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Apply as a freshman student if you’ve completed high school, home school or a GED and have not enrolled in coursework at a postsecondary college or university. This excludes dual enrollments, courses taken at Columbia College Chicago, and/or any postsecondary enrollment during the summer immediately following secondary school graduation or GED completion.
Ready to apply? Follow these steps.
1. Start your application using Columbia’s application or the Common Application.
2. Submit the following required items.
Essay prompt 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.
- The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
- 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 problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
- Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community or family.
All applicants are required to submit their official high school transcripts to Columbia.
High School Applicant: Ask your high school to send your most recent and/or final transcript.
GED Applicant: Ask the testing agency to send an official copy of your GED test results, including your scores. Certificates of GED completion are not accepted.
Home School Applicant: Ask your state-recognized home school to send an official copy of your home-school transcript.
International Applicant: Ask your secondary school or high school to send official or certified true copies of your educational records that demonstrate successful completion of a high school or secondary education.
As an international student, you may be required to submit a “leaving certificate” or “graduation certificate” along with your certified educational records. Official educational records not written in English must include an official English translation. For help determining which transcripts or records to send us, check out this guide.
How to Submit Transcripts
Ask your institution(s) to send official transcripts to Columbia College Chicago Admissions at 600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605. All transcripts received by mail or in person must be in the original sealed envelope from the school.
We also accept transcripts—when sent directly from the institution—via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax to 312-369-8024.
- Letter of Recommendation
You must submit at least one letter of recommendation to complete your application.
Who should write my letter of recommendation?
Ask an instructor, counselor, advisor or other individual who can speak to your ability to succeed in a rigorous arts and media curriculum.
Does my recommender need to use a special form?
No; however, your recommender is more than welcome to use our downloadable recommendation form. The Common Application provides a similar form.
How do I submit a letter of recommendation?
The person who writes your letter of recommendation should submit it to us online or by mail, fax or email.
The online application has a feature that sends an email request for a letter of recommendation on your behalf to your recommender, who can then submit your letter online. If your recommender submits by email or fax, please ask them to include a cover letter with your full name and date of birth.
Columbia College Chicago Admissions
600 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
- Application Fee
Application fee for domestic students (nonrefundable): $35
Application fee for international students (nonrefundable): $100
You must submit payment in order to complete the online application.
- International Students Only: English Language ProficiencyIf English is not your country’s primary language, you must prove English language proficiency.
3. Read about our supplementary materials—not required for admission—and then decide if you want to submit any of them.
- Test Scores
While test scores are not required for admission, you’re welcome to submit ACT, SAT, AP or IB scores to further demonstrate your preparedness for college-level work.
ACT and SAT Scores
You should request your ACT and/or SAT score reports from the testing agency. Request your ACT score report using Columbia College's ACT School Code (1002). Request your SAT score report using Columbia College's SAT School Code (1135).
Note: Once admitted, you can take an on-campus placement test if you believe your ACT or SAT scores do not accurately reflect your ability in writing, reading or math.
List Columbia College Chicago on your College Board account so we receive your score reports as soon as possible.
We grant college credit for scores of 3 or higher on most AP exams. Please see our AP exam table for a complete list of exams and credits awarded by score.
IB Exam Results
Ask your diploma programme coordinator to submit a request for your IB exam results. In some cases, you may be able to request results yourself.
We grant credit for IB exam results of 4 or higher.
- Digital Portfolios and Video Auditions
For students applying for Fall 2017, Spring 2018, or Summer 2018 admission: The submission deadline for portfolio and auditions has passed.
Please keep in mind that this submission is not required for admission or for consideration for the majority of Columbia scholarships. If you're applying for Fall 2018 or later, check back in September for portfolio-related submission, deadline, and scholarship information.
- BA, BFA, BMus, BS Degrees: What’s the difference?
Our bachelor of arts (BA) programs allow for exploration, including the ability to tailor elective coursework beyond your major or add a minor. Bachelor of fine arts (BFA), bachelor of music (BMus) and bachelor of science (BS) programs feature more intensive required coursework in the major with limited elective coursework.
To enroll in certain professional degree programs, you must first gain admission to the college. Students typically apply to enter BFA or BMus programs after one to three semesters of study at Columbia.