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Columbia University

Application Dates & Deadlines

Early Decision: November 1, 2023
Regular Decision: January 5, 2024
Application Fee: $75 or fee waiver for those who qualify


Required Forms

A completed application includes:
Transcripts of all previous post-secondary education
A personal statement of academic purpose
Three recent letters of recommendation
If applicable, an acceptable TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score
The application fee
Fee waiver options are available for eligible applicants

Completed Coursework

Applicants should have at least one college year with a B or better in:

Physics (Calculus-based)

Columbia University courses that may satisfy deficiencies include the following examples:

CHEM 1403-1404 (General Chemistry)
CHEM 3443-3444 (Organic Chemistry)
EESC 4009 (Chemical Geology)
EESC 4924 (Atmospheric Chemistry)

PHYS 1201-1202 (General Physics, calculus pre-req)
EESC 4085 (Geodynamics)
EESC 4925 (Physical Oceanography)

MATH 1101, 1102 or 1201 (Calculus I, II or III)
APMA 3101 (Linear Algebra)
EESC 6908 (Quantitative Methods in Data Analysis)

Notification of Decision

Early Decision: 1st Nov 2023; Early Decision Result: Mid December
Regular Decision: by 1st Jan 2024; Admission Decisions: Late March



1. What is Columbia looking for when evaluating students for admission? What are the criteria for admission?
The Columbia University first-year class of College and Engineering students is chosen from a large and diverse group of applicants. Columbia employs a holistic approach in assessing candidates in order to evaluate which students are the best matches for Columbia's unique educational experience.

In the process of selection, the Committee on Admissions considers each applicant's academic potential, intellectual strength and ability to think independently. The Committee also considers the general attitudes and character of the applicant, special abilities and interests, maturity, motivation, curiosity and whether they are likely to make productive use of the four years at Columbia.

How competitive is admission to Columbia?
Admission to both Columbia College and Columbia Engineering is broad-based but highly selective, and the Committee on Admissions is only able to offer admission to a small fraction of all applicants. Columbia employs a holistic approach in assessing candidates in order to evaluate which students are the best matches for Columbia's unique educational experience. A profile of the current first-year class is available for reference. Please note that Columbia does not have a "cut-off" GPA or test score for applicants.

Admission for transfer students is also highly selective. Over the past decade, the Committee has admitted between 5% and 10% of transfer applicants each year.

What are your secondary/high school course requirements for admission?
Columbia College: Columbia College has no explicit number of unit requirements for admission, but applicants must present evidence that they are prepared for college work in the humanities, mathematics, social sciences, foreign languages and natural sciences. Accordingly, Columbia College strongly recommends the following secondary school preparation:

Four years of English literature and composition
Four years of mathematics — unless you have already completed what is available at your school
Three to four years of history and/or social studies
Three to four years of laboratory science
Three to four years of one foreign language (ancient or modern) taken during high school
Students who plan to become scientists, engineers, physicians or dentists should be as solidly grounded in mathematics and the sciences as their high school schedules and curricula have permitted. The study of mathematics, at least through pre-calculus, is strongly advised wherever possible.

Modifying the preparatory program just outlined — by taking more work in some subjects and less in others — is not only acceptable but may be desirable in individual cases. The vast majority of successful applicants to Columbia College have taken five academic courses per term for all four years of secondary/high school.

Columbia Engineering: The School of Engineering and Applied Science prescribes no standardized course of study for secondary school students applying for first-year admission. However, the Engineering curriculum is heavily driven by physics and calculus, so Columbia Engineering strongly advises these courses within the following recommended academic preparation:

Four years of mathematics through calculus — unless you have already completed what is available at your school
Four years of laboratory science, including one year of chemistry and one year of physics — preferably in the last two years of secondary school
Four years of English literature and composition
Three to four years of history and/or social studies
Two to three years of a foreign language (ancient or modern) taken during high school



Is there a minimum test score, class rank or GPA required for admission to Columbia?
No. Columbia is test-optional and does not have a "cut-off" GPA or test score for applicants. Columbia employs a holistic approach in assessing candidates in order to evaluate which students are the best matches for Columbia's unique educational experience. For detailed information on the statistics of the most recent entering class, refer to the Class Profile.

