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Columbia College Chicago is a creative liberal arts college focused on rigorous academics and hands-on, team-based learning. Located in one of the most vibrant and forward-thinking cities in the world, we are committed to an inclusive community that will inspire you to hone your talents and shape the world around you.

You are considered a second bachelor’s student if you have already completed a bachelor’s degree at an accredited four-year college or university. To apply, submit the following items in addition to the application. (Note: Some items are not required but strongly recommended.)

Start your application
Essay

All applicants are required to complete an essay.

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.
  • 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.
These essay options mirror those in The Common Application® and are used by permission.
Application Fee

A completed online application must include a nonrefundable $35 application fee for domestic students and a nonrefundable $100 application fee for international students. Students will be able to submit their payment in the final step of the application process.

Transcripts

Official Transcript

All second bachelor's applicants are required to submit their official college transcript to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

How to Submit Transcripts

Transcripts must be official documents from a student’s college or university.

Submit your transcripts online

  • In person or by mail
    Columbia College Chicago
    Admissions
    600 S. Michigan Ave, Room 301
    Chicago, IL 60605
  • By fax: 312.369.8024
    If submitting by fax, please include a cover letter with your full name and date of birth.
  • By email: admissions@colum.edu
    If submitting by email, please include a cover letter with your full name and date of birth.
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. When you are applying online, 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.

  • In person or by mail
    Columbia College Chicago
    Admissions
    600 S. Michigan Ave, Room 301
    Chicago, IL 60605
  • By fax: 312.369.8024
    If submitting by fax, please include a cover letter with your full name and date of birth.
  • By email: admissions@colum.edu
    If submitting by email, please include a cover letter with your full name and date of birth.
Portfolios and Auditions

A Portfolio/Audition of Your Best Creative Work (optional)

Columbia College Chicago welcomes portfolio and video audition submissions, though they are not required. 

How to Submit a Portfolio

After you submit the Admission Application, you may choose to submit your portfolio or video audition.

Each academic department at Columbia has specific recommendations for the submission of creative work. We are interested in seeing your best overall creative work. This means you can choose to submit creative work related to a department or program different from the one you intend to study at Columbia.

Submit Your Portfolio
Proof of English Language Proficiency
If English is not your country’s primary language, proof of English language proficiency is required for admission to the college.