Admissions Timeline and Dates

Prospective Graduate Students: Fall 2017 Start

You’re interested in Columbia, and we want to help you join our 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, and we encourage you to contact us to talk about your next steps in becoming a Columbia student. We’re here to help.

  • August 2016

    Application opens for Fall admission

    Each department’s Faculty Review Committee typically makes an admissions decision six to eight weeks after the priority deadline for applications: November, December or January, depending on the program. Submit by this deadline to be considered for Graduate Assistantships. Some programs admit students on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed. Visit for more information.

  • October

    Submit financial aid information (domestic students)

    File your 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with Columbia’s school code: 001655. Submitting a FAFSA ensures that you’re considered for all financial aid opportunities, including institutional scholarships and all forms of federal and state aid. Visit for more information.

  • January 15

    Preferred scholarship consideration

    To be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your admission application and submit a FAFSA. For preferred consideration, we recommend that you complete those steps by this date. You will be notified of your total financial aid package, including Columbia scholarships, on your Financial Aid Award Letter. Visit for more information.

  • March

    Award letters begin going out

    Once you are admitted to the college and we receive your FAFSA, you will be notified of your complete financial aid package with a Financial Aid Award Letter. We begin sending these letters in March on a rolling basis. For help understanding your award letter, visit

  • March–April

    Admitted Student Days

    All admitted graduate students will be invited to a department-specific Admitted Student Day. These days are designed to help you learn more about your program and get acquainted with campus. Keep an eye out for an email invite. As the events near, you can find more information at

  • April 15

    Graduate Student Decision Day

    Confirm your attendance by making a $450 nonrefundable confirmation deposit on or before this date.

  • May

    Online orientation and registration open

    After paying the $450 deposit, you’ll have access to online orientation and class registration. View advising guides, make changes to your schedule as needed, and review and finalize your schedule with someone in your department.

  • June

    Submit final college transcript

    If you are currently enrolled at a college or university, you must submit an official copy of your final transcript to Graduate Admissions. Late transcripts complicate registration, financial aid and payment for your first semester.

  • June

    Finalize your financial plan

    To pay for education, many students use resources beyond the awards offered on the Financial Aid Award Letter. Learn more about these resources—such as loans and employment-sponsored tuition plans—and read about our payment plan at

  • August 2017

    New Graduate Student Social

    Meet your fellow graduate students and mingle with the entire incoming cohort at the New Graduate Student Social, hosted by the Graduate Admissions Office. Keep an eye out for communications regarding this event.

  • August–September

    On-campus orientation

    Each academic department hosts an on-campus orientation prior to the start of school year. We’ll reach out to you with more information as your orientation date nears.

  • August 1

    Submit payment

    You must either pay in full or establish an automated payment plan for any portion of your bill not covered by secured financial aid by August 1. If you register for classes after this date, you’ll have seven calendar days to establish payment arrangements. Visit for more information.

  • September 2

    New Student Convocation

    Convocation showcases the talents of our students and alumni. The annual event features an assembly with President Kwang-Wu Kim; a student services exposition; and a catered party with live bands, performance art and more.

  • September 6

    Fall semester begins