How To Get Into Columbia University As An Indian Student [2023]

How to get into Columbia University, one of the world’s most prestigious Ivy League institutions, is a question that resonates with ambitious Indian students seeking a transformative academic experience and unparalleled opportunities.

Columbia University stands as a beacon of excellence in research and education on a global scale. It has demonstrated exceptional academic excellence, as evidenced by its impressive rankings. According to the Times Higher Education Ranking of 2023, the university has achieved the 11th position globally, reflecting its outstanding contributions to the field of education.

Additionally, in the esteemed QS World University Rankings of the same year, Columbia University has secured the 22nd position, further attesting to its exceptional standing in the academic community. These remarkable achievements firmly establish Columbia University as one of the leading institutions in the academic world.

Situated in New York, Columbia recognizes the immense value of its location and actively strives to forge connections between its cutting-edge research and the abundant resources of this bustling metropolis.

Moreover, Columbia actively cultivates academic partnerships with numerous countries and regions, further augmenting its commitment to knowledge dissemination and cross-cultural collaboration. If New York is where you want to study, the Columbia is a superb option, given that you have what it takes to make it there. Additionally, NYU is also a great choice, even though it is not an Ivy League. You can also explore getting into Stanford, if that’s your dream college.

As we delve into the topic of how Indian students can secure admission to Columbia University, we will explore the various facets of the university’s admissions process, highlighting key considerations, requirements, and strategies that can greatly enhance an aspiring student’s chances of success.

Why study at Columbia as an Indian Student?

Studying at Columbia University as an Indian student can provide you with a transformative educational experience, global exposure, access to a strong alumni network, and a launching pad for a successful career. It is an investment in your future, enabling personal growth, intellectual development, and the acquisition of skills that will set you apart in a competitive global landscape. Here are top seven reasons to study at Columbia.

1. Academic Excellence

Columbia University is renowned for its academic rigour and world-class faculty, offering a stimulating and challenging learning environment. As an Indian student, you can benefit from exceptional educational opportunities and access a wide range of top-ranked programmes across various disciplines.

2. Global Recognition

Columbia University holds a prestigious position among the world’s leading universities, consistently ranking high in global university rankings. It is ranked 11th in the world by Times Higher Education Ranking 2023 and 22nd by QS World University Rankings 2023.  By studying at Columbia, you can earn a degree from an internationally recognized institution, enhancing your credentials and opening doors to global career opportunities.

3. Diversity and Inclusion

Columbia University values diversity and fosters an inclusive community. As an Indian student, you will join a vibrant and diverse student body, interacting with students from all 50 states, over 100 countries, and various backgrounds. This multicultural environment provides rich opportunities for cross-cultural exchange, networking, and broadening your worldview.

4. Extensive Research Opportunities

Columbia is a major center for cutting-edge research across a wide range of disciplines. As an Indian student, you can engage in innovative research projects, work alongside distinguished faculty, and contribute to advancements in your field of interest.

5. Strong Alumni Network

It boasts a robust global alumni network, including successful Indian alumni who have excelled in various fields. This network can provide valuable connections, mentorship opportunities, and career guidance, giving you a competitive edge as you navigate your post-graduate journey.

6. Career Prospects

Graduates from Columbia University are highly sought after by employers worldwide. The university’s strong reputation, coupled with its location in New York City, a hub of global industries, offers abundant internship and job opportunities.

7. Financial Aid and Scholarships

Columbia University demonstrates its commitment to providing financial support by awarding a substantial amount of financial aid grants. In total, $202 million has been awarded in financial aid grants, with an additional $19 million specifically allocated for international financial aid. Furthermore, Columbia University proudly boasts the fourth largest international student population among all U.S. universities, reflecting its diverse and inclusive community that welcomes students from around the world.

Columbia University

Diversity, Excellence, and Global Opportunities

1. Selective Admissions

Admission rate of 3.9% ensures a highly selective and accomplished student body.

2. Diverse and Inclusive Community

Students from all 50 states, additional territories, and 101 countries foster a global and inclusive learning environment.

3. Financial Accessibility and Support

Meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need for all first-year students, regardless of citizenship, ensures accessibility and support.

4. Welcoming International Community

Over 17,000 international students and scholars contribute to a vibrant multicultural atmosphere.

5. Cross-Cultural Exchange and Networking

Representation from 145 countries provides valuable opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and networking.

6. Strong Career Prospects

Graduates benefit from a strong job market, with an average base pay of $50,003 per year. Technical postgraduates enjoy an even higher average base pay of $115,770, opening doors to rewarding career prospects.

How much does it cost to Study at Columbia University for Indian Students?

