Columbia University is an independent, non-sectarian institution of higher education. Founded in 1754, it is a private Ivy League university located in the city of New York. The school, established on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan, serves as the oldest university in the state. It’s also the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the entire country.
Columbia belongs to the nine colonial colleges founded before the Declaration of Independence. Seven of these schools are part of the prestigious Ivy League group as well. Officially known as Columbia University in the City of New York, it has been ranked as among the top ten universities in the world.
Columbia University Acceptance Rate
For the most recent admissions cycle, Columbia University recorded an acceptance rate of 5.3%. This makes the school’s admissions process highly competitive. It currently stands behind Stanford and Harvard and is recognized as the top 2 most selective college in the Ivy League.
Columbia does not require applicants to provide the SAT writing section. If you have taken the SAT more than once, the university will superscore your exams. They will consider the highest score obtained for each section. If you have to take the SAT again, consider our online SAT prep course:
Admitted Students Profile
A total of 31,077 students have enrolled in Columbia University. Out of that number, 8,216 students have enlisted into undergraduate programs, while 22,861 students pursued graduate programs.
Based on gender, the school is attended by an average of 14,803 males and 16,274 females. By race, Columbia is home to 9,625 White, 1,536 Black and 3,746 Asian students out of the total 31,077.
According to 2019 data, Columbia University undergraduates had tuition and fees amounting to $59,430 while the graduates had $48,390. 4,916 students or 59.83% of the enrolled undergraduate students have been rewarded financial aid in the form of grants or scholarships with an average amount of $41,752.
The admissions committee is in charge of providing scholarships to undergraduate students. Some of the designations include John W. Kluge Scholars, Egleston Scholars, Science Research Fellows, John Jay Scholars, C. Prescott Davis Scholars, and Global Scholars. Named scholars are picked from first-year applicants by the admissions committee.
Columbia University is recognized as the second-largest landowner in New York City, coming in after the Catholic Church. The main campus takes up over six city blocks or 32 acres. It’s in Morningside Heights, New York City, a neighborhood with several academic institutions within it. More than 7,800 apartments are under the school’s ownership in Morningside Heights. These buildings house staff, faculty, and graduate students.
The university also has an extensive tunnel system more than a century old. Its oldest areas even predate the existing campus. While some of these parts are still open to the public, others have been cordoned off.
Columbia University offers 465 degree programs for all students. These include Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate, and Post-Graduate Certificate programs. Out of those programs, 18 can be taken through distance learning.
A complete list of the majors, concentrations, and programs of study offered by the university can be viewed here.
Columbia University has a vibrant student life. The school is home to various fraternities, sororities, and co-educational Greek organizations. 10–15% of undergraduate students belong to these groups.
The university also houses two pioneers in undergraduate campus radio broadcasting: WKCR-FM and CTV. For those interested in debate and model UN groups, Columbia has its Philolexian Society. This literary and debating club was established in 1802 and is known for being the oldest Columbia student group. It is also the third-oldest US collegiate literary society.
Facilitating the school’s Model United Nations activities is the Columbia International Relations Council and Association (CIRCA).
In terms of publication, The Columbia Daily Spectator is the second-oldest student newspaper in the United States. The Blue and White is another well-known literary magazine founded in 1890. Published monthly, it tackles campus life and local politics in print.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, the school offers the Columbia University Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs (CORE). Introduced in 1999, this group aims to foster entrepreneurship on campus.
On the athletic front, Columbia is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in Division I FCS. The school fields 29 varsity teams. For football, the Columbia Lions play home games in the Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium that seats 17,000.
Meanwhile, the Baker Athletics Complex includes facilities for lacrosse, field hockey, baseball, softball, tennis, track, rowing, and soccer. A new Campbell Sports Center was opened in January 2013 to cater to the student’s athletic needs.
Wrestling, volleyball, swimming & diving, fencing, and basketball programs are based on the main campus’ Dodge Physical Fitness Center.
As one of the top universities in the country, Columbia has produced many notable personalities. Below are some of them:
- Alexander Hamilton: Founding Father of the United States; author of The Federalist Papers; 1st United States Secretary of the Treasury
- John Jay: Founding Father of the United States; author of The Federalist Papers; 1st Chief Justice of the United States; 2nd Governor of New York
- Gouverneur Morris: Founding Father of the United States
- Barack Obama: 44th President of the United States
- Franklin D. Roosevelt: 32nd President of the United States
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
- Madeleine Albright: 64th United States Secretary of State; first female Secretary of State
- R. Ambedkar: Founding Father of India; architect of the Constitution of India; 1st Minister of Law and Justice
- Julian S. Schwinger: Nobel laureate; pioneer of quantum field theory; one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century
- Robert A. Millikan: Nobel laureate; measured the elementary electric charge
- Robert Kraft: billionaire; owner of the New England Patriots; Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group
- Herman Hollerith: inventor; co-founder of IBM
- Warren Buffett: CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
- Robson Walton: Chairman of Walmart
- Lou Gehrig: Triple Crown winner; 2x MLB Most Valuable Player; 6x World Series Champion; member of Baseball Hall of Fame
- Richard Rodgers: legendary Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award-winning composer; Pulitzer Prize winner
- Hamilton Fish: 26th United States Secretary of State; United States Senator from New York; 16th Governor of New York