As of March 1, 2023, Columbia is test-optional for applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering.
Columbia is extending our test-optional policy for two years, effective for first-year and transfer applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering for entrance in Fall 2023 and Fall 2024. We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the ways that students navigate their path to college, including decreased access to safe and reliable standardized testing. This continued waiver of our standardized testing requirement will allow Columbia to carefully evaluate the impact of test-optional admissions for a full cohort of enrolled Columbia students, to reflect on our holistic and contextual review process, and to consider systemic shifts in access to educational opportunities. After a period of review and synthesis, our testing policy will be re-assessed for the 2024-2025 application cycle.
ACT and SAT test results will not be a required component for the first-year and transfer 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 application cycles, 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 who choose to submit testing, Columbia's testing policies remain the same. We will accept SAT and ACT scores through November test dates for Early Decision applicants and scores through February for Regular Decision applicants. We will continue to accept self-reported scores and only require official testing for enrolling students who chose to self-report testing on their application. 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, will only be able to take a test once. As noted above, that context will be taken into consideration should scores be provided. Applicants will not have an advantage in the admissions process by submitting ACT or SAT results. Standardized testing is only one component in a highly contextualized, multi-layered holistic review.
Columbia will continue to follow the guidance and policies of the Ivy League in regard to testing requirements for applicants who expect to participate in Columbia's varsity athletic program. Testing requirements for student-athletes entering in Fall 2023 and 2024 have yet to be determined.
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 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, will have a deadline by which they can change their answer from “no” to “yes.” Early Decision applicants who choose to report their scores must do so by the fourth Wednesday in November; Regular Decision applicants must do so no later than January 15. February test-takers should email email@example.com to verify their decision to submit testing and provide their self-reported score as soon as results are released.
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.
Announcement posted November 24, 2021.
Details for applicants posted July 6, 2022.