A college is considered to be "U.S.-style" if courses are offered in similar terms to U.S. colleges (i.e. quarters, semesters, etc.), you will receive a grade for each course in each term, and you will also receive an English-language transcript. If your school is not U.S.-style, as defined above, you must apply as a first-year student, by the appropriate Early Decision or Regular Decision deadline.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my chances for admission be affected if I apply for financial aid?
All applicants who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or students granted refugee visas by the United States are read in a need-blind manner, no matter where they attend school or where they reside. The term “need-blind” means financial need has no bearing on the admissions decision. All other applicants are evaluated in a need-aware manner, which means that the admissions committee takes into consideration how much financial aid a student requires when rendering an admissions decision. Columbia admits a large number of foreign students who receive a substantial amount of financial aid.
Columbia is committed to meeting the full need of all applicants admitted as first-year students for all four years of study, regardless of citizenship.
As a foreign student, you should determine what amount you feel you and your family could afford to pay each year for four years of study. If you conclude that you and your family will be unable to assume the estimated total cost of attendance, you should apply for financial aid at the same time you apply for admission. If you are traveling to Columbia from another country, you will also want to consider travel expenses. If you do not apply for financial aid at the time of applying, you cannot be considered for financial aid in the future unless there has been a drastic and unforeseeable change in your family's circumstances.
I attend a college/university outside of the United States and Canada. How do I know if it is “U.S.-style?”
Are international students allowed to apply Early Decision?
Yes. However, even very competitive foreign candidates who are applying for financial aid and fall out of the “need-blind” category may be deferred to Regular Decision so the Admissions Committee can review the entire global applicant pool.
Does Columbia work with third-party agents?
Columbia University does not work with any admissions agent who expects compensation from a college or university.
Columbia’s Undergraduate Admissions is pleased to work directly with applicants and their families, with their school officials, and with a variety of government and non-profit community-based organizations in the United States and abroad. While we respect the work of independent educational consultants, we of course expect them to adhere to the highest standards of professional ethics.
How do I submit my Essay for the Coalition Application?
Columbia requires that applicants using the Coalition Application submit an essay, using the prompts and information found on their website. Students may upload their essay in the “Uploads” section found at the conclusion of the Columbia-specific questions to the Coalition Application. Please note that while the prompts and instructions can be reviewed at any time, the section to upload your completed essay is not accessible until the other Columbia-specific questions have been completed.
May I transfer from Columbia College to the Engineering School (or vice-versa) once accepted and enrolled?
If you are enrolled at either Columbia College or Engineering and you genuinely feel that you should attend the other, you may apply as an internal transfer student. Internal transfers must submit the Internal Transfer Application by March 1. There is no guarantee that you will be able to transfer to a different school. Undergraduate Admissions consults with the Berick Center for Student Advising to review your academic performance and curriculum and determine if a change is appropriate.
Are admissions requirements different for home-schooled students?
Home-schooled students receive the same evaluation as other Columbia applicants – every application receives the careful attention of several members of the professional admissions staff, and decisions are made only after review by a committee of these officers.
Home-schooled students should follow our Required Standardized Testing policy for the necessary tests. If you elect to take any SAT Subject Tests, we encourage you to submit those Subject Test scores. We also recommend that if you have a specific area of academic interest, you submit Subject Test scores in that area of interest, if available. Your scores can assist the Admissions Committee in evaluating content knowledge and mastery in individual disciplines.
What if I don't have a guidance counselor?
Many students in countries outside the U.S. do not have guidance counselors. At U.S.-style secondary schools, guidance counselors are responsible for important parts of the application: submitting the Secondary School Report, the official school transcript, and the Mid-Year School Report. They also write a letter of recommendation for applicants. If you do not have a guidance counselor, these parts of the application can be filled by a principal or director of school, essentially a school official who is able to comment on your academic ability, extracurricular activities and personal qualities within the context of your entire school community.
Is there a minimum test score, class rank or GPA required for admission to Columbia?
No. Columbia does not have a "cut-off" GPA or test score for applicants. For detailed information on the statistics of the most recent entering class, go to the Admissions Statistics page.
I am interested in your HEOP program. As a transfer, am I eligible for the program?
In order to be eligible for the Higher Education Opportunity Program as a transfer, you must currently be enrolled at a similar program in New York State.
Is there a preference for the Common Application or the Coalition Application?
The Admissions Committee will apply the same holistic review process to evaluate candidates regardless of whether they submit the Coalition Application or the Common Application; there is no preference for one over the other. Please be aware that students must submit only one complete application, using either the Common Application or the Coalition Application.
Either the Common Application or the Coalition Application must be submitted by Columbia’s Early Decision deadline of November 1 or Regular Decision deadline of January 1.
Will my financial aid package be any different if I apply for admission under the Early Decision Program?
No. Some families may think that their chances for financial aid might be worse when applying early, or that they should not ask for financial aid in the Early Decision process. Please be reassured that both Early and Regular Decision processes are need-blind and that financial aid packages are not any more or less comprehensive in the Early Decision process. Columbia College and The Fu Foundation of Engineering and Applied Science award need-based financial aid to all admitted first-year students.
We know Early Decision candidates have made Columbia their first choice, and we make every effort to help these families finance a Columbia education. If, after receiving the estimated Early Decision financial aid offer, an admitted student's family has concerns about meeting the expected family contribution, we encourage the family to contact Financial Aid & Educational Financing and speak with one of our counselors.
I have completed academic research during high school. How can I share this information in my application?
If you have completed research with a faculty member or mentor in science, engineering or other academic disciplines (e.g., humanities, social sciences or languages), you are welcome to provide a one or two page abstract as a supplement to your application. You may upload your abstract in the Columbia-specific questions to the Common Application or in the Uploads page of the Coalition Application.
If you are submitting an abstract, you will also be asked to answer a few short questions on the duration of your research involvement, your specific role in and contributions to the research project, and contact information of your research mentor. This will help us better understand your specific research experience beyond what you may have already included in your other application materials.
We also welcome a letter of recommendation from your research mentor, who can send the letter via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, via fax to 212-854-3393, or via mail to Undergraduate Admissions.