Applying to GS

AdmissionsApplying to GS

Applying to GS

Applicants are admitted to the School of General Studies as matriculated degree candidates. Students may enroll either full or part time and may change their status from semester to semester. 

Applicants are only eligible for admission if they have taken a break of a year or more in their educational paths or have a compelling reason for which they can only attend Columbia as a part-time student.

Application Overview

The School of General Studies (GS) is the undergraduate college at Columbia University created specifically for students pursuing a nontraditional path to complete the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. Nontraditional students include persons who have interrupted their educations since high school for at least one academic year or individuals who have compelling personal or professional reasons to attend college on a part-time basis. GS is also the college at Columbia for students seeking to complete a second B.A. degree. GS students take the same courses, are taught by the same faculty, and earn the same degree as all other Columbia undergraduates.

Applicants may not simultaneously apply to the School of General Studies and to any other undergraduate division of Columbia University—Columbia College (CC) or the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS)—nor are candidates eligible to apply to the School of General Studies if in the last three years they applied to any of these divisions and were not accepted.

How to Apply

The following items are required to review an application for admission to the School of General Studies. Please note, unofficial documents are accepted as part of the application process, and can be used to make an admissions decision. If offered admission, in order to enroll you will be required to submit official* documents.

  1. A submitted online application.
     
  2. High school transcripts, secondary school records, or GED/TASC test results. Applicants with a GED or TASC and two or more years of high school will need to submit their high school transcripts. Documents not in English must be accompanied by certified translations.*
     
  3. Transcripts from all colleges or universities attended. Documents not in English must be accompanied by certified translations.*
     
  4. Test Score*

    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 or the Online General Studies Admissions Exam (College Board). On your application for admissions, you must indicate which exam you intend to submit. Unofficial scores can be reported directly on the application form and can be used to make admissions decisions. Official score reports can be sent at any time but are required to be sent directly to the GS Office of Admissions from the testing service before you enroll at Columbia University. The SAT code number for General Studies is 2095 and the ACT code number is 2716. Students who have no test scores may take the Online General Studies Admissions Examination at a cost of $50.

    -OR-

    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, IELTS, or Duolingo. On your application for admission, you must indicate which exam you intend to submit. 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, a score of 7.0 on the IELTS or a score of 75 on Duolingo. 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. For students enrolled in Columbia’s American Language Program (ALP), and who have achieved a minimum level of 8 in the program, please have your placement information forwarded to the GS Office of Admissions as it can be used to satisfy the test score requirement. As an ALP student, if admitted to the School of General Studies, you will still be required to continue coursework with ALP until you achieve level 10. For applicants who have earned one or more of the following subsection scores:

i. 650 or higher on either the Critical Reasoning or Writing sections of the SAT before March 2016;
ii. 700 or higher on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section of the redesigned SAT (beginning in March 2016);
iii. 29 or higher on the English or Reading sections of the ACT,
this exam information can be submitted to fulfill the standardized test requirement.


5. One typed, double-spaced essay of approximately 1,500-2,000 words. See the admissions application for essay question.

6. Two letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional sources. Please note that letters should be requested and submitted via the application portal.

*7. A nonrefundable application fee of $80 should be submitted using the secure online application system.

8. New Student Scholarship Application**

* Official documents are those that arrive directly from the institution, testing service, or recommender electronically. If electronic documents are not available from your high school, we will accept mailed copies of the transcripts sent directly to the GS Office of Admissions. Paper transcripts may not be delivered or forwarded by a student. If electronic documents are not available from your college or university, please contact the GS Office of Admissions for further instruction.

** Submitting the New Student Scholarship Application is optional, but highly recommended. Please consult the Office of Educational Financing page for additional information on applying for scholarships and financial aid at the School of General Studies.

Note that applicants must submit all materials directly, not through an agent or third-party vendor. In addition, the applicant will be required to attest to the accuracy and authenticity of all information and documents submitted to Columbia. If you have any questions about this requirement please contact the GS Office of Admission at gs-admit@columbia.edu.

Failure to submit complete, accurate, and authentic application documents consistent with these instructions may result in the denial or revocation of degree. Applicants may be required to assist admissions staff and faculty involved in admissions reviews in the verification of all documents and statements made in documents submitted by students as part of the application review process.

Important Contact Information

Office of Admissions and Educational Financing
School of General Studies
Columbia University
408 Lewisohn Hall, MC 4101
2970 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
212-854-2772
gs-admit@columbia.edu
gs.columbia.edu/

Admissions Decisions and Tracking Your Application

Information about when admissions decisions are rendered may be found here.

If you have already applied to Columbia University School of General Studies, you may check the status of your application online.