Columbia Admits 3.85% Of Applicants To The Class of 2028

29/03/202430 minute read
Columbia Admits 3.85% Of Applicants To The Class of 2028

Columbia University has announced its Class of 2028 admissions statistics and acceptance rate. In total, Columbia received 60,248 applications. This figure, a 5.5% increase over last year, marks the third-largest applicant pool in Columbia's history. With 2,319 students admitted, the acceptance rate notched down to 3.85%.

The Regular Decision acceptance rate also dropped slightly, while the more favorable Early Decision acceptance rate edged upward a notch compared to last year. Columbia's in-coming students are again geographically diverse, hailing from all 50 states and 108 different countries.

Columbia University Acceptance Results for the Class of 2028

On March 28, Columbia announced admissions statistics for its Class of 2028. The admissions figures for this year are largely on par with numbers from the last three years. The school will admit 2,319 students for the Class of 2028, after receiving a total of 60,248 applications, yielding a highly selective 3.85% acceptance rate.

This rate is only a small notch lower than last year's rate (3.9%), and on par with admissions rates for the Class of '26 and '25 (2.96% and 2.90%).

“Ivy admissions rates have started to stabilize after years of falling.”

- Arkesh Patel, COO, Crimson Education

Big picture, the number of students applying to Columbia in both the Regular Decision (RD) and Early Decision (ED) rounds only edged up about 5% compared to last year's statistics, and showed virtually no change when compared to the two prior years, indicating a plateau of sorts, with acceptance rates holding fairly steady over the past three years.

To see a more significant fluctuation, it's necessary to look back one additional year. Four years ago, after dropping its standardized testing requirements, Columbia's applicant pool jumped upward abruptly, from 40,084 (for the Class of 2024), to 60,551 (for the Class of 2025), a 51% increase in the span of one admission cycle!

This year's total applicant pool (60,248 students) is the third-largest in Columbia's history, surpassed only by the 2021-22 and 2022-23 admissions years — spotlighting the highly competitive admissions landscape confronting young scholars over recent years.

Columbia's Class of 2028 Acceptance Rates
Number of ApplicationsAccepted StudentsAcceptance Rate
Regular Decision54,2391,5982.95%
Early Decision6,00972111.9%

While admissions statistics overall at Columbia have only fluctuated slightly during the past four years, the Class of 2028 marks the first admission cycle under the cloud of the June 2023 Supreme Court decision that ended race-conscious college admissions policies.

In July 2023, in response to the court ruling, Columbia officials affirmed that "diversity is a positive force across every dimension of Columbia, and we can and must find a durable and meaningful path to preserve it."

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Columbia's Regular Decision Acceptance Rate

Columbia University's Regular Decision (RD) admission numbers for the Class of 2028 indicate a significant level of competitiveness. The institution received a total of 54,239 RD applications, but made offers to only 1,598, resulting in an RD acceptance rate just below 3% (2.95%) for Columbia's Class of 2028.

RD applicants accounted for 90% of the overall applicant pool and 69% of total admits.

Comparing these figures to last year, we observe about a 5% increase in RD applicants, but no increase in the number admitted, suggesting an even more challenging level of competition for this year's RD pool.

Over the past three years, however, there has been virtually no change in RD trends, and RD admissions statistics for both the Class of 2026 and 2025 are right on par with those for the Class of 2028.

Clearly, admissions statistics released by Columbia over the past several years point to a highly competitive admissions process and demanding admissions requirements, but with competition appearing to level off — hopefully signaling a plateau for the years ahead.

Columbia's Regular Decision Statistics
Class ofNumber of ApplicationsAccepted StudentsAcceptance Rate

Note: Columbia University does not officially disclose the number of students accepted through their regular decision application process. The figures presented in this table are based on estimates.

Columbia’s Early Decision Results

Columbia University's Early Decision (ED) admission numbers for the Class of 2028 reveal a favorable statistical advantage for students ready to accept the challenge of applying on an early time line.

For Columbia's Class of 2028, ED applicants represent 10% of the overall applicant pool, and 31% of total admits.

Compared to the daunting 2.95% RD acceptance rate, Columbia's 11.9% ED acceptance rate is still competitive but far more forgiving, representing 721 offer letters awarded from out of 6,009 ED hopefuls.

When comparing these figures to previous years, one finds little fluctuation, with both ED applicant pools and numbers accepted, holding steady over three years.

Your Potential ED Advantage

Comparing the ED acceptance rate of 11.9% for the Class of 2028 to the estimated RD acceptance rate of around 3%, it's evident that applying early to Columbia University can increase an applicant's chances of acceptance.

This trend demonstrates the potential advantage of applying in the ED round, assuming the timeline does not prevent you from submitting a meticulously prepared application highlighting your unique strengths and showcasing exceptional academic readiness.

  • Demonstrated Interest: As an ED applicant you're better positioned to demonstrate your strong interest in attending Columbia University in particular, so it's important to also highlight this alignment in your application materials as well.
  • Statistical Advantage: In terms of numbers, applying early also puts you in a smaller applicant pool, offering you a straightforward numerical advantage.
Columbia's Early Decision Statistics
Class ofNumber of ApplicationsAccepted StudentsAcceptance Rate

Note: Some figures presented in this table may be based on estimates.

