Columbia Transfer Acceptance Rate and Requirements — 2024

December 12, 2023

columbia transfer acceptance rate

Columbia University is as hard to get into as Harvard, Stanford, or MIT directly out of high school. With a sub-4% acceptance rate for first-years, Columbia is an extremely selective institution. However, unlike those other schools, Columbia is a bit friendlier to transfer applicants. To quantify this, between 400 and 500 transfer applicants are typically accepted each year. This is a significantly greater number of individuals than you’ll see at the aforementioned schools. The following blog will reveal the Columbia University transfer acceptance rate as well as other essential facts like the Columbia transfer deadline, the Columbia transfer requirements, and much more.

Columbia Transfer Acceptance Rate

Below, we present the most current available Columbia transfer acceptance rate.

For entry in the fall of 2022, 3,008 students applied for transfer admission, and 341 were admitted. This means that the Columbia transfer acceptance rate is 11.3%.

If we break this down by gender, the acceptance rates are as follows:

  • Male transfer applicants: 13.2%
  • Female transfer applicants: 9.2%

For entry in the fall of 2021, there were 3,039 transfer applicants and 448 individuals were accepted. This means that the Columbia transfer acceptance rate was 14.7%.

Given that the transfer rates at some schools fluctuate wildly from year to year, it’s important to look at historical data. Although Columbia only publicizes transfer data for the 2021 admissions cycle and beyond, they do state that they typically admit fewer than 10% of transfer applicants each year.

Columbia Transfer Deadline

For all academic programs, the Columbia transfer deadline is March 1, which is also the deadline for financial aid. Additionally, Columbia admits for the fall semester only.

Columbia University Transfer Acceptance Rate (Continued)

Columbia Transfer Requirements

All students must submit the following items as part of their Columbia University application:

  • Coalition App
  • Columbia Supplement to the Coalition App
  • Official college transcript
  • Official high school transcript
  • ACT or SAT scores (they are test-optional for applicants to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering through the 2023-24 cycle)
  • Coalition App Transfer Report
  • Coalition App Curriculum Report
  • Two letters of recommendation from college instructors

In addition to the Columbia transfer requirements, students who have the best chance to gain admission have done the following:

  • Earned exceptional grades in at least 24 credit hours’ worth of college coursework (one year of full-time study).
  • Complete a portion of the Core Curriculum in addition to discipline-specific courses.
  • Engineering applicants are expected to have completed two semesters of both calculus and physics and one semester of chemistry.
  • Published academic research independently or with a faculty member at your current institution.
  • Exceled outside of the classroom in some manner. In addition to the aforementioned research, this could mean winning an intercollegiate academic competition, developing an app, earning a patent, achieving noteworthy accomplishments through some type of leadership role, etc.

Columbia Average Transfer GPA

The university states that successful students typically have at least a 3.5 overall GPA. However, in our experience working with Columbia applicants, you will need a 3.9 or better. This is not to say that your chances are nonexistent with a GPA below that mark, but a 3.9-4.0 GPA will give you the most favorable odds.

Columbia Transfer Application Essays

Main Transfer Essay

Please note: While the Coalition Essay in the Application Profile is not required for a complete transfer application, applicants will be asked to upload a 400-600 word essay on the Columbia Supplement to the Coalition Application responding to the following prompt:

Please explain why you are interested in transferring from your current institution. (The personal essay does not need to be specific to Columbia, but it should inform the committee why you wish to leave your current institution.)

List questions

  • List a selection of texts, resources and outlets that have contributed to your intellectual development outside of academic courses, including but not limited to books, journals, websites, podcasts, essays, plays, presentations, videos, museums and other content that you enjoy. (100 words or fewer)

Columbia University Transfer Acceptance Rate (Continued)

Short answer questions

  • A hallmark of the Columbia experience is being able to learn and thrive in an equitable and inclusive community with a wide range of perspectives. Tell us about an aspect of your own perspective, viewpoint or lived experience that is important to you, and describe how it has shaped the way you would learn from and contribute to Columbia’s diverse and collaborative community. (150 words or fewer)
  • In college/university, students are often challenged in ways that they could not predict or anticipate. It is important to us, therefore, to understand an applicant’s ability to navigate through adversity. Please describe a barrier or obstacle you have faced and discuss the personal qualities, skills or insights you have developed as a result. (150 words or fewer)
  • Why are you interested in attending Columbia University? We encourage you to consider the aspect(s) that you find unique and compelling about Columbia. (150 words or fewer)
  • What attracts you to your preferred areas of study at Columbia College or Columbia Engineering? (150 words or fewer)

When Do Columbia Transfer Decisions Come Out?

Decisions come out by June 1. There are cases where the school notifies applicants earlier than that, but June is the latest they will notify individuals.

Final Thoughts – Columbia Transfer Acceptance Rate

While the acceptance rate was 11.3% last cycle, that figure is under 10% in an average year. Still, the odds of gaining acceptance to Columbia are superior to those at other schools of its ilk. This is due, in part, just to the sheer volume of open transfer slots that the school has. That said, Columbia University will want to see a record of achievement (both inside and outside of the classroom) that knocks their socks off.

If you are looking for information on how to apply to Columbia as a first-year student, you may find the following blogs to be of interest:

Those searching for application info on other institutions may wish to visit our Dataverse pages: