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.
Will any advanced credits I earned in high school (e.g., AP or IB courses) transfer?
Why can’t I apply to the Financial Engineering major?
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?
Forms should be completed as soon as possible, and no later than March 1, 2014.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
Are students required to live on campus?
Can I live on campus during school breaks?
Yes. Continuing students may stay on campus during shorter breaks and apply to stay on campus during summer break through the Columbia University Undergraduate Housing office.
Can I seek off-campus housing?
Housing at Columbia offers a wide variety of living opportunities-from corridor style to apartment style living, from residence halls in the middle of the main quad to those on quiet side streets only five minutes walk to the center of campus. The University-wide Office of Off-Campus Housing Assistance supports all affiliates in seeking non-Columbia owned properties.
How is housing selected for upperclassmen?
Students will enter into a lottery system in order to select their future housing; they may choose to group with friends and live in one of Columbia’s suites, or they may decide to enter into the lottery alone and live in one of Columbia’s many singles. Over 70% of all undergraduate rooms at Columbia are singles.
What housing options are available for first-years?
First-year students have four distinct housing options, all located on the main quad of Columbia within minutes of every academic building and with easy access to Butler Library, Columbia’s main library, and Alfred Lerner Hall, the student center. John Jay Hall and Carman Hall are the only first-year exclusive living options. Hartley and Wallach Halls, collectively the Living and Learning Center, house students from all four classes. Furnald Hall houses first-year students and sophomores. New students are placed in one of the four options based on the preferences they submit in their housing applications.
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.
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.
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 partcipating 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.
If I am rejected under the Early Decision Program, may I apply under the Regular Decision Program?
No. If you apply under the Early Decision Program and are denied admission, you may not reapply to Columbia College, Columbia Engineering or the School of General Studies again that year.
I'm a U.S. citizen studying in a country outside the U.S. Am I considered an international applicant?
Applicants are considered within both the context of their secondary school and the context of their personal experiences, including where they have lived and their cultural background. The admissions committee recognizes that regardless of citizenship, living and/or attending school in a country outside the U.S. provides a student with the opportunity for an international experience. Applicants are not simply placed into international vs. non-international categories based on citizenship or place of schooling.
May I submit supplementary recommendations?
We welcome an additional letter of recommendation if the writer has worked with you in a researcher or college course capacity. Any supplementary recommendations should not be completed on the Teacher Report forms, but instead submitted directly to our office. The Committee discourages the submission of additional recommendations, as admissions decisions will be based primarily on the required recommendations from your high school teachers and secondary school/guidance counselor.
What if I don't have a guidance counselor?
Many students in countries outside the U.S. do not have guidance counselors. At U.S.-style secondary schools, guidance counselors are responsible for important parts of the application: submitting the Secondary School Report, the official school transcript, and the Mid-Year School Report. They also write a letter of recommendation for applicants. If you do not have a guidance counselor, these parts of the application can be filled by a principal or director of school, essentially a school official who is able to comment on your academic ability, extracurricular activities and personal qualities within the context of your entire school community.
What is the deadline for applications?
Early Decision: November 1, 2015
Regular Decision: January 1, 2016
Transfer Admission: March 1, 2016
Visiting Student Program: November 1, 2015 (for spring admission); March 15, 2016 (for fall admission).
Combined Plan Program: February 15, 2016
Online applications must be submitted electronically by 11:59 p.m. (your local time), the day of the deadline.
What is the Early Decision program for first-year applicants?
If you are willing to make a binding commitment to Columbia as your first choice, you may apply under the Early Decision Program.
What is the process for being selected through the Higher Education Opportunity Program or the National Opportunity Program?
The Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) was established by the New York State Legislature in 1969 to assist eligible residents in obtaining higher education at New York private institutions. The National Opportunity Program was created by Columbia in 1986 to provide the same kind of academic and financial support to students from all over the United States. Selection for the HEOP/NOP programs at Columbia involves meeting both academic and economic guidelines.
There are no additional application forms for HEOP/NOP; all eligible applicants to Columbia will be considered for these programs, but applicants may be contacted for an interview.
In order to be eligible for HEOP, applicants must:
- Reside in New York State and be high school graduates.
- Demonstrate (through academic records) a need for HEOP support services.
- Meet economic eligibility criteria set by the New York State Education Department.
Economic documentation for HEOP/NOP
HEOP Economic Eligibility: Household income can be at or below the amounts listed for the number of family members, with the exception of the “single head of household” instruction.
