Mailing address: Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 1130 Amsterdam Avenue, 212 Hamilton Hall, Mail Code 2807, New York, NY 10027
Office hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Columbia College first-year class of approximately one thousand and seventy students is chosen from a large and diverse group of applicants. In the process of selection, the Committee on Admissions asks questions about each applicant’s academic potential, intellectual strength, and ability to think independently. The Committee also considers the general attitudes and character of the applicant, special abilities and interests, and whether he or she is likely to make productive use of the four years in the College. In its final selection, the College seeks a diversity of personalities, achievements, and talents, and of economic, social, ethnic, racial, and geographic backgrounds. Each applicant’s academic record is examined, together with reports on personal qualities that have been supplied by the principal, headmaster, or counselor, and by teachers. The students’ records of participation in the lives of their schools and communities are also important, as is their performance on standardized tests.
Academic Admission Requirements
The College has no explicit number of unit requirements for admission, but applicants must present evidence that they are prepared to carry on college work in humanities, social science, foreign language, and natural science. Accordingly, the College strongly recommends the following preparation:
English literature and composition
3 or 4
One foreign language (ancient or modern)
3 or 4
History and social studies
3 or 4
3 or 4
Students who plan to become scientists, engineers, physicians, or dentists should be as solidly grounded in mathematics and the sciences as their high school schedules and curricula have permitted. The study of mathematics at least through pre-calculus is strongly advised wherever possible.
Modifying the preparatory program just outlined—by taking more work in
some subjects and less in others—is not only acceptable but may be desirable in
individual cases. The vast majority of successful applicants to the College have taken five academic courses per term.
Early Decision Application Deadline
Applications must be postmarked by November 1, 2013 (for students applying for the 2014-2015 academic year).
Regular Decision Application Deadline
Applications must be postmarked by January 1, 2014 (for students applying for the 2014-2015 academic year).
How to Apply
Columbia utilizes The Common Application, Columbia's Writing Supplement, and additional required materials. Visit http://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/apply.
An application fee of $85 (or a fee waiver from the applicant's school) is required and may be paid on-line with a credit card or e-check at the time of application. Cash and checks will not be accepted. This fee helps to cover the actual cost of processing the application; it is not refundable and is not credited toward tuition or other charges.
Visiting the Campus
Campus tours and information sessions are available at the Visitors Center, 213 Low Library. They are offered on most weekdays and some Saturdays. To register for a campus visit, please see http://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/visit, or call the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 212-854-2522.
Volunteer members of Columbia's Alumni Representative Committee (ARC) conduct interviews throughout the world from October through February every year on behalf of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. However, because there are a finite number of alumni and current student volunteers to interview many thousands of candidates, the Admissions Office is unable to grant interviews to all applicants and can provide no guarantee that an interview will be available in any given area.
After the applicant submits The Common Application and Columbia's Writing Supplement, the student's name and contact information will be provided to local interviewers; if an interviewer is able to meet with an applicant, the applicant is contacted directly by e-mail or by phone. Interviews are not offered on campus. Some applicants may be offered interviews via phone or video chat if an interviewer is not able to meet in person – please know that all types of interviews have equal weight in the interview process.
Candidates who are not offered an interview are not at any disadvantage in the admissions process. Because the actual assignment of interviews is not conducted by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the Admissions Office respectfully asks that applicants do not call or write to inquire about receiving an interview. Applicants will be contacted directly if an interview is available in the same area as their high school.
Standardized Tests Required For Admission
Please visit http://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/apply for the most up-to-date information on Columbia College's standardized testing polices. For information about the SAT, students should visit the Educational Testing Service website. Students needing information on ACT testing should visit the ACT website.
Applicants must be certain to have their standardized test results reported directly to Columbia University by the testing agency. Students are required to report all standardized testing. Please complete test registration forms with these codes:
SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject Tests, TOEFL: code 2116. ACT: code 2719.
Please do not use the "rush" service in sending test scores to Columbia; doing so does not expedite the processing of test scores.
Notice of Final Decision
Applicants are notified in late March of the action taken on their applications (see exception under Early Decision). Columbia College subscribes to the College Board’s Candidates Reply Date, whereby a number of colleges agree not to require acceptance of admission from a candidate before May 1 of each year.
Early Decision Admission
All candidates for admission to Columbia College are eligible to apply for an early decision on their applications if the College is their first choice and if their completed applications are submitted by November 1. Early Decision applicants must meet the standardized testing requirements outlined above. In mid-December, Early Decision applicants receive notification of acceptance, denial, or deferral to regular decision status. Candidates admitted under the Early Decision plan are obliged to accept Columbia’s offer of admission and withdraw all other applications for admission. Only students who, after consultation with the Office of Financial Aid, cite financial reasons for not attending are released from the Early Decision agreement.
Early admission is granted occasionally to students of special promise who have completed the junior year of secondary school and who meet these requirements:
- They must have maintained an outstanding academic record in their secondary schools;
- They must have the physical, intellectual, and emotional maturity to handle the rigorous program at Columbia;
- They must have the full endorsement of their secondary schools.
