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VOL. 22, NO. 21APRIL 18, 1997

Columbia College Breaks Admissions Records Again

By Amy Callahan

As applications have risen, the admit rate has declined from 32.3 percent to 17.3 percent. Chart: Office of Planning and Institutional Research
Columbia College has set another record this year as more applicants than ever sought admission to the incoming first-year class. This year more than 11,000 students applied for Columbia's Class of 2001, making it the most selective in the history of the College.

  "We continue to attract the best students in the country," said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Chris Colombo. "As the applicant pool continues to grow, the academic quality has remained very strong."

  The mean SAT score of the applicant pool increased slightly this year, to 1,403.

  Since 1991, the number of applications to Columbia College has nearly doubled, from 5,828 in 1991 to 11,192 in 1997. In the same timeframe, the admit rate to the College has dropped from 32.3 percent to 17.3 percent.

  Also setting a record this year was the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), which received 1,902 applications for 290 spots.

  "This year's record demonstrates once again the growing popularity of Columbia in providing an undergraduate education and experience," Colombo said. "We have seen phenomenal increases in the last few years in particular."

  Admissions officials believe there are several reasons for the increase, including New York City's renaissance, Columbia's improved national visibility, the recent attention to the Core and beefed up recruitment efforts.

  "The admissions staff continues to do a terrific job recruiting applicants from a national and international pool," Colombo said. "This year we expanded our 'Intro Nights' program. This program, which is held in towns and cities across the country, brings students, their families and high school counselors together with admissions representatives and alumni for a presentation on Columbia."

  Colombo said he is also pleased with the new generation of admissions publications, which promote both the Core and the advantages of studying in New York City.

  Earlier this year, Columbia made national news as the only Ivy League college to experience an increase in early decision applications while the other schools saw a decrease.

  Columbia seems to be maintaining the trend in overall admissions as well. For example, Harvard this year received almost 1,600 fewer applications, down from 18,183 to 16,594 applications for 1,650 spots in the Harvard Class of 2001. Harvard accepted 2,040 applicants. At Yale, the number of applications dropped by more than 1,000 to about 11,900 for approximately 1,300 places.

  Columbia College, still the smallest undergraduate school among the eight Ivies, accepted 1,941 students for 955 spots. This includes the nearly 400 students (of almost 900 applicants) who were accepted early decision.