May I apply to both Columbia College and Columbia Engineering?
No. Applicants to Columbia must choose either Columbia College or Columbia Engineering.

Should I apply Early Decision?
If Columbia is your first-choice school — and you are willing to make a binding commitment to attend if admitted — we encourage you to consider applying Early Decision. Learn more about the Early Decision process.

How do I track the status of my application?
Online admissions document tracking is only available during certain times in the admissions process. Applicants will receive an email notifying them how to access their applicant portal. If, at that time, you discover that any items are listed as "not received/processed," please have your school submit a duplicate copy of this missing information to us via email at as soon as possible. Emailed materials will take up to one week for processing. You will have time to submit the missing credentials before decisions are released without being penalized.

Can I provide updates or corrections to my application after I have submitted it?
Any additions or corrections to the application must be submitted in writing either through the application status page or via email to Please include the student's identifying information: name and high school/secondary school; Columbia ID number (C00...); and date of birth.

We will accept self-reported ACT and SAT scores on the testing section of the application and on your application status page. If you wish to provide updated scores after you have applied, you can do so on your application status page. We do not track Midyear Reports/senior grades or additional materials.

What if I need an application deadline extension?
We understand that students personally affected by natural disasters, community disturbances or other extenuating circumstances may have challenges in completing their applications on time; they are invited to email us at if their application will be arriving late.

When do application decisions become available?
The Columbia community is committed to environmental responsibility; in keeping with this commitment, we will provide some admissions decisions only online, not via regular mail. Applicants will receive specific instructions as to how to check their decisions online before decisions are released. The below timelines are followed for different admissions programs:

Admission decisions for first-year candidates who apply Early Decision are typically available on or before December 15.
Admission decisions for first-year candidates who apply Regular Decision are typically available on or before April 15.
Admission decisions for transfer candidates are typically available by or before the end of May.
Admissions decisions for Combined Plan Program candidates are available in the spring.
Admissions decisions for Visiting Student Program candidates are available 4-6 weeks after complete application submission, as this is a rolling admissions program.

Is there a preference for the Common Application or the Coalition Application?
The Committee on Admissions will apply the same holistic review process to evaluate first-year candidates regardless of whether they submit the Common Application or the Coalition Application; there is no preference for one over the other. Please be aware that students must submit only one complete application, using either the Common Application or the Coalition Application.

Either the Common Application or the Coalition Application must be submitted by Columbia’s Early Decision deadline of November 1 or Regular Decision deadline of January 1.

Please note that transfer applicants must submit the Coalition Application. Combined Plan and Visiting Student applicants will apply directly with Columbia Undergraduate Admissions. 

Does Columbia prefer the ACT over the SAT or vice versa?
Testing is just one factor in our holistic review process, and Columbia is test optional for applicants applying to either Columbia College or Columbia Engineering.  If you choose to submit testing, you may take either the ACT or SAT. Columbia does not view one more favorably than the other. If you take both tests and submit scores from both, we will look at the highest score of the two. Refer to our standardized test policy for more information.

What are the final test dates that can be used for the application?
Early Decision candidates: The November test date is the latest acceptable test date on which scores may reach us in time. Learn more about the Early Decision process.

Regular Decision candidates: Scores for February tests can be provided in time for consideration. Testing taken after February cannot be considered.

Columbia is test-optional, and you may self-report your testing. If you wish to provide updated scores after you have applied, you can submit your scores on your Columbia application status page. The page will only be available after you have submitted your application.

Should I ever “rush” my test scores to Columbia?
No! Please do not utilize the "rush" service in sending your test scores to Columbia. Doing so does not speed up the processing of your test scores. We encourage you to self-report your scores directly on testing section of your Common Application or Coalition Application. Refer to our standardized test policy for more information.

Do I need to take the SAT Subject Tests for admission to Columbia?
No. The SAT Subject Test and other optional standardized exam scores are not required, but Columbia will accept your results if you choose to submit them. You will not be at a disadvantage should you choose not to take these optional tests or submit the scores to Columbia.

