International Students

Welcome to Columbia College

We are proud to celebrate the international students, faculty, staff, and alumnae who have come to Columbia College from more than 25 countries!

We believe that Columbia College is a great fit for students of all nationalities because we are a community that proudly celebrates diversity and multiculturalism. Columbia College is also an ideal setting for international students because of our nurturing classroom setting, extraordinary leadership opportunities, and very safe campus.

Applying for Admission

The first step in becoming a student at Columbia College is to complete the application for admission.  In order for us to evaluate your application and assess your readiness to be a successful Columbia College student, we need to receive all of the following documents, translated into English where necessary:

  • Completed Application Form– we encourage all international applicants to complete the Common Application.  Please note that an essay is required as part of the application process – essays can be written in advance and uploaded electronically as part of the application process.
  • Transcripts from previously attended high schools, colleges, or universities.
  • Standardized test score results – all applicants must submit either the TOEFL, IELTS, or SAT (any 1 of the 3 is acceptable).  In order to be successful at Columbia College, students should have achieved either 79 on the iBT of the TOEFL, or 6.5 on IELTS.  When submitting TOEFL or SAT scores, Columbia College’s institutional ID number is 5117.
  • International Student Financial Aid Application – Columbia College does offer some financial assistance to international students, but we do not offer full tuition scholarships to international students.  Please complete all of the fields in this application, and indicate the maximum resources available to you for study in the US.
  • International Student Certification of Finances – In order for us to issue an I-20 for study in the US, we are required to verify that the family can afford the cost of education.  Please complete all of the fields in this form, and indicate the maximum resources available to you for study in the US.
  • If you are transferring from another U.S. college or university, please complete all of the above and follow your current institution’s requirements to “Transfer Out,” which transfers your current I-20 out from your current institution and in to us.  The Transfer Out process is usually started with the same office who assisted you with your current I-20.

Notification and Acceptance

Once we receive all of the materials indicated above, we will evaluate your application for admission and make an admission decision, usually within 2 weeks of your entire file becoming complete.  With an offer of admission to the College, we will also send an offer of scholarship assistance and an I-20 for you to begin the process of applying for a visa to study in the US.


To indicate Columbia College as your choice for study in the US, you will need to make an enrollment deposit of $200 (students from Vietnam will need to make an enrollment deposit of $1,500 to cover the cost of travel to the US).  This deposit will appear as a credit on your fall semester bill you will receive from the College in July.

You can pay your deposit online at  Select “International Payment” and complete the fields indicated on the secure web form.  In the “Miscellaneous Information” box, please include the text, “Confirmation Deposit.”

Applying for your visa

Once you have received your I-20 from Columbia College, you will need to apply for your F-1 visa for entry into and study in the US.  To secure your visa, follow these steps (we encourage you to visit for steps, advice, and links to forms – we also encourage you to reach out to Melissia Brannen, Director of Multicultural Affairs & Community Resources at Columbia College if you have questions or need additional assistance):

  • Make sure the name and date of birth on the I-20 matches the information on your passport – if the I-20 information does not match your passport, please contact us so we can correct the information on your I-20;
  • Complete SEVIS form I-901 and pay the SEVIS fee – go to to complete the form and pay the fee;
  • After paying the I-901 fee and receiving a receipt of payment, you may apply for a visa at any American embassy or consulate.
Click here to learn more about being an international student at Columbia College