Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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 apply to both the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange and Juilliard's Bachelor of Music program?

Yes, candidates will need to check the appropriate boxes when applying to Juilliard. However, successful Early Decision candidates must withdraw their Bachelor of Music candidacy to Juilliard, although they may keep their candidacy open for the Exchange.

May I be admitted to both Columbia College and Juilliard for the Bachelor of Music program but not be admitted to Juilliard specifically for the Exchange?

Yes, due to highly selective admissions for the Exchange, it is possible that applicants may only be admitted to Juilliard’s Bachelor of Music degree and not admitted to the Exchange, regardless of admission status at Columbia.

May I reapply to the Exchange as a Columbia College student if I was not initially admitted to as an incoming student?

Yes, a small number of current Columbia College students apply (or reapply) to the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange each academic year and occasionally students are admitted to participate for the following academic year. Once admitted into the Exchange, Columbia College students may continue each eligible academic year pending performance during annual juries.

When will I hear from Juilliard?

Columbia notifies all candidates by mid-December for Early Decision or April 1 for Regular Decision. Juilliard notifies all Exchange candidates regarding admission specifically to the Exchange by April 1. Candidates may hear sooner from Juilliard regarding pre-screening results and live audition dates.

Who may I contact with additional questions about applying to the Juilliard Exchange?

Prospective students with questions beyond those addressed on this webpage may reach out to Rebecca Schiavo in Columbia’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions, rab2195@columbia.edu. For questions about The Juilliard School, please contact Lee Cioppa, admissions@juilliard.edu.

May I apply Early Decision if I am interested in the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange?

Yes, first-year candidates admitted to Columbia College under Early Decision may keep their candidacy open for the Exchange. However, successful Early Decision candidates must withdraw their Bachelor of Music candidacy to Juilliard along with candidacy to all other institutions as part of the Early Decision binding agreement.

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.

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.

Do Columbia-Juilliard Exchange participants receive a degree from Juilliard?

No, the Exchange is a cross-registration program that does not lead to an additional degree. The lessons are for credit at Columbia College. However, Exchange participants may choose to continue with the Joint Program, which offers the opportunity to earn both a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College and Master’s of Music from Juilliard.

What kinds of internship opportunities are available for students?

Columbia’s location in New York and access to internships are among the most distinct advantages of our educational experience. The Center for Career Education (CCE) oversees the thousands of internships available for undergraduates each year. These opportunities can be either during the academic term, while complementing a student’s academic coursework, or over the summer, when a student can commit to a full-time internship.

The SAT Reasoning and SAT Subject tests are not available in my country. May I still apply without these exams?

If you live in a country, such as the People’s Republic of China, in which SAT and SAT Subject Test exams are not available, you are not required to take the exams in order to apply for admission.

May I take the SAT Subject Test in my native language?

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.

How safe is the campus and neighborhood?

Although Morningside Heights is consistently named one of the safest precincts in New York City, the Department of Public Safety further ensures the security of Columbia’s campus and its students. Columbia students have direct access to the public transportation, which eliminates walking far distances to travel between campus and other locations. Should you feel unsafe in the neighborhood, you can ask the merchant at businesses featuring the Red Lion sticker in their windows to phone Columbia Public Safety or the police and wait for security personnel to respond.

Where is Morningside Heights?

Morningside Heights is a residential neighborhood located on the west side of the island of Manhattan. It is approximately a ten-minute walk from the northwestern tip of Central Park and another ten-minute walk to the heart of Historic Harlem. Columbia is located on the #1 subway line and various bus routes. On the #1 train students can get to Times Square in approximately 20 minutes, go uptown to Columbia’s Medical Center in 15 minutes, and get to Columbia’s Baker Field Athletic Complex at the northern tip of Manhattan in 25 minutes.

If I am not admitted to Columbia through the Match Process, what kind of financial aid will be offered?

Financial aid at Columbia is need-based for applicants. There are no academic, athletic or talent-based institutional scholarships. Columbia meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students admitted as first-years, including foreign students, and we continue to meet 100% of a student’s demonstrated financial need for all four years of study. For more information, please visit the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing website. QuestBridge Scholars can anticipate receiving the financial aid outlined in our College Match Scholarship Package.

If I am a QuestBridge Finalist, do I need to submit an application fee?

The application fee will be waived for QuestBridge Finalists. In the Common Application member-specific questions for Columbia, please select “Yes, I qualify for one of Columbia University’s fee waivers.” If you are not a QuestBridge Finalist, please review information about Application Fees.

If I am not named a finalist in the College Match Program, may I apply to Columbia?

Yes. Many QuestBridge students will not participate in the Match Process and will pursue admission to Columbia under our Early Decision or Regular Decision programs. Please explore our general requirements and deadlines for more information.

What if I am a QuestBridge finalist and choose to not follow through with the Match process or if I am not matched with a college or university?

If you have submitted the Common Application as a QuestBridge finalist, you will automatically be considered for Regular Decision admission unless you contact Columbia and withdraw your application or are matched with another college or university. All applicants must submit the Common Application with the Columbia Writing Supplement along with their QuestBridge application. We will not accept or review your QuestBridge application in lieu of the Common Application and Columbia Writing Supplement. Please note that if you match with a school that has a binding admission offer, you are not eligible for consideration in our Regular Decision process and you must withdraw your application to Columbia. You must check with your match school to be sure you understand the terms of your match.

Is the Match Process binding?

Yes, the National College Match at Columbia University is binding.

How do I apply to Columbia through the QuestBridge National College Match?