Columbia University recognizes the financial barriers faced by Indian and international students aspiring to study at this esteemed institution and strives to provide various forms of assistance. The different types of aid offered include:

1. Start-up Grant

To ease the transition for incoming first-year students from low-income families, Columbia University offers a generous start-up grant of $2,000. This grant provides initial support to help students settle into their academic journey.

2. Free Tuition for Low-Income Families

Students hailing from families with annual incomes of less than $150,000 are eligible for free tuition. This initiative aims to make education accessible for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

3. Parent Contribution Waiver

Students from families with annual incomes below $66,000 are relieved of any parent contribution.

4. No Loans

Columbia University’s commitment to financial accessibility extends to ensuring that loans are not used to meet financial need or included in initial financial aid awards. This policy alleviates the burden of student loans and provides a more sustainable financial aid package.

Columbia University is dedicated to supporting Indian students in pursuing their academic goals by offering financial assistance that promotes equal opportunities for all. By availing these financial support programmes, Indian students can embark on their educational journey at Columbia University with confidence and focus on their intellectual growth and future success.

The key student expenses include:

  • Flat tuition charge applies to all Columbia College students, including visitors, regardless of the number of credits taken. The charge for the 2022-2023 academic year is $31,285 per term.
  • Postgraduate special students and degree candidates in their ninth term are billed based on the per-point system. Per-point cost for postgraduate special students and ninth-term degree candidates is $2,092.
  • Non-resident visa holders are subject to an international services charge of $135 per term. The total international services charge for the 2022-2023 academic year is $270. The international services charge supports the University’s services provided to international students.
Estimate of the cost of attending Columbia College for 2022–2023
Tuition $62,570
Mandatory Fees $2,954
Average Room and Board Cost $16,156
Books and Personal Expenses $3,672
Travel varies
Total $85,352 + Travel

What are the Eligibility Criteria?

The admissions process at Columbia University follows a holistic approach, taking into consideration various factors to assess a student’s potential for success and contribution to the university community. An $85 nonrefundable fee is required to apply to Columbia University. Here are the key aspects of the application review:

1. Holistic Evaluation

Columbia University evaluates applications comprehensively, considering all components of the application to gain a deeper understanding of the applicant. This includes reviewing personal statements, transcripts, school reports, teacher recommendations, and Columbia-specific application questions.

2. Contextual Consideration

The review process at Columbia takes into account the individual context in which the student has developed, considering family circumstances, responsibilities, access to resources, and systemic advantages or barriers.

3. Need-Blind Review

Columbia University practices a need-blind review for US citizens, permanent residents, undocumented students, and eligible non-citizens.

4. Committee-Based Evaluation

Each application is thoroughly reviewed by multiple admissions officers, engaging in discussion and examination to ensure a fair and thorough evaluation process.

5. Criteria for Fit

Columbia seeks students who align with the university’s values, goals, and unique experience.

6. Academic Preparation

Strong academic performance is an important criterion for admission. Columbia looks for students who have excelled in their secondary school coursework, demonstrating a breadth of knowledge and readiness for the rigorous academic environment. The university accepts all secondary school curricula without preference for one over another.

7. Individual Voice

Columbia values students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity, a desire for engagement with others, and the ability to express their unique perspectives. Applicants are encouraged to showcase their interests, experiences, and personal qualities that make them stand out.

8. English Language

Columbia University has English language requirements for non-native English speakers. Applicants can meet these requirements by achieving a minimum score of 105 on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) internet-based test, or a minimum score of 7.5 on the IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

Alternatively, a minimum score of 135 on the DET (Duolingo English Test) is also accepted. It is important to have the scores reported directly to Columbia Undergraduate Admissions. These requirements ensure that non-native English speakers possess the language proficiency necessary for successful academic engagement at Columbia University.

9. Academic Requirements

Recommended secondary school preparation includes four years of English literature and composition, four years of mathematics, three to four years of history and/or social studies, three to four years of laboratory science, and three to four years of one foreign language.

Students aiming for scientific, engineering, medical, or dental careers should have a strong foundation in mathematics and sciences. Columbia Engineering recommends four years of mathematics (including calculus), four years of laboratory science (with a focus on chemistry and physics), four years of English literature and composition, three to four years of history and/or social studies, and two to three years of a foreign language taken during high school.

Overall, the eligibility criteria for admission to Columbia University reflect the institution’s commitment to selecting students who will thrive academically and contribute positively to the university community.

What are the available Columbia University scholarships for Indian Students?

Columbia University is dedicated to making education accessible to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, including international students. They are committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all admitted first-year students, regardless of citizenship.

International students at Columbia University have the opportunity to apply for and receive a significant amount of financial aid. In fact, the university awarded over $17 million in international financial aid for the Class of 2025 alone.

Applicants must indicate their plan to apply for financial aid when submitting their admission application. It is important to note that if admitted without requesting financial aid, international students may not change their status to apply for aid later, even if their financial circumstances change.

