When Do Columbia Decisions Come Out?

Photo of "Columbia Univeristy" written out in tiles in a New York subway station
April 26, 2024
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/26/24

We don’t have the exact college decision-date details & dates yet, but we’ll update this article as soon as they are available.

Columbia University is ranked as the 12th best college in the country by U.S. News World and Report. If you applied to Columbia, you’re probably wondering, “when do Columbia decisions come out?” 

While waiting for a decision can feel like forever, you’ll find out your admissions decision soon enough. Read on to learn more about when Columbia decisions come out, ways to apply to Columbia, and the pros and cons of each application timeline. 

About Columbia  

As an Ivy League school, admission to Columbia University is sought after by tens of thousands of high school students each application cycle. Founded in 1754 under the name "King's College," Columbia prides itself as the oldest institution of higher learning in New York and the fifth oldest in the country. 

Columbia is prized for its high-caliber instruction, abundant resources, and research opportunities. The school’s mission statement reads: 

The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.”

Columbia students can choose from more than 100 majors and concentrations and pursue research and other academic opportunities with affiliated graduate schools, centers, and institutes. 

The school is well known for its “Core Curriculum,” introducing students to diverse ideas and theories that will have them “grapple with the joys and challenges of what it means to be human.” The Core Curriculum includes: 

  • Art Humanities 
  • Contemporary Civilization
  • Frontiers of Science 
  • Literature Humanities 
  • Music Humanities 
  • University Writing 

The Core Curriculum encourages Columbia College students to think critically while enjoying a truly comprehensive liberal arts education. With so many opportunities and unique offerings, Columbia is a dream school for many aspiring students. 

If you're interested in Columbia but haven't yet applied, take a look at our complete guide on how to get in.

When Do Columbia Decisions Come Out? 

So, when do Columbia decisions come out? The answer depends on when you applied. Although Columbia doesn't provide an exact date on when you should hear about your application, they provide date ranges where you can expect to hear an answer. 

Columbia Early Decision Notification

If you choose to apply through Columbia’s Early Decision program, you should submit your application before or on November 1. You will receive your admissions decision in mid-December. Columbia Regular Decision Notification

Columbia Regular Decision Notification

If you apply under Regular Decision, your application is due before or on January 1. You will receive your admissions decision sometime in early April on Ivy League Decision Day

Columbia Transfer Decision Notification

For students who apply to transfer to Columbia, the application deadline is March 1. Your admissions decision will be released online by the beginning of June

What Are the Ways I Can Apply to Columbia? 

There are three different ways you can apply to Columbia University through Early Decision, Regular Decision, or as a transfer applicant. While the application materials you must submit will vary slightly between these pathways, most applications will be the same across all three. The standard pieces of your Columbia application are: 

  • Official high school transcripts of every institution you’ve attended 
  • School profile and one counselor recommendation
  • Completed Mid-Year Report (this is submitted later by your school)
  • Two teacher recommendations (one must come from a math or science teacher for those applying to engineering)
  • SAT or ACT scores, although Columbia is test-optional until 2024 for first-year applicants
  • Columbia-specific questions (these are list questions and short answers to learn more about you: think of them as supplemental essays
  • Application fee or a fee waiver
  • Optional: any other supplementary materials that “enhance” the admissions committee’s understanding of your application 

Due dates for application materials depend on how you apply to Columbia. Next, we’ll cover a timeline for applying to Columbia through each pathway. 

Early Decision 

Columbia’s Early Decision program is binding: you are bound to your commitment to attend if you apply and get accepted. Although Columbia doesn't necessarily encourage students to apply to other schools through non-binding Early Action, you aren't prohibited from doing so if you choose to. However, keep in mind that you must reject all other offers if you get accepted!

For Columbia Early Decision applicants, these application materials are due on November 15: 

  • The Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge Application
  • Official high school transcripts
  • School profile and one counselor recommendation
  • Two teacher recommendations 
  • SAT or ACT scores (optional): if you plan on taking a standardized test, ensure you do so by the November test date
  • Columbia-specific questions
  • Application fee or a fee waiver
  • A signed Early Decision agreement 

The following materials are due on November 15: 

Regular Decision 

Most Columbia applicants apply through Regular Decision. This program means that students submit a standard application that does not bind them to attend if they're accepted. If you apply through Regular Decision, you'll have considerably more time to complete your application. 

These materials are due on or before January 1: 

  • The Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge Application
  • Official high school transcripts
  • School profile and one counselor recommendation
  • Two teacher recommendations 
  • SAT or ACT scores (optional)
  • Columbia-specific questions
  • Application fee or a fee waiver

The following is due on or before February 15: 

  • Financial Aid Forms 
  • CSS Profile 


Every fall, Columbia welcomes over 100 transfer students from a range of two or four-year schools. For transfer applicants, all parts of your application and financial aid forms are due at the beginning of March: 

  • Coalition Application 
  • Coalition Application Transfer Report 
  • Coalition Application Curriculum Report
  • Columbia-specific questions
  • Official high school and college transcripts 
  • SAT or ACT scores (optional) 
  • Two academic recommendations from college 
  • Optional supplementary materials (if you feel it would add something to your application)
  • Application fee or a fee waiver 

While the Coalition essay is not a requirement to apply to Columbia, you will be asked to upload a 400-600 word essay responding to this prompt:

Please explain why you are interested in transferring from your current institution. (The personal essay does not need to be specific to Columbia, but it should inform the committee why you wish to leave your current institution.)” 