Should I send my AP/IB test results to Columbia?
Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) test results are not necessary for application to Columbia, although the information when available may be helpful in assessing a student's academic achievements. You may report your results on your Common Application or Coalition Application, or send us a copy of your score report(s).

Students who seek to gain credit for AP or IB results should know that credit is granted only after a student is enrolled at Columbia and at the discretion of individual departments.

Please note that proficiency exam scores must be submitted if they are required for the completion of, and graduation from, your secondary school. This may include internal and external exam results, such as A Level, International Baccalaureate, French Baccalaureate, and other final national exam results.

What is Columbia's policy on the submission of supplementary materials (i.e. musical recording, artistic portfolio, science abstract, etc.)?
Architecture, Creative Writing, Dance, Drama and Theatre Arts, Film, Maker, Music and Visual Arts supplements can be submitted through SlideRoom, an online platform that allows applicants to send digital materials to the Committee on Admissions. Do not send CDs, DVDs or hard copies of any materials, as they will not be reviewed. If you have completed academic research with a faculty member or mentor, a short abstract may be uploaded as part of your application. Learn more about supplementary materials.

I have completed academic research during high school. How can I share this information in my application?
If you have completed research with a faculty member or mentor in science, engineering or other academic disciplines (e.g., humanities, social sciences or languages), you are welcome to provide a one or two page abstract as a supplement to your application. You may upload your abstract in the Columbia-specific questions to the Common Application or in the Uploads page of the Coalition Application.

If you are submitting an abstract, you will also be asked to answer a few short questions on the duration of your research involvement, your specific role in and contributions to the research project, and contact information of your research mentor. This will help us better understand your specific research experience beyond what you may have already included in your other application materials.

We also welcome a letter of recommendation from your research mentor, who can send the letter via email to, via fax to 212-854-3393 or via mail to Undergraduate Admissions.

Does Columbia give preference in the admission process to applicants whose parents attended Columbia?
We are always pleased to receive applications from students whose family members have graduated from Columbia. When an applicant is competitive and compares favorably with other similarly talented candidates, being a "legacy" candidate may be a slight advantage in the admission process. A "legacy" candidate is defined as the child of a Columbia College or Columbia Engineering graduate.

If I am accepted, may I defer for a year?
Yes. A candidate who has been offered first-year admission may ask to defer enrollment for a year to work, travel, complete mandatory military service or pursue a special opportunity. First-year students admitted off the waitlist cannot request a deferral, and a deferral in order to enroll full-time at another college or university cannot be requested. First-year students will receive information on how to request a deferral after submitting their response form on their application status portal. A second year of deferral may be granted upon request.

Transfer and Combined Plan students are not permitted to defer their admission. Visiting students are permitted to defer their admission to a future term through the submission of the response form on their application status portal.

Does Columbia have a waitlist?
Columbia places extremely compelling candidates on a waitlist to be considered for admission if spots in the entering class become available. Every year, the number of spots that become available is different.

We do not rank our waiting list, and all candidates are reconsidered for admission if space does become available. We encourage students to submit an additional one-page statement expressing interest in the waitlist. Additional submissions, including extra letters of recommendation, are discouraged by the Committee on Admissions.

If I am denied under the Early Decision program, may I apply under the Regular Decision Program?
No. If you apply under the Early Decision program and are denied admission, you may not reapply to Columbia College, Columbia Engineering or the School of General Studies again that year.

Does Columbia allow early admission for high school juniors?
Early admission is occasionally granted to students of special promise who are completing the junior year of secondary/high school and who meet the following requirements:

an outstanding academic record
the physical, intellectual and emotional maturity to handle the rigorous program at Columbia
the graduation requirements of their secondary/high schools.
Applicants for early admission should follow the normal instructions for applying, but should indicate they are applying for early admission under the "Additional Information" section of the Common Application or Coalition Application.

Can international families apply for financial aid in future years if they do not apply the first year?
International students who are admitted with no request for Columbia financial aid may not change their status to apply for aid at any time during their four years at Columbia. An international student whose family experiences a severe and unforeseen change in circumstances may apply for financial aid at any time, and such requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If you are an international student who is admitted without institutional financial aid, Columbia cannot guarantee institutional financial aid even if there is a change in your family’s circumstances

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