Required Standardized Testing

Required Tests

Standardized tests are required for admission according to the following guidelines; all test scores must be submitted directly to Columbia by the testing agency. Applicants may choose to take either the SAT and two Subject Tests or the ACT. Please see details below.

SAT and SAT Subject Tests

The SAT consists of three sections, each graded on an 800-point scale; if you take the test more than once, you will be evaluated on the highest score you receive in any individual section. In addition to the SAT, you must submit results from two SAT Subject Tests. Although SAT Subject Test scores are not required for students submitting the ACT, those scores are welcome should you choose to take the tests. 

1) Applicants to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science who are not providing ACT scores must submit scores on the SAT Subject Tests in Math and in either Biology, Chemistry or Physics. Applicants to Columbia College must submit two SAT Subject Tests of their choice.

2) If you have a specific area of academic interest, we recommend submitting a subject test in that area of interest if one is available.

3) The SAT Subject Test in a foreign language is meant to demonstrate your achievement in a language that you have learned in school. You should recognize that if you have native fluency in a language, an SAT Subject Test can be put to better use by showcasing a different academic talent.

ACT Plus Writing

You may alternatively take the ACT Assessment, graded on a 36-point scale; if you take the test more than once, you will be evaluated on the highest composite score you receive. The writing component offered by the ACT Assessment is mandatory for candidates applying to Columbia. Although SAT Subject Test scores are not required for students submitting the ACT, those scores are welcome should you choose to take the tests. If you have a specific area of academic interest, we recommend submitting a subject test in that area of interest if one is available.

Non-native Speakers

Non-native speakers should refer to our English proficiency testing requirements. Please note that this testing is in addition to the SAT or ACT, not a substitute for it.

Submitting Official Scores

You must register with the appropriate testing agency (the Educational Testing Service-ETS or the American College Testing Program-ACT) well in advance of your desired test date. You may take standardized tests as late as November for Early Decision and January for Regular Decision.

The appropriate ETS code is 2116 and the appropriate ACT code is 2717. Please note that scores reported to Columbia’s School of General Studies (2095), Columbia’s School of Continuing Education (2154) or Barnard College (2038) will not reach our office and will not be considered for evaluation.

Please do not utilize the “rush” service in sending your test scores to Columbia; doing so does not speed up the processing of your test scores. We obtain all testing via a secure web site to which we are provided access by the appropriate testing agency.

Columbia reserves the right to not evaluate a candidate whose scores are not reported directly by the testing agency.

Columbia’s Testing Policy for Score Choice

Applicants may select the Score Choice option for the SAT or choose to submit specific ACT composite scores. However, it should be noted that the application review process for Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is rooted in the belief that students are dynamic, multi-faceted individuals who cannot be defined by any single factor to determine their suitability for admission. When evaluating applicants, we consider only the highest testing results reported from individual sections of the SAT and the two highest required SAT Subject Tests or the highest composite score on the ACT. We are always seeking to give students the greatest opportunity to showcase their academic talents and hoping to make the testing experience as stress-free as possible. We encourage applicants to take these examinations no more than twice, but we do not penalize applicants for exceeding that recommendation.

Advice from Students

"Why Columbia" is a pretty typical question, and one that deserves a lot of thought as students are beginning to consider the college process. The thing is, you've got to pay a lot of attention, because there are SO MANY excellent colleges and universities in this country and across the world. It's definitely possible to find the place that will suit you, so you have to go with your gut.”

With good time management, you can do most everything you hope to do in college. Make each and every moment count!”