Columbia Common Dataset 2024 : How to get into Columbia?

Published on
April 21, 2024
University Statistics

Only 3.74% applicants get into Columbia, what makes them stand out?

In this blog, we will discuss admission metrics from the official Columbia Common Data Set, and look into the detailed profiles of Columbia admits. Finally we will share sample extracurriculars and essays of recently admitted students.

Let's first crunch the numbers and figure the archetype behind a Columbia Admit.


Insight #1: 95.7% of admitted students ranked within the top 10% of their high school class.

Almost all admitted students were within top 25% of the high school batch.

Insight #2: The Columbia Common Dataset does not include information on the average GPA of students. However, estimates suggest that the average GPA might be around 3.9.

Even though the Columbia Common Dataset doesn't reveal the average GPA of admitted students, we can estimate it by considering the high school rank and average GPA of other schools with similar academic profiles. This estimation suggests that Columbia's average GPA might be around 3.9.


Insight #3: Around 43% students submitted their SAT score without the exam being required.

Even though SAT/ACT are not required. Scores are considered in the decision to roll out an admit. 

Columbia Common Data Set reveals that:

43% of admitted students submitted a SAT score, and 24% students submitted an ACT score.

Test Scores
Test 25th Percentile 50th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Composite 1500 1540 1560
SAT Evidence-Based / Reading and Writing 730 760 780
SAT Math 770 790 800
ACT Composite 34 35 35
ACT Math 32 34 35
ACT English 35 35 36
ACT Reading 34 36 36
ACT Science 33 35 36
ACT Writing 9 10 11


Insight #4: Your high school subject choices trump high standardized scores 

What factors did Columbia report as the main key things they look at in the admissions committee?

Key factors in admission decision - Official Columbia Common Dataset


Insight #5: Columbia suggests 4 recommended units for many key subjects

These are Carnegie units (one unit equals one year of study or its equivalent)

Recommended (not required) units as per the Columbia Common Dataset
Required vs Recommended units for admissions at Colombia


Insight #6: The number of extracurriculars of majority of admitted students ranged from 6-9

This observation is based on analyzing the profiles of admitted Columbia students.An open resource repository of admits allows you to explore admitted student profiles and potentially build your own application strategy around these insights.

Let's look at the student below who was admitted to the Columbia CS program. 

Access admitted profiles and AI based insights
Actual profile of a Columbia student (name redacted)
Extracurriculars of a recently admitted student
Essays written by a recently admitted student

The student was involved in over 9 extracurricular activities, such as robotics, participation in campus clubs, MIT Battlecode AI competition, hackathon, physics simulations. Additionally, they wrote their Common App essay about their shortcomings in MUN.

By analyzing the Columbia common data set, we can glean insights into standardized test scores, GPAs, and the characteristics of admitted students. To Check out the academic profile and extracurricular details of admitted students at Columbia: Admitted Students