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
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.
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 email@example.com, via fax to 212-854-3393, or via mail to Undergraduate Admissions.