Columbia University FAQ

How does the College Match work with Columbia?

Columbia is a college partner with QuestBridge. In addition to the QuestBridge application, the admissions and financial aid offices require students to submit additional information directly to Columbia University.

Admissions Requirements: All students that are interested in attending Columbia must also file the Columbia QuestBridge Questionnaire. Please refer to this webpage for information about applying to Columbia. All students must apply online.

Students should submit their application to Columbia under Regular Decision if they wish to be considered for the National College Match. Please select "Regular Decision" under Entry Term when filling out your application. If you are matched with Columbia through QuestBridge, your application status will automatically switch and be considered in the Early Decision process. Please note that if selected as a College Match with Columbia, the contract (admission) is binding and students are expected to attend Columbia the following fall. In addition, students must withdraw all other applications. During the evaluation process for the College Match, the Columbia admissions committee will only consider your QuestBridge application and the Columbia QuestBridge Questionnaire, accessible through your Columbia Status Page. 

Financial Aid Requirements: All students that rank Columbia through the National College Match must submit the following financial aid information by November 1, 2018:

  • 2019-2020 FAFSA. Columbia's FAFSA code is 002707.
  • 2019-2020 CSS Profile (including Noncustodial Profile, if applicable). Columbia's CSS code is 2116.
  • 2017 Tax Returns & W-2's

Materials should be uploaded through the IDOC system.

Will Columbia accept the QuestBridge Application in place of the Common Application/Coalition Application?

Yes. In addition to the QuestBridge Application, Columbia requires that an applicant complete the Columbia QuestBridge Questionnaire. If you are not identified as a Finalist and are interested in applying to Columbia, you must submit the Common Application or Coalition Application.

I really need the scholarship that the National College Match provides. What are Columbia's financial aid policies?

All of Columbia’s financial aid is need-based. All financial aid packages that are provided for students, including those of QuestBridge Finalists participating in the Match process, are based on demonstrated need. Financial aid packages for those in Regular Decision will be determined in the same way as for those students who were selected as College Matches. Columbia meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students admitted as first-years, including international / foreign students. Loans are not a component of Columbia financial aid packages and Columbia will continue to meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need for all four years of study. For more information please refer to the Columbia/QuestBridge scholarship package description.

Is there a fee to apply to Columbia? Are fee waivers available?

If you are a QuestBridge Finalist, the application fee will be waived. QuestBridge will verify names of all Finalists with Columbia.

If you are a QuestBridge Finalist applying Regular Decision through the Common Application/Coalition Application, please answer affirmatively to the following question: “Columbia provides a fee waiver for students who applied for the Columbia Engineering Experience (CE2) and QuestBridge Finalists. Do you qualify for one of these fee waivers?”

If you are not a QuestBridge Finalist, an $85 nonrefundable fee is required as part of an application to Columbia University. If paying the application fee is a significant financial burden for your family, you are encouraged to request a fee through your admission application. Requesting a fee waiver will not disadvantage an applicant in any way. You can review information about application fees and waiver eligibility on Columbia's website.

I have sent recommendation letters and a secondary school report through the QuestBridge Application; do I need to re-submit these forms if I am applying to Columbia?

No. If you are a QuestBridge Finalist applying through the National College Match, all materials submitted as part of your QuestBridge Application will be reviewed in your application process and you do not need to submit additional recommendation letters or school information.

What is the last test date Columbia will accept?

Finalists must take required testing before or on the SAT and ACT October test dates to be considered for the College Match at Columbia.

Regular Decision applicants may take standardized tests as late as February.

Never utilize the "rush" service in sending your test scores to Columbia. Doing so does not speed up the processing of your test scores. Columbia secures all testing via a secure website to which they are provided access by the appropriate testing agency.

What are Columbia's testing requirements?

Standardized tests are required for admission according to the following guidelines. 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. We are always seeking to give students the greatest opportunity to showcase their academic talents and hoping to make the testing experience as stress-free as possible.

  • You may choose to take either the ACT or the SAT.
  • You may self-report your scores on your QuestBridge Application. We are also able to accept score reports directly from your school via email or mail, if your school's policy allows.
  • Columbia does not require the optional writing section.
  • If you take an exam more than once, you will be evaluated on the highest score you received in any individual section.
  • You may take standardized tests as late as October for the QuestBridge National College Match and February for Regular Decision.
  • Non-native speakers should refer to our English proficiency testing requirements, which are in addition to the ACT or SAT, not a substitute.

