Frequently Asked Questions


Can students who are undocumented apply to Columbia through QuestBridge?

Yes, Columbia considers all interested finalists to the QuestBridge National College Match program, regardless of citizenship status.

May I use the same essay I submitted to QuestBridge for the Common Application or Coalition Application?

Yes. As long as all of the work is your own and the content is appropriate for the essay prompts, you may submit the essay you composed for the QuestBridge application for your Common Application or Coalition Application.

I have sent recommendation letters and a secondary school report through the QuestBridge application; do I need to re-submit these forms if I am applying to Columbia?

Yes. Columbia requires that all applicants complete all parts of the admissions application; you must use the Common Application or Coalition Application when submitting the above documents. If you received letters of recommendation from academic teachers for the QuestBridge application, you may use those letters for your admission application. Simply ask your teachers to resend those letters with the Common Application or Coalition Application. Copies of official high school transcripts must also be sent directly to Columbia through the application form.

Will Columbia accept the QuestBridge application in place of the Common Application or Coalition Application?

No. Columbia requires that an applicant complete the Common Application or the Coalition Application, as well as the Columbia-specific questions. We do not accept the QuestBridge application in lieu of these applications. If you are not identified as a Finalist and are interested in applying to Columbia, you must also submit the Common Application or Coalition Application. As a QuestBridge applicant you are welcome to use any information from your QuestBridge application (essays, recommendations and lists of extracurricular activities); however, you must transfer the information onto the Common Application or Coalition Application. We will not review the QuestBridge application in our Regular Decision review process.

Does Columbia provide fee waivers for the CSS Profile?

The CSS Profile service provides fee waivers to qualifying domestic first-time, first-year students from families with low incomes and limited assets. 

Eligibility for fee waivers is automatically assessed at the time you submit the CSS Profile, and the waiver covers the costs of the registration fee for up to eight school reports.  Please contact the College Board with any additional questions regarding CSS Profile fee waivers.

Columbia does not offer additional fee waivers to domestic students.

If you have additional questions regarding the financial aid process, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing at or 212-854-3711.

Do you offer a fly-in program or travel funding for prospective QuestBridge participants or scholars?

We do not have fly-in programs for prospective applicants or QuestBridge scholars. You are always welcome to visit our campus for a campus tour or information session as well as any open houses or events we host on or off campus throughout the year. You can find more information on the Visit section of our website.

Can I track my QuestBridge application online?

Since QuestBridge processes your application and forwards documents to us on your behalf, we cannot provide you with online tracking. Please note that someone from our or QuestBridge’s office will be in touch if we are missing a part of your application.

We do provide tracking information for financial aid documents. Instructions for tracking this information will be emailed to you after you have submitted your application.

I am not a US Citizen or Permanent Resident. Can I apply for the QuestBridge National College Match with Columbia?

Yes, Columbia will consider students who are not US Citizens or Permanent Residents for the QuestBridge National College Match. 

Non-citizens and international students are an integral part of the university and Columbia is deeply committed to enrolling a student body that includes students from around the world. We do not have a separate application or process for international students. Please refer to our website for more information.

How does the QuestBridge College Match work with Columbia?

You will find a detailed list of required documents on the QuestBridge website under the Columbia University College Match Requirements. Columbia is a college partner with QuestBridge. In addition to the QuestBridge application, the admissions and financial aid offices require students to submit additional information directly to Columbia University.

Admissions Requirements: All students that are interested in attending Columbia must also file the Common Application or the Coalition Application, along with the Columbia-specific questions.  Please refer to this webpage for information about applying to Columbia.  All students must apply online.

Students should submit their application to Columbia under Regular Decision if they wish to be considered for the National College Match. Please select "Regular Decision" under Entry Term when filling out your application. If you are matched with Columbia through QuestBridge, your application status will automatically switch to Early Decision. Please note that if selected as a College Match with Columbia, the admission contract is binding and students are expected to attend Columbia the following fall. In addition, students must withdraw all other applications.  During the evaluation process for the College Match, the Columbia admissions committee will consider both your QuestBridge application and the Common Application or Coalition Application.

Financial Aid Requirements: All students that rank Columbia through the National College Match must submit the following financial aid information by November 1, 2016:

  • 2017-2018 CSS PROFILE online (including Noncustodial PROFILE, if applicable). Columbia's CSS code is 2116.
  • 2016 Tax Returns & W2s
  • Parent or Guardian's most recent 2017 pay stubs

These documents should be faxed to (212) 854-5353 ATTN: QUESTBRIDGE as soon as possible and no later than November 1, 2017.

Is the QuestBridge Match Process binding?

Yes, the National College Match at Columbia University is binding.

If I become a QuestBridge Finalist and I am not matched, will Columbia consider my QuestBridge application for admission to Columbia during Regular Decision?

