Admissions Timeline and Dates
Prospective Undergraduate Students: Spring or Fall 2021
You’re interested in Columbia, and we want to help you join our creative community. Below, you’ll find a timeline of important dates and info to keep you on track with the admissions process.
Each prospective student is different; we encourage you to contact us to discuss your next steps toward becoming a Columbia student so we can answer any and all of your questions.
August – September
Application opens for Spring or Fall 2021
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Columbia College Chicago’s Admissions Review Committee will release its first-round of decisions for early applicants in late-October 2020. Thereafter, an admissions decision will typically be released within four weeks of completing the application and submitting all required materials. We do not offer an early decision or early action option, but we encourage students to apply early as early as possible. Visit colum.edu/apply for more information.
If you’re applying for Spring 2021, our deadline is December 13, 2020. And if you’re applying for Fall 2021, our priority deadline is January 15, 2021.
Fall 2021 applicants should submit financial aid information (domestic students)
File your 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with Columbia’s school code: 001665. Submitting a FAFSA ensures that you’re considered for financial aid opportunities, including institutional scholarships and all forms of federal and state aid.
Spring 2021 applicants should submit financial aid information (domestic students)
File your 2020-21 FAFSA with Columbia’s school code: 001665. Spring 2021 applicants may submit both their 2020-21 and 2021-22 FAFSA at the same time. Visit colum.edu/sfs for more information.
Estimated award letters begin going out
Sent to admitted students, the estimated Financial Aid Award Letter provides an initial summary of your federal, state, and institutional awards, and offers an estimated cost of attendance for the academic year. These letters are sent on a rolling basis beginning in November, based on the date you’re admitted to the college and submit a FAFSA. We’ll update you when your award is finalized. For more info following the receipt of your award letter, visit colum.edu/awardletter.
Complete the financial aid process
Student Financial Services will begin sending notices regarding any additional documents that may be required to complete the financial aid process. Admitted students will be able to view any outstanding documents needed through their MyColumbia accounts at this time.
The Spring 2021 application closes and supporting materials must be sent
The Spring 2021 application will close on December 13, 2020. All supporting materials for Spring 2021 applicants (transcripts, etc.) must be received by January 7, 2021.
Submit your portfolio or a video audition for scholarship and/or BFA/BMus consideration
To be considered for the Faculty Recognition Award scholarship, you must complete your admission application and submit your portfolio materials or schedule your audition by January 15, 2021. Work sample requirements will vary based on your intended major field of study. BA and BS applicants can visit colum.edu/fra for a complete list of requirements. BFA and BMus applicants can find submission requirements at colum.edu/bfa
Apply for housing
After confirming your attendance with a $250 tuition deposit, the housing application will become available to you. The application requires a $500 prepayment when you apply. We expect new freshmen students coming to Columbia from beyond a commutable distance to live on campus during their first year. Housing assignments are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Students can indicate preferences for room type and roommates on the housing application, but these preferences cannot be guaranteed. View floor plans and photos of available housing at colum.edu/residencelife.
Sign up for orientation
After you’ve submitted your $250 tuition deposit, it’s time to sign up for orientation. Learn more about events for admitted students at colum.edu/admit.
National College Decision Day
May 1, 2021, is National College Decision Day. New students are encouraged to confirm their attendance by submitting a $250 tuition deposit on or before May 1. The deposit is nonrefundable after May 1. If you cannot deposit by this deadline, please let us know.
Register for classes
Students who have confirmed their attendance can begin the registration process with the Registration Questionnaire, found on their Columbia Connect portal. Your advisor will use your responses on the questionnaire to create a draft of your first-semester schedule. You’ll have a chance to discuss your schedule with your advisor and make any necessary changes once you've received it.
Return your housing contract
Housing contracts are sent out on a rolling basis beginning in June. To receive a housing contract, you must be admitted to the college and complete a housing application. Visit colum.edu/residencelife for more information.
Submit final high school and college transcripts
Students with academic work in progress at the time of admission are required to submit official copies of all final transcripts from their high school, junior/community college, or university to Columbia’s Admissions office. High school transcripts must indicate a graduation date. Late transcripts can complicate registration, financial aid, and payment for your first semester.
Finalize your financial plan
Many students and families use resources beyond those offered on the Financial Aid Award Letter to support their educational goals. Learn more about these resources—such as loans and employment-sponsored tuition plans—along with our payment plan options at colum.edu/createaplan.
Receive your roommate assignment and move-in date
Students living on campus who’ve completed housing contracts will begin receiving room assignments, roommate information, and move-in dates. Visit colum.edu/residencelife for more information.
All new students are required to participate in Orientation activities. Visit colum.edu/newstudents for more information.
Submit payment or establish a payment plan
By August 1, 2021, students must either pay in full for any portion of their bill not covered by secured financial aid or establish an automated payment plan. Students who register for classes after this date will have seven calendar days to establish payment arrangements. Visit colum.edu/paymentplan for more information.
Move in to on-campus housing
If you’re going to be living in on-campus housing, assigned move-in dates will be in late August or early September. Visit colum.edu/residencelife for more information.
Fall 2021 semester begins
The Fall 2021 semester will begin on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.