Greetings from Morningside Heights!

The 2016-2017 Counselor Update is available for you to review and download. Our list of Frequently Asked Questions is another great resource for you and your students.

We hope the following information may be of use to you in the upcoming year.

Important Updates

In recent years, conversations about college access and affordability have been informed and enriched by several landmark reports and initiatives, including thought-provoking research about undermatching, the shifting of the timeline of the federal financial aid application process and increased attention to the issue of student stress. Our office has a long-standing commitment to students, equity and access, and through our ongoing engagement with this national dialogue, we have taken some recent steps toward an even more thoughtful and balanced application process.

Revised Testing Requirements

We have revised our standardized testing requirements in order to increase flexibility for students. Columbia no longer requires SAT Subject Tests or the writing section on either the SAT or ACT exam. Starting this year, ACT test-takers with multiple sittings will be assessed based on their best result in each individual section (“superscoring”). We will also continue to superscore the SAT. We hope that these new testing policies will reduce anxiety surrounding the application process by allowing each student to put the best foot forward in the application process.

Two Application Options

Additionally, this year students have two options to apply to Columbia: the Common Application and the Coalition Application. Columbia does not have a preference for one application over the other, but students should submit only one complete application, including supporting materials. We have purposely made both applications mirror each other for student and counselor ease.

Updated Columbia-Specific Application Questions

In order to encourage more meaningful self-reflection, we have changed two of our Columbia-specific application questions. Where we used to ask what extracurricular activity applicants were most proud of, we are now asking what aspect of the Columbia community they most want to impact, shifting the focus from individual achievement to community. And where we once asked what applicants found most appealing about Columbia, we are instead asking what they most value about Columbia, looking to get more information about a student’s character. We hope the new wording signals Columbia’s commitment to a holistic consideration of how each individual may fit into our community.

Financial Aid Outreach

For many students and families, college affordability is a primary concern, and we continue to strive to assist families with the financial aid application and educational financing process. We recently overhauled our financial aid eligibility letter for admitted students in order to help families more easily understand their net price. We are also introducing enhanced outreach to students to help them navigate the earlier availability of the FAFSA and CSS Profile financial aid applications. Columbia’s Early Decision financial aid application deadline will remain November 15, but we have moved our Regular Decision financial aid application deadline to February 15, so that we will have more time to work with students through the application process.

Application Guidelines

  • Credentials such as transcripts, secondary school reports and recommendation letters should be uploaded through the Common Application or through the Coalition Application Virtual Locker, in alignment with whichever platform the applicant is using. If you prefer to email materials, please send them to from your school-based email address and ensure that any documents sent via email do not contain a student’s Social Security Number.

  • If you are not able to submit credentials electronically, you may mail documents to us at:

Columbia University in the City of New York
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
1130 Amsterdam Avenue
212 Hamilton Hall, Mail Code 2807
New York, NY 10027

  • Students will be able to track their Early Decision application documents from November 9 to 30 and Regular Decision application documents from February 8 to March 22. This allows plenty of time for counselors and teachers to submit such documents and for our office to process them. We will notify students via email and mail at that time if we are missing any necessary materials, and there will still be sufficient time for us to review any late credentials thoroughly and carefully.

  • 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.

    • We accept optional arts supplements for dance, drama and theatre arts, music and visual art.

    • Applicants involved in research are welcome to provide a one or two page abstract and/or a letter of recommendation from his/her research mentor.

    • Please note that we specifically ask that students not send collections of award certificates and the like and explicitly direct them to refrain from submitting their applications in binders or folders.

Learn More

Students are encouraged to visit the Columbia campus for an information session and tour, or to sample a class. Our interactive virtual tour provides the opportunity to explore campus from the convenience of any computer or mobile device. For glimpses of campus life and Columbia’s distinctive community, as well as important admissions news and updates, we also encourage you and your students to follow our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.