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Estd 1890Established Year

Columbia College Chicago 2020-2021 Admissions: Acceptance Rate, Requirements, Deadlines, Application Process

Hitaishi Bhatia Hitaishi Bhatia
Study Abroad Expert

The Chicago-based Columbia College is a private college that provides more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in fields related to arts, liberal arts, performing arts, media arts, fine arts, etc. The institute is a renowned name in the US Education System that accepts students on the basis of their academic record with no extra aid.

The college received about 8,121 applications in the fall of 2018. The college accepted applicants at an acceptance rate of around 87% of which neatly 19% of candidates enrolled. About 98% of freshmen received some type of financial aid. The average GPA of admitted students was more than 3.39.

Some of the salient points to be considered when seeking admission at Columbia College Chicago are as listed below.

  • The college takes fresh intakes in the 2 season intakes of fall and spring.
  • The admissions to graduate courses of the institute are offered on a rolling basis round the year.
  • The last date for fall undergraduate application is January 31, 2020.
  • It accepts online applications through the college's portal and common application.
  • All the applicants must deposit a fee of 75 USD when applying for admissions at the college.
  • Transcripts must be mailed by the applicant’s previous institution directly to the college’s address.
  • Students can avail scholarships for the fall term, spring has limited scholarships.


Application portalColumbia’s application or common application
Application fee75 USD (international students)
Acceptance rate87%
Average SAT score1060
Average ACT score24
Mode of paymentVisa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express/ pay by mail, etc.
Academic calendarSemester-based
Intake seasonsFall/Spring
Financial aidScholarships/student loans/grants/work-study
Work experienceNot required

Admission Deadlines

The institute provides an array of courses for international students admissions to which are provided in different intakes. Some of the upcoming deadlines at the university are as compiled below.

Undergraduate Students

FallJanuary 31, 2020
SpringDecember 13, 2019

Graduate Students

All graduate programs have a rolling basis of admissions post the priority deadline except for a few. The programs currently closed for fall 2020 admissions are,

  1. Music Composition for the screen (MFA)
  2. Cinema and Television Directing (MFA)

International Student Admissions

Columbia College Chicago gives an opportunity to all international students to enrol in their programs. The college identifies anyone without a US citizenship, green card/residency as an international student. The students can apply for either a bachelor’s degree or master’s in the array of programs offered in various fields of arts. Performing, fine, media and business arts. The degrees offered include, BS, BA, BFA, MA, MFA, MAM, and many more.

Application portal:Columbia’s application orCommon Application

Application fee: 75 USD

Basic Admission requirements:

  1. Transcripts (high school/college)
  2. Proof of English proficiency
  3. Test scores (Undergraduate supplementary requirement)
  4. Portfolios/Auditions (Undergraduate supplementary requirement)
  5. Applicants may need to provide test scores of standardized exams to study in the USA.
  6. Submission of letters of recommendation is mandatory for international applicants.
  7. Applicants may have to submit a statement of purpose/intent.
  8. A valid passport and visa.
  9. Applicants may have to submit a graduation certificate or leaving certificate.

English Proficiency Test Scores

All international students at the college need to submit proof of English language proficiency. The applicants can take any recognized test and submit its scores. The minimum required scores are:


Visa Process for International Students

International students require an F-1 visa to study in the USA on a student permit. To apply for the visa, the student is required to have an I-20 form, issued by the college/university which indicates that they are accepted in a US university.

Columbia would issue an I-20 only when a student is admitted to the college and they have filled their I-20 request form on their status page.

Additionally, the university would also require the following documents,

  1. A photocopy of your passport.
  2. Proof of finances (official bank letter/statement)
  3. If not personally funded, then proof of financial aid.

The I-20 should be issued within a few weeks of submitting all the documents.

Columbia College Chicago Undergraduate Admissions

The institute offers a multitude of degrees through their three schools, ranging from fine and performing arts, liberal arts and sciences to media arts. The college offers four degrees, BA, BS, BFA, BMus. A student can apply for an undergraduate degree at the university if they’ve finished their high school and never have been enrolled in a post-secondary college. To apply, here are a few requirements that students need to meet.

Application portal: Apply online at the official website

Application fee (non-refundable): 25 USD (domestic)/ 75 USD (international students)

Basic Admission requirements:

  1. Official high school transcripts.
  2. Proof of English proficiency (TOEFL/IELTS/ACT/SAT)
  3. Test scores (ACT (School Code (1002))/SAT (School Code (1135))/AP/IB)
  4. Portfolios or auditions (only for students applying to BFA or BMus Program)

International students might be required to submit additional transcripts, such as, “leaving certificate” or “graduation certificate” with the certified results. The transcripts are to be sent by the schools to the college at Columbia College Chicago Admissions at 600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605. The transcripts are all to be mailed or handed over in a sealed envelope.

Columbia College Chicago Graduate Admissions

Columbia’s School of Graduates studies offers a wide array of master’s degree options to its applicants from across the world hoping to study in the USA. The school has graduate studies in the fields of arts, media and the business of arts. Students can apply for a master’s degree at Columbia College Chicago, given that they’ve completed their bachelor’s degree. 

Additionally, to an online application at their portal or a common application, students are required to see program-specific requirements. Such specific requirements for some of the popular majors at the institute are as tabulated below.

RequirementsMAM business and entrepreneurshipMFA fine artsMFA creative producingMFA Cinema and Television directingMA Entrepreneurship for Creatives
Application fee (non-refundable)60 USD (domestic)
75 USD (international)
60 USD (domestic)
75 USD (international)
60 USD (domestic)
75 USD (international)
60 USD (domestic)
75 USD (international)
60 USD (domestic)
75 USD (international)
GRE/GMATGRENot requiredNot requiredNot requiredNot required
Work experienceNot requiredNot requiredNot requiredNot requiredNot required
Professional CV/Resume/portfolioRequiredRequiredRequiredRequiredRequired
Admission interviewRequiredRequiredRequiredRequiredRequired

The Institute offers graduate programs mostly on a rolling basis, however, it is recommended that students apply as early as possible to get started with the visa application. I-20 forms would be issued within 2-3 weeks of a student getting accepted and then submitting the required documents to the admissions of the college. 

The university is open to all students who promise to excel in their studies. International applicants can be considered for talent-based scholarships by submitting a digital portfolio/ online audition demonstrating their talents. Submission deadline for these supplements is January 31.

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