Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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?

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions does not provide overnight accommodations for prospective students, but you are welcome to stay on campus as a guest of a friend. Alternatively, please refer to our Visitor Information page for a list of hotels and housing options that are within commuting distance to campus.

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

Do I need to make an appointment to attend an information session or tour?

Reservations for information sessions and campus tours are strongly recommended and required for groups over 10.

If your plans have changed, you do not need to formally cancel your reservation.

The Visit section is designed to help you plan your visit to Columbia.

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.

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.

I am interested in your HEOP program. As a transfer, am I eligible for the program?

In order to be eligible for the Higher Education Opportunity Program as a transfer, you must currently be enrolled at a similar program in New York State.

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 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.

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).

Will I know how many of my credits have transferred before I have to deposit?

If admitted, you will receive a Transfer Credit Evaluation (TCE), informing you of how many credits you have (tentatively) been awarded. Final credit approval will not be granted until all final official transcripts from previous institutions have been received and been reviewed by your advising dean and/or academic department.

I am unsure of my application status. How do I know if I should apply as freshman or as a transfer?

If you have received your high (secondary) school diploma and will have completed one or more full year of college courses, you must apply as a transfer student. If you are applying to Columbia College and have taken a break of more than one full year from college, you should submit an application to the School of General Studies. Applicants to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science should proceed with this transfer application regardless of any break in schooling.

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.

I attend a college/university outside of the United States and Canada. How do I know if it is “U.S.-style?”

A college is considered to be “U.S.-style” if courses are offered in similar terms to U.S. colleges (i.e. quarters, semesters, etc.), you will receive a grade for each course in each term, and you will also receive an English-language transcript. If your school is not U.S.-style, as defined above, you must apply as a first-year student, by the appropriate Early Decision or Regular Decision deadline.

How do I obtain an application for Juilliard?

Please obtain an application and audition information from Juilliard’s Office of Admission and submit the Juilliard application directly to Juilliard.

Is there an additional fee for Columbia College students participating in the Exchange?

The Columbia-Juilliard Exchange tuition is $4,750. Financial aid is available to cover the additional tuition expenses for Exchange participants based on demonstrated need and consistent with Columbia policies.