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.
May I apply to both Columbia College and Columbia Engineering?
May I apply Early Decision if I am interested in the Columbia-Juilliard Program?
Yes, first-year candidates admitted to Columbia College under Early Decision may keep their candidacy open for the Program. However, successful Early Decision candidates must withdraw their Bachelor of Music candidacy to Juilliard along with candidacy to all other institutions as part of the Early Decision binding agreement.
May I take the SAT Subject Test in my native language?
Although not required, the SAT Subject Test in a foreign language is meant to demonstrate your achievement in a language that you have learned in school. You should recognize that if you have native fluency in a language, an SAT Subject Test can be put to better use by showcasing a different academic talent.
Can I share my Locker from the Coalition Application with an admissions officer?
Please do not share access to your Locker with any Columbia admissions officers, as we will only accept materials that are submitted as part of your application. Any additions or corrections to your application can be submitted to email@example.com.
How can I submit my standardized test scores to Columbia?
You may provide your ACT and/or SAT test scores in one of two ways:
Input your scores in the testing section of either the Common Application or the Coalition Application.
Update your scores on your Columbia application 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.
Only admitted students who choose to enroll at Columbia must have their official scores sent by the testing agency.
Does Columbia admit students who have not completed high school?
Prior to enrollment, students admitted to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering must submit documentation of completion of their high/secondary school requirements, which includes the final high school transcript with date of graduation. If applicable, International Baccalaureate, GCE Advanced Level or nationally recognized high school graduation examination results must also be provided. Transcripts should be sent directly from the high/secondary school. Alternatively, a GED or TASC credential with a passing score may be submitted.
May students rejected from Columbia appeal their admission decision?
No. If your application to Columbia is denied, that decision is final. There is no appeal process for admission decisions, and applicants are not reconsidered for admission. Every application receives a review from members of the professional admissions staff. As we do feel confident that our decisions, however difficult, are commitments that we make only after the care and deliberation that all our candidates deserve, we must say once again that we cannot accept any requests for reconsideration of these decisions.
Does Columbia allow students to start in the spring semester?
No, for most candidates. We do not accept applications for January/spring enrollment from First-Year, Transfer or Combined Plan Program candidates. Only Visiting Student Program candidates may apply for January/spring enrollment.
What is the Visiting Student Program?
Columbia welcomes college students who wish to spend all or part of an academic year taking classes at Columbia. This program has been designed as an opportunity for students to broaden their college experience and is intended as a supplement to the undergraduate program at their home institution. Students in the Visiting Student Program are not permitted to apply for transfer admission.
While we will try our best to accommodate students who wish to live on campus, we are not able to guarantee Visiting Student Program students campus housing. Admitted students will be notified at the time of admission if we are able to offer campus housing.
Students may enter in either January or September and may spend one or two consecutive semesters at Columbia. All Visiting Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at their home colleges. The Visiting Student Program offers rolling admission. Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted. The earlier student apply, the sooner they will receive their decision, which will be 4-6 weeks after complete application submission. For entry in January, the final application deadline is November 15. For entry in September, the final application deadline is June 15. No financial aid is available to visiting students, but they are welcome to use financial aid from their home institutions.
Are my chances for admission greater if I apply Early Decision?
Although a larger percentage of the Early Decision applicant pool is admitted than of the Regular Decision pool, that higher acceptance rate reflects the remarkable strength of a self-selected group of applicants. A candidate to whom we otherwise would not offer admission is not going to be accepted simply because he or she applied under the Early Decision program.
We strongly urge you to apply under the Early Decision program if and only if Columbia is your first choice.
How competitive is admission to Columbia?
Admission to both Columbia College and Columbia Engineering is broad-based but highly selective, and the Committee is only able to offer admission to only a small fraction of all applicants.
A profile of the current first-year class is available on the Admissions Statistics webpage.
Admission for transfer students is also highly selective. Over the past decade, the Committee has admitted between 5% and 10% of transfer applicants each year.
The SAT is not available in my country. May I still apply without this exam?
If you live in a country in which the SAT is not available, you are not required to take the exam in order to apply for admission.