Applicants for early admission should follow the normal procedure to apply, but make sure that their applications indicate that they are applying for early admission.
Admission with Advanced Placement
The College grants credit for work completed under the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board. The College also grants credit for work completed under other standardized programs such as the International Baccalaureate, British A-level courses, and so forth. For details, see Programs of Study–Placement and Credit.
Each year the College admits, to the sophomore and junior classes, transfer students from other colleges. These students are said to be admitted with advanced standing (see Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts and Programs of Study).
March 1, 2014 (for September 2014)
How to Apply
Transfer applicants use The Common Application for Transfers, and students should consult http://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/apply/transfer for special directions and information regarding financial aid, housing, and the transferability of credits. The Common Application for Transfers can be accessed through the Undergraduate Admissions website. Candidates must be sure that the Office of Admissions receives official transcripts from all secondary schools and colleges attended. The Committee on Admissions expects to receive a report on course work in progress or an additional official transcript sent at the conclusion of the term. The application fee of $85 must be sent by credit card or e-check with The Common Application; it is not refundable and is not credited toward tuition or other fees.
The Visiting Student Program
Columbia College welcomes students who wish to spend all or part of an academic year in New York. The program is not open to first-year students. Students may enter in either January or September and may spend one or two consecutive semesters at Columbia. Application deadlines are March 15 for September entrance and November 1 for January entrance. Transfer applications from visiting students are not permitted. No financial aid is available to visiting students, but they are welcome to use financial aid from their home institutions.
How to Apply
Please visit http://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/apply/visiting-students for application instructions and to access the Visiting Student Program application. The application fee of $85 must be sent with the Visiting Student Program application; it is not refundable and is not credited toward tuition or other fees. Also required of all applicants is a letter from a college dean certifying that the applicant is in good academic and disciplinary standing, and an official college transcript. These documents should be directed to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 1130 Amsterdam Avenue, 212 Hamilton Hall, Mail Code 2807, New York, NY 10027.
International Students and Students Schooled in Other Countries
International students, regardless of citizenship, must follow the standard application process. This includes taking the SAT and two SAT Subject Tests and may also require a test of English proficiency. Applicants should carefully review the instructions provided by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
To be considered for admission to Columbia, a candidate must be comfortable with rapid, idiomatic spoken English. An applicant whose home language is not English and whose primary language of instruction has not been English for at least five years is required to take an English proficiency examination no later than December during the application process. Both examinations listed here are given all over the world several times a year. Applicants who have earned a score of 650 on either the Critical Reading or the Writing section of the SAT are exempt from taking an English proficiency examination.
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Applicants are urged to visit the TOEFL website as quickly as possible for information on this test. A minimum score of 600 (paper-based test) or 100 (Internet-based test) is necessary for admission to Columbia. Scores must be reported directly to Columbia (code 2116).
- IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Applicants are urged to visit the IELTS website as quickly as possible for information on this test. A minimum score of 7.0 is necessary for admission to Columbia. Scores must be reported directly to Columbia Undergraduate Admissions.
All students enrolling at Columbia whose first language is not English or who received their secondary or university education in countries where English is not the native language are required to take the Columbia University English Language Placement Test at the time of enrollment (registration), even if they have taken the TOEFL or the IELTS. Students who do not meet the standards of the university may be required to take English language courses before beginning or in conjunction with their programs of study. No credit is given for these courses, and students should bear in mind the possibility that the period of study in the United States may be lengthened by the need to gain the required proficiency in English. Provisions should therefore be made for the additional living and tuition expenses that may have to be met.
Visas and Funding
After an offer of admission to Columbia has been accepted, foreign students must request documentation for a student (F-1) visa. Foreign students holding an F-1 visa are required by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service to carry a full program of study and can accept employment only with prior permission. Students in F-1 status may work part time (up to 20 hours per week) on campus with the permission of the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). Application for permission to work off campus may be made only after a full academic year in F-1 status. Permission to work off campus is given only when regulations allow and requires the prior written approval of the ISSO. Employment during either the academic year or the summer should not be considered a major means of support while at Columbia. Questions about immigration-related matters may be addressed to the ISSO at 212-854-3587 or email@example.com; please visit their web page at www.columbia.edu/cu/isso/. Applicants to Columbia are evaluated without regard to their need for financial aid if they are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or students granted refugee visas by the United States; all other candidates seeking financial aid should be aware that financial need is taken into account when evaluating candidates for admission. All financial aid awarded by Columbia is offered only on the basis of financial need. Financial aid awards for foreign students, including job and grant components, are funded entirely through university resources, as federal and state funds are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. More information is contained in the instructions for admissions and financial aid applications.
Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)
Columbia College welcomes students who have received ROTC scholarships. Since Columbia does not offer ROTC courses on its campus, students with Army ROTC scholarships enroll in ROTC courses at Fordham University, while students with Air Force ROTC scholarships take their ROTC courses at Manhattan College. Students with NROTC scholarships take classes at SUNY Maritime and participate in all aspects of the NROTC program. Students receive transcripts from these institutions which certify the completion of their ROTC/NROTC obligations.