If you have submitted either the Common Application or the Coalition Application as a QuestBridge finalist, you will automatically be considered for Regular Decision admission unless you contact Columbia and withdraw your application or are matched with another college or university. Any student who is a finalist and ranks Columbia during the College Match must submit the Common Application or Coalition Application by November 1 under Regular Decision. If you are not matched, Columbia will reevaluate only your Common Application/Coalition Application during the Regular Decision process; however, we will consider that you were a QuestBridge Finalist. You may submit the essay you composed for the QuestBridge application for your Common Application or Coalition Application if the content is appropriate for the essay prompts. Please note that we use a holistic review process when evaluating applicants for admission. That means admission to Columbia is not based on a simple formula of grades and test scores. Instead, we consider a variety of factors: the student's academic record, extracurricular interests, intellectual achievements and personal background, among many factors.

If I am not named a finalist in the QuestBridge College Match Program, may I apply to Columbia?

Yes. Many QuestBridge students will not participate in the Match Process and will pursue admission to Columbia under our Early Decision or Regular Decision programs. Please explore our general requirements and deadlines for more information.

Students who are not selected as Finalists must submit the Common Application or Coalition Application. Columbia does not accept the QuestBridge application in lieu of these applications.

Please note that you may submit the essay you composed for the QuestBridge application for your Common Application or Coalition Application if the content is appropriate for the essay prompts.

If I am a QuestBridge Finalist, do I need to submit an application fee?

If you are a QuestBridge Finalist, the application fee will be waived. QuestBridge will verify names of all Finalists with Columbia. In the Common Application/Coalition Application member-specific questions for Columbia, please answer affirmatively to the following question: “Columbia provides a fee waiver for students who applied for the Columbia Engineering Experience (CE2) and QuestBridge finalists. Do you qualify for one of these fee waivers?”

If you are not a QuestBridge Finalist, an $85 nonrefundable fee is required as part of an application to Columbia University. If paying the application fee is a significant financial burden for your family, we encourage you to request a fee through your admission application. Requesting a fee waiver will not disadvantage an applicant in any way. For first-year applicants, an email will be sent to the counselor or school official designated on your application to verify your eligibility. You can review information about application fees and waiver eligibility on our website.

If I am not admitted to Columbia through the QuestBridge Match Process, what kind of financial aid will be offered?

All of Columbia’s financial aid is need-based. All financial aid packages, including those of QuestBridge Finalists participating in the Match process, are based on demonstrated need. Our financial aid packages for those in Regular Decision will be determined in the same way as for those students who were selected through the College Match. Columbia meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students admitted as first-years, regardless of citizenship. Loans are not a component of Columbia financial aid packages and we will continue to meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need for all four years of study. For more information please refer to the Columbia/QuestBridge scholarship package description. For more information, please visit the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing website.

Is testing required for QuestBridge applicants?

Yes. Standardized tests are required for admission according to the following guidelines. All test scores must be submitted directly to Columbia by the testing agency. Applicants can choose to take either the SAT or the ACT. Please see details below.


The redesigned SAT consists of two sections, each graded on an 800-point scale and the writing portion will be separate. Columbia does not require the optional writing section. You will be evaluated on the highest score you receive in any individual section. If you took the test more than once, you will be evaluated on the highest score you received in any individual section.

If you are applying for Fall 2018 admission, results from the redesigned SAT and/or the previous SAT will be accepted. When evaluating applicants, we will consider only the highest testing results reported from one version of the test, not across both versions.


You may alternatively take the ACT, graded on a 36-point scale; if you take the test more than once, you will be evaluated on the highest score you received in any individual section. Columbia does not require the writing test offered by the ACT.

SAT Subject Tests

The SAT Subject Test scores are not required, but Columbia will accept scores from the exams if you choose to submit them. You will not be at a disadvantage should you choose not to take the tests or submit the scores to Columbia.

Finalists must take required testing before or on the SAT and ACT October test dates to be considered for the College Match at Columbia.  

Regular Decision applicants may take standardized tests as late as January.

Never utilize the ''rush'' service in sending your test scores to Columbia. Doing so does not speed up the processing of your test scores. We secure all testing via a secure website to which we are provided access by the appropriate testing agency. 

You must be sure to request that your scores be reported directly to Columbia every time you take a standardized test. The appropriate code for the SAT is 2116 (Columbia College or Columbia Engineering) and for the ACT is 2717.

If you are a QuestBridge Finalist applying to Columbia through the College Match program and the cost of sending your official test scores to Columbia poses a significant financial burden to your family, we can accept unofficial test score reports that are sent directly from a guidance counselor at your school. We can also accept testing submitted by your school counselor if printed on your high school transcript or a copy of the score report.