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.
Should I apply after three years or after four?
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.
What courses are used to calculate my GPA?
Your pre-engineering GPA includes all of the science and mathematics Foundation Courses and Required Courses for Majors, as listed in our Curriculum Guide. Your overall GPA includes all courses you have completed up through the semester of your application.
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, through independent study and/or when you are at Columbia.
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.
When are financial aid forms due?
Forms should be completed as soon as possible, and no later than March 1, 2013.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 classes that I’ve taken elsewhere (at other institutions and/or through study abroad) count towards Columbia’s prerequisite courses?
Please speak with the liaison at your school, who should be familiar with your school’s policy. For students entering in Fall 2011 and later, all pre-engineering courses must be taken at the affiliate institution.
Will any credits I’ve earned elsewhere (at non-affiliate institutions and/or study abroad programs) transfer?
Please speak with the liaison at your school, who should be familiar with your school’s policy. Generally speaking, if your school accepts credit from elsewhere, Columbia will accept that credit. Please be prepared to submit transcripts, syllabi and course descriptions for all courses completed at other institutions.
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.
Students schooled in non-U.S. style schools outside of the United States should also submit the Common Application’s International School Supplement to the Secondary School Report.
May I submit supplementary recommendations?
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. In general, we recommend the submission of a supplementary recommendation only if the writer has worked with you in a research or college course capacity. Any supplementary recommendations should not be completed on the Teacher Report forms, but instead on personal stationary.
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.
Regular Decision: January 1.
Transfer Admission: March 1 or the first business day after March 1.
Visiting Student Program: October 15 or the first business day after October 15 (for spring admission); March 15 (for fall admission) or the first business day after March 15.
Combined Plan Program: Priority/preferred deadline is February 15; final deadline is March 15.
Please note that these are postmark deadlines. An online application must be submitted electronically by these same deadlines.
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. Applicants may be contacted for a telephone or in-person interview by a member of the Opportunity Programs and Undergraduate Services (OPUS) staff.
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 and NOP
HEOP/NOP 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||$20,665|
|2 household members||$27,991|
|3 household members||$35,317|
|4 household members||$42,643|
|5 household members||$49,969|
|6 household members||$57,295|
|7 household members||$64,621 plus $7,326 for each additional family member thereafter|
What is your 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 information that the standard application does not. As a result, some guidelines are offered below.
If you plan to submit supplementary credentials, please follow the instructions below instead of those in The Common Application Arts Supplement. Applicants should not submit The Common Application Arts Supplement.
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 for our review.
Creative and Performing Arts
If you are considering a major or concentration in Architecture, Creative Writing, Dance, Drama and Theatre Arts, Jazz Studies, Film Studies, Music or Visual Arts, or if you wish to contribute to the creative and performing arts community at Columbia through extracurricular involvement, we welcome supplementary credentials and materials (such as DVDs or CDs, slides or professional resumes) that reflect your artistic ability and commitment. Please follow the directions below to submit the appropriate supplement for the appropriate interest. Note that we are unable to return materials to you.
Students may submit an electronic supplement only via a web portal. Audio materials will be accepted as .mp3 files. Composition scores may be submitted as .pdf files. You will need your Common Application ID number to upload a supplement, and a processing fee of $5 will be required at the time of submission. Applicants who are eligible for a Common Application fee waiver may request that their processing fee be waived by contacting Lindsay Dussing, Senior Admissions Officer, at email@example.com. Please note that musical supplements are not a required part of our admissions process.
Students submitting a music supplement should select two works contrasting in period and tempo. Students will 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 you 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 in rare circumstances 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.
Candidates applying to the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange should still submit materials for Columbia faculty to assess your talent and potential. For more information on this program, please visit the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange webpage in this Admissions section.
Students may submit an electronic supplement only via a web portal. Digital images will be accepted as .jpg, .gif or .png files, up to 5 MB each. You will need your Common Application ID number to upload a supplement, and a processing fee of $10 will be required at the time of submission. Applicants who are eligible for a Common Application fee waiver may request that their processing fee be waived by contacting Lindsay Dussing, Senior Admissions Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that artistic supplements are not a required part of our admissions process.
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.
Architecture, Creative Writing, Dance, Drama and Theatre Arts and Film Studies
Students are welcome to submit professional resumes that list artistic achievement. Please refrain from sending DVDs or hard copies of writing samples, as they will not be reviewed. However, if samples of your work can be viewed online, please clearly indicate the relevant links in the Additional Information section of The Common Application. Finally, please be advised that while we welcome the submission of such credentials-providing they follow the directions outlined above-and we often request that our faculty evaluate submitted supplements, we can provide no guarantee that all materials will be reviewed or evaluated, as they are not required for the admission process.
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).
May I apply to both Columbia College and Columbia Engineering?
What is Columbia looking for when evaluating students for admission? What are the criteria for admission?
The Columbia University first-year class College and Engineering students is chosen from a large and diverse group of applicants. Columbia employs a holistic approach in assessing candidates in order to judge which students are the best matches for Columbia’s unique educational experience.
In the process of selection, the Committee on Admissions considers each applicant’s academic potential, intellectual strength and ability to think independently. The Committee also considers the general attitudes and character of the applicant, special abilities and interests, maturity, motivation, curiosity and whether he or she is likely to make productive use of the four years at Columbia. In its final selection, Columbia seeks diversity of personalities, achievements and talents, and of economic, social, ethnic, cultural, religious, racial and geographic backgrounds. Each applicant’s academic record is examined, together with reports on personal qualities that have been supplied by the principal, headmaster or counselor and by teachers. The student’s record of participation in the life of his or her school and community is also important, as is his or her performance on standardized tests.
How does the admissions committee evaluate transcripts and applications from different countries?
Applications are read by region and members of the admissions office have read and evaluated applications from all over the world and are familiar with a variety of school systems and transcripts. Included with the secondary school report is a “school profile,” which includes a description of the school, grading system, curricular and extracurricular resources. If we need more information to make an informed decision or have any questions, we have the option to contact an applicant’s school and to do our own research.
In addition, students schooled in non-U.S. styled schools outside of the United States should also submit the Common Application’s International School Supplement to the Secondary School Report.
Does Columbia allow students to start in the spring semester?
No, for most candidates. We do not accept applications for January/spring enrollment from First-Year, Transfer or Combined Plan Program candidates. Only Visiting Student Program candidates may apply for January/spring enrollment.
Can I get an interview in my country?
Volunteer members of Columbia’s Alumni Representative Committee (ARC) conduct interviews throughout the world from October through February every year on behalf of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. However, because we have a finite number of alumni volunteers to interview the many thousands of candidates, we are unable to grant interviews to all of our applicants and can provide absolutely no guarantee that an interview will be available in any given area. Please note that interviews will be offered only in the area where your high school is located; if you have finished high school and are no longer nearby, an interview will not be available to you.
If the Alumni Representative Committee is able to offer you an interview, you will be contacted directly by an ARC member. Please note that interviews are conducted only by Alumni Representative Committee members, are not offered on campus and are positively not a requirement for admission.
Candidates who are not offered an interview are not at any disadvantage in the admissions process. Because the actual assignment of interviews is not conducted by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, we respectfully ask that you do not call or write to inquire about receiving an interview. You will be contacted directly between the months of October and February if an interview is available in the same area as your high school. Interviews are not offered to transfer students.