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Students like you transfer to Columbia from all over the world, bringing their unique experiences, talents and aspirations to Columbia. What will you add to our wildly creative and inclusive student body? We’re excited to see.

Apply as a transfer student if you’ve completed high school, home school or a GED and have enrolled in at least 1 credit hour 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.

Need help planning your transfer?

Our transfer planning tools can help you plan your transfer from Columbia's partner schools and other colleges and universities.

transfer planning help unofficial transcript evaluation

Follow these steps to apply.

1. Start your application using Columbia’s application or the Common Application.

We accept both. Begin the application process using Columbia’s application, or add Columbia as a school when you complete the Common Application.

2. Submit the following required items.


Essay prompt question:

  • 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. 

You should submit one essay, no longer than 650 words.


As a transfer student, you must submit official transcripts from your high school and any college previously attended.

International students must submit official or certified true copies of their 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

You can submit transcripts online; in person; or by mail, fax or email. If you submit by email or fax, please include a cover letter with your full name and date of birth.

Submit your transcripts online

Mailing Address

Columbia College Chicago Admissions
600 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605



Letter of Recommendation

You must submit at least one letter of recommendation to complete your application.

Whom should I ask to write a 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.

Mailing Address

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 Proficiency
If 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

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.

AP Scores

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

While not required for submission, you’re welcome to digitally submit a portfolio or audition that demonstrates your best creative work. Your portfolio or audition could be considered in identifying your eligibility for certain merit scholarship programs, but the majority of our scholarships for incoming students do not require you to submit creative work samples.

How Do I Submit a Digital Portfolio or Video Audition?

After you submit an admissions application and all required materials, you can digitally submit your portfolio or video audition.

Submit Your Portfolio

Each academic department has specific recommendations for submitting creative work. We want to see your best overall work; your portfolio or audition doesn’t have to relate to the field of study you’re interested in at Columbia.

If you’re applying to enroll in Fall 2017, you must be admitted to the college and upload your work by April 15.

BA, BFA, BMus, BS Degrees: What’s the difference?

Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs feature a flexible curriculum that allows for exploration and the ability to tailor elective coursework beyond your major. Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Music (BMus) and Bachelor of Science (BS) programs feature more focused required coursework in the major.

If you wish to pursue entry to a BFA, BMus or BS program, you must first gain admission to Columbia College Chicago. If eligible, you will be evaluated individually by your academic department sometime during your first or second year of enrollment.

Have more questions? We're here to help

Sherry Anton

“Columbia is one of the most creatively infectious places I've experienced. Each day is rewarding.”

Sherry Anton
Associate Director of Transfer Recruitment

Samantha Vittori

“As a student, I always felt that Columbia’s campus was buzzing, as if it was somehow electrified. The passion and drive found on campus was—and still is—so inspiring.”

Samantha Vittori
Transfer Specialist

Sam's Local Partner Schools
  • College of DuPage
  • Joliet Junior College
  • Kankakee Community College
  • McHenry County College
  • Moraine Valley Community College
  • Morton College
  • Prairie State College
  • South Suburban College
  • Triton College
  • Wilbur Wright College
Doreene Washington

“The staff, faculty and administrative team have one goal, and that’s to ensure our students’ individual successes.”

Dorene Washington
Transfer Specialist

Dorene's Local Partner Schools
  • College of Lake County
  • Elgin Community College
  • Harold Washington College
  • Kennedy–King College
  • Malcolm X College
  • Oakton Community College
  • Olive–Harvey College
  • Richard J. Daley College
  • Truman College
  • Waubonsee Community College
  • William Rainey Harper College