Size of Household
|1 household member||$21,590|
|2 household members||$29,101|
|3 household members||$36,612|
|4 household members||$44,123|
|5 household members||$51,634|
|6 household members||$59,145|
|7 household members||$66,656 plus $7,511 for each additional family member thereafter|
The primary criterion for admission to NOP is academic; there is no residency requirment and Columbia may select applicants for admission to NOP whose income levels exceed the HEOP criteria.
Although many of our NOP students demonstrate significant financial need, Columbia financial aid is determined on a case by case basis and we meet the full demonstrated financial need of all applicants admitted as first-year students. There are no academic, athletic or talent-based institutional scholarships at Columbia as all of our institutional financial aid is need-based.
Students can estimate their eligibility for need-based financial aid by using the Net Price Calculator.
What is Columbia's policy on the submission of supplementary materials (i.e. musical recording, artistic portfolio, science abstract, etc.)?
While we request that the submission of supplementary credentials be kept to a minimum, there may be occasions where such credentials provide valuable information that the standard application does not. As a result, some recommendations are detailed below. If you plan to submit supplementary credentials, please follow the instructions below. Please note that we specifically ask that you do not send collections of award certificates and the like and explicitly direct that you refrain from submitting your application in binders or folders.
Science and Engineering
If you have been involved in scientific research and you are interested in studying engineering or the sciences at Columbia, you are welcome to provide a 1-2 page scientific abstract or a letter of recommendation from your research mentor for our review as a supplement to your application. You may upload your abstract in the Writing Supplement of the Common Application. Your research mentor can send the letter via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, via fax to 212-854-3393, or via mail to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Creative and Performing Arts
Please follow the directions below depending on your area of interest:
Students who wish to submit supplements in these fields should indicate their intention to submit a supplement on their application. On the Common Application, please indicate your intention to submit an arts supplement in Columbia’s member questions; you will then be provided a link to begin your supplement.
Audio materials will be accepted as .mp3 files. Composition scores may be submitted as .pdf files. A processing fee of $5 will be required at the time of submission. SlideRoom fee waivers are automatically provided for all applicants receiving a Common Application fee waiver.
We ask that students select two works contrasting in period and tempo, and choose from one of three possible types of submissions:
- orchestral instruments (specify instrument);
- jazz (specify instrument or composition);
- piano, voice, non-orchestral instruments (e.g. classical guitar) or composition (score or recording of score).
We require that students also list the composer, title of the work and movement title or opus number. The total length of recordings should not exceed 20 minutes and should not include any biographical or introductory material.
Students may submit two music supplements only when their talent is equally impressive in two different areas within music performance or composition.
Live auditions are not part of the admissions process, but auditions for private lessons and selective ensembles are held for enrolled students at the start of each academic year.
Columbia College candidates applying to the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange should submit materials so that Columbia faculty may assess their talent and potential.
Digital images will be accepted as .jpg, .gif or .png files, up to 5 MB each. Students submitting a visual arts supplement should select up to 20 digital images that highlight the best work in their portfolio. Live portfolio reviews are not part of the admissions process.
A processing fee of $10 will be required at the time of submission. SlideRoom fee waivers are automatically provided for all applicants receiving a Common Application fee waiver.
Videos of dance accomplishments will be accepted as .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .wmv, .flv, .asf, .mpeg, .mpg or .mkv file, no more than 250MB and between four and six minutes in length. We require that students also list their name, title of the piece, choreographer, composer/music title, and place and date of performance. Students should also submit a professional resume listing their dance achievements in addition to a video.
Live auditions are not part of the admissions process, but auditions for various dance troupes are held for enrolled students at the start of each academic year.
A processing fee of $10 will be required at the time of submission. SlideRoom fee waivers are automatically provided for all applicants receiving a Common Application fee waiver.
Architecture, Creative Writing, Drama and Theatre Arts and Film
Applicants may upload professional resumes that list artistic achievement in the Columbia Writing Supplement to the Common Application. There is no need to create a SlideRoom profile.
When do application decisions become available?
The Columbia community is committed to environmental responsibility; in keeping with this commitment, we will provide some admissions decisions only online, not via regular mail. Applicants will receive specific instructions as to how to check their decisions online before decisions are released.
Admission decisions for first-year candidates who apply Early Decision are typically available on or before December 15.
Admission decisions for first-year candidates who apply Regular Decision are typically available on or before April 1.
Admission decisions for transfer candidates are typically available on or before May 15.
Admissions decisions for Combined Plan Program candidates are available in mid April.
Admissions decisions for Visiting Student Program candidates are typically available on or before May 15 (fall applicants) or December 15 (spring applicants).