Columbia is Test-Optional

Columbia is test-optional for applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering. 

The holistic and contextual application review process for Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is rooted in the belief that students are dynamic, multi-faceted individuals who cannot be defined by any single factor. Our review is purposeful and nuanced—respecting varied backgrounds, voices and experiences—in order to best determine an applicant's suitability for admission and ability to thrive in our curriculum and our community, and to advance access to our educational opportunities.

Our responsibility is to admit students who will be successful in our rigorous curriculum, so first and foremost the review is grounded in an examination of the applicant's past and current academic performance. Only after a foundation of academic excellence has been demonstrated will other areas of achievement and potential for impact be considered. Based on an internal study encompassing multiple years of performance data, we found that test-optional admissions—which we provisionally introduced in 2020-2021 due to the pandemic—did not lead to a diminishment of the academic performance of our admitted classes or the academic success of our enrolled students. Thus, as we design our application and its requirements to afford the greatest possible opportunity and flexibility for students to represent themselves fully and showcase their academic talents, interests and goals, standardized testing remains an optional component of our application. 

Columbia continually reviews its data and assesses admissions policies to align with institutional priorities and goals and to uphold the university's mission of attracting a diverse and international student body—advancing knowledge and learning at the highest level. Our application requirements and review process undergo regular re-evaluation to assure that the Committee on Admissions is equipped to admit students who represent the strongest possible fit for Columbia. 

For students who choose to submit testing, we welcome this information and are pleased to include standardized tests in your application review. Students who choose not to submit test scores, however, will not be at a disadvantage in our process. We will continue to evaluate all submitted information within an individualized application review process that considers the unique combination of circumstances shaping each applicant's journey. The rigor of a student’s curriculum, their academic achievement, and their demonstrated intellectual curiosity will remain central to our review.

Announcement posted March 1, 2023

Policy details posted April 15, 2023