Revised Testing Policy for 2020-2021 Application Cycle

Due to ongoing standardized testing disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbia is adopting a one year test-optional policy for first-year applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering for the fall of 2021.   

If students have completed testing and can submit SAT or ACT results, we encourage them to do so as we believe this information can be a valuable addition in our review process. However, testing is no longer a required component for the first-year 2020-2021 application cycle, and students who are unable or choose not to submit test scores will not be at a disadvantage. We will continue to evaluate all submitted information within the holistic and contextual review process that considers individual 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.  

For students able or who choose to submit testing, Columbia's testing policies remain the same. We accept SAT and ACT scores through November test dates for Early Decision applicants and scores through January for Regular Decision applicants. We will continue to accept self-reported scores and only require official testing for enrolling students. If you were able to take an exam more than once, you will be evaluated on the highest score you received in any individual section of that test. Please note that we are aware that many students, if able to test, could only take a test once. As noted above, that context will be taken into consideration should scores be provided. Standardized testing is only one component in a highly contextualized, multi-layered holistic review.

Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), SAT Subject Test and other proficiency exam scores are not required, but we will accept your results if you choose to submit them. International applicants and non-native speakers should refer to our English proficiency testing and international applicant requirements, which remain. Transfer applicants will still be expected to submit results from tests taken in past years. Transfers who have not previously tested will have this requirement waived for the 2020-2021 application cycle.   

 

Additional Details for Applicants

 

Answering “yes” or “no” to submitting your ACT or SAT scores on the application indicates whether or not you would like your test scores to be considered in our holistic admissions review process. 

What does answering “yes” to submitting ACT or SAT scores on the application mean?

Applicants who answer “yes” to submitting ACT or SAT scores will have their scores considered in our holistic review process. At the time of application submission, applicants should be certain that they would like for their scores to be reviewed; they may not change their answer to “no” at any point after application submission. There is no advantage to submitting your application early, so it is not necessary to submit your application ahead of the application deadline. 

What does answering “no” to submitting ACT or SAT scores on the application mean?

Applicants who answer “no” to submitting ACT or SAT scores will not have their scores considered in our holistic review process. Applicants who are unable or choose not to submit test scores will not be disadvantaged in the application review process. Therefore, if you have not yet taken the ACT or SAT or are choosing not to submit test scores at the time of application submission, you should indicate “no” to submitting test results. “No” should also be selected if you are registered to take an exam in the future and/or do not have results to share at the time of application submission. If you have completed testing and would like to submit SAT or ACT results, we encourage you to do so, as we believe this information can be a valuable addition in our review process.

If I answered “no” to submitting scores, can I change my mind and report scores after I have submitted my application?

Applicants who answer “no” to submitting ACT or SAT scores at the time of application submission, and were able to sit for an exam or receive results after submitting an application, have until the following deadlines to change their answer from “no” to “yes”:

  • QuestBridge National College Match: Students applying through the QuestBridge National College Match have until November 6, 2020, to change their answer from "no" to "yes"; QuestBridge applicants should refer to the Columbia University FAQ on the QuestBridge website for more information. 
  • Early Decision: November 23, 2020, by 12:00 p.m. your local time

  • Regular Decision: January 25, 2021

Submitting test results is optional, and applicants who are unable or who choose not to submit test scores will not be disadvantaged in the application review process. 

If I answered “yes” to submitting scores, can I change my mind and withdraw my scores after I have submitted my application?

No, you may not change your mind or withdraw your scores, so please carefully consider your answer to this question.

Will I have an advantage in the admissions process if I submit ACT or SAT results?

No, applicants will not have an advantage in the admissions process simply by submitting ACT or SAT results. The submission of test results will be viewed only as one additional piece of information among the many factors that we will consider in our continued practice of a holistic and contextual review process

If my initial answer was “no” to submitting scores, how many times can I change my answer to this question?

Only applicants who answered “no” to submitting scores may change their answer to this question, and they may only do so one time. Once an applicant submits “yes” to this question, this information will appear on the application and cannot be changed.