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Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions from across the offices supporting Columbia College and Columbia Engineering collected here in one place for your convenience. You can browse by topic/department or search by keyword.

FAQs for All Incoming Students, Berick Center for Student Advising

Where can I find a list of classes offered for Fall 2020?

Please consult the Directory of Classes.

How do I know what classes are required for a major or concentration?

Please consult the CC Bulletin or SEAS Bulletin.

I plan to be pre-med. What classes should I take?

A sample schedule may include: General Chemistry I and Calculus I. Please consult the pre-med curriculum for more information. You should also attend the Pre-Health Workshop during the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP).

What should I do if the class I want to take is full?
  • Don’t panic! During NSOP and once classes start on September 8, it is likely that more spots will open up as all students finalize their schedules. You will have until Friday, September 18, to continue making changes to your schedule. September 8 through 18 is called the Change of Program Period.
  • You should check to see whether or not the course has a waitlist; if so, add yourself to the list.
  • If you still want to get into a class that is full, it is essential to attend the first class.
  • In case a seat does not open up, you should plan to attend the first class meetings of the next best options on your list. Twelve credits is the minimum required for all students. If you drop below 12 points, you risk being withdrawn from the term (except in your last term, when you are permitted to go below 12 points).
What should I do if I do not like the time/day a class is offered?

Everyone has their ideal schedule and class time preferences. However, sometimes you have to take classes at a day or time that is not your first choice. You can certainly try to join the waitlist for a section that is more preferable. However, if you are not added to the class from the waitlist, consider taking the class at a different time. Who knows, that class could wind up being your favorite class!

Placement Exams: How do I know which level of a math, science, or language class to take?

Placement exams will be given during the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP). You will receive a list of all placement exams during NSOP. For languages, you may consult the Academic Planning Guide to see if AP or SAT II scores place you into either a higher level or place you out of the language requirement.

For the subjects below, please consult the appropriate department’s website for more information:

How do I purchase textbooks?

Students often purchase textbooks from the Columbia Bookstore or Book Culture.

I have AP/IB or other outside credit. How can I add that to my transcript?

Typically, advising deans add AP/IB and other outside credit to a student’s record the summer after his/her first year at Columbia. Please consult the Academic Planning Guide to see if AP credit or SAT II scores may place you into a higher level class or give exemption to a requirement.

I have non-academic questions about preparing for Columbia.

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