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Columbia University: Admissions, Tuition and Ranking





    Columbia University is a private university that was founded sometime in 1754. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 6,202, with a beautiful urban setting, and campus size of about 36 acres. The university employs a semester-based academic calendar. Columbia University’s ranking in the 2020 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, number 3. The tuition fees are $61,850 (2019-20).

    Based in New York City, Columbia has three undergraduate schools – Columbia College, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of General Studies – including a number of graduate and professional schools, plus the highly reputable Business School, Teachers College, Law School and College of Physicians and Surgeons. The university equally has a popular College of Dental Medicine and graduate Journalism School. Columbia students enjoy a number of student activities, with about 25 Greek chapters, and well over 90 percent of students who live on campus. Columbia has affiliations with Barnard College for women, the Union Theological Seminary and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Renowned alumni include John Jay, founding father and first ever Supreme Court chief justice, and of course former President Barack Obama. Columbia is also responsible for the Pulitzer Prizes.

    Admissions criteria

    Prospective first year students are able to apply to Columbia via The Common Application or the Coalition Application. For adequate information on application requirements for both local and international students, do well to check out the Applying section of the Columbia University profile page. According to the university’s website, Columbia utilizes a holistic approach when accessing applications. What this implies is that admissions officers look at more than just your grades and test scores, including your extracurricular activities recommendations and other key factors, such as family circumstances.

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    Tuition and Fees

    $61,850 (2019-20)

    Room and Board

    $14,490 (2019-20)

    Total Enrollment


    Application Deadline

    Jan. 1

    2020 Rankings

    Columbia University is #3 in National Universities. Schools are usually ranked according to their performances across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

    • #3 In National Universities 
    • #76 In Best Undergraduate Teaching 
    • #6 in Best Value Schools


    When submitting an application to Columbia University, it’s important to note the application deadline is Jan. 1, and the early decision deadline is Nov. 1. The university charges an application fee of $85. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due Feb. 1. It is the most selective, with an acceptance rate of just 6 percent.

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    Academic Life

    Generally, the student-faculty ratio at Columbia University is 6:1, and the school runs 82.1 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. Some of the popular majors at Columbia University are: Social Sciences; Engineering; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; and Psychology. The average freshman retention rate, a strong indicator of student satisfaction, is 99 percent, which is pretty impressive.

    Cost & Financial Aid

    At this university, about 50 percent of full-time undergraduates are awarded some kind of need-based financial aid, and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is about $55,661.

    That said, paying for college shouldn’t be too difficult. Check out Paying for College knowledge center for adequate advice on raising funds and reducing costs, or use the U.S. News 529 Finder to select the best tax-advantaged college investment account for you.

    Campus Services

    Columbia University has a large number of student services, in addition to nonremedial tutoring, placement service, health service, health insurance. Columbia University equally offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc.) to ensure adequate security. Alcohol is allowed for students of legal age who study at Columbia University.

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