Admissions Advice 

Avoid Common Mistakes

The Office of Graduate Student Affairs at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering And Applied Science receives thousands of graduate program applications every year. Some applications are delayed for evaluation or are determined to be incomplete for admission due to missing documents or information. If you are planning to apply, read on for an explanation of the top reasons applicants experience problems with the application process and how to avoid them.

  1. Apply and Submit Supporting Material close to the Priority Deadline
    The application deadline applies to the online application and supporting documents. Applicants are admitted twice yearly for the fall and spring semesters.  

    We generally allow applicants additional time after the priority deadlines to send supporting material, such as test scores and recommendations. In addition, we regularly consider applications for admission that are received after the deadlines posted. However, we advise you to apply close to and within a few weeks of the priority deadline and make every effort to complete your application no more than a month past the priority deadline otherwise if you apply a great deal later you may be decreasing your chances due to a competitive review process.

  2. Know and Adhere to Application Requirements
    Review application requirements and if you have questions or need clarification email, Follow instructions and respond to all questions on the online application. Do not assume any application requirement will be excused or waived without approval or confirmation.

  3. Upload Documents to the Online Application
    The following must be uploaded to your online application: Official Copies of Transcripts, Recommendation Letters, Personal Statement, and Resume. Furthermore, please enter your official GRE Test Scores and, if required, TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Test Scores onto your application. If you have not taken the test you can submit the application first and send scores later. You will need to enter the anticipated test date on your online application. When you know your test scores report them immediately along with sending them from ETS, IELTS, or PTE. Recommendation letters can still be received from your providers after you submit your online application via the online application system. 

  4. Alert us to Name Changes on Your Application and Admission Documents
    You must enter your legal name and date of birth on your application for admission. Provide the same name and date of birth on transcripts that are mailed to the Office of Graduate Student Affairs. If you are an international student, use the name and date of birth as it appears on your passport. If your name differs in any way on your official documents from what you indicated on the application this can cause a delay or a rescinding of an admission offer. Be sure to enter alternative name(s) on the application for admission in the space provided. In addition, please mail proof of name changes, such as a copy of a marriage certificate.  Please read the application carefully and be sure you do not enter a short or preferred name in place of your actual name as this will not be helpful to you.

  5. Do not Apply to More Than One Graduate Engineering Program
    It is against school policy to apply to more than one engineering graduate program or department per term, including CVN programs. Multiple engineering application submissions will result in one or all applications being discarded. Please contact the Office of Graduate Student Affairs at if you need clarification.

    Applicants are allowed to apply to an engineering graduate program and another non-engineering program at other schools within Columbia University at the same time.

  6. Do not Submit Extraneous Materials
    Sending by email or postal mail extra documentation such as; merit certificates, financial documents, CDs, portfolios, and or copies of your submitted online application will not be considered in the admission review. Sending extra documents causes delays. If you are an international student you may need to send financial documentation for the purpose of obtaining a Visa. If that is the case, only after you receive a formal admission offer letter should you send financial documents to the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO).

    All materials submitted in support of an applicant, whether official or unofficial, become the property of Columbia University and will not be returned to the applicant or forwarded to other schools or agencies. We suggest that you keep copies of any documents you may need for your personal use.

  7. Check Frequently Asked Questions
    During peak application periods the Office of Graduate Student Affairs receives hundreds of email inquiries. Many of the questions are already answered on this website. For best results please check the FAQ section, on the side menu of this screen to your left, before emailing the office. If you still need assistance we will be glad to help you, please send email to:

  8. Send Official Transcript/s by Postal Mail
    In addition to uploading copies of your official transcript/s to the online application, an official sealed transcript from each college or university you attended must be sent by postal mail to the Office of Graduate Student Affairs after you have received notice of your admission acceptance and if you intend on enrolling.  

    If you are an international student and your transcripts are not in English, you also need to mail an official notarized translation and separate degree certificates indicating the conferral of your degree.  Please check the FAQ transcript section to find out more. Although uploaded or other copies of transcripts may be used for review purposes, enrollment is contingent upon receiving all official transcript/s, translations (if required), and degree certificates (international students).  If we do not receive these documents in a timely manner it may cause admission delays.

  9. Do not apply to a program with the intention of transferring to another program after enrollment 
    While it is possible to change your program after enrollment, you may not change or transfer to another program during the first semester or term. Changing or transferring programs after enrollment requires another application procedure. Acceptance into the new program is not guaranteed.  Therefore, you should apply to the program of your choice from the start. Your chances of transferring to a new program after admission to another program will not be easier.

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