New York, NY
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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4 College Sophomore

Diversity: Compared to the other Ivies, Columbia is more diverse in race. There are many international students and people of varying sexual orientations. Everyone seems to be very accepting and open to those with different upbringings/experiences.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Diversity: Columbia University is pretty diverse in terms of Ethnic Heritage and Sexual Orientation. It is however fairly homogeneous in terms of politicaal affiliation with just a little diversity in terms of economic status. However, diversity due to ethnic origin and nationality coupled with extreme levels of liberalness makes Columbia seem much more diverse than it actually is.

2 people found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Diversity: My class isn't very diverse, by I see a lot of diversity around campus.

4 College Junior

Diversity: I saw a little of everything.

4 College Sophomore

Diversity: Racial and economic diversity is great, I'd say political atmosphere is mostly liberal but it's nothing you wouldn't expect.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 53rd
    Most Liberal Schools
  • 341st
    Most Open-Minded Schools
  • 1342nd
    Most Conservative Schools

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Sara Cervantes
Austin, TX
English and American Studies
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

As soon as you step onto Columbia's campus, the diversity of the student population is immediately noticeable. Students at Columbia represent 50 states and 150 countries. Accordingly, Columbia boasts to be the most diverse Ivy League college. Walking through campus, one hears a variety of languages being spoken and can see tons of fliers advertising cultural events and organizations. Despite this diversity, the largest represented ethnicity remains Caucasian. That being said, Columbia is incredibly tolerant of people from all walks of life.

This tolerance likely speaks to the nature of the location of Columbia. With a population of more than 8 million people, New York is one of the most diverse cities on the planet, and Columbia aims to be a microcosm of that.

Facts & Statistics

African American
Native American
Historically Black College/University?
Tribal College?
Out-of-State Students
Common States of Residence
  • California
  • Florida
  • Foreign countries
  • New Jersey
  • Texas
Student Age Breakdown
Under 18: 1%
18-19: 12%
20-21: 14%
22-24: 26%
25+: 48%
Female Faculty
Male Faculty
Faculty Diversity
African American: 6%
Asian American: 14%
Hispanic: 4%
International: 7%
Native American: 0%
White: 69%
Unknown: 0%
Gay Pride
Columbia is extremely open to the gay community, which is perhaps a reflection of the makeup of the student population (a common lament is that there are too few straight men to account for the numbers of straight women on Columbia/Barnard campuses). There are multiple organizations with very visible presences on campus. Additionally, the LGBTQ community and its allies are vocal about school policy and have contributed to the efforts to introduce gender-neutral housing on the Columbia campus.
Political Activity
Columbia has a history of being politically active (for reference, Google "Columbia 1968 Protests"). While there does exist a small number of conservative student organizations, Columbia students are generally quite liberal. Furthermore, politically-minded students are often vocal about their beliefs, and various protests can be seen occupying Low Plaza (a highly visible part of campus) a few times a month, if not more frequently. With the recent Occupy movement taking hold of NYC, these political outpourings became more frequent with student and faculty-led walkouts occurring in late 2011.
Economic Status
As with most other Ivy League schools, a large part of the student population comes from privileged backgrounds (wealthy families, private schools, etc.). That being said, there is a fair amount of socioeconomic diversity on campus due to Columbia's commitment to providing financial aid for students exhibiting need. Students as a whole do not generally divide themselves based on economic status, but it isn't an uncommon phenomenon.
Most Common Religions
While most Columbia students do not actively practice religion, there is certainly a variety of religious backgrounds. Judaism is definitely the most visible religion on campus, with Christianity and Islam groups also having an active presence. It's a safe bet that just about every religious preference has a community either on campus or somewhere in the city.
Minority Clubs on Campus
There are tons of minority clubs on campus, which is a necessary reflection of the incredibly diverse student population. These organizations are often very visible, holding social and cultural events frequently throughout the semester. Additionally, Columbia occasionally offers cultural showcases where students can take in acts ranging from bellydance and Bhangra to Latin sambas and lion dance.
Did You Know?
Columbia's dedication to the creation of a diverse community is embodied by its Multicultural Recruitment Committee (MRC). This committee is made up of student interns who work with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in order to ensure that talented students from historically underrepresented groups are given a chance to attend Columbia.

Student Polls

How would you best describe your personal political beliefs?    Based on 54 responses

  • 7% Libertarian
  • 4% Not sure
  • 2% Very conservative
  • 4% Conservative
  • 30% Moderate
  • 30% Liberal
  • 24% Progressive/very liberal

How would you best describe the political beliefs of campus as a whole?    Based on 54 responses

  • 0% Libertarian
  • 0% Very conservative
  • 2% Conservative
  • 13% Moderate
  • 9% Not sure
  • 54% Liberal
  • 22% Progressive/very liberal

How diverse is the student body in the following areas?    Based on 51 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How diverse is your personal circle of friends in the following areas?    Based on 51 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How accepting is the campus community as a whole toward someone who falls into the minority (ethnic, sexual, or religious)?    Based on 54 responses

  • 2% It's hard to be a minority here.
  • 4% The campus is split on its acceptance-not all minority groups are as accepted as others.
  • 24% Most students are accepting, except for a few rare cases of intolerance.
  • 70% Very accepting.



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