test once.

As noted above, that context will be taken into consideration should scores be provided. Applicants will not have an advantage in the admissions process by submitting ACT or SAT results. Standardized testing is only one component in a highly contextualized, multi-layered holistic review.

“Columbia will continue to follow the guidance and policies of the Ivy League in regard to testing requirements for applicants who expect to participate in Columbia’s varsity athletic program. Testing requirements for student-athletes entering in Fall 2023 and 2024 have yet to be determined.”

So, now that you know that you do not have to send in an SAT or ACT score as part of your application in either 2023 or 2024, you may be wondering why it matters at all to know the average test scores. There’s no doubt that students have applied to, and gotten into Columbia and similarly prestigious schools without taking either the SAT or ACT. However, there is also no question that many students who have gotten into these schools in recent years have taken either standardized test score.

Let us explain. Essentially, schools in the United States adopt what is called a “holistic review.” Columbia mentioned it specifically in their message about the current test optional policy. That essentially means that admissions officers and the admissions committee will essentially consider all information provided to them by an applying student to determine whether or not that student deserves a stop in the upcoming and incoming class. For many students, that includes an SAT or ACT score.

So, while not having a standardized test score is not going to hurt a student’s chances of getting in, a great score can absolutely help a student make their case. That is even more true if the student is worried that they may be lacking in other important areas, such as their grade point average, extracurriculars and more.

If you’re not convinced, consider this important fact: last year, approximately 2 million students in the United States took either the SAT or ACT. You can be sure that a large number of those students were applying to schools just like Columbia, which have incredibly high standards and incredibly low acceptance rates.

Columbia University acceptance rate

While we’re on the subject of Columbia’s acceptance rate, we thought now would be a good time to break down the current acceptance rate and how the school compares to the rest of the Ivy League

Students who have the dream of attending Columbia need to be fully aware of just how difficult getting into this school right now truly is. For the class of 2025, 60,551 total students applied. From that pool, 2,218 students were accepted. The acceptance rate of 3.9 percent was well below the previous year’s acceptance rate of 6.15.

In fact, the 3.9 percent acceptance rate at Columbia marked the lowest single acceptance rate within the ivy League from last year. Take a look at the acceptance rates from all eight Ivies for the class of 2025.

Table with information about different universities.

So there you have it! While Columbia may not necessarily be the most prestigious Ivy League school, after all it is hard to compete with schools like Harvard, Princeton and Yale, it is starting to make a name for itself as the most competitive school in the Ivy League.

Tips to improve your chances of getting into Columbia

When it comes to trying to get into a top school like Columbia, students should utilize every tool and take advantage of every tip that they can gain access to. Of course, AdmissionSight’s primary job is to make sure that all of the fantastic students that we work with every single school year get into the school of their dreams.

However, if we had it our way, every student in the world would be able to achieve their admissions dreams! For that reason we have decided to finish up this breakdown of the Columbia average SAT score by covering some of the best tips that students can take advantage of to improve their chances of not only getting into Columbia, but any school in the United States!

Connect with Columbia alumni

One of the best things any student can do for themselves to improve their chances of getting into Columbia is make connections with alumni at the school. One of the reasons why this can be such a powerful tool.

Students working on something while in the classroom.

The reason why Ivy League schools such as Colombia love to see applicants who have relationships with alumni is because it makes it clear that the applicant is committed to becoming a part of the school’s community. While all schools are proud of their culture and community, the ivy League is even more committed.

If you have any connection to people who are attending Columbia, it is absolutely wise to reach out and try to set up an in-person or remote meeting with them. You can mention your relationship with them in your application and you could even see if they’d be willing to reach out to the school and vouch for you on your behalf.

Apply to Columbia via Early Decision

As is the case with most Ivy League schools, Columbia offers applicants the chance to apply to the school via an early admissions option known as Early Decision.

Early Decision at Columbia offers students the chance to send in their application while also delivering a clear message to the school that the student is committed to getting into Columbia over all other schools that they plan on applying to. Students who apply via Early Decision also hear back from Columbia several months earlier than students who apply via Regular Decision do.

Two students talking to a professor.

One final thing that is very important for students who are applying to Columbia via Early Decision should know is that Early Decision at Columbia is binding. That means that if you do apply this way and end up getting accepted, you will have to withdraw your applications to the other schools that you were interested in and enroll at Columbia. So, while this can be a great tool for you, do not utilize it unless you are sure that you will attend Columbia in the event that you do get in.

Earn great letters of recommendation

One incredibly important aspect of any student’s application to Columbia are the letters of recommendation that they get from the faculty at their high school. While students typically ask students to send in one or two letters of recommendation, students who apply to Columbia actually have to send in three letters. One is meant to come from your high school counselor, while the other two come from two different teachers at your school

The best way for students to make sure that they are able to earn fantastic letters of recommendation from their teachers and high school counselors is to make sure that they are forming strong relationships throughout high school. This can sometimes seem as somewhat opportunistic, but it can actually be incredibly rewarding! After all, teachers and counselors get into teaching because they want to help form relationships with students and help guide them to a successful life.

From there, students should make sure that they prioritize asking teachers whom they have formed real relationships with and who they have taken multiple courses throughout high school with. Ideally, these teachers will have seen you succeed in the classroom, overcome obstacles and be a valuable and leading member of your academic community.

On top of that, students will want to be sure that they give the teachers more than enough time to write fantastic letters for them. Asking teachers at the end of your junior year, or at the very beginning for your senior year will likely give them the time that they need to craft strong letters.

Keep in mind, if you want to apply to Columbia via early admission, asking on the earlier side should be considered a priority for you.

Write fantastic personal essays

Finally, we wanted to bring up the personal essay section. In fact, AdmissionSight – and many of the other most popular admission consultants out there – agree that the personal essay section is one of the most important parts of any student’s application and can really be the major deciding factor when it comes to whether or not an applying student gets into the school of their dreams.

The importance of personal essays have been put on even greater display as a result of the ongoing test optional policy at many schools. As many students are submitting to schools like Columbia without SAT and ACT scores, the admissions committees are having to rely on other factors to make final decisions. Of course, a student’s grade point average is the most important factor, but many agree that the personal essay section is now the second most important.

So, when you are crafting your personal essays, make sure to take the time and effort necessary to write answers that are not only strong, but also answers that really reflect who you are as a student and a person. Let the admissions officers reading your essays know what you are passionate about, how you see the world, and why you think you would be such a wonderful addition to Columbia’s campus.

We Can Help you beat the Columbia University SAT score

If you are looking for ways to boost your SAT score and improve your chances of getting into Columbia, AdmissionSight can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.



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