Columbia-Specific Application Questions

Columbia-specific questions, also known as the writing supplement, tell the Committee on Admissions more about your academic, extracurricular and intellectual interests. These questions provide insight to your intellectual curiosity, habits of mind, love of learning and sense of self. They also allow the Committee on Admissions to learn more about you in your current community and why you feel Columbia’s distinctive experiences in and out of the classroom would be a good fit for your undergraduate education. We review your responses to these questions as an essential part of our holistic and contextual review, in order to get a fuller sense of you as a unique individual beyond the standard parts of the application.

A Columbia admissions officer talks about the Columbia-specific application questions, also known as the writing supplement.

2023-2024 Columbia-Specific Questions


For the list question that follows, there is a 100 word maximum. Please refer to the below guidance when answering this question:

  • Your response should be a list of items separated by commas or semicolons.
  • Items do not have to be numbered or in any specific order.
  • It is not necessary to italicize or underline titles of books or other publications.
  • No author names, subtitles or explanatory remarks are needed.

 For the four short answer questions, please respond in 150 words or fewer.


  • List a selection of texts, resources and outlets that have contributed to your intellectual development outside of academic courses, including but not limited to books, journals, websites, podcasts, essays, plays, presentations, videos, museums and other content that you enjoy.  (100 words or fewer) 
  • A hallmark of the Columbia experience is being able to learn and thrive in an equitable and inclusive community with a wide range of perspectives. Tell us about an aspect of your own perspective, viewpoint or lived experience that is important to you, and describe how it has shaped the way you would learn from and contribute to Columbia's diverse and collaborative community. (150 words or fewer)
  • In college/university, students are often challenged in ways that they could not predict or anticipate. It is important to us, therefore, to understand an applicant's ability to navigate through adversity. Please describe a barrier or obstacle you have faced and discuss the personal qualities, skills or insights you have developed as a result. (150 words or fewer)
  • Why are you interested in attending Columbia University? We encourage you to consider the aspect(s) that you find unique and compelling about Columbia. (150 words or fewer)
  • What attracts you to your preferred areas of study at Columbia College or Columbia Engineering? (150 words or fewer)