Frequently Asked Questions

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I hold DACA status. What types of financial aid can I receive?

Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all students admitted as first-years or transfer students pursuing their first degree, regardless of citizenship status. Undocumented students, regardless of DACA status, are not eligible to receive federal and state financial aid, so we meet their need entirely from Columbia funding.

Can students who are undocumented apply to Columbia through QuestBridge?

Yes, Columbia considers all interested finalists to the QuestBridge National College Match program, regardless of citizenship status.

As an undocumented student, am I eligible for financial aid?

Yes, Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all students admitted as first-years or transfer students pursuing their first degree, regardless of citizenship status.

For admissions purposes, undocumented students are evaluated in a need-blind manner, which means we evaluate admissions applications without regard to financial need.

Undocumented students are not eligible to receive federal and state financial aid, so we meet their need entirely from Columbia funding

Do I need to hold DACA status to apply to Columbia?

No, students do not need to hold DACA status to apply to Columbia. Columbia admits students without regard to citizenship status and meets 100% of demonstrated need for all first-year and transfer students pursuing their first degrees. For admissions purposes, undocumented students are evaluated in a need-blind manner, which means we evaluate admissions applications without regard to financial need.

As an undocumented student, can I apply to Columbia?

Yes, Columbia admits students without regard to citizenship status and meets 100% of demonstrated need for all first-year and transfer students pursuing their first degrees. For admissions purposes, undocumented students are evaluated in a need-blind manner, which means we evaluate admissions applications without regard to financial need.

May I use the same essay I submitted to QuestBridge for the Common Application or Coalition Application?

Yes. As long as all of the work is your own and the content is appropriate for the essay prompts, you may submit the essay you composed for the QuestBridge application for your Common Application or Coalition Application.

I have sent recommendation letters and a secondary school report through the QuestBridge application; do I need to re-submit these forms if I am applying to Columbia?

Yes. Columbia requires that all applicants complete all parts of the admissions application; you must use the Common Application or Coalition Application when submitting the above documents. If you received letters of recommendation from academic teachers for the QuestBridge application, you may use those letters for your admission application. Simply ask your teachers to resend those letters with the Common Application or Coalition Application. Copies of official high school transcripts must also be sent directly to Columbia through the application form.

Will Columbia accept the QuestBridge application in place of the Common Application or Coalition Application?

No. Columbia requires that an applicant complete the Common Application or the Coalition Application, as well as the Columbia-specific questions. We do not accept the QuestBridge application in lieu of these applications. If you are not identified as a Finalist and are interested in applying to Columbia, you must also submit the Common Application or Coalition Application. As a QuestBridge applicant you are welcome to use any information from your QuestBridge application (essays, recommendations and lists of extracurricular activities); however, you must transfer the information onto the Common Application or Coalition Application. We will not review the QuestBridge application in our Regular Decision review process.

Does Columbia provide fee waivers for the CSS Profile?

The CSS Profile service provides fee waivers to qualifying domestic first-time, first-year students from families with low incomes and limited assets. 

Eligibility for fee waivers is automatically assessed at the time you submit the CSS Profile, and the waiver covers the costs of the registration fee for up to eight school reports.  Please contact the College Board with any additional questions regarding CSS Profile fee waivers.

Columbia does not offer additional fee waivers to domestic students.

If you have additional questions regarding the financial aid process, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing at ugrad-finaid@columbia.edu or 212-854-3711.

How are supporting documents (transcripts and teacher recommendations) submitted as part of my Coalition Application?

To get official documents (transcript and recommendation letters) into your Locker, you will need to add the appropriate person as a contact (such as a guidance counselor or teacher). Once they are added as a contact, you can request the appropriate document.

In the “Official Documents” section, you may use the “Attach” feature to add these documents to your application so that they will be submitted to Columbia along with your application.

You can still submit your application even if your official documents are still in progress and not yet completed. Once your application has been submitted, you may cancel, change or resend requests directly from the “Official Documents” section.

How do I submit my Essay for the Coalition Application?

Columbia requires that applicants using the Coalition Application submit an essay, using the prompts and information found on their website. Students may upload their essay in the “Uploads” section found at the conclusion of the Columbia-specific questions to the Coalition Application. Please note that while the prompts and instructions can be reviewed at any time, the section to upload your completed essay is not accessible until the other Columbia-specific questions have been completed. 

What is my Coalition ID and where do I find it?

The Coalition Account ID is the identifying number that is unique to your Profile in the Coalition Application, and should be used when submitting any documents to our office. It is found both on the “Personal Information” page of the Profile as well as under “Account Settings.”

Are fee waivers available for the Coalition Application?

If paying the application fee is a significant financial burden for your family, we encourage you to request a fee waiver through your admission application. Students applying to Columbia through the Coalition Application will be able to determine their eligibility for the fee waiver by answering a brief series of questions while creating their Coalition profile; if your eligibility is established, the fee will be automatically waived when you submit your application.

More information about the parameters that Columbia uses to offer institution-specific fee waivers are outlined on our admissions website

Who should I contact if I have technical problems with the Coalition Application?

Should you require assistance with the Coalition Application, we encourage you to review their Frequently Asked Questions or submit a request to their Technical Support.

How do I submit supplementary materials for the Coalition Application?

Candidates submitting the Coalition Application should answer “Yes” to the questions indicating an interest in supplementary questions and should follow the directions that are listed. More information can be found on the Supplementary Materials page of our website. 

