When Do Columbia’s Decisions Come Out?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Columbia University with the alma mater statue

When Do Columbia’s Decisions Come Out?

For students who are committed to applying to – and ultimately getting into – some of the most competitive undergraduate programs in the United States, the time it takes for a school’s admissions committee to make a final decision can be quite stressful.

If your dream school is the highly prestigious Columbia University, there is no doubt that you want to answer the question, “When do Columbia’s decisions come out?”

And rightly so! Students put so much of their time and energy into the entire application process, that waiting for an answer can really turn into a very challenging experience.

While knowing the timeline of these very important processes may not relieve all of your anxiety in terms of what the final decision will be, you will at least be able to know when you can expect to hear back from a specific school that you are interested in getting into.

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

At AdmissionSight, we firmly believe that one of the most important aspects to any student’s level of success when it comes to the application process is knowledge.

That of course refers to having a deep knowledge of what schools are looking for in applicants and how applicants can improve their chances of getting in. It also includes knowledge about the expected timeline of a specific school.

The reason why having that kind of knowledge is so crucial is because it allows students to prepare in the best way possible.

That is why we have decided to break down all the important facts related to Columbia’s REA decision date, Columbia’s regular decision date, Columbia’s acceptance rate and so much more!

So, whether you are already (perhaps not so) patiently waiting to hear back from Columbia regarding your application, preparing to send in your application, or are still years away from sending in your Columbia application but simply want to learn about the process, then you have absolutely come to the right place!

Let’s start breaking down the answer to the very important question, “When do Columbia’s decisions come out?”

Columbia’s acceptance rate

Before we get into the actual timeline that students can expect regarding the Columbia early acceptance date and more, we thought that it would be useful to dive into one of the most important statistics regarding the admissions process at Columbia.

As you very likely already know, Columbia University is part of one of the most prestigious and historical groups of colleges and universities in the world known as the Ivy League.

Along with Columbia, other Ivy League schools include Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, and more. Every single application cycle, hundreds of thousands of students apply to one or more Ivy League schools with the hope that they will be able to join that prestigious community.

Being a student at an Ivy League school not only allows students to take some of the most advanced courses at the undergrad level from professors that are world-renowned for their contributions to their respective fields, but it also offers entry into an elite community of men and women who truly become leaders across industries all over the world.

Sounds pretty nice, right?

Though Columbia was once not considered to be among the top schools of the Ivy League when it came to prestige and competitiveness, that reputation has changed mightily in recent years.

Part of that has to do with the highly desirable location of Columbia, as it is located in the heart of Manhattan, New York. It also has to do with advancements at Columbia, as well as the kind of impacts that its alumni are having on the world.

For that reason, Columbia is now known as one of the most competitive schools in the Ivy League, putting it near the top when it comes to selectiveness worldwide.

To get a sense of what we mean, consider these numbers. Last year, a total of 60,551 students applied to Columbia. Of those students, just 2,358 ended up getting accepted.

That was food for an acceptance rate of just 3.9 percent. It’s a shockingly low acceptance rate and one that even five years ago would be somewhat unheard of.

To get a better sense of just how competitive that kind of acceptance rate is, take a look at the acceptance rates from the other seven Ivy League schools from last year, below:

As you can see, Columbia had the lowest overall acceptance rate in the entire Ivy League. While it is not part of the “Big Three” of Harvard, Princeton and Yale, which are considered to be the three schools atop the Ivy League, with the way things are going, the Ivies may soon have a “Big Four.”

One other really important thing to note about the table above is that Columbia’s early acceptance rate is not included. However, keep in mind that that does not mean that the school does not offer early admissions. It absolutely does. The school simply does not publicly release that information.

However, based on the information that we can gather, it looks like the acceptance rate at Columbia in 2021 for students who did apply via early decision was approximately 10.10 percent.

While that is over three times higher than the school’s overall acceptance rate from that same year, it is also important to mention that the early decision acceptance rate from just one year prior was 15.05 percent!

That marks a massive drop from one year to the next, especially considering the fact that these acceptance rates typically vary from year-to-year by just a fraction of a percent.

This is not meant to dissuade anyone from applying to Columbia, it is simply offering important information that our admission consultants at AdmissionSight would offer any student that we were working with!

When do Columbia’s decisions come out?

Now that you have a much better understanding of the Columbia acceptance rate, both for the overall acceptance rate and the early acceptance rate, chances are good that you are getting a much better idea of what kind of student is going to be able to actually get into this highly selective school.

You may also be high considering the costs and benefits of applying to Columbia via early decision. We’ll get into that a little later on, though. For now, we simply want to give you the breakdown of the school’s decision admission timeline.

a lion, the inspiration behind columbia official mascot

Be sure to look out for the Columbia early acceptance date and Columbia regular decision date for important things like sending in your application, sending in test scores, actually hearing back from the school and more!

