Frequently Asked Questions

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Is the QuestBridge Match Process binding?

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

If I become a QuestBridge Finalist and I am not matched, will Columbia consider my QuestBridge application for admission to Columbia during Regular Decision?

If you have submitted either the Common Application or the Coalition 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. Any student who is a finalist and ranks Columbia during the College Match must submit the Common Application or Coalition Application by November 1, 2016 under Regular Decision. If you are not matched, Columbia will reevaluate only your Common Application/Coalition Application during the Regular Decision process; however, we will consider that you were a QuestBridge Finalist. You may submit the essay you composed for the QuestBridge application for your Common Application or Coalition Application if the content is appropriate for the essay prompts. Please note that we use a holistic review process when evaluating applicants for admission. That means admission to Columbia is not based on a simple formula of grades and test scores. Instead, we consider a variety of factors: the student’s academic record, extracurricular interests, intellectual achievements and personal background, among many factors.

If I am not named a finalist in the QuestBridge 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.

Students who are not selected as Finalists must submit the Common Application or Coalition Application. Columbia does not accept the QuestBridge application in lieu of these applications.

Please note that you may submit the essay you composed for the QuestBridge application for your Common Application or Coalition Application if the content is appropriate for the essay prompts.

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

If you are a QuestBridge Finalist, the application fee will be waived. QuestBridge will verify names of all Finalists with Columbia. In the Common Application/Coalition Application member-specific questions for Columbia, please answer affirmatively to the following question: “Columbia provides a fee waiver for students who applied for the Columbia Engineering Experience (CE2) and QuestBridge finalists. Do you qualify for one of these fee waivers?”

If you are not a QuestBridge Finalist, an $85 nonrefundable fee is required as part of an application to Columbia University. If paying the application fee is a significant financial burden for your family, we encourage you to request a fee through your admission application. Requesting a fee waiver will not disadvantage an applicant in any way. For first-year applicants, an email will be sent to the counselor or school official designated on your application to verify your eligibility. You can review information about application fees and waiver eligibility on our website.

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

All of Columbia’s financial aid is need-based. All financial aid packages, including those of QuestBridge Finalists participating in the Match process, are based on demonstrated need. Our financial aid packages for those in Regular Decision will be determined in the same way as for those students who were selected through the College Match. Columbia meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students admitted as first-years, regardless of citizenship. Loans are not a component of Columbia financial aid packages and we will continue to meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need for all four years of study. For more information please refer to the Columbia/QuestBridge scholarship package description. For more information, please visit the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing website.

Is testing required for QuestBridge applicants?

Yes. Standardized tests are required for admission according to the following guidelines. All test scores must be submitted directly to Columbia by the testing agency. Applicants can choose to take either the SAT or the ACT. Please see details below.

SAT

The redesigned SAT consists of two sections, each graded on an 800-point scale and the writing portion will be separate. Columbia does not require the optional writing section. You will be evaluated on the highest score you receive in any individual section. If you took the test more than once, you will be evaluated on the highest score you received in any individual section.

If you are applying for Fall 2017 or Fall 2018 admission, results from the redesigned SAT and/or the previous SAT will be accepted. When evaluating applicants, we will consider only the highest testing results reported from one version of the test, not across both versions.

ACT

You may alternatively take the ACT, graded on a 36-point scale; if you take the test more than once, you will be evaluated on the highest composite score you receive. Columbia does not require the writing test offered by the ACT.

SAT Subject Tests

The SAT Subject Test scores are 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.

Finalists must take required testing before or on the SAT and ACT October test dates to be considered for the College Match at Columbia.  

Regular Decision applicants may take standardized tests as late as January.

Never utilize the ”rush” service in sending your test scores to Columbia. Doing so does not speed up the processing of your test scores. We secure all testing via a secure website to which we are provided access by the appropriate testing agency. 

You must be sure to request that your scores be reported directly to Columbia every time you take a standardized test. The appropriate code for the SAT is 2116 (Columbia College or Columbia Engineering) and for the ACT is 2717.

If you are a QuestBridge Finalist applying to Columbia through the College Match program and the cost of sending your official test scores to Columbia poses a significant financial burden to your family, we can accept unofficial test score reports that are sent directly from a guidance counselor at your school. We can also accept testing submitted by your school counselor if printed on your high school transcript or a copy of the score report.

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 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.

Should I apply after three years or after four?

You should speak with the liaison at your school, who can advise you on an appropriate course of study and/or other institutional requirements that may determine when you will apply. While most students apply in their third year, you may apply in your fourth year and still be considered for guaranteed admission. Students may apply only up to one year after they have graduated.

