Application Instructions

Please review the application instructions below carefully before beginning an application. Candidates may apply either through the Common Application or the Columbia First-Year Application. We have no preference as to which application you choose to use, but applicants must submit only one complete application.

Please also be sure to review What Does Columbia Look For in a Candidate?

The following are required components of a complete application:

  • Secondary School Report
    • An official high school transcript from all high schools attended
    • One high school counselor’s recommendation and school profile
    • The completed Mid-Year Report
    • Note: Students using the Columbia First-Year Application should notify their school counselor as soon as possible.
  • Required Standardized Testing
    • SAT and two SAT Subject Test scores (for Engineering applicants, Math 1 or 2 and Biology, Physics or Chemistry) or the ACT Assessment with Writing
    • The appropriate SAT code is 2116 and the appropriate ACT code is 2717
    • English proficiency examination score (if necessary)
  • Two Teacher Recommendations
    • These recommendations must come from teachers who taught you in academic disciplines
    • For engineering applicants, one must come from a math or science teacher

Additional components of the application which may make it complete:

Please note that Columbia reserves the right to evaluate an application and render a final decision even if all pieces of the application have not been received.

Advice from Students

Once you’ve compared financial aid opportunities, the majors available, the curricula, the requirements, and the activities, go with your gut. Just in the way that you should be authentically yourself in your application, let colleges be authentically themselves when you visit so you know the match is real.”

It is important to find the college that best suits you, academically and socially. You should try and figure out what you are looking for, and what different schools have to offer (size, setting, majors available, student-faculty ratio, emphasis given to undergraduate education, and so forth). Although it seems daunting trying to find your home for the next four years, anywhere you go there will be some positives and negatives, it’s all about finding the place that has the most positives for you.”