Dates and deadlines at Columbia

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

Learning more about the Columbia early acceptance date

If you are curious about the Columbia REA decision date, then chances are good that you are strongly considering applying to Columbia via early admission.

While applying to a top school via an early admission option can come with a lot of important benefits, it is also important to know precisely what you are signing up for. Depending on the school, early decision or early action application options can come with some pretty serious restrictions.

Front view of Columbia University with plenty of students in the building's staircase

That is why we want to break down the basic, and most important information regarding Columbia’s own rules regarding early admission. Here is what the school itself says about the kind of reasons they want young students to be applying to Columbia this way for:

“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.”

In that quick paragraph are some very encouraging words, and also something of a warning from the school. The reason for this is because the early decision application option at Columbia is binding.

This means that if students are accepted to the school, they are expected to accept the offer of admissions, withdraw all of their other applications that are out to the other schools that they have applied to, and prepare to enroll at Columbia.

If Columbia is truly a student’s first choice, there are several important steps that you should know about. Those include 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.

What happens after you apply to Columbia via early decision?

If you are preparing to apply to Columbia via early decision, there is no doubt that you are curious about the potential outcomes that you will face.

The three basic ending outcomes that any student can face are that they are accepted, deferred or denied.

Here is the basic overview of each option.


If students are admitted under the Early Decision program, you will be obligated to accept the offer of admission from Columbia. Students who are accepted are not allowed to submit further college applications and are expected to withdraw other applications that have been submitted.

With that being said, Columbia does not feel the need to restrict students from applying to Columbia within the binding agreement and to other schools via a non-binding agreement. Here is what the school says:

“While Columbia does not necessarily encourage the filing of both Early Decision (binding) and Early Action (non-binding) applications, we do not prohibit candidates from doing so,” the school states.

“However, candidates should be aware that Columbia’s Early Decision program is a binding agreement and a candidate will be expected to enroll, regardless of any pending applications (early or otherwise).”

Beyond that, students are fully expected to maintain a rigorous and exemplary involvement in their academics throughout their senior year of high school even when they are accepted via Columbia’s early decision.


You may be asking, “when do Columbia waitlist decisions come out?” If you decide to apply to Columbia via early decision, there will be no waitlist decision, however, there is a deferment option.

Students who are deferred from the early decision option will have their applications rolled over into the regular decision applicant pool.

From there, students will be notified of the school’s final decision by April 1. Students who are deferred after applying via Columbia’s early decision application option will be able to apply to other schools and can accept admissions offers from other schools.

If you remain determined to get into Columbia when being deferred, Columbia strongly encourages students to update the school in the winter with mid-year grade reports as well as any significant new achievements. Here are some other things students can do to improve their chances of getting accepted from the deferred list:

  • Send additional letters of recommendation: Another effective way to improve your standing as a deferred student is to send in more letters of recommendation to the school that you were deferred at. All students who apply to Columbia have to send in two letters of recommendation from two separate teachers and one letter of recommendation from their high school counselor. If deferred, a student may want to seriously consider sending in other letters from community leaders that they have worked with, athletic coaches, club organizers, etc. This could help further clarify that the student would be a positive and productive member of the Columbia community if they are taken off the deferred list and accepted into the school.
  • Write a letter of continued interest: another great tool that a deferred student can utilize is a letter of continued interest. Essentially, this is a letter directly from the student to the admissions officers at Columbia that is used to prove that despite the wait list, the student is undeterred and remains as passionate as ever about getting accepted to and attending Columbia. In this letter, students should not forget to update the admissions office on any new accomplishments, milestones that have been reached and more. Most importantly, it is important that students who are deferred show maturity and humility about the fact that they were deferred from what is likely their dream school.


The final outcome for students that apply to Columbia via early decision is that they are denied from admissions at the school. Of course, this is a difficult moment for a lot of students, as applying to Columbia early does imply that it is your dream school.

While everyone who is denied from Columbia can take the chance to feel sad, the job is far from over. Students can continue considering other options at fantastic colleges and universities across the country.

Moreover, if you are truly determined to one day enroll at Columbia, you can enroll at a different four-year program, or a community college, and apply to Columbia in a year or two as a transfer student!

Get more advice on Columbia admissions

The simple truth is that it is currently harder than it has ever been to get into Columbia University and similarly competitive schools, like the other Ivy Leagues, MIT, Stanford or University of Chicago.

a female high school student looking at the camera smiling

However, that does not mean that students are not getting into these schools, they absolutely are! And if you want to make sure that you are among that small and elite group of students, you are going to have to work your tail off!

That is where AdmissionSight comes in for many students. Our admissions consultants offer experience, knowledge and guidance for the students that we work with.

It’s why 75 percent of the students that we work with end up getting into an Ivy League school or a top-10 program elsewhere in the country. If you are interested in learning more about our process, contact us today to set up a free consultation.



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