You may find your fit at Columbia even if your higher education journey didn’t begin here. Transfer students bring unique and valuable perspectives to the Columbia community, and we are intentional in our efforts to welcome over 100 transfer students to campus every year. We accept transfer applications to Columbia College and Columbia Engineering from a range of two-year and four-year colleges and universities.
Potential applicants to Columbia College who have taken a break of more than a full year in their education 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.
Transfer applicants must use the Coalition Application to apply for admission to Columbia. The Common Application is for first-year applicants only. A completed transfer application includes the following (please see additional details about each component of the application following the checklist):
The Coalition Application and additional Columbia questions
An official high school transcript from all high schools attended
An official college transcript from all colleges attended
The Coalition Application Transfer Report
The Coalition Application Curriculum Report
See the Revised Testing Policy for the 2021-2022 application cycle.
SAT or ACT, with writing not required
English proficiency examination score (if necessary)
Two College Academic Recommendations
The Coalition Application
The Coalition Application Profile has multiple sections, but not all are required.
The following Profile sections are required for a complete transfer application to Columbia: Personal Information, Contact Information, Demographic Information, Citizenship Information, Family Information, High School Information, College Information, College Coursework, SAT/ACT, Additional Tests, English Proficiency Tests, Fee Waiver, Honors & Distinctions, Academic Interests, Activities/Experience.
In the Activities/Experience section, please include details about activities from both high school and college. Be sure to include all clubs, organizations, research positions, jobs, internships and/or volunteer activities that you participated in beyond the classroom. You are also welcome to upload a resume detailing your high school and college extracurricular activities in the “Uploads” section of the application.
The following Profile sections are not required for a complete transfer application to Columbia: 9th-11th Grade Coursework, 12th Grade Coursework, and Coalition Essay.
We encourage transfer applicants to list all college coursework on their application, including current coursework, but discourage students from listing high school coursework.
Please note, while the Coalition Essay in the Profile is not required for a complete transfer application, applicants will be asked to upload a 400-600 word essay responding to the following prompt in the Uploads section of the application: Please explain why you are interested in transferring from your current institution. 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.
Following the general Coalition Application Profile, applicants will be asked to complete a number of Columbia-Specific Questions.
Please submit transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended. 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 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.
The Coalition Application Transfer Report, which collects information about your standing at your current institution, should be completed by a school official such as an advisor, dean or registrar at your current institution.This form may accompany your official college transcript. Transfer Reports should be sent electronically to email@example.com if they cannot accompany your official transcript.
The Coalition Application Curriculum Report collects information about courses in which you are currently enrolled. 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. Curriculum Reports should be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org, or uploaded directly through your applicant portal. Please do not submit the curriculum report until mid-term grades are available. A curriculum report with grades listed as "in progress" or with no grades listed will not meet this requirement. The curriculum report is not required for students who are not currently enrolled in a college or attending a school that operates on the quarter system.
Two College Academic Recommendation Letters
Two academic recommendation letters 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.
SAT or ACT, with writing not required
Transfer applicants will still be expected to submit results from tests taken in past years. Transfer applicants who have not previously tested will have this requirement waived for the 2020-2021 application cycle.
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.
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.
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. Credit for standardized exams (e.g., AP, IB, A level exams) 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 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.
The Core is the cornerstone of undergraduate academic life at Columbia. Even those transferring in with advanced credit should expect to take elements of the Core, if not all of it. Students are very rarely exempt from Core classes like Literature Humanities, Contemporary Civilization, Art Humanities and Music Humanities.
Students are expected to graduate within eight semesters, including time spent at another college or university. Students are typically not permitted to extend their undergraduate studies unless they are enrolled in one of our Joint Degree programs (e.g. the Combined Plan).
Dates and Deadlines
- March 1
Application deadline for transfer candidates
- March 1
Financial aid application deadline
- May 21
Admissions and financial aid decisions released online to transfer candidates
- Mid June
Deposit deadline for admitted transfer students
- Late June
Deadline for final transcripts for admitted students.
Admission to Columbia is not based on a simple formula of grades and test scores. Instead, we consider a variety of factors. 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.
The majority of successful applicants to Columbia Engineering have completed an engineering track curriculum. For applicants with first-year standing at time of application this includes:
- Two semesters of Calculus
- Two semesters of Physics
- One semester of Chemistry
Enrolling transfer students will need to complete Core Curriculum requirements in addition to graduation requirements within their primary field of study. Our review takes into account a candidate's ability to complete their course of study in a standard timeline of eight total semesters. To allow more flexibility with course selection at Columbia, we recommend applying with first-year standing at your current institution when possible.
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.
At Columbia, we are committed to fully supporting our transfer community. All transfer applicants who are citizens, permanent residents or other eligible non-citizens are evaluated without regard to their financial need. Foreign students applying for aid must understand that such aid is awarded on an extremely limited basis. Columbia meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for admitted transfer students and does not give any scholarships for academic, athletic or artistic merit.
Please visit the Financial Aid website for more information on financial aid for transfer students, including all required forms.
Accuracy and Authenticity
Note that all materials, unless otherwise stated, must be official and sent directly to the University or the University’s designated application platform from an official source (e.g., high school), not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the following exceptions: submissions by the US Department of State’s Fulbright Program and its partner agencies IIE, LASPAU, EducationUSA and AMIDEAST; submissions by the Danish-American Fulbright Commission (DAF); submissions by Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD); and submissions by non-profit, community-based organizations when schools are unable to provide this information on behalf of the student. In addition, the applicant will be required to attest to the accuracy and authenticity of all information and documents submitted to Columbia. If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact Undergraduate Admissions at email@example.com. Failure to submit complete, accurate, and authentic application documents consistent with these instructions may result in denial or revocation of admission, cancellation of academic credit, suspension, expulsion, or eventual revocation of degree. Applicants may be required to assist admissions staff and faculty involved in admission reviews in the verification of all documents and statements made in documents submitted by students as part of the application review process.
All applicants to Columbia University must confirm on their application that they understand and agree to adhere to the above expectations.
For questions about transfer admission and the application process, please visit our online FAQs. If you have additional questions, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.