Columbia University provides:

1. Need-Aware Evaluation

While the admissions process is similar for all students, international students are evaluated in a need-aware manner. This means that the admissions committee considers a student’s financial need when evaluating their application. All financial aid at Columbia is need-based, with no merit scholarships awarded for academics, athletics, or other talents.

2. Need-Based Financial Aid

On average, international financial aid recipients receive an award of $66,350, which typically includes a Columbia grant and a student work-study job. Loans are not included in financial aid packages, and all international financial aid is covered by institutional resources since international students are not eligible for federal student aid.

By offering substantial financial aid, need-based assistance, and a commitment to accessibility, Columbia University provides opportunities for Indian students to pursue their educational goals and thrive academically in a diverse and supportive environment.

How to get into Columbia University from India?

At TC Global, we are dedicated to providing students with invaluable assistance in securing admission at Columbia University. Our comprehensive resources and services are designed to support students throughout the application process, helping them maximize their chances of acceptance.

Through personalized counseling sessions, we help students choose the right course that aligns with their interests and Columbia’s programmes. Our TC Global Student Portal serves as a centralized platform, offering detailed information about Columbia University and its various courses.

Our experienced Relationship Members (RMs) guide students every step of the way, providing support, advice, and personalized recommendations. We ensure that students stay organized with important deadlines, checklists, and test preparations.

With TC Global’s assistance, students are empowered to present their best selves and significantly increase their likelihood of securing admission to Columbia University.

Follow this comprehensive guide to apply to Columbia University through TC Global:

Step 1: Choose the Right Course

Explore the interdisciplinary options and programmes available at Columbia University. Consider fields of study that align with your interests and goals, and reach out to current or past students for insights into the academic experience.

Step 2: Log in to the TC Global Student Portal

After deciding on a course, log in to the TC Global Student Portal at and click on “Get Started.”

Step 3: Update Your Profile

Once logged in, update your profile with your educational background, work experience, and study plans. This information will help TC Global provide personalized recommendations.

Step 4: Choose Columbia University and the Course

Within the TC Global Student Portal, find the dedicated page for Columbia University. This page offers comprehensive information about the university and its courses. Use the provided filters to narrow down your search and find courses that match your interests.

Step 5: Read up and Shortlist

Utilize the TC Global website to access detailed information about the shortlisted courses based on your profile and preferences. Click on the courses of interest to get a comprehensive overview. All information is available for free with a simple sign-up process.

Step 6: Explore Insights

Stay updated on the latest information about countries, industries, and universities by exploring TCG Insights. This platform provides in-depth reviews and research on top universities, giving you guidance on all aspects of studying abroad. Search for specific information related to countries or courses to gain insights into programme designs.

Step 7: Schedule a Session and Apply

Once you have gathered all the necessary information and shortlisted your desired courses, schedule a meeting with one of TC Global’s Relationship Members (RM). An experienced team member will guide you through the application process for all your chosen universities. The TC Global Student Portal will assist you with deadlines, checklists, tests, and serve as a centralized platform to monitor your application progress. The RM will provide support and guidance throughout the process.

Stay informed about application opening dates and prepare well in advance with TC Global’s assistance. With a clear understanding of the application process for getting into Columbia University, you will be guided to present your best self in your application.

6 Key tips for students planning to apply to Columbia:

Here are some tips from an alumni, Nandini Goel (MBA, Columbia University, 2020) on how to get into Columbia.

1) Have a Clear Vision:

Columbia values students who have a sense of purpose and direction. Clearly articulate your post-graduation goals and how attending Columbia will help you achieve them.

2) Connect Your Vision to Your Personal Story:

Highlight any experiences, interests, or challenges that have shaped your aspirations. Even if there is a gap between your past experiences and your future goals, demonstrate how Columbia’s resources and programs can bridge that gap and contribute to your growth.

3) Engage With the School:

Attend school events and get involved as much as possible. Columbia’s admissions team takes note of your demonstrated interest in the university. Take advantage of opportunities to learn about Columbia’s values, culture, and unique offerings, and incorporate that knowledge into your application.

4) Early Applications:

Apply early as Columbia has rolling admissions.

5) Essays:

Craft your essays with intention, avoiding unnecessary fillers and ensuring that each statement serves a purpose. Lastly, make sure your essays are focused and purposeful, avoiding unnecessary fillers and ensuring that each statement contributes meaningfully to your application.

6) GMAT score:

A strong GMAT score can demonstrate your academic abilities and potential for success in Columbia’s rigorous programs. Having experience in a startup or entrepreneurial environment showcased my initiative, leadership, and problem-solving skills, which align well with Columbia’s entrepreneurial spirit.

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