Frequently Asked Questions

Can international students apply through QuestBridge?

For the QuestBridge Match Program we can consider only students who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or students granted refugee visas. Foreign students (that is, those who are neither US citizens nor permanent residents, even if now living in the United States) are welcome to apply for Early Decision or Regular Decision. All foreign applicants are evaluated in a need-aware manner, which means that the admissions committee takes into consideration how much financial aid a student requires when rendering an admissions decision. Columbia admits a large number of foreign students who receive a substantial amount of financial aid. Students from over 90 countries are represented in our undergraduate student body.

How many students attend Columbia?

Undergraduate enrollment is approximately 4,500 in Columbia College and 1,500 in The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

What is the percentage of students of color on campus?

Over 50% of our undergraduate student body identify themselves as students of color, and diversity has long been recognized as one of Columbia’s hallmarks. Recently, Black Enterprise Magazine ranked Columbia as the top Ivy League university for African American students. Hispanic Magazine ranked Columbia as one of the top ten colleges in America for Latino/a students. The Office of Multicultural Affairs exists as a resource to respond to the needs of a diverse undergraduate student body and aims to promote an inclusive university climate and to prepare students to succeed in a heterogeneous and ever-changing society.

What is the female to male ratio at Columbia?

Columbia is approximately 51% male and 49% female between the two undergraduate schools.

Are interviews available for transfers?

It is not our policy to interview prospective transfer applicants. Therefore, you should use the application as the appropriate platform to discuss and/or explain anything that you feel is of particular importance.

Are there any scholarships available for transfers?

There are no academic, athletic or talent-based institutional scholarships at Columbia, as all of our institutional financial aid is need-based. However, our students are often the recipients of merit-based scholarships from outside organizations (state grants/scholarships, local/national merit-based awards, etc.).

Are there specific classes that I must take prior to transfer?

There aren’t any courses that are strictly required for admission as a transfer. We require a minimum of 24 credits, or the equivalent of one academic year, to transfer.

If you are applying to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (Columbia Engineering), we would certainly hope to see strong math and science preparation (Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, etc.). Columbia Engineering recommends that prospective transfers follow a course of study similar to our First Year-Sophomore program.

If you are applying to Columbia College, we recommend only that you take courses that are similar in content to courses offered in Columbia College. You should familiarize yourself with the appropriate course bulletin to get a sense of which courses might be appropriate.

Are transfers required to live on campus?

Transfers are not required to live on campus.

Do I have to take the Core Curriculum, even if I’ve already taken similar courses at my current college/university?

The Core is the cornerstone of undergraduate academic life at Columbia. Even those transferring in with advanced credit should expect to take elements of the Core, if not all of it. Students are very rarely exempt from Core classes like Literature Humanities, Contemporary Civilization, Art Humanities and Music Humanities.

Is housing guaranteed for transfer students?

As a transfer, you will be guaranteed housing during your time at Columbia, unless you choose to move off-campus at any time, at which point the housing guarantee is forfeited.

May I study abroad as a transfer?

Your ability to study abroad depends quite a bit on your class standing when you enter Columbia, and your remaining degree requirements. If you enter Columbia as a sophomore, the possibility of studying abroad is greater. If you enter Columbia as a junior, it is unlikely that you will be able to study abroad. Regardless of your class standing, this is a conversation you should have with your academic adviser as soon as possible.

What steps do I need to take after being admitted to Columbia in order to receive the appropriate documentation?

There are steps that both Columbia and the student are responsible for in order to receive an F-1 entry visa to the United States.

Columbia University will:

  • Upon acceptance provide you with an Application for Visa Certificate (AVC), otherwise known as Form I-20
  • Issue an authentic I-20 after AVC has been approved.

The student must:

  • Hold a current passport valid at least six months into the future at all times
  • Officially register with Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Pay the $100.00 USD fee and print the receipt
  • Make a visa appointment at a United States Consulate. Bring your official letter of acceptance, any financial aid award letter and funds validation letter from your bank, Columbia issued I-20, SEVIS receipt and a passport sized photo.
  • Review the visa once issued to check for correctness. Make sure you have the original copy of the I-20 for entry to the U.S.

Please visit the International Students and Scholars Office immigration website for more information.

