Columbia College Chicago: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

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Columbia College Chicago is a private arts and media college with an acceptance rate of 90%. Founded in 1890, Columbia College Chicago offers a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business. Columbia College Chicago offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The top majors among undergraduates are Filmmaking, Music, Musical Theatre, Acting, and Fashion Studies. The college offers an average class size of less than 18 and a 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio. Columbia College Chicago is also home to numerous student clubs and organizations and presents hundreds of cultural and performance events each year. Athletics are student-run, and the Columbia College Renegades participate in competitive clubs including volleyball, soccer, basketball, and ultimate Frisbee.

Considering applying to Columbia College Chicago? Here are the admissions statistics you should know, including average SAT/ACT scores and GPAs of admitted students.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, Columbia College Chicago had an acceptance rate of 90%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 90 students were admitted, making Columbia College Chicago's admissions process less competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants 7,430
Percent Admitted 90%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 26%

SAT and ACT Scores and Requirements

Columbia College Chicago does not require SAT or ACT test scores for admission. Note that students may choose to submit scores as Columbia uses them to award some merit-based scholarships, but they are not required. In 2019, the average composite ACT score of admitted students was 22.1. This admissions data tells us that of those who submitted scores, most of Columbia College Chicago's admitted students fall within the top 36% nationally on the ACT.


In 2019, the average high school GPA of Columbia College Chicago's incoming freshmen class was 3.39. This data suggest that most successful applicants to Columbia College Chicago have primarily B grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

Columbia College Chicago Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
Columbia College Chicago Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to Columbia College Chicago. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

Columbia College Chicago, which accepts 90% of applicants, has a less competitive admissions process. However, Columbia College Chicago has a holistic admissions process and is test optional, and admissions decisions are based on more than numbers. Some majors require writing samples and essays, while others are based primarily on auditions, interviews, and portfolios. Students applying to the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science programs are not required to submit samples of creative work, but may do so to strengthen their applications. A portfolio or audition is required for applicants to the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music programs. Each major has unique application and admission requirements, and students are advised to check the specific requirements for their intended major. Students with particularly compelling stories or achievements and talent in the arts can still receive serious consideration even if their grades and test scores are outside Columbia College Chicago's average range.

In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent admitted students. The majority of students accepted to Columbia College Chicago had GPAs of a 2.5 or higher, SAT scores above 950 (ERW+M), and ACT scores of 18 or better. However, the college is test-optional, so you don't need to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for admission.

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All admissions data has been sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and Columbia College Chicago Undergraduate Admissions Office.

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Your Citation
Grove, Allen. "Columbia College Chicago: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Grove, Allen. (2020, August 27). Columbia College Chicago: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "Columbia College Chicago: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 20, 2023).