Columbia is test-optional for applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering.
The holistic and contextual application review process for Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is rooted in the belief that students are dynamic, multi-faceted individuals who cannot be defined by any single factor. Our review is purposeful and nuanced—respecting varied backgrounds, voices and experiences—in order to best determine an applicant's suitability for admission and ability to thrive in our curriculum and our community, and to advance access to our educational opportunities.
Our responsibility is to admit students who will be successful in our rigorous curriculum, so first and foremost the review is grounded in an examination of the applicant's past and current academic performance. Only after a foundation of academic excellence has been demonstrated will other areas of achievement and potential for impact be considered. Based on an internal study encompassing multiple years of performance data, we found that test-optional admissions—which we provisionally introduced in 2020-2021 due to the pandemic—did not lead to a diminishment of the academic performance of our admitted classes or the academic success of our enrolled students. Thus, as we design our application and its requirements to afford the greatest possible opportunity and flexibility for students to represent themselves fully and showcase their academic talents, interests and goals, standardized testing remains an optional component of our application.
Columbia continually reviews its data and assesses admissions policies to align with institutional priorities and goals and to uphold the university's mission of attracting a diverse and international student body—advancing knowledge and learning at the highest level. Our application requirements and review process undergo regular re-evaluation to assure that the Committee on Admissions is equipped to admit students who represent the strongest possible fit for Columbia.
For students who choose to submit testing, we welcome this information and are pleased to include standardized tests in your application review. Students who choose not to submit test scores, however, will not be at a disadvantage in our process. We will continue to evaluate all submitted information within an individualized application review process that considers the unique combination of circumstances shaping each applicant's journey. The rigor of a student’s curriculum, their academic achievement, and their demonstrated intellectual curiosity will remain central to our review.
Testing policies for students who choose to submit testing
- You may choose to take either the ACT or the SAT, and you may self-report your scores on your application.
- Columbia does not consider the optional writing section.
- You may take standardized tests as late as November for Early Decision and January for Regular Decision.
- If you submit results from multiple test sittings, you will be evaluated on the highest score you received in any individual section of that test (known as superscoring).
- Columbia accepts results from both paper and digital administrations, and tests will be superscored across paper and digital administrations if you have taken a single test in both formats.
Additional standardized testing
Advanced Placement (AP) and other optional standardized exam scores are not required by Columbia, but we will accept your results if you choose to submit them in the testing section of your Common Application or Coalition Application. You will not be at a disadvantage in our admissions process should you choose not to take these optional tests or submit the scores to Columbia.
Please note that proficiency exam scores must be submitted if they are required for the completion of, and graduation from, your secondary school. This may include internal and external exam results, such as A Level, International Baccalaureate, French Baccalaureate, and other final national exam results.
Additional details for applicants
Answer “yes” or “no” to submitting your ACT or SAT scores on your application to indicate whether or not you would like your test scores to be considered in our holistic admissions review process.
Testing Policy Frequently Asked Questions
What does answering “yes” to submitting ACT or SAT scores on the application mean?
Applicants who answer “yes” to submitting ACT or SAT scores will have their scores considered in our holistic review process. At the time of application submission, applicants should be certain that they would like for their scores to be reviewed; they may not change their answer to “no” at any point after application submission. There is no advantage to submitting your application early, so it is not necessary to submit your application ahead of the application deadline.
What does answering “no” to submitting ACT or SAT scores on the application mean?
Applicants who answer “no” to submitting ACT or SAT scores will not have their scores considered in our holistic review process. Applicants who are unable or choose not to submit test scores will not be disadvantaged in the application review process. Therefore, if you have not yet taken the ACT or SAT or are choosing not to submit test scores at the time of application submission, you should indicate “no” to submitting test results. “No” should also be selected if you are registered to take an exam in the future and/or do not have results to share at the time of application submission.
If I answered “no” to submitting scores, can I change my mind and report scores after I have submitted my application?
Applicants who answer “no” to submitting ACT or SAT scores at the time of application submission, and were able to sit for an exam or receive results after submitting an application, will have a deadline by which they can change their answer from “no” to “yes.” Early Decision applicants who choose to report their scores must do so by the fourth Wednesday in November; Regular Decision applicants must do so no later than January 15.
Submitting test results is optional, and applicants who are unable or who choose not to submit test scores will not be disadvantaged in the application review process.
If I answered “yes” to submitting scores, can I change my mind and withdraw my scores after I have submitted my application?
No, you may not change your mind or withdraw your scores, so please carefully consider your answer to this question.
Will I have an advantage in the admissions process if I submit ACT or SAT results?
No, applicants will not have an advantage in the admissions process simply by submitting ACT or SAT results. The submission of test results will be viewed only as one additional piece of information among the many factors that we will consider in our continued practice of a holistic and contextual review process.
If my initial answer was “no” to submitting scores, how many times can I change my answer to this question?
Only applicants who answered “no” to submitting scores may change their answer to this question, and they may only do so one time. Once an applicant submits “yes” to this question, this information will appear on the application and cannot be changed.
If I answered “yes” to submitting scores, how do I provide my scores?
There are a few ways to provide your ACT and/or SAT test scores. The most common are:
- Input your scores in the testing section of either the Common Application or the Coalition Application.
- Update your scores on your Columbia applicant status page. This page will only be available after you have submitted your application.
- We are also able to accept score reports directly from your school via email or mail, if your school's policy allows.
Please note that our office will verify scores for all enrolling students who opted to self-report their testing, and any discrepancies between official and self-reported scores may jeopardize a student's place in the class.
If you plan to submit an official score report to our office, please be sure to use the correct registration code for Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science to ensure proper delivery of your scores. The appropriate SAT code is 2116, and the appropriate ACT code is 2717. If you sent your score using an incorrect code, you must contact the testing agency to resend your scores.
Please do not use the "rush" service in sending your test scores to Columbia; doing so does not speed up the processing of your test scores. Applicants may select the Score Choice option for the SAT or choose to submit specific ACT composite scores