American Language Program Essay Exam

American Language Program Essay Exam

Who Should Take the Exam

Columbia University students must be fully proficient with written and spoken English.  If you received notification in your acceptance packet instructing you to  take the Columbia University American Language Program (ALP) Essay Exam, you are required to do so prior to finalizing your course registration.  The need to take the ALP Essay Exam is a determination made by the Admissions Committee at the time of acceptance and your enrollment at Columbia University is contingent on taking the exam.

No exceptions will be granted to the requirement; this includes but is not limited to the fact that you may have taken the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, GSAE, or ACT exams prior to admission. Coursework completed at any other university or college also cannot be considered as an exception from the need to take the exam.

Exam Description

The ALP Essay Exam is designed to measure test-takers ability in writing; no speaking portion is included. Test takers will be given 105 minutes to write an essay response to one of two essay prompts.

For more information, please consult the American Language Program's FAQ website.


The ALP Essay Exam will be held for incoming General Studies students on the following dates.

Fri., July 25, 2014
Registrants will be informed when time and location have been finalized.

Wed., Aug. 20, 2014, 10 a.m - 12 p.m.


Exam Results

The ALP Essay Exam results will be emailed to students and to their respective departments ten business days after the exam date. 

Results will be used by a 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 score on the examination is below level 10. A score below level 8 may require a deferral of the offer of admission to facilitate further, full-time, English language study. 

All students who earn a level 9 on the ALP Essay Exam are required to take a 3 credit advanced writing course designed for international students.

More information about scores and score appeals may be found on the American Language Program website.


If you are currently enrolled in the American Language Program or have already taken the ALP Essay Exam please contact ALP at (212) 854-3584 or and ask them to forward your results to the School of General Studies Office of Admissions.