Columbia University FAQ

How does the Match work with Columbia?

Columbia is a college partner with QuestBridge. In addition to the National College Match 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.

Please note that if matched 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 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 Match must submit the following financial aid information by November 1, 2020:

  • 2021-2022 FAFSA. Columbia's FAFSA code is 002707.
  • 2021-2022 CSS Profile (including Noncustodial Profile, if applicable). Columbia's CSS code is 2116.
  • 2019 Tax Returns & W-2's

Tax materials should be uploaded through the IDOC system.

Will Columbia accept the QuestBridge Application in place of the Common Application or 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. If applying through the National College Match, please do not submit a Common Application or Coalition Application.

I really need the scholarship that the 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 a family's 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 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 waiver 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 are Columbia's testing requirements?

Testing is no longer a required component for the 2020-2021 application cycle, and students who are unable or choose not to submit test scores will not be disadvantaged in any way. If you have completed testing and would like to submit SAT or ACT results, Columbia encourages you to do so as this information can be a valuable addition in the review process. 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. Columbia is always seeking to give students the greatest opportunity to showcase their academic talents and hoping to make the application experience as stress-free as possible.

• Students who choose to submit testing may choose to take either the ACT or the SAT.

• You may self-report your scores on your QuestBridge Application. Score reports directly from your school via email or mail will also be accepted, if your school's policy allows.

• Columbia will accept but 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.

• Non-native speakers should refer to Columbia's English proficiency testing requirements, which remain required.

What does answering “yes” to submitting ACT or SAT scores mean?

Applicants who answer “yes” to submitting ACT or SAT scores will have their scores considered in Columbia's holistic review process. At the time of your response to this question, 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. 

What does answering “no” to submitting ACT or SAT scores mean?

Applicants who answer “no” to submitting ACT or SAT scores will not have their scores considered in Columbia's 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, 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 do not have results to share at the time of application submission. If you have completed testing and would like to submit SAT or ACT results, you are encouraged to do so, as this information can be a valuable addition in the review process.

If I answered “no” to submitting scores, can I change my mind and report scores later?

Applicants who answer “no” to submitting ACT or SAT scores at the time of application submission, and were able to sit for an exam after submitting an application, have until November 6 to change their answer from “no” to “yes.” Should test results be received after this date, applicants may update Columbia through their Columbia applicant status portal, but Columbia cannot guarantee review. 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 later?

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 Columbia will consider in their 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.

Can I submit supplementary materials?

Columbia encourages 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 they 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, Columbia 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, Columbia will review any supplementary materials submitted. Please review the full Supplementary Materials policy. If you are a Finalist using your QuestBridge Application to apply to Columbia, please do not submit a Common Application or Coalition Application. 

May I apply to Columbia Early Decision?

If you are a QuestBridge Finalist and you are participating in the Match, you are not permitted to apply Early Decision to Columbia. However, if you do not match with any institution through the Match, and you have a complete application to Columbia, you will receive information about the option to convert your application to Early Decision.

If you do not rank colleges in the 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 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 Match. What should I do?

The 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 Match and apply to Columbia directly under the Early Decision plan. The second option would be to participate in the 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 Match. To learn more about applying Early Decision to Columbia, please visit Columbia's website.

Important Dates to Remember for 2020-2021

QuestBridge/Columbia Match

Columbia Admissions and Financial Aid Application Deadline for QuestBridge students participating in the Match. See paragraph I for more information.

November 1

Last acceptable SAT Test (if submitting testing)

October 14

Last acceptable ACT Test (if submitting testing)

October 17

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 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 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 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 Match with Columbia?

Yes, Columbia will consider students who are not US Citizens or Permanent Residents for the Match. 

Noncitizens 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, 2021: CSS Profile, FAFSA, 2019 W-2's and Federal tax returns, Non-Custodial Profile (if applicable). Tax materials should be uploaded through the IDOC system.

For more information about Columbia University please visit our website.