Transfer Admission

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering are the undergraduate divisions of Columbia University; both serve full-time students only. Potential applicants to Columbia College who have taken a break of more than a full year in their educations after high school (with the exception of those who must complete national military service), or those who wish to attend part time for personal or professional reasons should consider instead Columbia University's School of General Studies. Potential applicants to Columbia Engineering should proceed with this transfer application regardless of any break in schooling. Entrance is for the fall semester only. 

To be eligible to enroll as a transfer student at Columbia, you must have completed, or be registered for, 24 points of credit (the equivalent of one year of full-time study) at another institution, as well as have earned a high school diploma or equivalent (by the application deadline). Candidates with more than four semesters of college coursework elsewhere are not encouraged to apply. Columbia’s academic requirements and institutional policies make completion of all graduation requirements in a reasonable and timely fashion unlikely. International students should read our International Transfer Students section.

If you left high school without receiving a diploma in order to attend an early college program, you are not eligible for transfer admission and must apply as a first-year student by the appropriate Early Decision or Regular Decision deadline. You will not be eligible to receive credit for such accelerated programs except for credit earned through standardized examinations (e.g., AP and IB exams); such credit will be limited to 16 points, the equivalent of one full semester at Columbia.

Columbia also offers a Visiting Student Program, which allows students to take courses at Columbia for a maximum of two semesters. Visiting Students to Columbia College are not permitted to apply for transfer admission, and you may not apply simultaneously as a transfer and as a Visiting Student.

Application Requirements

Each year, we admit a small group of transfer students to Columbia College and Columbia Engineering. Because space in the sophomore and junior classes is limited, admission is highly competitive. We typically admit fewer than 10 percent of the applicants for transfer admission each year. Potential transfers are expected to have a minimum GPA of 3.5 overall; Columbia Engineering candidates are strongly encouraged to have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their mathematics and science courses.

Due to the timing of the transfer process, we are generally unable to consider grades earned in the second semester of the year of application; thus, high school grades, rigor of program and standardized test scores are all important in the evaluation of transfer credentials, especially for students applying for sophomore standing. If you have applied to Columbia previously, the documents you provided at that time will not roll over (with the exception of SAT or ACT scores); you must resubmit any information requested by this transfer application.

The following are required components of a complete transfer application:


All applications should be completed online, and transfer applicants must use the Common Application to apply for admission to Columbia. The Coalition Application is for first-year applicants only. The Common Application includes:

  • Autobiographical information
  • Academic information, including:
    • List of all high schools and colleges attended
    • For the “College Coursework” section, you should list all college courses that you are taking in the current academic year
  • Experiences, including:
    • A comprehensive overview of the extracurricular activities you were active in during both high school and college beyond the classroom. 
    • Be sure to include all clubs, organizations, research positions, jobs, internships and/or volunteer activities that you participated in high school and college.
    • You are encouraged to upload a resume detailing your high school and college extracurricular activities in the “Documents” section of the application.

Columbia-Specific Application Questions

  • In addition to the questions listed in the link above, you should submit your Personal Statement in the Columbia-Specific application questions section. This Personal Statement is a place for you to submit a full-length, personal essay of approximately 400-600 words that details why you are seeking transfer admission. The length and nature of this essay is similar to the personal essay section on the Common Application for first-year admission. The personal essay does not need to be specific to Columbia, but it should inform the committee why you wish to leave your current institution. This personal statement is not a short answer question and should be approached with care.

Transcripts and School Forms

Electronic transcripts are preferred for fastest processing. Please note that we receive many documents daily and that transcripts may take several days to process. We encourage you to submit official transcripts with your most up-to-date grades to facilitate the completion of your application.

We cannot accept transcripts submitted by applicants as official unless they are mailed in a signed, sealed envelope; electronic transcripts are official if they are sent directly from an institution and/or from a school official.

  • An official high school transcript from all schools attended, which should include your graduation date.
  • Separate official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended. If you attend a college on the quarter system, the transcript should include grades from the fall and winter quarter of the current academic year.
  • The Common Application College Report from the current institution, which collects information about your standing at your current institution and should be completed by a school official such as an advisor, dean or registrar. This form should be submitted by a school official and may accompany your official college transcript. College Reports should be submitted electronically to by a school official if they cannot accompany your official transcript.
  • The Common Application Mid-Term Report once mid-term grades are available, which collects information about courses in which you are currently enrolled. Please print this form and bring it to each professor to complete. Mid-term grades are often not available by March 1; we will accept this form until April 15 but strongly recommend that it be submitted as soon as mid-term grades are available. Mid-Term Reports should be submitted electronically to

Standardized tests

  • SAT or ACT
  • Applicants may self-report their scores
  • English proficiency examination score (if necessary)
  • If you have previously taken the SAT Subject Tests, you may also report those scores; if you have not taken the SAT Subject Tests, they are not required to be taken at the time of the transfer application.

Recommendation Letters

  • Two letters of recommendation (Academic Evaluations) from college professors. An optional third recommendation will be accepted from an advising dean or academic adviser.
  • Recommendation letters should not come from high school teachers, employers, research supervisors or family members.

Application Fee or Fee Waiver

Additional Materials

Supplements are not a required part of our admissions process; however, there may be occasions when supplementary materials can enhance our understanding of a student's application. 

Transfer Credit

You must have completed or be registered for 24 points of credit (the equivalent of one year of full-time study) at another institution. No more than 64 points in Columbia College or 68 points in Columbia Engineering will be awarded as transfer credit, including points earned through AP or IB examinations. We do not grant credit for college courses taken before a student's graduation from high school. If you left high school without receiving a diploma to attend an early college program, you must apply as a first-year applicant by the appropriate Early Decision or Regular Decision deadline. Course credit is not given for such accelerated programs except for credit earned through standardized examinations (e.g., AP, IB, A-level exams); such credit will be limited to 16 points, which is equivalent to one full semester at Columbia. For more detailed information, students should refer to the Academic Credit for Transfer Students section of the James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising website.

Please note that transfer credit evaluation occurs only at the time of acceptance. We cannot review transcripts and/or courses for transfer before a candidate submits an application.

Columbia does not award transfer credit for courses that are not analogous to those available at Columbia College or Columbia Engineering. We encourage you to review our College Bulletin and Engineering Bulletin to become familiar with the types of courses that are offered here and therefore the courses that are more likely to be awarded credit.

Dates and Deadlines

  • By May 15
    Admissions and financial aid decisions released online to transfer candidates
  • Late May/Early June
    Deposit deadline for admitted transfer students
  • Late June
    Deadline for final transcripts for admitted students.


For questions about transfer admission and the application process, please visit our online FAQs. If you have additional questions, you may email or call 212-854-2522. Mail should be sent to Columbia University in the City of New York, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 212 Hamilton Hall, Mail Code 2807, 1130 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027.