Columbia welcomes creative students from more than 60 countries and all 50 states in the U.S. We are a creative liberal arts college with more than 120 years of deep experience teaching students to develop authentic voices and meaningful skills that will prepare them for successful careers doing what they love. We attract students from around the world because of the depth and breadth of our curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities, faculty who offer contemporary instruction and a global perspective, and our location in the heart of one of the most inspiring cities in the world—Chicago. We hope you'll join us!

Columbia College Chicago Information
Welcome to Chicago, one of the most exciting and breathtaking cities in the world. As the third-largest U.S. city, Chicago abounds with cultural, artistic and professional opportunities. With a rich and storied history in entertainment, media and the arts, the city features world-class museums, newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations, theaters, corporations, publishers, sports organizations, agencies, studios, festivals, galleries, restaurants, parks, and cultural institutions. Chicago is also an emerging leader in the technology industry, with an array of new businesses and start-ups that are redefining the future of many creative fields.
Columbia’s campus sits at the heart of it all, in Chicago’s arts and education corridor known as the South Loop. Our front yard is Grant Park, which rests on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan and is home to many of the city’s music and art festivals. Just steps away is Chicago’s Museum Campus, featuring the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium. To the west is the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), and to the north is Millenium Park, the Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier. Though everything you need is just steps away from Columbia’s residence halls and campus buildings, Chicago’s comprehensive public transportation system provides easy access to all of the city’s culturally rich, diverse and inspiring neighborhoods.
International Graduate Student FAQ

Q: What are my transcript requirements?

A: Students must submit all official educational records of high school, secondary school, or college/university work. Official educational records not written in English should include an English translation. In some cases this may require applicants to submit a “leaving certificate” or “graduation certificate” along with their translated, certified educational record. Official educational records not written in English should include an English translation when possible.

If you need help determining which educational records to send, please see this guide:

All required documents should be sent to:

Columbia College Chicago
Graduate Admissions
600 S. Michigan Ave. Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60605

Q: Can I waive the TOEFL requirements?

A: Please contact to discuss waiver options.

Q: When will I get my I-20?

A: In order for Columbia to issue your I-20, you must be admitted to the College and submit all of the required documents. Once Admissions has processed your documents, you should receive your I-20 in 2 to 3 weeks.

Visa and Immigration Information

As an international student, you will need an F-1 student visa to enter the United States to study. You are required to apply for the visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate using an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility form issued by Columbia College Chicago. If you're arriving from overseas and requesting an I-20 (initial), we will need:

• A photocopy of your passport page(s) showing your full name, date of birth, photo and passport expiration date

• Proof of sufficient funds to cover the school year. Columbia requires you to have proof of funds that is equivalent to the current "Cost of Attendance Budget". That information can be found at Proof must be an official bank letter or statement on bank letterhead that shows the name of the account holder, amount available and bank official's signature. This must be dated within six months of your first day of class.

• If the funds are not from your personal bank account, Columbia requires a Sponsorship Verification Form. There is no limit to the number of sponsors a student can have, but each sponsor must sign a certificate of sponsorship and present Columbia with official bank statements. The sponsorship verification form is available at

I-20 Transfer

If you are currently holding F-1 student visa status in the U.S. with a valid I-20, you can transfer your I-20 to Columbia College Chicago. We will need:

• Immigration Pre-Transfer Verification Form. Download and have your school advisor fill out the form available at

• Photocopy of passport signature page(s) showing your full name, date of birth, and passport expiration date

• Photocopy of current F-1 visa

• Photocopy of current I-20

• Proof of sufficient funds (see above)


On-Campus Housing

The Residence Life Office provides a variety of housing options to suit your individual preferences. Apartment-style rooms and suites are fully furnished. All facilities are conveniently located, only steps away from the main campus buildings, and all are close to public transportation. If you would like to live on campus, please visit to apply for housing.

Housing assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis according to the date your housing application is completed and received. Find out more detailed information about on-campus housing. The website also includes photos, virtual tours of the residence buildings and room configurations, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Off-Campus Housing

Many of our incoming graduate students choose to live off campus, either in their own apartments or with roommates. Please visit our Graduate Relocation Guide to learn more about living in Chicago, and navigating the rental process.

Buddy Program

The Buddy Program is an optional program designed for new international Columbia College Chicago students. The Buddy Program pairs you with a current Columbia student who will be your “buddy” for a semester. Your Buddy will be your guide to the college and the city of Chicago, and can also help you with transportation from the airport to Columbia.

To apply for a Buddy, go to: The application will take about 10 minutes to complete.

If you have any questions on this program you can contact Kevin Obomanu at

Pre-arrival Information

We can’t wait to see you at Columbia! Here is some information to make your trip here as smooth as possible.

What to Bring

Before you leave home, please remember to pack important information in your carry-on luggage. You will need the following information as soon as you arrive in the USA:

  • I-20
  • Passport
  • Financial documents
  • School information
  • Important phone numbers
  • Shuttle pick-up confirmation and phone number
  • Phone number and email of your Buddy

How to Get to Columbia College Chicago’s Campus

There are a number of different ways you can arrive on campus. If you have signed up for a Buddy, they should be able to help arrange your airport pick-up.

Public Transportation
From O’Hare Airport: Take the Blue Line to the Jackson stop. From there you will walk two-six blocks, depending on your housing location.

From Midway Airport: Take the Orange Line to the Roosevelt stop or Harold Washington Library stop, depending on your housing location.

By Taxi 
Taxi stands are located at O’Hare and Midway airports, outside the baggage claim area. Follow the official airport signs. Do not accept rides from individuals who ask inside the airport.

Columbia College Chicago partners with Go Airport Express.