How hard will it be to get into Columbia University for 2017?

I was born in July of '99 and I live in NYC and I am an 8th grader, male and I go to a Gifted and Talented Middle School. I will be a Freshman in college in 2017 but I will start to apply for college in the 11th grade in 2016. I want to do something in technology (like a engineer in technology or something like that). I took the SHSAT not the SAT, but SHSAT on Nov. 18th at Brooklyn Technical High School.

The SHSAT is:

Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT)

Who takes this test?

Students in grades 8 or 9 who wish to apply to New York City’s Specialized high schools must take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) and submit an application listing their choices of schools in order of preference.

Testing Locations

The test is given in late October(8th grade) or early November(9th grade). The test is administered at testing centers located in each of the city's 5 boroughs. In recent years, students who reside in Manhattan take it at Stuyvesant High School, in the Bronx at Bronx High School of Science, in Brooklyn at Brooklyn Technical High School, in Queens at Long Island City High School or John Adams High School, and in Staten Island at Staten Island Technical High School.

What is on the test?

The SHSAT is a timed multiple-choice test with two sections, verbal and math, that must be completed in a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes. In the first section, students demonstrate their verbal reasoning and reading comprehension by ordering sentences to form a coherent paragraph, answering questions of logical reasoning, and analyzing and interpreting texts. In the second section, students demonstrate their math skills by answering computational and word questions that require arithmetic, algebra, probability, statistics, geometry, and trigonometry (on the Grade 9 test only).

How are the results reported?

The results are reported as scale scores. Scale scores are based on the number of questions that the student answered correctly, combined with the difficulty level of the questions. Students receive scale scores for the verbal and mathematics sections of the test, which are added together to make their composite score. After scores are released to the schools in March, students and their parents may review the results of their examination by requesting an appointment with a Department of Education assessment specialist.

How are the results used?

Students are ranked according to their scores on the test, and assigned to a school depending on their rank on the list, the priority in which they placed schools, and the seats available at each school. According to a New York State law known as the Hecht-Calandra Act, this is the only method that these schools may use to determine admission. Admission to the remaining specialized high school, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, is determined by audition rather than by examination

The Specialized high schools that require the SHSAT are: Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College, High School for American Studies at Lehman College,Queens High School for Sciences at York College, Staten Island Technical High School, and Stuyvesant High School).

I was supposed to take the test on October 28th at Brooklyn Technical High School but due to Hurricane Sandy, the test was postponed to November 18th. I want to go to Stuyvesant High School, which is arguably the best specialized high school in NYC and it is also, the hardest to get into, you have you get a 85% or above on the SHSAT to get in. All the specialized high schools are rigorous, challenging and all that, it prepares us for college (ie. Columbia). Alot of students who attend Stuy (that's what we call Stuyvesant High School) end up going to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Cornell and all that.

So how hard do you think it will be to get in into Columbia in '17? Will it be just as hard as now? Will it even harder than now? You don't know?

Please, tell me it's my dream school.


October 27th: Some 8th graders took the exam because that is the dated, they were scheduled to take the SHSAT.

The October 28th, the 8th grade SHSAT was postponed to Nov.18th

The November 3rd, the 9th grade SHSAT was postponed to Nov.17th

On average about 20,000 8th graders take the exam but only 6,000 get offers.

On average only about 400 out of the more than 10,000 NYC 9th graders take the SHSAT and only about 100 out of the 400 9th grade test takers get into a school.

I'm sorry for all the info, but I just wanted to give you info about the SHSAT because not all of you are from NYC and even if you were, you may not know about the SHSAT.

1 Answer

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    You don't apply for college until your senior year, with the deadlines for many top colleges being around January 1. But the summer before your senior year, you can look at the last year's Common Application pdf to do a practice app. It won't change much for your year, so doing a practice Common App during the summer will make the process go faster when you do it for real online.

    Common App PDFs

    To be helpful, someone would need to know your SHSAT score and what school you got into.

    Admissions to Columbia will likely be more competitive in a few years. It's extremely competitive now, about 7% admit rate, and about 85% of applicants are qualified. The admit rate stays similar year to year, but is on a downward trend.

    You'll want to study for the SAT starting the summer before 9th grade, just light studying, getting more intense each summer. You will likely take the SAT in the spring of your junior year and then again in the fall of your senior year. Use your summers wisely, look into community service and volunteer internships. Maybe a counselor at middle school can help for next summer, when you're in high school, they definitely should be able to give you good ideas.

    Have you been on the Columbia campus? Start making visits now to see if you like the vibe. Since you're on the east coast already, you should apply to any Ivy that has the program you're interested in. They're so close to each other. (Well, by LA, CA standards, so weird going state to state in an hour.)

    The Ivies are a Reach for all students, even those with perfect everything stats, major national awards, top grades at the most rigorous private schools.

    You should look into Cooper Union in the East Village. It's a great college that offers almost free tuition to it's students, you just pay about $1000, plus housing which is about $10,000, and personal expenses. The cost of admission (tuition, fees, room & board, books, personal expenses) to most private colleges is $60,000 per school year, with financial aid available to those who qualify, but it may not cover all expenses. Admission is about as competitive as Columbia.

    Cooper Union

    Good luck!

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