The Impact and Future of a Test-Optional Columbia

The statistics in the table above highlight the impact of Columbia's decision to go test optional four years ago. Although some Ivy League schools, such as Dartmouth, Yale, and Brown, are reinstating testing requirements for admissions beginning with the Class of 2029, Columbia has stated, as recently as March 2023, that standardized testing will remain an optional application component.

Officials at Columbia noted that analysis of internal performance data "found that test-optional admissions...did not lead to a diminishment of the academic performance of our admitted classes or the academic success of our enrolled students."

With little likelihood of any change to its test-optional admissions policy, at least for the time being, Columbia will almost certainly continue to attract outsized applicant pools, making it important to decide whether or not applying early might be your best strategy.

Columbia University's acceptance rate dropped abruptly when the school adopted its current test-optional admissions policy four years ago. And now the elevated application figures and low acceptance rates seem to be here to stay. Let's take a look at some of the important trends and what they mean for prospective applicants.

  • A Highly Competitive Status Quo: Over the past four years, Columbia's overall acceptance rate has hovered slightly beneath 4%, creating a steady and predictable, but remarkably competitive, admissions environment. However, even the higher acceptance rates that preceded Covid and test-optional admissions were quite competitive. Given that fact, and the likelihood Columbia will remain test optional, you should expect the admissions process will remain very selective.
  • Shrinking Acceptance Rates Highlight the EA Advantage: With Columbia's overall acceptance rate hovering just below 4% and its RD admissions rate dropping to 2.75% this year, the ED admission rates, though still relatively low, stand out as offering a clear advantage, making an ED strategy something to seriously consider.
  • An Island of Test-Optional Predictability: While several Ivy League schools are walking back test-optional admissions policies, Columbia appears to have no such intention, increasing the likelihood that the school's current admissions landscape won't be in flux again anytime soon.
Columbia's Acceptance Statistics Last 10 Years
Class ofTotal ApplicationsTotal AcceptedOverall Acceptance RateRD Acceptance RateED Acceptance Rate

These trends align with the broader landscape of college admissions at top universities and colleges today, with admissions rates as competitive as they've ever been.

Columbia's reputation for excellence and its focus on recruiting high achieving students with strong academic and vocational aspirations and visions, and the school's commitment to test-optional admissions, are all factors likely to keep the school highly competitive. Clearly, ED acceptance rates offer one noteworthy opportunity for swimming in a less crowded field and giving yourself a key advantage in a very competitive arena.

A Day in the Life: Columbia Student

What Kind of Student Gets into Columbia?

It's clear that Columbia has a high bar for admission, so students applying to the school will typically need to present a remarkable record of rigorous academic achievements and outstanding extracurriculars.

Jessica Marinaccio, Columbia's Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, had high praise for the school's in-coming 'Lions':

These students are interdisciplinary change-makers, caring community members, and individuals who lead with genuine kindness.

Addressing the issue of inclusion, Columbia's officials also pointed to an ongoing commitment to diversity and to "meeting 100 percent of demonstrated [financial aid] need for all students, without loans and regardless of citizenship."

How Crimson Can Help You Stand Out

Columbia's acceptance rates are lower now than ever, highlighting how challenging it has become to gain entry into top universities. In this highly competitive landscape, an experienced college admissions advisor can provide you with a significant edge.

Advisors offer personalized support informed by experience and insight, taking chance and guesswork out of the application process and helping you:

  • Craft a Compelling Narrative: They work with you to identify your unique strengths, passions, and experiences. This helps shape a cohesive application that showcases your potential to contribute to the Columbia community.
  • Navigate Strategic Choices: Advisors can provide insights on application timing (early vs. regular), test score submission, and highlight areas where you can further boost your profile.
  • Excel in Every Aspect: From essay coaching to interview preparation, advisors ensure each application component is polished and demonstrates your preparedness for Columbia's exceptionally rich academic and research environment.

Proven Success in a Competitive Landscape

Crimson Education has a track record of helping students achieve their admissions goals. This year alone, over 200 Crimson students were accepted to top US universities in the early round. Here's a breakdown of our early-round numbers:

  • 87 offers to the Ivy League.
  • 163 offers to the US Top 20, including offers to Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Rice, Vanderbilt, and University of Notre Dame.
  • 15% of Ivy League and 27% of top 20 early round applicants received offers to their dream schools.
  • 670+ offers to the US Top 50, including offers to NYU, University of Michigan, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, Emory, University of Virginia, and Washington University in St. Louis.
  • 1000+ offers to each student’s first choice school.

Columbia’s Virtual Outreach Reaches More Students

For the second year in a row, Columbia offered virtual outreach. The Admissions team connected with more than 50,000 prospective students in the US and 177 countries. The virtual outreach included:

  • Live virtual tours
  • Information sessions
  • Student panels and chats
  • Classes with faculty
  • Joint sessions with peer institutions

Columbia also resumed on-campus tours last fall.

“Throughout April, we’ll be offering both in-person and virtual events for our admitted students and their families. We celebrate their achievements and look forward to helping them understand where Columbia Blue might take them and discover if, as we believe, this is the right place for them.”

- Jessica Marinaccio, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid

How Anuar Got Into Columbia

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Congratulations, Students! From Crimson Strategists