Application Procedures for International Students
Candidates applying from abroad, foreign-born applicants already living in the United States, or permanent residents with foreign educations must submit the following:
A completed application, using either of two methods:
- Submitting an online application.
- Submitting a paper application. You may download a .pdf of the GS Application for Admission or obtain one by submitting an online request or phoning the Admissions Office at (212) 854-2772. The .pdf of the application can be opened in Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- Official* high school transcript or official secondary school records. Documents not in English must be accompanied by certified translations.
- Official* transcripts from all colleges or universities attended. Documents not in English must be accompanied by certified translations.
If your native and predominant spoken language is English, or if the primary language of instruction in your High School or secondary education was English, you must submit an official score report from a Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or American College Testing Program (ACT) score.
Official score reports are sent directly to the GS Office of Admissions from the testing service. The SAT code number for General Studies is 2095 and the ACT code number is 2716. Students who have no test scores or test scores older than eight years may take the General Studies Admissions Examination (GSAE) at a cost of $40.
If your native or predominant spoken language is not English and the primary language of instruction in your High School or secondary education was not English you must demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting official scores from TOEFL or IELTS. The TOEFL or IELTS must be taken within two years of application to the School of General Studies. To be eligible to apply for admission, GS requires a score of 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL, or a 600 or better on the paper version, or a score of 7.0 on the IELTS.
Applicants should arrange to have recent test scores sent to the GS Office of Admissions directly from the testing service. The Educational Testing Service (or ETS, the organization that administers the TOEFL) code for GS is 2095. English proficiency can also be demonstrated by applicants to GS who are already enrolled in Columbia’s American Language Program (ALP) who have achieved a minimum level of 8 on the ALP Essay Exam.
- One typed, double-spaced essay of approximately 1,500-2,000 words. See the admissions application for essay question.
- Two letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional sources.
- A nonrefundable application fee of $80 USD in the form of a check or money order payable to Columbia University. Applicants using the online application may use a credit card to pay the application fee.
- New Student Scholarship Application**
*Official documents are those that arrive in a sealed envelope directly from the institution or testing service.
** Submitting the New Student Scholarship Application is optional, but highly recommended. The New Student Scholarship Application must be completed and submitted by the appropriate deadline in order to receive priority consideration.
Contact: Completed applications should be sent to the following address:
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
School of General Studies, Columbia University
408 Lewisohn Hall, Mail Code 4101
New York, NY 10027
As the evaluation of international transcripts is done externally, international applicants are strongly advised to file application materials as early as possible.
Once submitted, admissions materials become the property of the School of General Studies and are not returnable to the applicant. Applications are processed when files are complete.
All admitted students whose first language is not English are required to take the ALP Essay Exam (formerly known as the English Certification Test, or ECT) before registration, offered by the Columbia University American Language Program (ALP), even if they have taken the TOEFL prior to admission. The results of this placement examination will be used by the student's academic advisor to determine the appropriate academic plan for the first semester. Students will be required to take additional English language courses if their scores on the placement examination are below level 10. Upon completion of these courses, students must reach level 10 on the ALP Essay Exam.
If you have a documented disability that will prevent you from taking the test under standard conditions, you may request testing accommodations from the Office of Disability Service
Please note that you must request testing accommodations at least two weeks before the exam date.
For more information, please contact ODS by calling 212‐854‐2388 (voice/TTY), or emailing email@example.com.
Application Deadlines for International Students
Applications must be postmarked no later than the following deadlines:
- For fall term: April 1
- For spring term: August 15