You can find a detailed list of required documents on the QuestBridge website under the Columbia University College Match Requirements. You must submit both the Common Application and the Columbia Writing Supplement along with your QuestBridge application. If you are a QuestBridge Finalist and applying through the Match Process, you must apply under our Regular Decision program.

How can I afford to send my child to Columbia?

We know that choosing the right college involves a variety of factors, and the cost of the institution and how you will finance your student’s education are extremely important considerations. A student should never decide not to apply to Columbia because they think the cost exceeds their family’s ability to pay. Need-based aid makes it possible for everyone to afford a Columbia education.

Columbia reviews each admitted student’s family’s financial circumstances, determines your financial need, and awards aid to meet a family’s full demonstrated financial need. For many families, Columbia can be as affordable, if not more affordable, than a state-college or university education.

We make every effort to help meet students’ financial needs. In our quest to make Columbia affordable for all students, especially those from low-income and middle-income families, the University implemented the following financial aid enhancements for all incoming and continuing students:

  • Columbia eliminated loans for all students receiving financial aid packages, whatever their family income, and replaced them with University grants.
  • In an effort to further assist low-income families, parents with calculated total incomes below $60,000 (and typical assets) are not expected to contribute any of their income or assets to tuition, room, board and mandatory fees.
  • Families with calculated incomes between $60,000 and $100,000 (and typical assets) have a significantly reduced parent contribution.
  • To support students pursuing study abroad, research, internships and community service opportunities, Columbia offers the opportunity to apply for additional funding and exemptions from academic year and summer work expectations.

These enhancements build on previous financial aid initiatives and a long standing commitment to make Columbia affordable for all admitted students as illustrated by the following facts:

  • Columbia meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students admitted as first years who applied for financial aid, including foreign students, and we continue to meet your 100% of your demonstrated financial need for all four years of study.
  • Columbia has the highest proportion of undergraduates receiving federal Pell Grants in the Ivy League and among the nation’s most elite private research institutions.
  • About half of Columbia undergraduates receive some sort of financial assistance.
  • Last year, Columbia committed over $122 million of its resources for grant aid to undergraduate students.
  • In 2007 alumnus John Kluge, CC’37, pledged $400 million to Columbia, all designated for financial aid. This marks the largest pledge ever devoted exclusively to student aid to any single institution of higher education in the United States.

What role do parents and families play in the Columbia community?

We believe that college is a time when young adults begin to separate from their parents, assume greater responsibility for their decisions and actions, and seek to rely more on institutional support systems. This philosophy, however, does not preclude our belief that familial support systems are extremely important for students, and that parents and families can and should be involved in their student’s education.

How then can you be involved in your student’s Columbia experience while allowing for his or her development? Here are just a few ways:

Listen

Hear what your students have to say. While respecting their newfound autonomy, check in with them every once in a while to see how they’re doing. Don’t assume you know what it’s like for them; remember that the college experience has changed since you were their age!

Learn

Find out more about Columbia. Learn about the school’s history, constituents, leadership, and mission. Check the Columbia website for the latest news on events happening on and off campus. Consult the Family Handbook to learn more about the various resources available to your student.

Help

Help your student take advantage of these resources by directing them to the appropriate office. Remember, we expect students to take responsibility for their own actions and consult these resources themselves, so don’t call on their behalf. Rather, suggest they seek out various resources and follow up with them. Remember that they value your advice, even if they don’t always say so! Network—Get to know other parents and alumni living in your area. Network with other parents, alumni, and administrators. Attend a College Day, Dean’s Day, panel discussion, or other event.

Volunteer

Get involved through the Office of Parent and Family Programs. Welcome new families to campus, help staff a registration table, or sit on a panel at a Summer Advising Session. Volunteering is a great way to get to know other parents and a great way to give back to Columbia.

For more information, please visit the Family Handbook or the Office of Parent and Family Programs.

How can I take advantage of everything I want to do in New York City on a student budget?

New York City has something for everyone, which is why it is so often rated as one of the best college towns in the nation. It is full of hidden treasures that offer an inexpensive and yet unique array of food, shopping and entertainment. Some of the most creative culinary experiences are intimate restaurants within a few blocks from campus. Websites such as NYC Visit’s Go Local operates as a service for New Yorkers to get the most out of their city. There are also a variety of e-mail lists that help students gain free access to opportunities such as going to a major motion picture premiere. There are yearly bargains such as New York Restaurant Week, which gives students an inexpensive taste at some of the finest establishments in the city. Columbia helps students by providing discounted and free tickets to many events around the city through the CU ARTS Initiative.

How does Columbia help students engage with New York City?

You are living in New York City! A subway ride away to all the culture and life of the city. Take advantage of everything that there is to offer, but don’t forget your Columbia ID card. Flash your student ID card to gain free entry into dozens of museums and galleries thanks to the Arts Initiative. That same ID will get you discounted Broadway and movie tickets through Columbia’s Ticket and Information Center (TIC). Then there is Columbia Urban New York which offers free tickets to plays, musicals, and various other events throughout the city through a lottery system. Students also find New York to be an incredible extended classroom. See a painting up close at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, listen to some of the world’s greatest musicians at a small jazz club in the West Village and encounter dozens of cultures, thousands of ideas and millions of people, all in your future home.

How accessible is the subway?

The New York City Subway System, with 422 stations, is one of the most comprehensive subway systems in the world. It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Columbia’s subway station is Columbia University-116 Street on the #1 subway line, located at 116th Street and Broadway, just a few steps from our main gate. (There are also several bus routes serving Morningside Heights.) The subway connects to all major train stations, and mass transit also connects to the three major airports. The transit fare is $2.50 per trip with various options for weekly and monthly Metrocards.

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