A Message for Prospective Applicants

We know your college search and application process has a number of steps and that you may have some questions. We hope the information gathered here provides you with some reassurance and guidance.

Financial Aid

Columbia remains committed to our need-based financial aid program, which seeks to ensure that students from all backgrounds can attend Columbia. Our new financial aid enhancements—including the expectation that families with typical assets and incomes below $66,000 will not contribute to the cost of their student's education—are part of that commitment. We cover the full demonstrated need of all admitted first-year applicants for all four years of study and do so without loans. Anticipate your college costs with Columbia's MyinTuition Quick College Cost Estimator, which can also help you estimate your eligibility for need-based scholarships. We encourage applicants and their families to reach out to Financial Aid and Educational Financing directly for questions about eligibility, appeals and any other financial aid related questions.


We remain committed to our holistic and contextual review process that considers the individual circumstances that shape each applicant's journey. Columbia is test-optional; students are at no disadvantage in our process if they do not submit scores from these tests. 

College Exploration

We encourage prospective applicants to visit our campus if they are able, in order to get a feel for our community. However, we are committed to retaining a robust assortment of resources for students who are interested in learning about Columbia but remain unable to travel. In addition to our in-person campus tours, we offer a variety of live virtual programming to introduce you to the hallmarks of the Columbia undergraduate experience from wherever you may be in the world. We hope this will help you determine if Columbia would be a good fit for you.

College Applications

The Common Application and the Coalition Application powered by Scoir are now live for first-year applicants for Fall 2023 admission. Please note that Columbia does not prefer one application over the other; applicants should only start and submit one complete application. Review our detailed application instructions, including deadlines, policies, and how to access the Common Application and the Coalition Application, for more information. We encourage you to become familiar with our application instructionsspecific application questionsclass profile, and our holistic review process as you begin working on your application materials. Transfer applicants should use the Coalition Application.

Academic Experience

Academic decisions about grading and transcripts are at the discretion of individual school systems and students. If and when students have the option to uncover grades, Columbia would prefer - but does not require - that students have them uncovered and submitted with their application. If there are extenuating circumstances or context around a student’s grades or performance, that information would be appreciated in the school profile or counselor recommendation.

Extracurricular Activities and Summer Pursuits

We understand that disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered the trajectory of your extracurricular, athletic, artistic and other pursuits. Just as your high school experience and college search process is different, we know that college applications will likely look different than they have in the past, and we will review your application within this context. We invite you to provide any additional context that you may feel is necessary to help us fully understand your extracurricular experiences - including variations in hours per week spent on an activity, changes in responsibilities and other important shifts - in the Additional Information section of your application.

Updated October 14, 2022.