Frequently Asked Questions from First-Year Applicants

We know this is a busy time of year as you complete your college applications, and we appreciate your interest in Columbia University. We receive many emails from students after they submit their application to Columbia, so we’ve gathered the following information to help answer questions and reduce some of the stress that applicants may be feeling.

Have you received my application materials?

Regular Decision applicants may log into their applicant status page to confirm that their application has been received. Additionally, they will be able to track the individual application documents through the applicant status page, which allows our office to process and review them thoroughly and carefully. Applicants will not be penalized if some of their materials arrive shortly after the deadline. We are unable to confirm receipt of specific items outside of this tracking system.

When will I receive my Columbia ID?

Applicants will receive their Columbia ID numbers through their applicant status page within one week (5 business days) after submitting their applications. This ID number can be used as an additional identifier if needed for submitting supporting documents. 

How may counselors, teachers and/or school officials submit their supporting materials?

Given the New Year's holiday and secondary school schedules, we understand that some candidates' school credentials (such as transcripts and recommendations) may arrive shortly after the application deadline. If teachers, counselors and/or school officials are unable to submit application materials through the Coalition Application or Common Application systems, they can send them either by email to or by mail to the address listed below.

How can I send you my test scores?

For the 2020-21 application cycle, Columbia has adopted a test-optional policy for first-year applicants. More information on this policy can be found on our website.

Students who choose to submit test scores can self-report their ACT or SAT test scores directly on the Coalition Application or Common Application. They may also self-report their scores using a form that is available for this purpose on their applicant status page. Through this form, students can input their high scores manually and will be prompted to upload a screenshot or PDF of their score report.

We encourage you to read our frequently asked questions about our 2020-21 test policy on our website.

I’m having an issue with the Coalition Application or Common Application. How can I get help?

Applicants submitting the Coalition Application can review technical FAQs  on the Help Desk page.

Applicants submitting the Common Application should visit the Common Application Solutions Center.

I’ve submitted my application, but I realized that I made a mistake and/or that I forgot to include some important information. How can I add to or correct my application?

Any additions or corrections to the application may be submitted in writing through the applicant status page

Is it possible to submit an extra letter of recommendation?

The Committee discourages the submission of additional recommendations, as admissions decisions will be based primarily on the required recommendations from your high school teachers and secondary school/guidance counselor. We will accept an additional letter of recommendation if the writer has worked with you in a research or college course capacity; such supplementary recommendations should not be completed on the Teacher Report forms, but instead submitted directly to our office via email to with your name, high school, and date of birth.  

While some applicants ask to send recommendations from coaches, internship supervisors, clergy members and other members of the community, we encourage you to convey the breadth and depth of your extracurricular and non-academic pursuits within the Activities section of your admission application.

Can I still apply for financial aid?

If you plan to apply for financial aid, the Regular Decision financial aid deadline is February 15, 2021. Our admissions process is need-blind for US citizens, eligible noncitizens and undocumented students. Regular Decision candidates are eligible for generous financial aid. We will meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students admitted as first-years. Use our cost estimator tools to see how much financial aid you may be eligible to receive.

How do I request a fee waiver? 

If paying the application fee is a significant financial burden for your family, we encourage you to request an automatic fee waiver through your admission application. Requesting a fee waiver will not disadvantage an applicant in any way. You may also determine your fee waiver eligibility today using this form.

May I submit a resume as part of my application?

We encourage you to convey the breadth and depth of your extra-curricular pursuits within the Activities section of your admission application, including the full name of each organization in which you participate and, if appropriate, a brief description of your involvement. Candidates should review the Supplementary Materials page for more information on how to submit any supplementary credentials.

If you still have a question that remains unanswered, we encourage you to review the FAQ section of our website before emailing us; we will respond to emails in a timely fashion.