How I got accepted to Columbia University with 100% scholarship

First year
Sep 22, 2022
2 mins read


Columbia University
Columbia University


๐Ÿ’ผ Bachelor: Biology
โณ Sep 2022 โ€” May 2026
๐Ÿ“ New York City,
๐Ÿ—ฃ English
โœ… Student Visa
Columbia University
Columbia University
๐Ÿ“ New York City,
๐Ÿ—ฃ English
๐Ÿ’ฐ 100% Financial Need Met
๐Ÿค“ 31,000 Students
๐ŸŒ 35% International

Yonara, who got accepted to Columbia University in New York with 100% scholarship was interviewed by @megan, Borderless ambassador. Enjoy!

Hello everyone! My name is Yonara Anastacio and I am from Lima, Peru.ย I started studying at Columbia University 2 weeks ago with a major in Biology and a minor in Computer Science. I am currently in my first year of undergraduate studies.

First day at Columbia๐ŸŽ‰
First day at Columbia๐ŸŽ‰

Why I chose Columbia

Columbia has always been my dream university! It has various centers like the career center, where mentors help you with internships, exchange programs, and general adaptation to campus and new environments. People here are so friendly, many of them from the same background as me. Professors are at the maximum level of knowledge. I also always wanted to live in New York๐Ÿ—ฝ๐ŸŽ

Application processย 

I applied through the Common app, a platform where you can apply to up to 20 colleges in the US. You need to provide personal information, write essays, do international exams (like the TOEFL, Duolingo English Test, SAT) and send recommendation letters from your school teachers. Also, submit your extracurriculars.

My extracurriculars were:

  • Building a robot

  • Recycling

  • Playing piano

  • Designing a website

  • Teaching little kids in my community

Since covid, most of the universities made international tests optional but in Columbia's case, you were required to submit TOEFL or Duolingo tests. SAT and ACT were optional. My TOELF score is 100+ and my Duolingo score is 120. Columbia's average scores are 10-20 points more.

The application fee was 85 USD. I submitted my application in January via Regular Decision.


I got a 100% scholarship that covers everything from tuition (which is one of the most expensive things at Columbia) to books, personal expenses, flights, room, and more. I completed the CSS profile and thoroughly declared my family's income & expenses.

Tips for prospective students

  • BE YOU!!! It may seem clichรฉ, but it's very important to express yourself by talking and writing the way you really are.

  • Be confident and imagine that your application is a success and one year later you will be on that campus!

  • Start writing essays early to have time to review them over and over. Make sure to describe how you would share your own culture and be of value to the university's campus.

  • Donโ€™t worry a lot about standardized tests, because many are optional due to pandemic

  • But do worry about required tests such as TOEFL or Duolingo. Start preparing early so that if your score is not high enough on the first try, you can take it again.

  • Be patient, it is a long journey and it needs time to be great

  • Have trust in your teachers to provide great recommendation letters that play a crucial role in college applications.

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