Can Dining Dollars be used off campus?

No, but Columbia students can have a Flex Account, which allows them to make dollar-for-dollar food purchases at a number of off-campus eateries, including Chipotle, the Heights Grill, and Whole Foods Market. Students can also use their Flex Account at all on-campus locations, including the campus bookstore, as well as off-campus drugstores and shops. Please visit the Accepted Flex Locations for a full list of participating businesses.

What kind of meal plans does Columbia offer?

All first-year students are required to be on a meal plan that they will select over the summer before their arrival. In all succeeding years they may choose to continue a meal plan or utilize the various grocery stores and restaurants in the neighborhood. Meal plans at Columbia consist of a varying number of meals at John Jay Dining Hall, Ferris Booth Commons, JJ’s Place, or Barnard College’s Hewitt Dining Hall, and dining dollars that can be used at any of Columbia’s 13 different on-campus dining locations.

Will I get the same financial aid package from Columbia as I received from my affiliate school?

As Columbia awards only need-based financial aid, your aid package may change. Please see the financial aid section on our website for more information.

Will I be able to take non-technical liberal arts electives at Columbia?

Depending on your department and schedule, you may be able to take non-technical elective courses.

Will any courses I’ve taken elsewhere (at non-affiliate institutions and/or study abroad programs) fulfill Columbia's prerequisite courses?

Please speak with the liaison at your school, who should be familiar with your school’s policies. If the course appears on your home institution’s transcript and if your liaison approves by noting this in his/her recommendation letter, we will accept credit taken at other institutions as fulfillment of the prerequisite course. Official transcripts from all institutions attended are required. Please note that additional information about your school’s credit policies may be required as part of your application.

Will any advanced credits I earned in high school (e.g., AP or IB courses) transfer?

If your institution has awarded you any college credits for work done in high school, Columbia will accept this credit. Please speak with your liaison to determine whether these credits fulfill Columbia prerequisite courses. The liaison must note this awarding of credit in his/her letter as part of your application and the courses must appear on your transcript.

Why can’t I apply to the Financial Engineering major?

Financial Engineering is a concentration in the Industrial Engineering & Operations Research department that requires an application after at least one semester of study at Columbia. Entrance in this program is very competitive.


Students interested in the Financial Engineering track should consider Operations Research, Engineering Management Systems or Industrial Engineering as fields of study.

Which classes count towards Columbia’s prerequisite courses?

Please speak with the liaison at your school in order to determine which classes fulfill Columbia pre-engineering and major course requirements. Our Pre-Curriculum Course Descriptions describe the topics covered through our prerequisite courses, which may help you guide you and your school liaison.

When are financial aid forms due for Combined Plan applicants?

Forms should be completed as soon as possible, and no later than March 1, 2017.

What kind of housing do Combined Plan students receive?

Combined Plan students are guaranteed housing in their first year.

While Columbia will do its best to accommodate students’ requests to live on campus after the first year, there is no guarantee that Combined Plan students will be offered a room on campus beyond the first year. Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) assists Columbia students and affiliates in their search for housing in non-Columbia owned buildings in the metropolitan area. OCHA maintains a website and regular office hours to provide advice, resources and an online database of available housing.

What if a prerequisite class is not offered at my affiliate school?

Please speak with the liaison at your school to determine how the prerequisite class may be taken. Depending on the course, you may be able to take the class at another institution or through independent study.

What courses are used to calculate my GPA?

Your pre-engineering GPA includes all of the science and mathematics prerequisite Foundation Courses and Major-Specific Courses, as listed in our Curriculum Guide. Your overall GPA includes all courses you have completed towards your home institution’s degree, up through the spring semester of application.

What assistance is available to help Combined Plan students with their post-Columbia plans?

Combined Plan students have full access to The Center for Career Education, the Office of Preprofessional Advising, and the Office of Fellowships, which provide individual advising, programming and rich resources to help students explore and prepare for internships and jobs, graduate school and fellowship programs. Graduating student survey results demonstrate that Columbia engineering students are equipped to pursue a variety of paths upon graduation.

Does Columbia have fraternities and sororities?

Yes. Approximately 10-15% of undergraduate students are affiliated with fraternities or sororities. Over 25 chapters exist on campus, and many are housed in the brownstones and row houses that line 113th and 114th Streets.

How do I get Dining Dollars and Flex dollars?

Dining dollars and Flex Dollars can be purchased at the beginning of the term when paying the yearly bill and can be added to the account throughout the year.

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 is not available in my country. May I still apply without this exam?

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

 

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