2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Is Columbia's college edge program worth it, and how competitive are admissions?

I am considering applying to Columbia's college edge program for this upcoming academic year. It would be an opportunity to study at Columbia for about 2 months. However, I'm wondering if tis just a way to get funding, or if it actually offers a unique academic experience. Keep in mind, this isn't to look good for colleges, I just want to know if the experience itself is worth it. Also, how competitive are the admissions? Do I bother applying or is it virtually impossible to get in? I have a 3.94 UW and a 4.18 W GPA, but I got one B+ in the last quarter of my junior year. I still ended up with an A- on my transcript, but they require your last report card, so I' wondering if this will automatically take me out of the running.


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

@sophiebeatriz what do you mean by "I'm wondering if tis just a way to get funding?"

There is no known funding for this program.

"Financial Aid

Financial aid funding is not available for this program. Students are advised to check with their guidance counselors for information on securing financial assistance from outside sources."

Attending this program should be only for those who value the idea of both getting transferable college credit from a Top Ivy League College and want to have gain first hand experience of attending classes at their Morningside Heights campus with other high achieving students.

I do not think it's very hard to get admitted into the program. You just need a 3.3+ UWGPA and 2 teacher recommendations.

Application Materials

Completed application form

$80.00 nonrefundable application fee payment in U.S. currency must accompany the application. Applicants must include credit card information through the online application to make the payment.

Application Forms:


Writing sample (3-10 pages)

The writing sample must be a graded assignment from your high school that showcases an example of your best expository writing and bears your name on the document itself.

Statement of Purpose (600–800 words)

The statement should address the following:

A brief summary of your academic background and your personal and academic goals. Clearly articulated ideas regarding why the College Edge program appeals to you and how participation in the program will help you realize your academic and personal goals. A description of a situation in which you contributed to the learning of your fellow students in the classroom that will allow the admissions committee to consider how you would fit into a learning experience at the university level.


Applicants must list all institutions attended in grades 9-12 and should upload their unofficial academic transcript(s) within the application system at the time of application, including the most recent report card for the current school year. Transcripts must be in PDF format as provided by your school. PDF downloads of unofficial transcripts from student portals can be accepted only if they clearly show your full name, your school’s name, the full name of all courses taken, and all grades achieved in those courses.

If Columbia University is your top choice, then I think that attending this and getting a A in 1 or 2 pre-college courses that earn college credit means you are a.) a strong potential student and b.) have familiarity with the course rigor and expectations. I do not think attending these in any way give you any measurable preferential treatment however I'm sure that admissions officers reading your file will take a mental note of your demonstrated interest in the school and your attempt to improve your IV/IC rating by taking college level courses outside of your high school curriculum. Or you can take the view from a business perspective that if your family can afford you to attend these, then the school knows you are potentially a full pay candidate this school. Every college offering these programs use them to test drive potential full pay applicants because despite their large endowment positions, they still want to admit a certain amount of full pay students because it aligns with their future giving campaigns.

If spending $13644 for 2 courses is within your families means, then I think you have to make the final decision if this is worth it. I took 2 outlier.org courses for $800 prior to applying to Columbia and earned 6 transferable college credits from UPitt for Calculus and Psychology. I had to submit by college transcript to Columbia after I was accepted because they wanted all my transcripts.

Since I live in Oregon, I was personally not able to attend an in person program like this. Even if I lived in NY, I'm not sure I would do this because there is no financial aid for this pre-college program.

Good luck and I hope you figure it out.

2 years ago

I think that the program is worth applying to so long as you already have a competitive activities list. Since this program lasts two months and will not give you a huge boost in the admissions process (it will just give you a few points for demonstrating interest in Columbia), you want to make sure that you have done/are doing activities that do give you a boost.

Though it is a for-profit program as you were wondering, it offers an enriching experience that will give you a taste of daily life as a college student. College Edge is not extremely competitive because of its high cost - the most selective programs are free ones, such as NYO-USA. You will be a competitive applicant with your UW and W GPAs, and note that admissions is also based on your recommendation letters and essays. Hope this helps!

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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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