Valedictorian

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The Valedictorian of Columbia College is selected each year by the faculty Committee on Honors, Awards, and Prizes each year along with the Salutatorian. The valedictorian gets to deliver a speech at Class Day.

Each year COHAP identifies no more than 15 students with GPAs over 4.00 on the basis of the "strength, breadth, depth, and rigor of the student's academic achievements as well as on evidence of the student's intellectual promise, character, and achievement outside the classroom." Following the identification of this cohort, the departments in which the students majored are contacted and asked to submit evaluations of the identified students, which are used by the committee in selecting the winners.

For a period, Rabi Scholars dominated the Valedictorian competition, having been selected as the Val in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007. This may have been a result of their tendency to be among the brightest science students accepted to Columbia (and therefore likely to take advantage of the GPA bias inherent in the hard sciences, where top students earn A+s, a grade typically not awarded by professors in 'softer' disciplines), the close relationship with faculty that the scholars typically enjoy, or a combination of the two.

The overwhelming next move for valedictorians in the last decade has been a PhD, with every valedictorian since at least 2002 earning or having earned one.

Because the qualifications for it are virtually synonymous, valedictorians usually also receive the Albert Asher Green Memorial Prize.

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Valedictorians of Columbia College

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Valedictorians of SEAS

Valedictorians of School of General Studies

Valedictorians of Barnard College

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