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Apply as a freshman student if you have completed or expect to complete high school, home school, or a GED (called HiSET in some states) and have not earned college credit at a college or university before your first day at Columbia. This excludes dual enrollments, courses taken at Columbia College Chicago, and/or any post-secondary enrollment during the summer immediately following secondary school graduation or GED (or HiSET) completion.

If you have earned college credit at a college or university not covered by the exceptions listed above, please review the Transfer Application Requirements.

If you are you an international student who will require a visa to study in the United States, please follow the steps listed here, and review this page for additional information

Need help along the way? We're here for you.

Find your assigned Columbia College Chicago Admissions Representitive using the map at the link below.


Application Deadlines

Columbia College Chicago is no longer accepting applicatons for the fall 2024 term.

If you've already submitted your application, the deadline to submit any additional required documentation (e.g. transcripts) is Wednesday, August 7.

If you've been admitted to Columbia for the fall 2024 term, the deadline to submit a tuition deposit is Friday, August 23.

Classes start on Tuesday, September 3.

The requirements listed below apply to the 2024 application and will be updated when the 2025 application becomes available. The 2025 application is scheduled to open on Tuesday, September 3.

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

Our Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs allow for greater flexiblity and exploration within the curriculum. This includes the ability to tailor elective coursework beyond your major or add a minor. Around 90% of Columbia students are pursuing a BA degree.

Our 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 flexibility for electives.

Note that the Interior Architecture, BFA requires Freshman applicants to have a minimum high school GPA of 2.75 for admission.

A Note on Standardized Test Scores

Columbia College Chicago's admissions process is entirely test-free. Standardized test scores will play no role in the college's determination of a student's admissibility, or in awarding merit-based scholarships.

After admission, students who have them are encouraged to submit results from Advanced Placement or International Baccaulaurate tests. Just list Columbia on your College Board account or talk to your school's IB diploma program coordinator about how to send your scores. Columbia grants credit for scores of 3 or higher on AP exams and 4 or higher on IB exams.

Learn More

Ready to apply? Follow these steps.

1. Submit your application.

Use the link above to Columbia’s application, or add Columbia as a school when you complete the Common Application. You can submit either application; please do not submit both.

2. Submit the following required items.

  • Transcripts

    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 Applicants: 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 Applicants: Ask your state-recognized home school to send an official copy of your home-school transcript.

    International Applicants Please see this page for more complete instructions.

    How to Submit Transcripts

    Ask your institution(s) to electronically transmit transcripts to Columbia College Chicago Admissions, or mail them to 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 at

  • Writing Sample

    Within the application, submit a writing sample in response to this prompt:

    Please provide a short personal statement that outlines your goals for your enrollment at Columbia College Chicago. You may choose to write about development of your creative practice, progress toward your career objectives, improving specific skills, or your own personal growth.

    The application will also have an optional section where you can provide additional information about items in your academic history that you might want to explain.

  • Application Fee

    Application fee for domestic students (nonrefundable): $25 

    Columbia does not wish for the application fee to present a barrier for interested students. The payment page of the application includes an opportunity to request a fee waiver, and we encourage students to take advantage of this as needed.

  • Portfolios | Auditions | Interviews

    Portfolio, audition, and/or interview requirements can vary based on your intended major.

    Students applying for BFA or BMus degrees are required to submit materials. Your submission will be considered for admission to the program as well as for the Faculty Recognition Award. Please follow the guidelines for your intended major. The submission deadline for Acting (BFA); Musical Theatre Performance (BFA); Contemporary, Jazz, and Popular Music (BMus); and Music Composition (BMus) applicants is Wednesday, December 1, 2023. For all other BFA programs, the submission deadline is Wednesday, January 17, 2024.

    Portfolios or auditions are not required for BA or BS applicants, but it is to your advantage to submit materials. A submission is the only way to be considered for the Faculty Recognition Award. Please follow the guidelines for your intended major. The submission deadline for all BA or BS applicants is Wednesday, January 17, 2024.