Testing Policy

Columbia always aspires to give students the greatest opportunity to showcase their academic talents, and we hope to make the testing experience as stress-free as possible. The 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 to determine their suitability for admission—which is why testing is just one factor in our holistic review process. Please review the guidelines below to determine the best course of standardized testing for you.

Columbia will observe a test-optional policy for first-year and transfer applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering for the 2021-2022 application cycle. We will also waive testing requirements for students who will be applying for entrance in Fall 2022 and 2023.

In a typical year, Columbia requires standardized tests as part of the application, according to the guidelines below.

  • You may choose to take either the ACT or the SAT, and you may self-report your scores on your application.
  • Columbia does not require the optional writing section.
  • You may take standardized tests as late as November for Early Decision and February for Regular Decision.
  • Non-native speakers should refer to our English proficiency requirements, which are in addition to the ACT or SAT—not a substitute.

Superscoring the ACT and SAT

If you take an exam more than once, you will be evaluated on the highest score you received in any individual section. 

Submitting your scores

There are a few ways to provide your ACT and/or SAT test scores. The most common are:

  • Input your scores in the testing section of either the Common Application or the Coalition Application.
  • Update your scores on your Columbia applicant status page. This page will only be available after you have submitted your application.

We are also able to accept score reports directly from your school via email or mail, if your school's policy allows.

Please note that our office will verify scores for all enrolling students who opted to self-report their testing, and any discrepancies between official and self-reported scores may jeopardize a student's place in the class.

If you plan to submit an official score report to our office, please be sure to use the correct registration code for Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science to ensure proper delivery of your scores. The appropriate SAT code is 2116, and the appropriate ACT code is 2717. If you sent your score using an incorrect code, you must contact the testing agency to resend your scores. 

Please do not use the "rush" service in sending your test scores to Columbia; doing so does not speed up the processing of your test scores. Applicants may select the Score Choice option for the SAT or choose to submit specific ACT composite scores.

Optional standardized testing

Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and other proficiency exam scores are not required by Columbia, but we will accept your results if you choose to submit them in the testing section of your Common Application or Coalition Application. You will not be at a disadvantage should you choose not to take these optional tests or submit the scores to Columbia.