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Apply as a freshman student if you’ve completed high school, home school, or a GED and have not enrolled in coursework at a post-secondary college or university. 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 completion.

Our application deadline for Spring 2019 was December 14, 2018. If you’re applying for Fall 2019, our priority deadline is January 15, 2019.

Ready to apply? Follow these steps.

1. Start your application.

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

Are you an international student? Follow the same steps listed here, and review this page for additional requirements

2. Submit the following required items.


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

International Applicant: Ask your secondary school or high school to send official or certified true copies of your 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

Ask your institution(s) to send official transcripts to Columbia College Chicago Admissions at 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 to or via fax to 312-369-8024.

Application Fee

Application fee for domestic students (nonrefundable): $50 

We never want our application fee to be a deterrant to potential students. We are happy to grant a fee waiver, which you can request prior to submitting your application.

3. Read about our supplementary materials—not required for admission—and then decide if you want to submit any of them. (Keep in mind that submitting a digital portfolio/video audition makes you eligible for scholarships.)

Test Scores

While test scores are not required for admission, you’re welcome to submit ACT, SAT, AP, or IB scores to further demonstrate your preparedness for college-level work.

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 mathematics.

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 a portfolio isn't required for admission to Columbia College Chicago, keep in mind that submitting a portfolio makes you eligible for talent-based scholarships!

You can submit either a digital portfolio or a video audition by January 15, 2019, for consideration. View portfolio submission guidelines by program of interest.

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

Our Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs allow for exploration, including the ability to tailor elective coursework beyond your major or add a minor. 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 elective coursework.

To enroll in certain professional degree programs, you must first gain admission to the college. Students typically apply to enter BFA or BMus programs after one to three semesters of study at Columbia.

When will I receive a response?

Columbia uses a rolling admissions process. We begin accepting applications in August and continue to accept them throughout the year. We release our first wave of admissions decisions to students in early November—students will typically receive a decision within four weeks after their applications are complete.