Ready for what's next?

Apply for 2018    

Students transfer to Columbia from all over the world, bringing along their unique experiences, talents, and aspirations. 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.

Columbia operates on rolling admissions, admitting students beginning in early fall. We make admissions decisions within four weeks of receiving a complete application file.

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 credit evaluation

Follow these steps to apply.

1. Complete your application. Submit by August 15 for Fall 2018.

2. Submit the following required items.


Choose the option that best allows you to express your ideas. Your essay should be between 250 and 650 words.

  • Option 1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • Option 2: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Option 3: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Option 4: 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.
  • Option 5: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Option 6: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  • Option 7: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

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

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
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

As an institution dedicated to preparing creative professionals, Columbia College Chicago values what you’ve done and believes it hints at what you can become. While the deadline for scholarship consideration has passed, students may still provide samples of any creative work they feel strengthens their application to Columbia. View portfolio submission guidelines here.

Those who were admitted to the college and submitted a portfolio by our January 15, 2018, deadline will be considered for talent-based scholarships.

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

Sherry's Local Partner Schools
  • Kankakee Community College
  • McHenry County College
  • Morton College
  • Prairie State College
  • South Suburban College
  • Triton College
  • Wilbur Wright College
Andrew Whatley

“I’ve been at Columbia College Chicago since 2001, and helping students pursue their passions at this unique institution gets more fun each year.”

Andrew Whatley
Senior Director of New Student Enrollment

Andrew's Local Partner Schools
  • College of DuPage
  • Joliet Junior College
  • Moraine Valley Community 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