Selecting the Right Time to Apply to Columbia Before the Regular Decision Deadline

Columbia UniversityColumbia Business School is one of the few top MBA programs that offers a unique rolling admissions format for submitting your application. The standard concept behind rolling admissions is that the school offers a window for applicants to apply to the program (as opposed to the traditional 3-round admissions schedule). What makes this format unique is that instead of waiting for all applications to be received after the deadline to review, the school reviews the applications as they arrive.

This format provides lots of flexibility to candidates but can also present some unique challenges when deciding the best time to apply. Typically for more traditional application deadlines, as long as a candidate submits their application prior to the deadline, there is no advantage to the timing. However, with rolling admissions schools like Columbia, the timing of your submission can be advantageous (or problematic) for your candidacy.

Columbia’s Regular Decision deadline is historically in April, with the following year’s applications being released shortly afterwards – typically in May or June. With such a long application cycle and no clear round-by-round distinction, some candidates may cheer at all the time they have to apply to Columbia. But not so fast – there are some clear advantages to applying early. Let’s discuss the advantages of applying to Columbia Regular Decision early:

Scholarships
Business school can be very pricey, and with its Ivy League stature, Columbia is no different. Columbia sets a January submission deadline every year for those interested in being considered for merit fellowships. By applying months in advance of the deadline, early applicants can ensure they have a chance at additional funding for their Columbia education.

Space
Although Columbia’s application goes live every year early in the summer, even as a rolling admissions school, the Admissions Committee does not start reviewing applications until early December. The earlier candidates can submit their application, the more space there will be in the potential class, the smaller the current pool of other applicants there will be, and the higher visibility their application will have.

Interest
Applying early is a strong sign of interest to Columbia. A school like Columbia that regularly competes with other top programs (such Wharton, HBS, and Kellogg) for top talent, wants to know that their application is a priority to you. The fact that the school has an Early Decision option signals the value it places on interest in attending Columbia. So, submitting an application right after January for the April deadline is not the best indicator of your interest, or of your preparation for pursuing an MBA at Columbia.

These are just a few tips to help make sure you are submitting your Regular Decision application to Columbia at the right time. For more thoughts on Columbia, check out our Essential Guide to Top Business Schools for free, here.

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Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.