Getting Into Columbia University
Columbia University is one of the most prestigious schools in the country. It’s no surprise that it attracts so many top-tier students, but it also makes it a very competitive school to get into as well. If you’re trying to get into Columbia University and want some tips on how to do that, this article will give you some helpful information about what makes them competitive and what types of students they like best.
Take the PSAT.
The PSAT is a practice version of the SAT, and it’s a great way to get acclimated to college entrance exam testing. You can take it in 10th grade (though some kids prefer to wait until junior year).
It’s also free, so there are no excuses not to do it! If you score well on this test (and you will if you study), then you’ll be able to use that score as leverage when applying for prestigious scholarships like the National Merit Scholarship.
If nothing else, taking the PSAT will help you get familiar with how standardized testing works: It’s an opportunity for teachers and students alike to see what areas they need more work on…and where they excel!
Take your SATs and ACTs.
Once you’ve begun to research colleges and universities, you’ll want to take the SATs or ACTs. This is a good idea regardless of whether or not you’re applying to Columbia University, because both tests are widely used by most schools across the country.
Taking these standardized tests early will help ensure that your scores are accurate and up-to-date. You can take them as often as once per year (but at least twice), so follow this advice:
- Take an early version of your first test in the fall of junior year; then take another one in the spring of senior year.
- If possible, take one last time during November or December (but not on your own). This gives you plenty of time for a retake if need be.*
Get recommendation letters from teachers and counselors.
A recommendation letter from a teacher or counselor is another great way for the admissions office to get to know you. It can be difficult for them to evaluate your application if they don’t already have an idea of what kind of student you are, so these letters will help them fill in the gaps. They want to make sure that if they admit someone, that person is going to succeed at Columbia and do well academically.
A good recommendation letter will talk about how well the writer knows you, what subjects they’ve taught you, whether or not they’ve had any personal interactions with you outside of schoolwork (like tutoring), and what they think your academic potential is based on their experience with you in class. Get at least three recommendation letters as backup in case one gets lost or delayed somehow–some schools require this anyway!
There’s no wrong way to ask teachers and counselors for recommendations: just send them an email asking if it would be possible for them write one on behalf of your application–the worst thing that could happen is rejection!
Submit an original essay that reflects you as a person.
You’ve got to stand out. You need to show that you’re a unique and special person, not just another student.
You may have heard the old adage that “what you put on paper is who you are.” If you want to get into Columbia, take this advice seriously. The writing of your essay should reflect your identity as an individual, not someone else’s expectation or opinion of who they think you should be (and it shouldn’t be based on what other people think about themselves).
The best way for an admissions committee member to learn about your personality is through reading an original essay that reflects your experiences and goals—not those of your parents or siblings; not just grades; not just plans for the future, but rather how those plans have shaped who you are today.
Follow up with places where you’re interning or doing community service to ask for letters of recommendation.
Once you’ve made contact with potential letter writers, be sure to ask them if they’d be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you.
- Ask people who know you well and can speak to your academic strengths. These might include teachers or professors; members of the staff at Columbia University; people who have worked with or supervised you in an internship or volunteer position; employers whose companies were impressed by your work ethic and accomplishments; peers who may have had similar experiences as yourself (for example, if you’re applying for an undergraduate program).
- Ask people who can speak to your character. When writing these letters, be sure to focus on what makes YOU special: what makes YOU stand out from all other applicants? The best way for someone else to understand why this is so is if they know more about what makes YOU special! Think about how others might describe YOU—what traits would THEY use? What personal qualities do YOU possess that will make a difference at Columbia University? How would others describe YOUR personal journey thus far? What obstacles have YOU overcome (or still face)? What are some things that make YOUR story unique?
Columbia isn’t impossible to get into, but it’s not easy, either.
There are many great universities in the United States and around the world. Columbia is one of them. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to get into, or even that its admission process is significantly more challenging than any other top school’s.
In fact, if you’re a dedicated student with good grades and high test scores (or some other distinguishing factors), then getting into Columbia may actually be easier than getting into some other schools. That said, there are definitely some things you should do—and avoid doing—in order to increase your chances of being admitted by the deadline for early decision or early action applications in November (for those students who apply this way).
The best way to get into Columbia is by doing well in school, taking the SATs and ACTs, and getting as many recommendation letters as possible. You can also write an original essay that reflects your personality. Finally, follow up with places where you’re interning or doing community service so that they can recommend you for admission too!