Are international students eligible to work in the United States after graduation?

If you are in the United States on an F-1 Student visa you could be eligible to work in the US pending employment status. Please visit the US Citizen and Immigration website to become more familiar with your legal options.

Can I do a lunch visit?

Lunch Visits are available only to seniors in high school during the fall semester. Lunch Visits are offered Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays. An RSVP is required.

How do I arrange to sit in on a class?

Class listings and dates are available online and at the Visitor Center in 213 Low Library. No reservations are necessary. You may call the Visitor Center at 212-854-4900 to discuss your options if you have a specific date and area of study in mind. On the day that you wish to visit a class, you must go to the Visitor Center to pick up a class ticket.

How do I arrange an on-campus overnight visit?

If possible, we invite you to stay on campus with a friend. There are also limited spaces available for prospective students to stay on campus as guests of the admissions office; these overnight accommodations in the residence halls are provided Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in the fall. Please be aware that overnight visits are available only to current high school seniors during the fall semester. To request an overnight visit, you must register online.

What hotels do you recommend that are easily accessible to campus?

There are a number of hotels within easy access to campus. For addresses and phone numbers, see Visitor Information.

Where is the Visitors Center? And where is the Office of Undergraduate Admissions?

The Visitors Center can be found at 213 Low Library. Guests should go to the Visitors Center for all questions regarding Columbia, including checking in for information sessions and campus tours.

Low Library is located in the center of campus, a magnificent domed building facing south toward College Walk-which is a continuation of 116th Street. The Visitors Center is immediately on your left as you enter the building.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions is located at 212 Hamilton Hall. Hamilton Hall is on the southeast corner of College Walk at the heart of campus.

How do I get to campus?

Please consult our Directions to Campus and Parking page to learn how to get to campus.

Are there any other events offered on campus for prospective students?

Throughout the year Columbia holds many other events that provide a more focused understanding of academic and residential life. These sessions require an RSVP for attendance. Please consult the Events page for information about such specific events held on campus.

I am interested in speaking with a current student, is this possible?

Current student leaders in the Undergraduate, Multicultural and Global Recruitment Committees welcome your questions. To speak with a student directly, please email one of the following addresses: urcinfo@columbia.edu, mrcinfo@columbia.edu or grcinfo@columbia.edu. You may also reach out to prospective students via our Undergraduate Admissions page on Facebook.

I have already earned a Bachelors degree (or its equivalent). Am I eligible to apply to Columbia if I would like to earn a second degree?

You are not eligible to apply to Columbia College. Instead, you must apply to the School of General Studies. Applicants to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science should proceed with your application.

What kind of visa or documentation do I need to study in the US?

Full time students must acquire an F-1 (student) entry visa.

I’m not sure if transferring is the right option for me. Can I attend Columbia as a Visiting Student and then transfer?

Visiting Students to Columbia College may not subsequently apply for transfer admission. Also, you may not apply simultaneously as a transfer and as a visitor.

May I study part-time?

You cannot study part-time in either Columbia College or Columbia Engineering. If you wish to study part-time, you must apply to the School of General Studies.

May I transfer for the spring semester?

No. We do not accept applications for January/spring enrollment from transfer candidates.

Must I have a minimum number of credits in order to transfer?

To be eligible to enroll at Columbia, you must have completed, or be in the process of completing, the equivalent of one full academic year, typically a minimum of 24 credits. Please review the Academic Credit for Transfer Students guide for more information.

What are you looking for in a transfer applicant?

Our evaluation of transfer applicants is a holistic process. We consider the strength of the applicant’s academic record (both in high school and college), standardized test scores, extracurricular involvement, letters of recommendation and the essay.

Will college courses I took while in high school count toward the transfer credits you will accept?

Credit will not be awarded for courses taken while in high school, even if they were taken at a college or university. However, we will award credit for qualifying scores on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams (typically, scores of 4 or 5 on AP exams; 6 or 7 on Higher Level International Baccalaureate exams).

Will I be able to stay an additional semester or year if I need to complete requirements for graduation?

Students are expected to graduate within eight semesters, including time spent at another college or university. Students are typically not permitted to extend their undergraduate studies unless they are enrolled in one of our Joint Degree programs (e.g. the Combined Plan).

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