Frequently Asked Questions

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How many students are admitted as transfers?

Due to the high retention rate in both Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, there are usually very few spots in the sophomore and junior classes. As a result, we typically admit fewer than 10 percent of those who apply for transfer admission each year. Though the number varies from year to year, in recent years, we have admitted roughly 150 transfers from over 2,500 applicants.

How heavily do my high school record and standardized test scores weigh in the decision-making process?

Due to the timing of the transfer process, we are generally unable to consider grades earned in the second semester of the year of application; thus, high school grades, rigor of program and standardized test scores are all important in the evaluation of transfer credentials, especially for students applying for sophomore standing. If you have applied to Columbia previously, the documents you provided at that time will not roll over; you must resubmit any information requested by this transfer application.

How do you determine which of my credits will transfer?

Courses may be eligible for transfer credit if they are analogous to undergraduate courses offered in Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, and you have received a grade of C- or better for Columbia College or a B or better for Columbia Engineering.

How do transfers get involved in campus life?

Transfers become fully-integrated members of the campus community. This begins during your first days at Columbia, through our New Student Orientation Program. In addition to the many clubs and organizations available to you, the Columbia University Transfer Alliance is also a resource to help new students acclimate to campus life.

I am interested in the arts at Columbia. Can I send in a portfolio or sample of my work?

Please see our Supplementary Materials page for information on submitting art and/or music materials.

I currently attend a community college. Should I wait until I receive my Associates degree to transfer, or can I transfer without it?

You may certainly apply to transfer without having received an Associates degree.

I have attended more than one college. Can I just submit a transcript from the school I am currently attending?

No. You must submit transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended.

I have been in college for some time. Do I still have to submit SAT/ACT scores?

Regardless of how long they have been out of high school or in college, all transfer candidates must submit standardized test scores. You must take or have taken either the SAT or the ACT, and the scores must be directly reported to Columbia by the appropriate testing agency. 

I have taken some time off from school. May I still apply as a transfer?

Potential applicants to Columbia College who have taken a break of more than one full academic year in their education (with the exception of those who must complete national military service) should consider instead Columbia’s School of General Studies; the same is true for students who wish to attend a part-time program. Applicants to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science should proceed with this transfer application regardless of any break in schooling.

If I previously applied to Columbia, will my application roll over?

If you have applied to Columbia previously, the documents you provided at that time will not roll over, so you must resubmit any information requested by this transfer application. (Note: Standardized testing previously sent by the College Board or ACT does not need to be resubmitted.)

How can I get a paper application for transfer admissions?

Paper applications are not available. Transfers must apply online using The Common Application. We do not accept the Coalition Application for transfer candidates.

Do you meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for transfers?

All transfer applicants who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or students granted refugee visas by the United States are read in a need-blind manner. Foreign students applying for aid must understand that such aid is awarded on an extremely limited basis. Columbia meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for admitted transfer students and Columbia does not give any scholarships for academic, athletic or artistic merit.

Please visit the Financial Aid website for more information on financial aid for transfer students, including all required forms.

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.

Can I track my QuestBridge application online?

Since QuestBridge processes your application and forwards documents to us on your behalf, we cannot provide you with online tracking. Please note that someone from our or QuestBridge’s office will be in touch if we are missing a part of your application.

I am not a US Citizen or Permanent Resident. Can I apply for the QuestBridge National College Match with Columbia?

Yes, Columbia will consider students who are not US Citizens or Permanent Residents for the QuestBridge National College Match. 

Non-citizens and international students are an integral part of the university and Columbia is deeply committed to enrolling a student body that includes students from around the world. We do not have a separate application or process for international students. Please refer to our website for more information.

Do you offer a fly-in program or travel funding for prospective QuestBridge participants or scholars?

We do not have fly-in programs for prospective applicants or QuestBridge scholars. You are always welcome to visit our campus for a campus tour or information session as well as any open houses or events we host on or off campus throughout the year. You can find more information on the Visit section of our website.

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.

Is financial aid for transfers need-blind?

All applicants who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or students granted refugee visas by the United States are read in a need-blind manner, no matter where they attend school or where they reside. The term “need-blind” means financial need has no bearing on the admissions decision. All other 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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