Can I share my Locker from the Coalition Application with an admissions officer?

Please do not share access to your Locker with any Columbia admissions officers, as we will only accept materials that are submitted as part of your application. Any additions or corrections to your application can be submitted to ugrad-confirm@columbia.edu or via fax to (212) 854-3393.

Will Columbia have access to the virtual locker contents from the Coalition platform?

Columbia will not have access to the contents of a student’s virtual Locker, including both official documents and media. Students who are applying to Columbia using the Coalition Application will need to indicate which official documents (such as transcripts or recommendation letters) that are stored in the locker should be sent to Columbia as part of the review process. Columbia accepts supplementary materials as outlined on our website

What is the virtual locker for the Coalition Application?

The Locker offers a private space for students to collect and organize materials throughout their high school journey. Whether collecting thoughts on college options or storing classwork or personal writing, students can confidentially save documents that may be useful later in their college search or application. Students can maintain a record of their interests and activities, collect letters of support from instructors, coaches, or supervisors. More information about the Locker can be found on the Coalition’s website

How do I apply to Columbia using the Coalition Application?

Students can start Columbia’s application as part of the Coalition Application by searching for Columbia University in the “Colleges” tab and selecting “Start Application.” Please note that several sections of the Profile must be completed before the Columbia-specific questions may be started; any sections not yet completed will be highlighted in yellow. Some sections of the Profile are not required, as Columbia will review this information through supporting materials, such as the official transcript(s).

Columbia’s short answer questions can be found at the conclusion of the Columbia section of the Coalition Application.

Please note that the Columbia-specific questions must be completed in sequential order. More instructions regarding the Columbia-specific section of the Coalition Application can be found at the start of this section.

Is there a preference for the Common Application or the Coalition Application?

The Admissions Committee will apply the same holistic review process to evaluate candidates regardless of whether they submit the Coalition Application or the Common Application; there is no preference for one over the other. Please be aware that students must submit only one complete application, using either the Common Application or the Coalition Application.

Either the Common Application or the Coalition Application must be submitted by Columbia’s Early Decision deadline of November 1 or Regular Decision deadline of January 1.

What is the Coalition Application?

Columbia is a member of The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, which includes over 90 different public and private institutions of higher education coming together to improve the college admission application process for all students. The Coalition offers a free platform of online tools to streamline the experience of applying to college, including a college application. 

Does Columbia admit students who have not completed high school?

Prior to enrollment, students admitted to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering must submit documentation of completion of their high/secondary school requirements, which includes the final high school transcript with date of graduation. If applicable, International Baccalaureate, GCE Advanced Level or nationally recognized high school graduation examination results must also be provided. Transcripts should be sent directly from the high/secondary school. Alternatively, a GED or TASC credential with a passing score may be submitted.

If I took the SAT previously and the redesigned SAT, which scores should I send to Columbia? Can I “superscore” across exams?

If you are applying for Fall 2017 or Fall 2018 admission, results from the redesigned current SAT and/or the previous redesigned SAT will be accepted, with no preference for one or the other. When evaluating applicants, we will consider only the highest testing results reported from one version of the test, not across both versions.

Do I need to take the SAT Subject Tests for admission to Columbia?

No, the SAT Subject Test is not required, but Columbia will accept scores from the exams if you choose to submit them. You will not be at a disadvantage should you choose not to take the tests or submit the scores to Columbia.

Does Columbia prefer the ACT over the SAT or vice versa?

You may take either the ACT or SAT. Columbia does not view one more favorably than the other. If you take both tests, we will look at the highest score of the two.

Which of the regional US Department of Education recognized accrediting agencies accredits Columbia College and Columbia Engineering?

Columbia University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 267-284-5000.

Is the Visiting Student Program open to high school students?

No, only undergraduates in degree-seeking programs may apply for the Visiting Student Program.

I have completed scientific research during high school. How can I share this information in my application?

If you have been involved in scientific research and you are interested in studying engineering or the sciences at Columbia, you are welcome to provide a one or two page scientific abstract and/or a letter of recommendation from your research mentor for our review as a supplement to your application. You may upload your abstract in the Columbia Writing Supplement to the Common Application or in the Uploads section on the Coalition Application. Your research mentor can send the letter via e-mail to ugrad-confirm@columbia.edu, via fax to 212-854-3393, or via mail to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Does Columbia work with third-party agents?

Columbia University does not work with any admissions agent who expects compensation from a college or university. 

Columbia’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions is pleased to work directly with applicants and their families, with their school officials, and with a variety of government and non-profit community-based organizations in the United States and abroad.  While we respect the work of independent educational consultants, we of course expect them to adhere to the highest standards of professional ethics.

My country has mandatory military or other national service. How does that affect the timing of my application to Columbia?

It is your choice whether to apply during your final year of secondary school or during your obligatory service, but keep in mind that first-year students may enter Columbia only in September. You may prefer to apply to Columbia while you are still in secondary school and you have your counselors and teachers near at hand when you are arranging for transcripts, recommendations and other credentials to be submitted; if you are admitted, then we will grant a deferment of your entry to Columbia so that you may perform your mandatory service. On the other hand, you may wish to apply during your time of service in case it brings you additional self-awareness and life experiences that you feel may make your candidacy more compelling.

If you apply to Columbia during your final year of secondary school and are not admitted, then you may apply again during your obligatory service. That is permitted only if you are not holding a place at another college or university anywhere in the world.

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