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A renowned research university
Columbia has been a place of deep intellectual curiosity and wide-ranging academic inquiry since 1754.
Why Columbia? "I chose Columbia because I could see how this environment would challenge me to think about my role in the world just as much as how a job or career could benefit me. I knew I would be surrounded by diverse peers who viewed professions as more than a way to make money and I would begin to view my career as an interest rather than a job. With world-renowned professors and outstanding resources, Columbia was and is the place where I could be anything."
The Core Curriculum: "Taking Literature Humanities has certainly been my favorite academic experience. I was able to write an essay comparing the Pride & Prejudice movie to the original text, and I think that is a beautiful representation of how the class allows us to unite our passions with the key principles found within canonical literature."
Columbia traditions: "My favorite Columbia tradition is the student-run music festival, Bacchanal. It is an incredibly fun experience where everyone takes a day to relax by going out with friends to the Columbia lawns. I was able to hang out with friends and catch up with so many people after a busy semester and before finals start. It is such a great time, not to mention the wonderful artists that visit Columbia!"
Why Columbia? "I chose Columbia because I wanted to be challenged both in the classroom and outside. By living in a big city, every day I have so many opportunities at my fingertip and am constantly pushed to be the best version of myself. I feel like living in New York City and going to Columba challenges me."
In the world's greatest city: "Columbia goes out of its way to make things accessible for all students, especially first-generation low-income students. I was able to go to the Museum of Ice Cream for free, with even my MetroCard fare being provided for! I have also been able to go to other museums for free with the Passport to Museums, including the beautiful Metropolitan Museum of Art."
Why Columbia? "At Columbia, there’s a true abundance of opportunities—both within campus and in the city—something that really excited me. I still got the campus atmosphere I desired to develop a strong sense of community, while very much being a part of one of the most bustling cities in the world."
Learning beyond the classroom: "I'm in a program called the Summer Internship Program in Psychological Science (SIPPS) that combines weekly workshops with mentored research projects. SIPPS is aimed specifically towards students who have little to no lab or research experience, which really helps them build a jumping off point for future experiences. It takes place on campus, which is really convenient, and the application was super easy—just a form with your information, interests and short essay questions, all through its own Columbia website!"
Why Columbia? "When I visited Columbia’s campus and had the opportunity to talk to students, I knew immediately that I needed to be here. The campus and students all have this same motivation and eagerness to change the world, and that was something I wanted to be a part of."
In the world's greatest city: "I have been able to see several Broadway shows for free through Columbia’s Urban New York program. Every semester, they send out raffle information for students, and through that I have been able to see Jagged Little Pill, Funny Girl and Wicked all for free!"
Affordability & Aid
What matters most to us is your ability to thrive at Columbia, not your ability to pay for it. We are committed to making Columbia’s many opportunities accessible to all our students. If cost is a concern for your family, we encourage you to apply for financial aid.
Calculate the cost of attendance
How to apply
Ready to find out where Columbia Blue might take you? Here, you’ll find all the resources you need to understand the admissions process and to get ready to build a complete, authentic, and compelling application. We look forward to getting to know you.
Welcome to Columbia University in the City of New York. Our campus is located specifically on the island of Manhattan, which means "island of many hills" in the language of the Lenni Lenape people. We recognize that Manhattan is part of the ancestral and traditional homeland of the Lenni Lenape and Wappinger people, who are still active members of our community throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Learn more by watching this video.
Frequently asked questions
What is Columbia looking for when evaluating students for admission? What are the criteria for admission?
The Columbia University first-year class of 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 evaluate 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 they are 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.
How do I apply for financial aid?
The financial aid application process collects information about your family's income, assets, family composition and other circumstances. All requirements and submission instructions are detailed on the Financial Aid & Educational Financing website. Learn more about affordability and aid at Columbia.
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, 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 operate as a service for New Yorkers to get the most out of their city.
There are also a variety of email 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 of some of the finest establishments in the city. Columbia helps students explore the opportunities in New York by providing discounted and free tickets to many events around the city through the Columbia Arts Initiative.
What are the differences between Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Barnard College and the School of General Studies?
Columbia College is Columbia's traditional undergraduate liberal arts college; its founding in 1754 as King's College marks the birth of Columbia University.
Columbia Engineering is the University's engineering school, offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students are served by many of the same campus resources for undergraduates, including Columbia Housing, the Berick Center for Student Advising and Undergraduate Student Life. Students interested in attending Columbia College or Columbia Engineering apply through Columbia Undergraduate Admissions.
Barnard College is a liberal arts college for women in partnership with Columbia University, located just across Broadway at 118th Street. Barnard College and Columbia College students may take department-level classes with either faculty, and some areas of study are housed on one campus but are open to both Barnard and Columbia students. Many campus facilities, such as libraries and dining halls, are open to students on both campuses, as are many student groups.
At Columbia College, Columbia Engineering and Barnard College, students usually come directly from high school and attend full-time.
The School of General Studies is Columbia’s college for nontraditional students who want to earn a degree while attending full- or part-time. Nontraditional students have had a break of one year or more in their educational paths or have compelling personal or professional reasons for completing their bachelor’s degrees part-time. Students in the School of General Studies take the same courses with the same faculty and undertake the same majors as all other undergraduates at Columbia.
All four colleges are located on the Morningside Heights campus in New York City.
Parents & Guardians
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We can’t tell you the best street vendor in the city. Some things you have to learn for yourself. Other things? Give us a try.
If you have a question that isn’t answered by this website or have updates to your application, reach out to Undergraduate Admissions directly.