|Students who got into Columbia say:|
Essay (11) |
| | Make sure you're better than everyone in your class. No, I'm seroius. Start planning before high school- get the top grades, stick to one thing you love (I did fencing, got awards, became famous in the field etc) and write a really amazing essay. Suck up to your teachers, the teacher recs would be the MOST important of your application, no kidding there. Then you need luck.
I took the SAT, ACT, essays, and an interview (though it is not required. I do not recommend Columbia to those considering it, and wish the those arriving on campus this fall much luck, they're going to need it.
| Political Science|
| Aug 13 2008 | I honestly don't know why I got in, they say it was my essay, I say it was probably a combo of things including the fact that I'm mixed and they can add to the diversity of the campus.
The short answer is (duh): work hard. Honestly. Sacrifice socializing and down time in favor of studying, writing papers, and doing truly ridiculous amounts of extracurriculars. There are a few useful, specific pieces of advice I can give. For one thing, find a niche, something (academic or extracurricular) that you can really emphasize. For instance, I'm into Latin- I've taken it for six years, I'm a member of the JCL (Junior Classical League), I've participated in Latin quiz bowls, and I've gotten an award for having four gold medals on the National Latin Exam, as well as a five on last year's A.P. Latin Lit Exam. I mentioned all these in my application, and wrote part of my essay about the JCL. Apparently, it worked. Speaking of essays, spend a lot of time writing and re-writing. Write a couple, and have as many other people look at them as possible. Now is not the time to be afraid of judgment. Remember, the admissions officers are going to look at them eventually no matter what-- better to proofread now than regret it later. About essay content: be original, be funny, take suggestions from others, but don't go out of your way to be controversial. No need to take too many risks. If you're deciding between writing about your summer in Alaska and why you oppose the current social security system, pick Alaska. Always pick Alaska.
| Language - French/Spanish/etc.|| Dec 26 2006 |
(not both, obviously, but one or the other)
But other than that, getting yourself into college is really a lot of tedious, hard work. That said, there's really no need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on SAT prep and college counseling. It's difficult, but the requirements aren't hard to figure out: Should you be in APs? Yup. Habitat for Humanity? Yup. Girl/Boy Scouts(not both, obviously, but one or the other)? Yup. Get higher SATs than you can reasonably be expected to get? Yessirree Bob. Yes, the quest to get into college takes over your life. Sorry. Yes, admissions are unbelievably competitive, and even if you do all of the above, you're not guaranteed a spot. Sorry again. But, horrible and awful and evil and lamentable though it is, the fact is that, while working hard doesn't guarantee you a place in the Ivy League, slacking off DOES guarantee you a thin envelope.
A small piece of comfort: even in this uncertain day and age, there is hope. Nothing is certain any more, but, as a female, non-minority, non-athlete, non-prizewinning novella writer, I can tell you that working hard throughout high school does have its rewards. And I have the beautiful, wonderful,"Yes, we want you" letter from Columbia to prove it. Good luck!