Columbia Early Decision Acceptance Rate & Decision Date

In the 2022 U.S. News and World Report ranking of the best US universities, there was but one university that ranked above Columbia. 

Few universities have the kind of prestige, robust academic affordances, and a tradition of excellence quite like this New York City school. 

For 13 different academic disciplines—from English and philosophy to architecture and computer science—Columbia University scored within the top 10 on Niche’s ranking of the best universities in the nation. 

With a “Nobel Around Every Corner,” everywhere one looks at Columbia University will have a rich and robust tradition of academic excellence. 

With four presidents, 84 Nobel prize winners, 125 Pulitzer Prize recipients, and seven founding fathers among its alumni, a student at Columbia will be able to look upon a former Columbia graduate as inspiration for their academic pursuits, regardless of their discipline. 

This reputation for excellence is part of the reason the world trusts Columbia to distinguish the best and the brightest in the world. 

The Pulitzer Prize, one of the most prestigious awards anyone in the world can receive, is administered by Columbia University. 

Columbia also has the third-largest private research library anywhere in the nation. This library assures that, regardless of one’s curiosities, students will have the ability to rigorously search for answers with the best research facilities one can find anywhere in the U.S.

Political leaders like Barack Obama and B. R. Ambedkar, artists like Zora Neale Hurston and Hunter S. Thompson, and scientists like J. Robert Oppenheimer and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns all came to Columbia to grow as scholars and people. 

There isn’t a department in the school that hasn’t paved the way for some of the world’s most prominent game-changers. 

And if all of that wasn’t enough to make one excited about applying to Columbia, we haven’t even begun to discuss its campus and city. New York City, in which Columbia sits, is a city unlike no other—with everything in the world a hopeful student could hope to explore. 

But, at the same time, Columbia has the smallest campus of any Ivy League school, meaning that the city in which students can explore is vast, but Columbia University itself remains tight-knit and non-overwhelming. 

But all of this comes with a caveat. According to Best Colleges, Columbia University is the hardest university in the US to get into. 

As such, students will be looking for anything available to them to help them stand out from the rigorous competition. 

And there is one simple way students can make themselves stand out: by utilizing Columbia’s early decision application. 

With early decision, students are able to easily increase their likelihood of getting into Columbia by a significant margin. 

As such, this article will break down everything a student may need to know to begin the process of taking advantage of early decision at Columbia. 

In doing so, we’ll be discussing early decision acceptance rates, deadlines, the process of applying, and more. 

Columbia Early Decision Acceptance Rate

Columbia University
Beyond My Ken, Columbia University Morningside Heights campus from northeast, CC BY-SA 4.0

In the past few years, the acceptance rate for early decision applicants sat around 15%

In comparison, the standard acceptance rate for students who did not apply under the early decision application had an acceptance rate that sat around 6%.

As such, students who take advantage of the early decision deadline almost instantly give themselves a 10% higher likelihood of acceptance when compared to standard admission applicants. 

However, acceptance rate percentages never reveal the whole story. For example, students who take advantage of early decision deadlines may focus on perfecting their Columbia application in particular compared to other colleges they apply to, since Columbia is their first choice. 

Factors such as this may influence these statistics. However, it is nevertheless still incredibly likely that taking advantage of the early decision deadline is likely to increase the likelihood of one’s admittance. 

Importantly, however, the website Top Tier Admissions looked at early acceptance admissions data and noticed the likelihood of acceptance decreasing over the past 20 years. 

As such, they project that the early decision admittance rate may decrease to 10% in the upcoming years. 

Columbia Early Decision Decision Date

Applicants who apply under early decision will hear back from Columbia in mid-December. 

Those who apply under the regular decision deadline will hear back around May 15th

If one is accepted into Columbia University under early decision, they are obligated to accept Columbia’s offer of admission. 

After receiving an early decision application, one must withdraw all other applications one has submitted to other institutions. 

After being accepted, Columbia will begin to monitor one’s senior-year academic performance to ensure they continue to meet Columbia’s standards. 

As such, one will need to begin reporting mid-year and final grades during the middle of one’s senior year.

Columbia Early Decision Deadline

Columbia Law School
Beyond My Ken, Columbia Law School from 116th Street, CC BY-SA 4.0

The deadline by which early decision students must submit their application is November 1st. One must also submit all standardized testing scores by the November test date, if applicable. 

Columbia claims that early decision and regular decision applicants will be considered equally when it comes to their financial aid package. 

Therefore, although one will hear back regarding their admissions decision early, one’s financial aid package will be released alongside normal decision applicants.

When one’s early decision comes out, there are three different answers one can receive from Columbia come mid-December. 

One is an offer of admission, the second is a deferral to be considered alongside regular decision applicants. Finally, students can be denied admission during the early decision timeframe. 

Does Columbia Have Early Decision 2?

Columbia does not have an Early Decision 2. 

Some universities provide an initial early decision date and a secondary early decision date that operates similarly to Early Decision 1 but with a slightly later application deadline.

That being said, Columbia does have an early action application option. The early action deadline is March 1st

Although statistics regarding the acceptance rates of early action admits are not available, one can reasonably assume that those who apply under early action are also more likely to be admitted compared to general admission. 

However, early action applicants will not have as high of a likelihood of admittance compared to formal early decision applicants. 

Unlike early decision, early action applications are non-binding. As such, one can be accepted for early action and still keep one’s other college applications active.

Columbia ED Deferral Rate

The deferral rate for early decision applicants to Columbia University sits around 65%

Considering that roughly 15% of early decision applicants are admitted, about 20% of early decision applicants received a rejection letter during mid-December.

When one is deferred, this means that they will be considered for admission alongside regular-decision applicants. 

Columbia claims that, unlike regular admission students who can hear back as late as the end of May, those deferred for early decision admittance will hear back with a final decision sometime around April 1st

Between the deferral notification and the notification of acceptance/rejection, Columbia encourages those deferred to keep Columbia up to date with mid-term grades or any other significant developments that may impact one’s admissions decision. 

As such, even if one experiences a deferral after applying for early decision, they still have certain advantages over those who do not take advantage of the early decision deadline. 

They will hear back regarding their admissions decision sooner. Along the way, they will be able to contact Columbia regarding factors that can increase one’s likelihood of admittance.  

How to Apply to Columbia for Early Decision

There are three platforms upon which Columbia applicants can submit an early decision application: Common App, Coalition Application, and Questbridge. 

On Columbia’s Common Application portal, there will be an agreement which one can gain access to by indicating on the Common Application that Columbia is their choice for early decision. 

This will give students access to a form that they, their parent/guardian, and potentially their school counselor must sign, which indicates that if an offer of admittance is granted to the student, they are now bound to accept that offer. 

This agreement is how Columbia enforces the policy that a student must accept an offer of admission if they apply via early decision. 

For the Coalition Application and Questbridge, students will find the early decision agreement form on their application’s status page only after submitting the application.

Once one has access to the applicant status page, one can officially submit their early decision agreement form. 

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