Pros and Cons of Each Program 

Now that you know when Columbia decisions come out, you may be wondering which program is right for you. We’ll outline the pros and cons of each program so you can make an informed decision best for you. 

Infographic outlining the pros and cons of early decisions and regular decisions

Early Decision  

Most applicants choose to apply to Columbia through Regular Decision, but Early Decision may be an excellent choice for some applicants. These are the advantages of applying through Early Decision: 

  • You may enjoy a higher chance of acceptance, although it’s worth noting that early applicants often submit impressive, high-quality applications
  • You'll find out if you were accepted earlier and receive your decision sooner after you submit 
  • If you’re accepted, you don’t have to worry about selecting a school 
  • Because you’re accepted earlier, you can enjoy the rest of your year without more college admissions stress (while still working hard in your courses) 

However, there are some downsides to applying through Early Decision: 

  • If you’re accepted, you are obligated to attend Columbia and withdraw other applications
  • You won’t get to compare financial aid packages from other schools 
  • You’ll need to create and assemble your application materials much sooner in your senior year 

You should consider applying through Early Decision if Columbia is your first choice school, your estimated financial aid package works for you, and if you’re confident you can craft a stellar application before the deadline. 

Regular Decision 

Most students apply through Columbia’s Regular Decision program. Some advantages of applying through Regular Decision include: 

  • The ability to keep your options open and not be bound to attend Columbia if accepted 
  • You can compare financial aid packages from other schools that accept you
  • You have more time to decide where to attend 
  • You have more time to work on your application materials: approximately eight weeks more than Early Decision

However, applying through Regular Decision is not without its disadvantages: 

  • Lower chance of acceptance than Early Decision (you’ll be competing against many other applicants) 
  • You’ll have to wait longer to receive your admissions decision
  • You may have many options to consider as you decide which school to attend 

Columbia admitted 3.85% of all applicants in a recent admissions cycle, whereas about 15% of students were admitted through Early Decision.

Although it appears that there is a significantly higher chance of applying through Early Decision, you should always do what’s best for you. If you need more time to craft a stellar application or you want to compare financial aid packages, Regular Decision may be better for you. 

Transfer Students 

Transfer applicants won't need to decide between Early or Regular Decision, so there aren't the same pros and cons as the other programs. Columbia does not accept mid-year transfers, so transfer applicants are limited to only one application timeline. 

Overall, applying as a transfer student is very similar to applying as a first-year student: you will just need to fill out different forms & requirements, including college transcripts, find recommendations from college professors, and submit an essay about why you want to transfer to Columbia. 

Columbia Decisions FAQs 

If you want more information about Columbia admissions and decisions, check out these FAQs. 

1. What Day Do Columbia Decisions Come Out? 

Columbia decisions come out on the same day as the other Ivy League schools on Ivy League Decision Day. Typically this day falls at the end of March or the beginning of April. 

2. What Time Do Columbia Decisions Come Out? 

Typically, Columbia decisions come out between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. EST on Ivy League Decision Day (for Regular Decision applicants). 

3. When Do Columbia Early Decisions Come Out?

You should receive your admissions decision in mid-December if you applied through Early Decision. 

4. Is Columbia Early Decision Binding? 

Yes, Columbia Early Decision is binding. If you are accepted, you must accept Columbia’s offer. 

5. What Does Columbia Look For In Transfer Applicants? 

Columbia reviews all applications holistically, but they review grades and test scores. Potential transfer students are expected to have a GPA of at least 3.5. If you're applying as a transfer student to Columbia Engineering, consider taking these courses in your first year: 

  • Two semesters of Calculus 
  • Two semesters of Physics 
  • One semester of Chemistry

6. What Percentage of Transfer Applicants Are Accepted to Columbia? 

Columbia typically accepts less than 10% of transfer applicants due to limited space in sophomore and junior classes. 

7. Is It Easier to Get Into Columbia Through Early Decision? 

The Early Decision acceptance rate is higher, so the simple answer is yes. However, early applicants typically produce awe-inspiring applications. 

Remember, it’s better to take more time if you need it to submit your application through Regular Decision than to submit an application that could use more editing in Early Decision. 

8. What Is the Lowest GPA Columbia Accepts? 

While Columbia doesn't have any GPA cut-offs, you should strive to get as close to a 4.0 GPA or higher for your best chance of admission. Recent class profile data shows that 95% of admitted students were in the top 10th percentile of their graduating class. 

9. What Happens If My Columbia Application Is Deferred? 

Getting deferred from Columbia Early Decision can be discouraging, but it doesn’t mean you’re out of the running yet. Your application will be reviewed with the Regular Decision applicant pool, and you’ll receive a final admissions decision by the beginning of April. 

Final Thoughts 

Waiting for an admissions decision may not be the most pleasant experience, but admissions committees need time to review thousands of applications. Now that you know when Columbia decisions come out try to focus on your senior year (or first year of college) as you wait for a decision. 

Based on the pros and cons above, you now have the tools to decide which program is right for you. We wish you luck with your Columbia University application! 

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