Undergraduate Admissions


Please pick the type of application:

A completed online application including essay and non-refundable $35 application fee

(Students will be able to submit their payment online in the final step of the application process.)

Essay question options:

  • Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  • Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

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Official Transcript

All applicants are required to submit their official high school transcripts to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

High School Applicant: Have your most recent and/or final transcript sent by your school

GED Applicant: Have an official copy of your GED test results (including your scores) sent from the testing agency. Certificates of GED completion are not accepted.

Home School Applicant: Have an official copy of your home school transcript sent from a state-recognized home school.

How to Submit Transcripts

Transcripts must be official documents from a student’s high school, college, or university. Students may submit transcripts:

  • by mail or in person in the original sealed envelope from their institution
  • by electronic submission, if available at their institution
  • by fax provided that their institution stamps the transcript official and it is faxed from that institution’s fax number

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Letter of Recommendation

At least one letter of recommendation is required to complete your application. A letter of recommendation should be completed by your instructor, counselor, advisor, or other individual who can speak to your ability to succeed at college-level work in a rigorous arts and media curriculum.

How to Submit Recommendation Letters

Recommendations must be submitted to Columbia by the recommender of your choosing. If you are using Columbia’s online application, there is a feature that will send an email request for a letter of recommendation on your behalf to your recommender. Your recommender may then submit your letter online.

Your recommender may also choose to submit a recommendation by mail, fax, or email using the submission information below. If helpful to you, we have provided a recommendation form that you may download here. The Common Application also provides a similar form.

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ACT/SAT Scores – not required, strongly recommended

If you have taken the ACT or SAT, and your scores are not on your high school transcript, please arrange to have your test results forwarded separately to the Admissions Office. Although the ACT or SAT is not required for admission to Columbia College Chicago, these tests are valuable tools for advising new students. All students are strongly encouraged to complete one of them while they are in high school. In many cases ACT scores may be used as an alternative to the College’s placement tests.

How to Submit Test Scores

If you have taken the ACT or SAT, and your scores are not on your high school transcript, please arrange to have your test results forwarded separately to the Admissions Office.

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A Portfolio of a Student’s Best Creative/Artistic Work (optional)

Submitting a portfolio is not required for admission to Columbia College Chicago. However, we welcome and encourage the submission of a portfolio of creative work (original film, video or audio clips, creative writing samples, video of musical, theater or dance performance, news clips or reel, online media or interactive work, etc.), from all of our applicants. Applicants may submit a portfolio if they believe that it would help the Admissions Review Committee gain a fuller understanding of their ability to succeed within Columbia’s rigorous creative learning environment.

Additionally, a student’s portfolio (in combination with other required admission application materials) could identify her or him as eligible for the college's merit scholarship program if they are received before January 15th.

Note: Most of Columbia's other scholarship programs for incoming students do not require the submission of creative work samples.

How to Submit a Portfolio

Portfolio submissions will only be received or reviewed after an applicant has submitted their Admission Application. Applicants will receive instructions, via email, on how to submit their portfolio materials.

All creative work samples must be submitted online via Slideroom. Do not send original artwork, DVDs, CD-ROMs, etc.

Each academic department at Columbia College has specific recommendations for work samples and/or supplementary materials. Those requirements are available here. Please read the instructions for your intended major carefully.

If you do not have work samples that align with your intended major or you believe the work you have done within that discipline does not reflect your strongest creative work to date, you may submit a portfolio of your strongest creative work in another discipline. In that case, please follow the submission guidelines of that alternate academic department.

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Although Columbia College Chicago does not require your Social Security Number for Admission purposes we do require you to provide us with a correct Tax Identification Number to file information on your behalf to the Internal Revenue Service and to furnish a statement to you should you enroll. For most students, this will be your social security number (SSN). If you are not eligible to obtain a SSN, this will be your individual taxpayeridentification number (ITIN). Please note that if you are a non-resident alien and do not have income that is subject to tax, you are not required to supply this information to us.

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