Can I submit supplementary materials?

We encourage you to convey the breadth and depth of your extra-curricular pursuits within your admission application, including the full name of each organization in which you participate and, if appropriate, a brief description of your involvement. While we request that the volume of supplementary credentials be kept to a minimum, there may be occasions where such credentials provide valuable information that the standard application does not. If you are a QuestBridge Finalist participating in the National College Match with Columbia, we will not be able to review supplementary materials during the National College Match process. However, if you are not matched at any institution and pursue Regular Decision at Columbia, we will review any supplementary materials submitted. Please review the full Supplementary Materials policy.

May I apply to Columbia Early Decision?

If you are a QuestBridge Finalist and you are participating in the College Match you are not permitted to apply Early Decision to Columbia. QuestBridge applicants that go through the College Match must apply under the Regular Decision process. However, if you do not rank colleges in the College Match, you may apply directly to Columbia under the Early Decision plan and must submit an Early Decision application by November 1.

If you are not selected as a QuestBridge Finalist, you may also submit the Common Application or Coalition Application for either Early Decision or Regular Decision. To learn more about applying Early Decision to Columbia, please visit Columbia's website.

Columbia is my first choice and the only school I would like to consider during the College Match. What should I do?

The College Match is designed for students who are seriously interested in several QuestBridge college partners and/or who feel that they will benefit from the additional information contained in the QuestBridge application. If you are a QuestBridge Finalist and Columbia is the only school you are enthusiastic about, you have two options. Your first option would be to not rank schools in the College Match and apply to Columbia directly under the Early Decision plan. The second option would be to participate in the College Match and rank only one school, knowing that your chances of being matched are much higher if you rank several QuestBridge college partners. Please remember that Columbia's financial aid packages are need-based and are not affected by which application plan you pursue - Early Decision, Regular Decision, or QuestBridge College Match. To learn more about applying Early Decision to Columbia, please visit Columbia's website.

Important Dates to Remember for 2018-2019

QuestBridge/Columbia College Match

Columbia Admissions and Financial Aid Application Deadline for QuestBridge students participating in the College Match. Application should be submitted under Regular Decision; see paragraph I for more information.

November 1

Last acceptable SAT Test

October 6

Last acceptable ACT Test

October 27

Notification of Missing Documents

Early November

If I am not identified as a Finalist, is it possible for Columbia to consider my QuestBridge application for admission?

No. Students who are not selected as Finalists must submit the Common Application or Coalition Application. Columbia does not accept the QuestBridge application in lieu of these applications for students who are not QuestBridge Finalists.

Please note that you may submit the essay you composed for the QuestBridge application for your Common Application or Coalition Application if the content is appropriate for the essay prompts.

If I become a QuestBridge Finalist and I am not matched, will Columbia consider my QuestBridge application for admission to Columbia during Regular Decision?

Yes. If you ranked Columbia during the College Match, Columbia will reevaluate only your QuestBridge Application during the Regular Decision process beginning in January. Please do not submit a Common or Coalition Application if you have already submitted a QuestBridge Application through the National College Match.

Please note that Columbia uses a holistic review process when evaluating applicants for admission. That means admission to Columbia is not based on a simple formula of grades and test scores. Instead, they consider a variety of factors: the student's academic record, extracurricular interests, intellectual achievements and personal background.

I am a foreign student. Can I apply for the National College Match with Columbia?

Yes, Columbia will consider students who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents for the QuestBridge National College Match. 

Non-citizens and international students are an integral part of the university and Columbia is deeply committed to enrolling a student body that includes students from around the world. Columbia does not have a separate application or process for international students. Please refer to Columbia's website for more information.

I am applying to Columbia via Regular Decision. What are the deadlines for the required financial documents?

All financial aid application materials must be submitted by February 15, 2019: CSS Profile, FAFSA, 2017 W-2's and Federal tax returns, Non-Custodial Profile (if applicable). Materials should be uploaded through the IDOC system.

For more information about Columbia University please visit our website.