Overall applications to CC and SEAS decreased by 8.9 percent this year, following last year’s record-setting 33.4 percent increase.
Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science received 31,818 applications for the class of 2016, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jessica Marinaccio said in a statement.
If Columbia were to accept the same number of students this year as it did last year, the admit rate would increase from 6.9 percent to about 7.5 percent.
“Columbia has seen increases in application volume in past years and has become increasingly selective as a result. This, however, has never been our primary goal,” Marinaccio said in the statement.
Last year’s record increase was widely attributed to Columbia’s move to the Common Application. Marinaccio noted that in the two years since switching to the Common App, applications increased by 21.5 percent overall, which she said is consistent with the 10 to 25 percent two-year increases seen by other colleges that made the switch.
“Our application numbers this year appear to be normalizing to a size consistent with this trend and at a level that continues to indicate strong student interest,” Marinaccio said.
She added that Harvard University’s and Princeton University’s adoption of early admission programs this year likely contributed to the decrease in applications to Columbia. Early decision applications to CC decreased by seven percent this year, although SEAS saw a 12 percent increase in early applications.
Ethan Edwards, CC ’15, agreed that Harvard and Princeton’s early application programs were likely partially responsible for Columbia’s application decrease. Edwards also speculated that the economy could be a factor, considering Columbia’s high price tag.
“I would guess the decline would be due to the economy, and I think that, as it shows that effect, it’s kind of tragic,” Edwards said.
The only other Ivy League school that has released overall applications numbers this year is the University of Pennsylvania, where applications fell by 1.7 percent, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
Several students, though, said that the drop in applications does not say much about Columbia, either positive or negative.
“I don’t care at all about it,” Elias Dagher, CC ’15, said. “Whatever school you go to, if you learn something, it’s good.”
Jeremy Budd and Ben Gittelson contributed reporting.